my hand with black goo

Update – It is my belief that SRAM has changed the rubber formula in their twist shifter grips and in doing so have eliminated this problem. But if you still have the older rubber grips then read on …

assume that others besides me have experienced the problem of the rubber on the twist shifters getting mushy, sticky and gooey. It seems like about every two years mine get that way and they are nasty to deal with. I don’t know what is going on. I ponder over whether the rubber breaks down due to skin oil or if it is caused by something else. I have tried to clean them with various products, but it only does so much and doesn’t seem to last as long as I would hope.

Note: Since first writing this article I read about using talcum powder to alleviate this problem. I tried it and it really works great. I don’t know how long it will last, but as long as it continues to take care of the problem I can always reapply it as talcum powder is cheap and a quick fix.

Update: Definitely talcum (baby) powder is temporary and how long it lasts seems to be dependent on how bad the condition of the rubber is. If you catch it early enough the talcum powder treatment may suffice for awhile. Most definitely it is a temporary fix and may have to be repeated frequently.

The rubber actually turns to a sort of goo that sticks to my hands and blackens them. It comes off of the grips in messy bits … much like a tube of black silicone would be if it is squeezed out onto one’s hands. My rubber grips are like this now. I have not found replacement rubber pieces so I have always bought new twist shifters. That seems so wasteful and expensive when there is nothing wrong with the shifter itself. I said that I haven’t found them, but according to what I read online they are available. (The bike shop people told me they aren’t. Do you suppose they wanted to sell me new twist shifters?) Anyway, here are a couple of videos showing how to go about replacing the rubber grips. They show two different kinds of twist shifters. Unfortunately neither are Sram shifters which are the one found on most tadpole trikes equipped with twist shifters.

SRAM Rubber Grip Shift 2

Buying new replacement grips I still find a bit challenging. I see the outer rubber grips, but not the twist shifter grips. The entire twist shifter with new rubber is fairly reasonably priced, but still it is a waste to replace perfectly good shifters. So far I have only found one U.S. source for the rubber grips and their price is considerably more than a new shifter costs. As they say … “go figure”. It is all a mystery to me and I don’t understand why they are so hard to find. Has anyone had success in finding them and at a reasonable price? If so, please share with us on this blog via a comment or if you prefer send me a personal email (tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com).

I have some good news. Sram apparently changed the rubber compound as the X.0 twist shifters I bought a few years ago have held up great. I have not had any more issues with sticky gooey rubber. And the rubber has held up well … still like new. If new rubber grips are needed they seem to be available nowadays and the price seems to be about $14 to $20 per side.

Jan. 2016 – Here are some sources I just found for replacement grips ……/rp-prod20565

2020: Amazon also has them …



Ebay also has them.

Modern Bike lists several different ones available.

JensonUSA has them.

HERE are the Google search results for these replacement grips. They seem to be available more than they were when I first wrote this article four and a half years ago.

I really like my trike and I plan on sticking with it for some time yet, but I don’t like being stuck to it. It is time to get something done about this gooey sticky mess. Hopefully things will work out as I want to …


(Just so you know … the picture of the hand is not real as far as the black gooey stuff on it. I simply created the image on the computer. I was not about to get my hand looking like that just to take a picture.)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (


  1. Steve, the following may not be the case as it was for me but I had a problem similar to yours with a wrist watch band. The problem was caused by my sun screen.

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