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Any Recommendation on a headset press?

Old 04-03-17, 12:46 PM
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OshkoshBiker
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Any Recommendation on a headset press?

Hello all,

I am looking at various headset presses and I would appreciate your feedback on what you like or dislike about them. Does anyone use the Wheels Manufacturing presses for both headsets and bottom brackets? Is the Parktool good? Are there other brands I should consider? I am okay with home mechanic quality, however, I would prefer a professional tool.

Kind regards,

OshkoshBiker
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Old 04-03-17, 12:57 PM
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I've used the parktool one. It seems nice, although I have nothing to compare it to. It is heavy and well built.

For personal use though, I'd just make one out of a piece of all thread, some nuts, fender washers and a few spacers (to keep it centered.)

A bit more clunky to use, but it'd get the job done.
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Old 04-03-17, 01:16 PM
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I have a generic one like this Nashbar Headset Press It works very well. I've only used it for headsets, so I don't know what features it might be missing for other uses. For the price, I couldn't see the point in a kludge.
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Old 04-03-17, 01:19 PM
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For headsets, Wheels Manufacturing don't make a headset press, so that's out to start with.

Before buying a 'professional' quality one, would be asking yourself how often are you going to be using it; a Park Tool HHP-2 is a great bit of heavy duty kit, but an overkill for most home users, where a HHP-3 (or make your own from threaded rod as #corrado33 describes) would be good enough for the few times your actually going to use it (being realistic, how often do you replace a headset?)

For BB's. the high end Wheels Manufacturing ones are great (my LBS has these), but again for the home user, are an overkill, especially in the complete sets, you would be able to do the job just as well with the home version (PRESS-4) and getting the bearing adapter you need for your frame, rather than the pro version (PRESS-1) which has all the adapters included, and most wont be needed.

The 'pro' versions in the end offer advantages in speed of use, and multiple options included, often with specific storage, which are necessary/essential if begin used in a busy workshop, environment, which aren't as applicable for the home user.
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Old 04-03-17, 01:23 PM
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I got the universal bottom bracket press from enduro. $35. Worked like a charm for my BB. Handles turn on 1/2" all-thread (I think 1/2-13), so you could just get this press and buy a longer rod at Home Despot. Comes with two drifts that drive 22, 24, 30, 37, 41, 42, and 46mm bearings.

Recommended for bottom brackets, and (with a longer all-thread) would suspect for headsets.

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Old 04-03-17, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I've used the parktool one. It seems nice, although I have nothing to compare it to. It is heavy and well built.

For personal use though, I'd just make one out of a piece of all thread, some nuts, fender washers and a few spacers (to keep it centered.)

A bit more clunky to use, but it'd get the job done.
+1 for mine, I added two sets of spherical washers; one on each end.
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Old 04-03-17, 02:27 PM
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I made my own out of some threaded rod, a bunch of big flat washers and some nuts that fit the threaded rod. Cost less than ten dollars and everything was available at Home Depot. It has worked fine for everything I had to press into place.

Last edited by Phloom; 04-03-17 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 04-03-17, 04:22 PM
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Unless you have too much money a home made tool works just fine. I made one for my headsets from an all thread rod and suitable washers. I even made a crude press to remove and install Phil BB bearings. I gave up on the Phils as the shimanos last over 20k miles and counting.
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Old 04-03-17, 04:28 PM
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I bought the Nashbar one a few years ago and haven't used it yet.

Before I had it, I buffered the cups with blocks of wood and banged with a hammer. I know this is horrendous, but I swear, the results were perfectly fine.

It seems reasonable that unless you do this job frequently, it makes sense to have a bike shop press the cups in and press the crown race on. Last time I had a headset to install, I brought the frame and fork and headset to the shop. I broke my long-standing no-shop rule. No shame!
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Old 04-03-17, 04:32 PM
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3/4" threaded rod, washers and nuts. Nyloc nuts have a nice round that sits in the headset, making the centering easy. Home Depot for $5-10 bucks. (I know a shop that goes that route.)

I also use scraps of various pipes to keep the rod centered in the head tube. All cheap, reliable and easy to use.

Ben
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Old 04-03-17, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by OshkoshBiker View Post
Hello all,

I am looking at various headset presses and I would appreciate your feedback on what you like or dislike about them. Does anyone use the Wheels Manufacturing presses for both headsets and bottom brackets? Is the Parktool good? Are there other brands I should consider? I am okay with home mechanic quality, however, I would prefer a professional tool.

Kind regards,

OshkoshBiker

Homemade works and I've installed a few headsets with fender washers and all-thread. But, honestly, the Park works much, much better. I do a lot of building from bare frames as well as parts swapping so I've had lots of occasions to use mine. I also use the one at my local co-op as a volunteer fairly often. I couldn't imagine going back to the homemade.

That said, unless you use it often, it's not a tool that is cheap. I've tried some of the cheap knockoffs and they just don't work as well.
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Old 04-03-17, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Phloom View Post
I made my own out of some threaded rod, a bunch of big flat washers and some nuts that fit the threaded rod. Cost less than ten dollars and everything was available at Home Depot. It has worked fine for everything I had to press into place.
+1.

If DIY is good enough for legendary framebuilder Dave Moulton, it's good enough for me.
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Old 04-03-17, 06:22 PM
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...unless you're anticipating doing a lot of headset removal and reinstallation, just make one. The Park Pro is a wonderful tool, and way overpriced. Their home mechanic version is similar to what you can make and costs as much as the Nashbar one, which also works about as well as the Park Pro (the adjustment lock mechanism on the cup presses is a little more fussy). I think maybe the nashbar ones go on sale every now and then, because I bought one finally when I was doing a lot of this stuff, to replace my allthread, washers and nuts one. I'm way too cheap to have paid 70 bucks.
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Old 04-03-17, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
+1.

If DIY is good enough for legendary framebuilder Dave Moulton, it's good enough for me.
It worked great pressing my FSA headset into my titanium Marinoni. I get all my ideas for do it yourself tools from RJ the bike guy on Youtube. I even tracked down that little grease gun he uses. By the way, it is on Amazon. Search for Dualco, made in Houston.
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Old 04-03-17, 06:25 PM
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I've been using one I bought from Nashbar 30 or more years ago. It's a piece of all thread, a couple of nuts with integral washers and washers and a chunk of pipe for crown races. Works fine.
Think the odd time about buying this one https://www.merlincycles.com/cyclus-...ess-92123.html but every time I'm ordering anything it's out of stock.
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Old 04-03-17, 06:30 PM
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I repair guitars for a living and a good Jorgensen clamp will work too. I have some that are over 2 foot spred. Get the cauls in place and turn
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Old 04-04-17, 03:32 AM
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I can't recommend fender washers, unless maybe you use a large stack of them. IME they easily bend under load.

scott s.
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Old 04-04-17, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
I can't recommend fender washers, unless maybe you use a large stack of them. IME they easily bend under load.

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.
Not in the size you need for pressing in a headset. If you use 1/2" all thread, the washer you need is quite thick. The force needed to press in the headset isn't that great either. If you have to apply enough force to bend a fender washer for a 1/2" bolt, you are probably doing something wrong. Finally, 1/2" fender washers are cheap enough to be a one time use item anyway. In other words, it doesn't matter if they bend.
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Old 04-04-17, 07:07 AM
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I'm apparently in the minority here, but I've found it to be a useful tool. IIRC, I've done 5 headsets, which makes the cost insignificant per headset. The tool will certainly outlast my cycling involvement. Why not have it?
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Old 04-04-17, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'm apparently in the minority here, but I've found it to be a useful tool. IIRC, I've done 5 headsets, which makes the cost insignificant per headset. The tool will certainly outlast my cycling involvement. Why not have it?
We're in the minority. I've used mine many more times than you have but that's just me. I'm constantly tinkering with my bikes and changing framesets for me is fairly regular.

However, if someone only needs the tool to install a headset once, the $150 cost is hard to justify. For a one off headset installation, homemade is more cost effective. On the other hand, you can purchase the stepped bushing separately from the press for about $30. That would improve a homemade press greatly at not too great a cost. It would make centering the homemade press much easier.

Edit: I forgot about that Enduro press up above. It would do the same as the homemade press with Park stepped bushings for about the same price.
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Old 04-04-17, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.I'm way too cheap to have paid 70 bucks.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds the price tag offensive.

I love good tools and will always buy a high quality tool before trying to save a buck on a cheap one that will break or malfunction prematurely. But $72.00 for $3.00 worth of metal and plastic? Just rubs me the wrong way.

Really???....


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Old 04-04-17, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds the price tag offensive.

I love good tools and will always buy a high quality tool before trying to save a buck on a cheap one that will break or malfunction prematurely. But $72.00 for $3.00 worth of metal and plastic? Just rubs me the wrong way.

Really???....


Yeah I'm not sure I'd buy that for $70. If I had to buy one, I'd gladly pony up the $150 for the MUCH NICER shop version of park tool's headset press.

I mean, if you had a welder, you could build their home version for a few dollars... Heck, it may even work with jb weld if you sandwith the nut between the flat part used to press and the handle.
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Old 04-04-17, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
...Before I had it, I buffered the cups with blocks of wood and banged with a hammer. I know this is horrendous, but I swear, the results were perfectly fine....
LOL, I thought I was the only one. Headset cups are surprising resilient.

I tried the homemade unit but cheaped out on the all-thread diameter at 1/2". It flexed horribly, I ended up using the hammer and wood blocks, my girlfriend is sure I'm nuts. Next time I need a press I'll buy a 3/4" thread and see if it works. I would like to stop using wood, wouldn't I?
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Old 04-04-17, 10:35 AM
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I think I got the nashbar one on a sale for at most half of what they're going for now. At >$40 it was worth it to not have to find time to get the bike in the car and get to the shop when it was open and then pay them to do it even if I've only used it 3-4 times since buying it a number of years back.
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Old 04-04-17, 10:36 AM
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What's this fascination with 1/2" rod? Go 3/4". It cost barely more, the washers are very sturdy and the acorn nuts are bigger than the headset races so they work beautifully to center the press. (Yes, 1/2' is lighter and better for hill climbing, but really, do you carry it in your tool bag?)

Edit: 3/4" and the acorn nuts was the word from Dean at Bike Central, Portland's fix gear wizard. (Fix gear as in velodrome, team DS and coach and frequently the mechanic at major events at Alpenrose.)

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 04-04-17 at 10:40 AM.
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