Removing Plastic "Beauty" Plugs From Motorcycle Bolts

Tech tip on removing those silly little plugs damage free!

I don't know about you, but I can't stand those silly plastic "beauty" plugs manufacturers use to block off the open heads of Allen bolts. It seems every time I want to adjust a handlebar or lever they're in the way. Instead of cleaning up the bike's look they always appear contrived to me, sort of like handlebar streamers or plastic cable covers. The problem is they can be a real pain to remove.

removing a motorcycle's beauty plug without damage to the bolts
Remove the plug like so.Photography by Mark Zimmerman

Most guys end up using a small screwdriver to pry them out, which works but can easily scratch the bolts’ finish, leaving it susceptible to rust. The easiest way to remove them is to whack them square in the middle with a center punch. That’ll pop a small hole through the middle of the button and you can pop it right out. Of course, that assumes you feel like I do and don’t plan to ever use the plug again. If you want to remove the cap without damage, try this: Obtain a short length of monofilament fishing line (10-pound-test or stronger) or mason’s twine. Work the line under the cap, just like you’d use a hunk of dental floss. The cap should pull straight up without damage.


For the DIY accident prone: How to Repair a Ruined Thread