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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

View Poll Results: What does it cost where you go?
No charge 6 15.38%
$0-10 6 15.38%
$11-20 2 5.13%
$21-30 0 0%
$31-40 1 2.56%
$40 or more 3 7.69%
I don't know 21 53.85%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-24-09, 01:54 PM   #1
uke
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How much does your LBS charge for fork cutting?

I went in the other day to have my fork--specifically, my steering column--cut so there wouldn't be a couple of inches sticking out, since I've lowered the handlebars and there are now two spacers above them. The shop price is $33, which seemed quite high to me. The guy said they'd have to remove the entire fork or something, and that it wasn't just a matter of cutting off the part of the column that sticks out. I didn't see why he couldn't just cut the top off, but I'm not a bike mechanic.

What does it cost where you go?
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Old 04-24-09, 02:10 PM   #2
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The steer tube has to be a few mm below the top of the stem so that the top cap pushes down on the stem and sets the tension correctly. So, the fork has to be pulled out and measured carefully before they put it in the cutting guide.

I'm going to have to do the same thing; personally, I'd be glad to pay only $33 for a procedure that might mean not losing some teeth.
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Old 04-24-09, 02:18 PM   #3
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I was building up my salsa casserole and brought it in to have it cut. Mind you it was not installed. I had my stem where I wanted it with the spacers so it made it pretty easy. $10 was the charge.
For some odd reason trying to cut your stearer with a broken arm does not work out so well.
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Old 04-24-09, 02:22 PM   #4
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I didn't get charged for fork cutting but I was buying a new headset at the time. Still it took about 10 minutes to do (I watched the whole procedure). $30 for the install.
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Old 04-24-09, 02:37 PM   #5
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I have never paid to have a fork cut, but for $33 you could buy a Park Tool SG-6 and cut all the forks you want to.
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Old 04-24-09, 02:41 PM   #6
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I was building up my salsa casserole and brought it in to have it cut. Mind you it was not installed. I had my stem where I wanted it with the spacers so it made it pretty easy. $10 was the charge.
For some odd reason trying to cut your stearer with a broken arm does not work out so well.
Did you try sharpening your arm first?
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Old 04-24-09, 02:57 PM   #7
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Did you try sharpening your arm first?
Hey, bada bing!
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Old 04-24-09, 05:42 PM   #8
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I have never paid to have a fork cut, but for $33 you could buy a Park Tool SG-6 and cut all the forks you want to.
Have you cut your forks yourself? If so, how did things turn out?
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Old 04-24-09, 06:02 PM   #9
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I wouldn't charge anything for a fork cut. You bring me the fork and tell me how long you want the steerer. If you want me to take it off the bike, figure out how long it needs to be and re-install it, it will cost you 30 bucks.
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Old 04-24-09, 06:24 PM   #10
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Have you cut your forks yourself? If so, how did things turn out?
I have the Park saw guide, which comes in handy for cf tubes. But for a steel steerer, I just use a pipe cutter (any hardware store sells them). About 5-10 minutes of work.

You usually have to measure where the top of your stem is - then make the cut 3mm below that, in order to be able to tighten the top cap allen bolt into the star nut (use the Park star nut setting tool to get it into the steerer tube).
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Old 04-24-09, 06:36 PM   #11
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I have the Park saw guide, which comes in handy for cf tubes. But for a steel steerer, I just use a pipe cutter (any hardware store sells them). About 5-10 minutes of work.

You usually have to measure where the top of your stem is - then make the cut 3mm below that, in order to be able to tighten the top cap allen bolt into the star nut (use the Park star nut setting tool to get it into the steerer tube).
I see. From what you're saying, and from the directions here and here, it looks like I could have done this myself with the right tools (a pipe cutter and the star nut setter). I wish I'd planned this out before sinking more money into the bike store. I get the feeling they overcharge a lot.

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Old 04-24-09, 07:02 PM   #12
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Have you cut your forks yourself? If so, how did things turn out?
I used the park saw guide that my bicycle co-op had. It was very easy. Measure twice, cut once.
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Old 04-24-09, 11:10 PM   #13
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I see. From what you're saying, and from the directions here and here, it looks like I could have done this myself with the right tools (a pipe cutter and the star nut setter). I wish I'd planned this out before sinking more money into the bike store. I get the feeling they overcharge a lot.
33 bucks is cheap once you've ruined a fork by cutting it too short - knowledge/experience does have a value....

if you cut with a pipe cutter, you have to file away some metal after cutting (especially on steel, not much on Al).

the pipe cutter enlarges the steerer outer diameter next to the cut, you won't be able to fit spacers/stem until you file away some material

hack saw with guide is a little easier in this respect, you only have to file off burrs and sharp edge.
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Old 04-25-09, 02:43 AM   #14
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The shop price is $33, which seemed quite high to me. The guy said they'd have to remove the entire fork or something, and that it wasn't just a matter of cutting off the part of the column that sticks out. I didn't see why he couldn't just cut the top off, but I'm not a bike mechanic.
With respect, the fact that you didn't see why he couldn't just cut the top off is exactly why it's worth it for you to pay someone who knows why to do this job for you. To properly cut your fork, your mechanic had to remove the wheel and stem, mark the steer tube, disconnect the brake, remove the fork and headset bearings, drive the star nut further down the steer tube, then cut the steer tube (which can be a pain in the ass), debur and file the cut and put everthing back together again.

It's not rocket science but it does take some special tools and an understanding of the process and it's not a five minute job. I can't sew or weld, so I'm happy to pay people who havethe skills when I need to. Many skilled tradespeople wouldn't pick up their tools for $33 so I don't think it's that out of line.
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Old 04-25-09, 04:46 AM   #15
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If you can do it yourself, i.e. have the tools, skills, and time then paying $33 to have it done is a ripoff. If you can't do it yourself then it's a fair price.
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Old 04-25-09, 04:51 AM   #16
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Wait now,
If your handlebars were already at the correct height, and you were merely cutting the forks down to remove the spacers that were Above the stem.
Then was it really necessary to take everything apart?
The stem is already clamped on and holding tension on it's own, so at this point the top cap and star nut aren't actually needed. Couldn't you just take those out, saw off the protruding tube, then stick a cap on it?
No adjustment (and long service charge) needed, just a simple 5 min job with a hacksaw and file in your own garage?

I mean, the top cap and star nut are only for pre-tensioning, but once thats done and the stem is clamped down you can take them out and toss them if you want, so who cares if by doing it the simple-cut-off way you might someday need to reinstall those items. Likely when that happens you're on a new fork anyway.

Last edited by xenologer; 04-25-09 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 04-25-09, 05:12 AM   #17
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Wait now,
If your handlebars were already at the correct height, and you were merely cutting the forks down to remove the spacers that were Above the stem.
Then was it really necessary to take everything apart?
The stem is already clamped on and holding tension on it's own, so at this point the top cap and star nut aren't actually needed. Couldn't you just take those out, saw off the protruding tube, then stick a cap on it?
No adjustment (and long service charge) needed, just a simple 5 min job with a hacksaw and file in your own garage?

I mean, the top cap and star nut are only for pre-tensioning, but once thats done and the stem is clamped down you can take them out and toss them if you want, so who cares if by doing it the simple-cut-off way you might someday need to reinstall those items. Likely when that happens you're on a new fork anyway.
Service your headset much?
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Old 04-25-09, 05:38 AM   #18
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Wait now,
If your handlebars were already at the correct height, and you were merely cutting the forks down to remove the spacers that were Above the stem.
Then was it really necessary to take everything apart?
The stem is already clamped on and holding tension on it's own, so at this point the top cap and star nut aren't actually needed. Couldn't you just take those out, saw off the protruding tube, then stick a cap on it?
No adjustment (and long service charge) needed, just a simple 5 min job with a hacksaw and file in your own garage?

I mean, the top cap and star nut are only for pre-tensioning, but once thats done and the stem is clamped down you can take them out and toss them if you want, so who cares if by doing it the simple-cut-off way you might someday need to reinstall those items. Likely when that happens you're on a new fork anyway.
Wow. That's gotta be the most uninformed comment I've ever seen on a bike forum.

Are you REALLY going to take a hacksaw - without a guide - to your steerer tube, right above your possibly expensive stem, hacking away at it while metal shavings fall all over your stem, headset, brake pads, etc? Are you ever going to take your stem off? Well, no....you're not. The ridge left from cutting off the steerer tube would either prevent it or destroy your stem when you did.
How are you going to service your headset with no top cap or star nut? How are you going to adjust your headset - because they DO get loose over time?

Anyway... we're cheap. We charge $20 for doing it properly, unless you bought the bike, fork, or headset from us.
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Old 04-25-09, 06:33 AM   #19
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Wow. That's gotta be the most uninformed comment I've ever seen on a bike forum.
Thanks, I try.

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Are you REALLY going to take a hacksaw - without a guide - to your steerer tube, right above your possibly expensive stem, hacking away at it while metal shavings fall all over your stem, headset, brake pads, etc?
Yep, I'm good with a hacksaw, plus the edge of the stem is a decent guide itself. (what?? you're worried about scratching the stem with it??, who cares, half the stems I dig out of the co-op bins look like crap already.)
Metal shavings never hurt anyone, just go over with the shop vac after if you really want to make sure its clean. If you get one stuck in your pads, pick it out when you hear the brakes screech.

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Are you ever going to take your stem off? Well, no....you're not. The ridge left from cutting off the steerer tube would either prevent it or destroy your stem when you did.
A little bit of burring on the edge of the cut is at most going to scratch the inside of the stem. This hardly 'destroys' it. Unless its carbon, but those are ridiculous.

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How are you going to service your headset with no top cap or star nut? How are you going to adjust your headset - because they DO get loose over time?
There's the good ol' lean as with much weight as possible on the handlebars, then tighten the pinch bolts on the stem.
Alternatly, grab a set from the junk drawer, us it to pretension, then either leave it in or put it back.


I'm thinking that the main source of objection here is that you ride nice expensive bikes that you like to keep pristine and 'professionally' worked on. I don't, mine are beaters made from parts scavenged from other beaters.
Anyway I don't blame you for pushing that attitude, you have to, its how you make a living as a mechanic.

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Old 04-25-09, 08:07 AM   #20
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Thanks, I try.


Yep, I'm good with a hacksaw, plus the edge of the stem is a decent guide itself. (what?? you're worried about scratching the stem with it??, who cares, half the stems I dig out of the co-op bins look like crap already.)
Metal shavings never hurt anyone, just go over with the shop vac after if you really want to make sure its clean. If you get one stuck in your pads, pick it out when you hear the brakes screech.


A little bit of burring on the edge of the cut is at most going to scratch the inside of the stem. This hardly 'destroys' it. Unless its carbon, but those are ridiculous.


There's the good ol' lean as with much weight as possible on the handlebars, then tighten the pinch bolts on the stem.
Alternatly, grab a set from the junk drawer, us it to pretension, then either leave it in or put it back.


I'm thinking that the main source of objection here is that you ride nice expensive bikes that you like to keep pristine and 'professionally' worked on. I don't, mine are beaters made from parts scavenged from other beaters.
Anyway I don't blame you for pushing that attitude, you have to, its how you make a living as a mechanic.
My brother has this exact attitude towards pretty much everything. He's always showing up on my doorstep wanting me to repair stuff he's 'fixed', more often than not what would have been a quick and easy job had he done it right turns out to be a writeoff or a major repair in addition to the original job.
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Old 04-25-09, 08:47 AM   #21
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haha. A hacksaw sounds like the perfect tool for you! I'm wondering why you even bother to cut off the excess steerer at all! It gives you another place to mount some extra bar ends or possibly a handlebar radio.
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Old 04-25-09, 10:40 AM   #22
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haha. A hacksaw sounds like the perfect tool for you! I'm wondering why you even bother to cut off the excess steerer at all! it gives you another place to mount some extra bar ends or possibly a handlebar radio.
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Old 04-25-09, 06:16 PM   #23
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Wait now,
If your handlebars were already at the correct height, and you were merely cutting the forks down to remove the spacers that were Above the stem.
Then was it really necessary to take everything apart?
The stem is already clamped on and holding tension on it's own, so at this point the top cap and star nut aren't actually needed. Couldn't you just take those out, saw off the protruding tube, then stick a cap on it?
No adjustment (and long service charge) needed, just a simple 5 min job with a hacksaw and file in your own garage?

I mean, the top cap and star nut are only for pre-tensioning, but once thats done and the stem is clamped down you can take them out and toss them if you want, so who cares if by doing it the simple-cut-off way you might someday need to reinstall those items. Likely when that happens you're on a new fork anyway.
If you're throwing away the starnut, then how will you stick a cap back on it?

It's not a difficult job to do it right, but if you're going to do a hack job like described above, why bother cutting it off at all. Just leave the excess.

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I have never paid to have a fork cut, but for $33 you could buy a Park Tool SG-6 and cut all the forks you want to.
BTW...I love park tools. But here's a case where the no name brand version works just as good for alot less.

nashbar steerer tube cutting guide
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Old 04-25-09, 11:53 PM   #24
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I've cut several steerer tubes with a hacksaw. Just measure threee times, take your time cutting and debur afterwards. A pipe cutter would work as well, I just don't own one. Also a starnut is easy to set by threading a spare bolt into it and gently tapping it down to the proper depth.

Park makes great tools to do all this stuff, and if I worked in a bike shop and was doing multiple jobs/day, I would own these tools. But, if like me you only do this about once a year and if you are at all handy, it's really not that hard to use the tools you probably aready own.

In my case, it's not the money I save - it's just that I like doing it myself.
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Old 04-26-09, 12:37 PM   #25
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I just cut my steerer tube myself last weekend. At first I used a pipe cutter, but the cutting wheel was a POS and wasn't able to get all the way through the steel tube. I then had to use a hacksaw to cut through the tube, using the trench the pip cutter made as a guide. It wasn't straight enough to my liking, but a few swipes with a ******* file solved that. I left the fork in the frame, and metal shavings didn't seem to be a problem. I had the frame lying horizontal to ensure that shavings wouldn't fall into anywhere they shouldn't, just to be safe. To install the star nut I just screwed in the compression bolt and tapped it into the tube with a hammer. It went in easy as pie. I think that if you're even moderately handy with tools your $33 would be better spent on tools (and another star nut) to do it yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it. "If you give a man a fish..." as they say.

[edit] lulz @ the file name being censored. http://tinyurl.com/crhuvm
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