Replacing a headset is not a difficult job, especially on more modern bikes. Older headsets and 1 1/8th external headset will require a little bit more effort than new internal headsets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change headsets at home.
What headset do you have?
If you’ve bought one of our ICAN frames, the chances are you’ll have a headset that looks like this.
The above style of headset is an internal headset. The hardest part of fitting this style of headset is putting the crown race on the forks. To fit the headset, you’ll just want to grease around the bearing, drop the top bearing on the frame and it is done, almost.
To fit the lower bearing, you’ll want to fit the crown race to your forks first. Ideally, you’ll have a crown race setting tool.
You use the correct adaptor for your crown race, put the tool over your fork’s steerer and gently tap with a rubber mallet until your crown race is in place. It is pretty simple.
Understandably though many people don’t own a crown race setting tool, as replacing a crown race once a year probably doesn’t need the tool expenditure, in that case, go to your local hardware store and get a length of P.V.C or A.B.S plastic pipe. Use that in a similar method, and it might take some more effort, but you’ll get there.
Don’t use the flathead screwdriver and hammer tip that you’ll find on Youtube.
Installing the bearings
Now, you have the crown race installed. Grease around your lower bearing, try and put a nice layer around the flat edge as it’ll be exposed to the elements. Pop on top of your crown race, the correct way round, and slide your fork through your headtube.
You’ll see a round split ring, a slide that down the fork steerer and towards the headset bearing. Slide the top cap on top of that. Now fit the number of spacers you need and then your stem. Tighten up using the tension cap, not to tight.
You want there to be no bearing play, but your handlebars will be able to swing freely from side to side.
Headsets that need to be pressed into the frame
If you’re pressing cups into your bike frame, you’ll definitely want a headset bearing press.
You’ll need to fit your crown race in the same way as above.
You’ll want to make sure that your frame is prepared to accept the headset cups, which means greasing the headtube if you fit metal to metal.
You’ll then need to fit the correct adaptors onto your bearing press tool, the ones that fit nicely inside your bearing cups. The adaptors make sure that your cups line up correctly and go in straight. You can fit headset cups using a piece of wood and a hammer, but you run the risk of putting your cups in squint, or of accidentally hitting your frame with a hammer.
The best way to press the headset in is to put your top cup onto the tool. Slide the tool through your head tube. Then slide the bottom cup on and use the lock to hold it in place. Move your cups around, so any logos are where you want them and slowly start to tighten the handle. Do this slowly to make sure all is going according to plan.
Once you’ve done that, drop the top bearings in, with a nice amount of grease, and then put the bottom bearings on your crown race, and follow the rest of the steps from above.