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Headset installation question(9 posts)

Headset installation questionnova
Aug 6, 2001 7:04 AM
I don't have a headset press, but I've read here that some people install their headsets with a long threaded bold, a nut, and some washers. Any advice on this? This would be my first headset installation.

I've also read recently (although I can't find the post again) that someone has installed multiple headsets with a rubber mallet and an algebra book!

Also, how do you install a fork crown race? Is the tool mandatory?
re: Headset installation questionRusty McNasty
Aug 6, 2001 8:55 AM
If you can get a pipe just over 1" inner diameter, and a washer of the same size, you can install a fork crown race, simply by sliding the pipe up and down many times. I would paint the seat with anti-sieze, first.
I have had some luck installing heavier heatsets with the long bolt/washer/piece-of-wood-and-towel method, but I wouldn't even try it with lighter headsets often found on a road bike. Better to pay a wrench $10 to install it than mess it up. DON'T USE A HAMMER ON A HEADSET!!!!!
Totally Agree!grzy mnky
Aug 6, 2001 9:22 AM
You'll be money ahead if you pay to have it done right. having said that installing a headset yourself can be done. Reading a couple of the tech manuals fist will give you a good idea of how it's done - a picture being worth a thousand words (plus or minus). The rub is that you need to be thinking the entire time as the where the forces are being applied such that everything is kept parallel. It's not for the sqeemish or the mechanically challenged. Having a Park headset press is a very fine tool and King makes a set of adapters for their headsets, but it ain't cheap and you can still mess things up if you don't pay attention.
Aug 6, 2001 10:43 AM
it was a calculus book and with another 500 headsets installed I'll have the book paid for.
it wasn't a hammer, it's a rubber mallet and it works just fine. I've installed headsets from wald shimano SORA to Chris King, C.Record and Cane Creek with this method and I've probably installed one for someone like you who cringes at the thought of having a pounding instrument anywhere near their bike. Bash me if you want to but I've installed a whole bunch of headsets in my day and never had any problems. I usually use the park tool, but if I'm not in the shop or if I don't feel like driving to it the mallett & calc book work just fine.
Grab a rubber mallet, (a mallet, not a hammer with rubber-plastic pad on it) a heavy table, and an old calc book. Push the headset cups in as far as you can with your hand and make sure they are straight. put the calc book on the table and the frame on the book. Tap the cups in with the mallet. Tap very lightly at first as it is imperitive that the cups are going in straight when you begin to tap harder or you will risk damaging your frame. When both cups are flush with the frame, you're done.
for installing a fork race, use a pipe that's just a touch larger ID than your steer-tube's OD. (inner/outer diameter) and pound it on. Don't use a stainless-steel pipe as it can damage the surface of the race. Find a weaker metal.
the long bolt & washers also works for installing cups, but it's dang tedious and you probably don't have a bolt that long in your basement. (that's why I go with the mallet/calc book method.)

(oh, and if your pride is too big to take it into the shop when you don't know what you're doing then you gotta get your priorities straight. Lots of people don't do their own bike repair, it doesn't make you any less of a man, it just makes your bike work right)
Finally, a practical use for my calculus book !davidl
Aug 6, 2001 11:09 AM
that joke was funnier last time (nm)ak
Aug 6, 2001 11:13 AM
sorry, you either didn't see it last time I posted the same instructions or you're deliberately copying off someone else's joke in which case you're need to try to be more original, nobody likes a copy-cat.
headset install shop or gut it out myselfJohnnyA
Aug 6, 2001 2:11 PM
I'm torn - went out and purchased a MTB shock off the web. I'll buy my headset from my LBS but I feel so dirty having them install the headset. I figure i can do the headset following ak's and other's instructions, but I'll be chewing on rolaids.... may not be worth the stress.

Guess that's the price of being a cheapo. Still need to put some thought into it.
I think you should worry moreSpoke Wrench
Aug 7, 2001 8:10 AM
about cutting your suspension fork steer tube too short. It sounds like such a simple thing, but lots of people get it wrong.
Soldering the steer tube?JohnnyA
Aug 7, 2001 9:04 AM
Your point is well taken. I am planning on giving myself lots of length on the steer tube and passing the tube through the stem and topping it with stack washers until I get my geometry dialed in. That approach may mean cutting the steer tube twice, but it is easier than trying to build up that last 1/4 inch that I may have sawed off.