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Pro's and Con's of Cutting Steerer Tube(16 posts)

Pro's and Con's of Cutting Steerer TubeBill RHIT
Dec 31, 2001 2:28 PM
Hey guys,

I am curious as to what are the pros and cons of cutting your steerer tube. I am thinking about doing it and don't know how. Any help or comments would be appreaciated. Thanks.
just do it in the right placeDog
Dec 31, 2001 2:58 PM
They are very easy to cut, even carbon. Just whack it off with a fine tooth hacksaw.

Here is the thing, though, as most people here know from my mistake, CUT IT IN THE RIGHT PLACE! If you make it too short, you will destroy the fork. Assemble everything, and then use a marker to mark the cut just above the stem. Then, cut just below the mark. DO NOT DO IT BY MEASURING. I did this and transposed numbers. I destroyed a $750 fork (unless someone needs an all carbon fork with Colnago Geo paint scheme for about a 48cm bike frame).

It's not hard. Just make sure it's in the right place. You might cut it too long, use some spacers, and try it for a while. If you decide to shorten, you can whack off more.

look on the bright side.....CT1
Dec 31, 2001 6:13 PM
Maybe someday there will be a "little pup" in the family in need of a small Colnago..... :)

Happy New Year too ya.

And keep the hacksaw locked up! ;)
Destroyed fork.Ahimsa
Dec 31, 2001 6:19 PM
Perhaps you could make it into a toilet paper dispenser ala Park's version. The most expensive one ever!

Heh heh heh. Sorry....that is indeed one of those painful f-ups.


here's a photoDog
Jan 2, 2002 6:51 AM
the steer tube is just under 7 inches, around 175mm
Hacksaw or pipecutter. . .js5280
Dec 31, 2001 3:10 PM
There's an on-going debate if a pipecutter or hacksaw is the best tool for the job, both you can screw up though if you don't pay attention. Measure twice, cut once. Hacksaw- make sure it's a level cut, guides are available. Pipecutter- watch the pressure so you don't crush the tube and also make sure it's a level cut.

The only reasons I can think of why you'd cut the steerer tube is to get rid of the excess above the stem so it's a little lighter and cleaner looking. However, only do this after you know you don't want your bars any higher. You can't undo the cut, but you can always cut lower. The major thing (someone back me up here) is that is should be about 3mm below the stem so the top cap will be flush w/ the stem.
re: Pro's and Con's of Cutting Steerer TubeDave Hickey
Dec 31, 2001 3:34 PM
I can think of safety as a good reason for cutting the tube. If you have alot of tube above the stem, you'd risk impailing(sp) yourself in a wreck.
re: Pro's and Con's of Cutting Steerer Tubedaniel
Dec 31, 2001 4:25 PM
I cut a steel steerer tube buy Using the Park cutter guide and a new hacksaw blade. The guide makes for a perfectly square cut.

Jan 1, 2002 7:01 AM
I've seen people with 4 or 5 inches of tube (and spacers) above the stem and I am amazed. Apart from the fact that it looks horrible, it's a very ugly accident waiting to happen.

A carbon tube is easy enough to cut and steel or Al ought to be equally straightforward. As others say--measure carefully. In fact, if you have enough extra tube, you might want to make a practice cut higher up before you try the real one--that will give you a feel for how your setup is working, the thickness of the cut itself, and so forth. I invested in a new carbide-tipped hacksaw blade. I think it cost four dollars.
A few points to rememberAll Up Hill
Dec 31, 2001 5:53 PM
1. In my mind cutting the steerer requires more commitment and certainty than joining the military, getting married, or amputating a limb, so think.
2. more than 2mm of spacer above the stem looks pretty goofy to you and to others after a while, so once you're sure, go for it.
3. A nice new hacksaw blade goes through them so fast and easy I can't imagine that a pipe cutter would be better, but i've never done it that way. Park saw guide (or maybe a home made jig) is a must.
4. Don't forget to buy a star nut setter, and screw it all the way into the nut before hammering, cause the threads alone can't handle the stress.
4.5. even it you don't really need a starnut setter they're just cool to have. it's a surprisingly dense, solid chunk of metal.
5. If you're cutting lower than where the star nut is now, remember you'll need to cut a little and then punch it down in stages so you don't saw into the nut.
6. The alloy dust and fragments stick all over everything and are really annoying. Keep it out of eyes and cuts. Maybe that could be a small advantage to using a pipe cutter.
7. you can always have a shop do it, but when you have the tools to do it yourself, you feel more at liberty to saw in small increments, ride it and think about it a while before sawing more.
Dec 31, 2001 6:11 PM
If every question here were answered so aptly we'd be an impressive lot indeed. Good show, All Up Hill.

I'm glad someone mentioned the star nut. I'd hate to see this bloke lop it right off inside the tube. Or worse still, cut right into it.

I'd also stress having the LBS do it if possible. It is indeed great to DIY these sorts of things, but in the cases where a small mistake can mean a ruined fork or frame (as in bottom bracket installations) I do not mind having someone else be responsible for replacement costs!

The Park saw guide is truly a must for many jobs.


re: Pro's and Con's of Cutting Steerer TubeCT1
Dec 31, 2001 6:22 PM
If it's a carbon steerer tube make sure you leave about 1cm above the top of the stem. I sometimes leave more than this .... and I don't think it looks goofy.

Here's the simple way to cut the steerer tube straight. Use a "spare" stem spacer and stem as a saw guide. I.e. clamp the stem in a position with the "spare" spacer right above it. Keep the saw blade up against the spacer.

Park also makes a saw guide which does the same thing as I've described.

If you are dealing with a steel steerer tube ..... I've actually used a sawsall with a metal blade. :) Looks scary as hell but it worked for me. If you aren't an expert in sawsall technology make sure you have a hospital with good orthopedic folks close at hand. ;)

good rides
Me too...Geof
Jan 1, 2002 1:01 AM
I run carbon spacers as well and run a 1cm on top of the stem and I think it looks rather kewl. Plus, it's gotta be a little better in terms of crush resistance for the carbon fibre.

My $0.02 worth
Avoid star washers in carbon forks....CT1 Guy
Jan 1, 2002 9:16 AM
You can get special expanding bungs for carbon fork steerers - they are tightened by allen key and can be easily removed - unlike star washers. Star washers create uneven stresses inside the steerer and can lead to premature failure.

The Park jig is ideal, but the old stem and spacer trick as a saw guide are pretty good.

There needs to be a gap between the top of the stem / spacer and the fork steerer to allow you to preload the aheadset properly.
Avoid star washers in carbon forks....CT1
Jan 1, 2002 11:44 AM
Another reason for a "gap" above the stem is that the steerer tube is MUCH less likely to develop a crack from the top edge. I've read where some pro mechanics leave 1cm above the stem for this very reason.

BTW: I can't imagine a 2cm extension being a "saftey" issue but then again I've never hit anything that would fling me in the stem top. :-) I suspect if that sort of crash happens you'll have a lot more to worry about then the top of the steerer tube.

good rides
forgot to ask.... CT1 GuyCT1
Jan 1, 2002 11:46 AM
Do you have a CT1??? If so, what's the scoop. Any pics available???

I'm still waiting for mine. Don't know when I'll get it. ?????

ride on