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    How necissary are specific tools?

    Im taking my first shot at building a bike up, and I am curious if it necissary to buy a headset press and a crown race setter? is it a bad idea just to take a whack with a mallet? I understand how the tools are helpful, but at $60 a pop, I would spend more on tools than on the frame... If there is any cheap alternative to purchasing tools or if Im stuck buying more tools, I appreciate any info yall can throw my way.

    -Seth

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    I used a home made headset press on an old frame, and things have worked well. For a new frame, I'd just pay the lbs to set the bearing cups/ crown race.

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElSetho
    Im taking my first shot at building a bike up, and I am curious if it necissary to buy a headset press and a crown race setter? is it a bad idea just to take a whack with a mallet? I understand how the tools are helpful, but at $60 a pop, I would spend more on tools than on the frame... If there is any cheap alternative to purchasing tools or if Im stuck buying more tools, I appreciate any info yall can throw my way.

    -Seth
    Some tools are absolutely positively irreplaceably vital to bike mechanics and cannot be improvised with anything else: freewheel tool, crank extractor, splined BB and cassette tools, chain tool.

    A headset press can easily be made with a threaded rod, nuts, and washers for about $5: the $3 ghetto headset press for sale for 55 pounds!? or http://www.instructables.com/id/E4FNIQYI2OEP286CNS/
    For a crown race setter, use a PVC pipe. Both work very well. If I was prepping 50 frames a day, I'd want a real Park headset press, but these improvised solutions work excellently for the home mechanic.
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    Sounds easy enough... thanks again guys, always appreciate the help.
    -Seth

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElSetho
    yeah dude, I got a little kit from pyramid with all of the crank and cassete tools. So the homemade headset press looks like a good idea... yall think thatll work with the races? Idont want to smash thse bearings in there...
    -Seth
    I assume you are talking about the crown race, right?

    Use a piece of copper pipe with cap on top to set the crown race. You'll need a diameter larger than the diameter of the steer tube of course. 1 1/4 rigid copper tubing works on a 1" steer tube. 1 1/2 should work on a 1 1/4" steer tube. Take your fork with you to the hardware store. You can use PVC also but I prefer the copper because it has a little more heft to it and can be used as a drop hammer to get the race seated. Don't use steel because it isn't soft enough and might mar the race.
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    so just pop the pipe (pvc or copper) on the race and just tap it in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElSetho
    so just pop the pipe (pvc or copper) on the race and just tap it in?
    Almost. The pipe should be the right inside diameter to drive the race on from its inside edge. You don't want to distort the race by pounding on the outer diameter. Also (obviously) the pipe should be longer than the steerer tube.

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    Crown races are easy. Just heat 'em up a little with a torch and they slide right on. You could probaby throw your cups in the freezer and warm the head tube with a hair dryer or something to get the cups in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer
    Crown races are easy. Just heat 'em up a little with a torch and they slide right on. You could probaby throw your cups in the freezer and warm the head tube with a hair dryer or something to get the cups in.
    If you heated them in an oven, it would probably be okay. Heating them with a torch could lead to warping if not done very carefully. You certainly wouldn't want them red hot.
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    As a kid I maintained all my bikes with hammers, vice grips, metal pipes, washers and long bolts with some WD-40 thrown in for good measure.

    Al

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Almost. The pipe should be the right inside diameter to drive the race on from its inside edge. You don't want to distort the race by pounding on the outer diameter. Also (obviously) the pipe should be longer than the steerer tube.
    Copper pipe is very soft. It will bend before the race does. You also don't have to use that much force to drive the race into place. A 10" to 11" piece of copper tube with a cap is usually more than enough weight to simple drop hammer the race into place. You only need to raise it a few iches and let it fall.
    Stuart Black
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    I would have the LBS do the BB and headset because they can face it if need be. Also tools get used over and over and over. I found the headset wrench I bought helped getting a one peice crank apart it has helped tightening other headsets. It would have been nice to have a pedal wrench when a was taking apart the single piece crank because it was PITA to find an adjustable wrench to fit between the crank and pedal
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    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    As a kid I maintained all my bikes with hammers, vice grips, metal pipes, washers and long bolts with some WD-40 thrown in for good measure.

    Al
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    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    PS - I'll second the reccomendation to have the LBS do stuff that requires tools you'll likely never need again. If you want to be able to say you "built it yourself," ask them if you can come in during a slow time and "help" with the procedure. A shop I used to live near loved to do "assisted" repairs like that, and the best part was that they charged a flat rate of $5 for "tool rental" for anything but the most complicated jobs. It was a great way to learn the basics without shelling out for specialized tools.

    On the other hand, I'd go right ahead and buy the specialized tools you ARE likely to need again - cassette tool, chain whip, etc.
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    well, I think Im sold on the idea of homemade tools. the only thing Im still abit vague on is the race install. So do i put the race in place, then put the pipe on top and tap it in with a mallet? I am gathering that this is a bit more of a finesse operation... how will I know ive done it right when im done? I dont want to get in a situation where i think Im done, but it is just a hack job that will fall apart. Thanks for all the help so far guys.
    -Seth

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElSetho
    well, I think Im sold on the idea of homemade tools. the only thing Im still abit vague on is the race install. So do i put the race in place, then put the pipe on top and tap it in with a mallet? I am gathering that this is a bit more of a finesse operation... how will I know ive done it right when im done? I dont want to get in a situation where i think Im done, but it is just a hack job that will fall apart. Thanks for all the help so far guys.
    -Seth
    The race is in all the way when there's NO GAP between the race and the crown of the fork Go to http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=65 and scroll down to "pressing fork crown race" to see what I mean.
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    My specialized heardset cup installation tool:
    http://www.tooltopia.com/index.asp?P...OD&ProdID=7364

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