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Fork swap

Old 05-23-20, 06:34 AM
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Fork swap

planning a fork swap in the next cpl of weeks. ordered essentially the exact same fork (brand & model) but it has 20mm more travel. hoping it's an easy job, well, not easy, maybe just doing in a few hours

was gonna try it w/ whatever tools I had laying around but watching videos it seemed like it would be smarter & easier to have all these tools:
  • headset fork crown race removal tool
  • fork crown race setting tool (alternative: there's a used one on craigslist for only $20)
  • bike fork star nut install tool
  • tube cutter (alternative: a cpl heavy duty plumbing cutters on craigslist for approx. $60)
if the local bike shops weren't so nutz with the new bike frenzy, I'd probably bring it to one of them if I got stuck. I also toyed w/ the idea of just replacing the bike, which I bought used for $200. I've already spent more than 1/2 that on the items above. maybe the bike isn't worth it, but it's my bike & finding another decent used one, my size, right now, that I can justify, is very limited (& then I'd have to sell this one). (I found 2, 1 for $600 & 1 for $900)

this is the bike (fork = SR Suntour XCT, 80mm travel)
GT Timberline 1.0 29er (frame size = L)

this is fork I ordered

SR Suntour XCT Mountian Bike Bicycle Cycling Fork 29er Coil Travel 100mm 9mm QR

anyone swap forks regularly? or any one-timers w/ memories or suggestions? did I already goof somehow?

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Old 05-23-20, 06:56 AM
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You don't NEED a special tool for any of those things. The only thing that is kind of a PITA without one is the star nut.
Crown race removal tool = hammer and a flat head screw driver. Most forks have a notch in them to get a screw driver under the race and once you knock it up a bit there you just work your way around the rest. Even without the notch it still works.
Crown race installer = same as remover or the really easy one is the right size pipe and a hammer
Tube cutter = hack saw
Star nut = thread a bolt into it and and hammer it into the steerer
The star nuts really fight going in straight but once you get mad and just say screw it and beat it into the steerer it will straighten itself out once it goes in far enough.
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Old 05-23-20, 07:31 AM
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I would recommend a hacksaw with two worm drive hose clamps as guides for cutting the steerer. It will cut cleaner than a wheel-type tube cutter that works by displacing metal which leaves heavy burrs inside and outside. You will still need to clean up the cut with files but not as bad.
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Old 05-23-20, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr
I would recommend a hacksaw with two worm drive hose clamps as guides for cutting the steerer. It will cut cleaner than a wheel-type tube cutter that works by displacing metal which leaves heavy burrs inside and outside. You will still need to clean up the cut with files but not as bad.

this works great!! A couple of tips, put a mark where you are going to cut then wrap in masking tape, that helps the edges from being over frayed. You will have to still clean up the cuts.

Make sure you hacksaw is a very fine blade, it helps. WEAR A MASK, everyone has one right now anyways but its for personal protection.
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Old 05-23-20, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
planning a fork swap in the next cpl of weeks. ordered essentially the exact same fork (brand & model) but it has 20mm more travel. hoping it's an easy job, well, not easy, maybe just doing in a few hours

was gonna try it w/ whatever tools I had laying around but watching videos it seemed like it would be smarter & easier to have all these tools:
  • headset fork crown race removal tool
  • fork crown race setting tool (alternative: there's a used one on craigslist for only $20)
  • bike fork star nut install tool
  • tube cutter (alternative: a cpl heavy duty plumbing cutters on craigslist for approx. $60)
if the local bike shops weren't so nutz with the new bike frenzy, I'd probably bring it to one of them if I got stuck. I also toyed w/ the idea of just replacing the bike, which I bought used for $200. I've already spent more than 1/2 that on the items above. maybe the bike isn't worth it, but it's my bike & finding another decent used one, my size, right now, that I can justify, is very limited (& then I'd have to sell this one). (I found 2, 1 for $600 & 1 for $900)

this is the bike (fork = SR Suntour XCT, 80mm travel)
GT Timberline 1.0 29er (frame size = L)

this is fork I ordered

SR Suntour XCT Mountian Bike Bicycle Cycling Fork 29er Coil Travel 100mm 9mm QR

anyone swap forks regularly? or any one-timers w/ memories or suggestions? did I already goof somehow?
A screwdriver works for removing the race but be careful with it. It’s easy to gouge the crown. A length of plastic or copper tubing works to set the race on the fork. The setter is just a slide hammer and PVC will hold up to the impact. 2” PVC should work but take the fork with you to be sure. Tubing cutters will cut the steer tube but they tend to raise a bead around the tube that flares out and make fitting parts of the headset difficult. You’ll need a file to dress the top. If you are going to buy tools, buy a threadless headset cutting guide and use a hacksaw. It’s far easier than the hose clamp method.
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Old 05-23-20, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530

Make sure you hacksaw is a very fine blade, it helps. WEAR A MASK,...
No need for a fine bladed hacksaw nor for a mask. If the steer tube was carbon, maybe. But Suntour hasn’t started putting carbon steer tubes on their shocks.
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Old 05-23-20, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
No need for a fine bladed hacksaw nor for a mask. If the steer tube was carbon, maybe. But Suntour hasn’t started putting carbon steer tubes on their shocks.

Sorry, I just assumed it was. My bad!
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Old 05-23-20, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
threadless headset cutting guide
the tube cutter seems easier & faster, even w/ a little filing afterwards. but that is sweet thanks!

Park Tool SG-6 Saw Guide for Threadless Bicycle Forks


Last edited by rumrunn6; 05-25-20 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 05-23-20, 02:22 PM
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I've done a lot of these jobs without the "proper" tools, and I agree with the others who say you don't need them. I've even cut steerer tubes without any guides at all. I left extra length and risked doing it lopsided. Then once the first cut was made, I could file it down to better precision.

I'd say the cutting guide is the least important. If you want to do the job quickly with less risk and mental stress, buy the other tools.

If I remember right, the hardest part without proper tools is setting the crown race, not just because it can go on lopsided but also because you can mar things up.
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Old 05-23-20, 03:18 PM
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wutz the likelihood it won’t need to be cut?
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Old 05-23-20, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
wutz the likelihood it won’t need to be cut?
How many spacers do you have?
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Old 05-23-20, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
How many spacers do you have?
4




plus a cpl from a road bike but their outside diameter is 1mm different



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Old 05-23-20, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
4


plus a cpl from a road bike but their outside diameter is 1mm different

How many more can you get your hands on? It was more of a rhetorical question, however. I run my steer tubes very long. Most people would say 40mm is the max but I often go to double that. A new, uncut fork may be far too long to remain uncut but you may get lucky if you have a larger frame.
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Old 05-24-20, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
How many more can you get your hands on? It was more of a rhetorical question, however. I run my steer tubes very long. Most people would say 40mm is the max but I often go to double that. A new, uncut fork may be far too long to remain uncut but you may get lucky if you have a larger frame.
haha yeah I was thinking it might have been. I'll be prepared to cut. so you run yours long but does that mean your stem is on top or do you like the extra tube above the bars? which I wouldn't expect. I'm planning on measuring the OEM tube & cutting the new one to match. it's a Large frame. I think the 20mm extra of travel will bring the bars up a smidge too, right?

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Old 05-24-20, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
haha yeah I was thinking it might have been. I'll be prepared to cut. so you run yours long but does that mean you're stem in on top or do you like the extra tube above the bars, which I wouldn't expect. I'm planning on measuring the OEM tube & cutting the new one to match. it's a Large frame. I think the 20mm extra of travel will bring the bars up a smidge too right?
I have some with a spacer above the stem. I cut the steerer long so that I could decide on the overall length later and just never got around to cutting off the excess. It is nice to have a little wiggle room.
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Old 05-24-20, 09:20 AM
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By the way, headset spacers don’t need to be boring black or silver. Have some fun with them. You can find all kinds of colors of headset spacers out there. Go nuts!

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr
Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr
Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

You can even use them to for team colors

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

or even ugly colors

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Or team colors
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Old 05-24-20, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
wutz the likelihood it won’t need to be cut?
Small frame, not very. Large frame, less not very.
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Old 05-24-20, 09:31 PM
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Crown race can usually be pried off, particularly on many suspension forks. Flushness of the top of the steerer tube really isn't that sensitive--any hacksaw with any kind of guide is fine, you can touch up with a file if it's a little off. I like using a pipe cutter if available. You can insert the bolt into the star nut and carefully tap it in while adjusting the alignment. Crown race can be installed with an appropriately sized pipe.

I would not spend any money on tools I didn't have to to install an entry level suntour fork. Also if you're spending money upgrading the suspension fork, I'd at least spring for something like a Rockshox Recon on the like. An XCT just isn't worth it in my opinion.
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Old 05-25-20, 04:56 AM
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Sounds like an air shock would provide some benefit riding over small roots going uphill at slow speed which I find annoyingly tricky. but wow twice the price. I got do used to what I have I figured I’d stick w it. Just too dam tired if the squeak in my videos. swapping seemed easier than “servicing”

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Old 05-25-20, 12:28 PM
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A better fork would just be, well, much better. An XCT in addition to not having the adjustable and progressive spring rate of an air fork, and being way heavier, has basically two springs and no real damper at all. It's basically a pogo stick relying on friction to keep from feeling completely uncontrolled. Service of the fork would basically be removing the lowers and smearing grease on everything. Seriously, a better fork would be worlds better, even a coil spring Recon would be worlds better.
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Old 05-25-20, 01:53 PM
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the choices are mind boggling. this will do for now. I plan to replace the bike within a year

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Old 05-26-20, 07:52 PM
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I think others have given you good alternatives to most of those tools.

For home use, I’m fine using a screwdriver to remove a crown race, PVC to set the crown race, and either free-handing with a hacksaw or using a tube cutter for the steer tube (though I did break down and buy the saw guide from Park).

The one that I would not want to go without again is the star nut setter. That really makes a big difference IMO. You can set the nut without it, but I find it a real PITA to get it perfectly straight.
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Old 05-31-21, 07:13 PM
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6-3-20 swapped the fork. It does not squeak! Yay!
listed as 9mm dropout, measures 10mm. But at least it was the same on both original & new forks



Was gonna do the job outside one day soon, but I don’t know I just started and told myself it would give me a head start for when I wanted to finish. Funny I just kept going & did the whole thing. If I did it outside I would have been up & down those stairs every time I wanted a nother tool, or part, or camera

Took a little less than 3 hrs including a test ride up & down my yard, a little hill & parking lot. Took a long time to get the front caliper mounted in the exact right spot to be able to center the disk. But once I did it was a cinch to loosen the QR apply brake, tighten QR. But there must be a technique to get the caliper situated. I think I tried everything

A cpl other things made the job duration longer. Juggling & dropping stuff added a few minutes. A big time killer was that I goofed the measure/cut of the stem. It was a hair too long. Tried my angle grinder but that wasn’t taking enough off. Marking the tube & setting it inside the vise clamp tool in the exact spot was awkward. But it works as advertised & remarkable that I was able to cut the extra 2mm off so evenly

this was not enough clearance for the cap so I had to cut another 1mm off the tube



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Old 05-31-21, 07:21 PM
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The races, top & bottom were in good shape, clean & lubed. Since the bottom was getting swapped I cleaned and lubed it with fresh grease. I only inspected the top race & bearings. Even tho the stem just above was rusted due to trapped moisture under the spacers

Boy that bottom race was on tight really glad I got the removal tool but surprise I had to keep tightening it as I tapped it off w a hammer. Then I realized that was because it was a tapered tube

I did see the notch for a screwdriver but usng one barely helped at all. Moving the race to the new fork was interesting & trying to figure out which adapter to use. In the end only one fit snugly so I figured that was the one. Didn’t use a hammer, just slid the big outer tube over the fork tube to bang the adapter down onto the race forcing it onto the widest part of the tapered tube

The taper is barely visible to the naked eye. & my eyesight is going. Had to keep switching between 2 sep. sets of cheater glasses. That plus the sweat from the humify made the whole experience rather annoying












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Old 05-31-21, 07:29 PM
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In between attempts I fitted everything back to together each time to test, with the juggling & dropping etc

I made the cut with the vise tool, so I decided to take a blade widths off the tube. After cutting the thin ring was 1mm, so add the blade with probably 1mm also. So I guess I removed an extra 2mm. But that did the trick & it tightened right up, just like it shud

The race remover & installer were both helpful. Turns out I t\have a tapered stem
The star nut installer was useful as well. I installed the star nut a little further down the stem than the original, but not by much & the cap screw is plenty long so that depth isn’t critical, I think

this is the original & shows the clearance the cap needs before the top tube




the star nut setter was indeed handy to have!

Each tool had its own set of conditions, variables, & matching technique
The under side of the stem cap is tapered with a flat ridge, that was interesting

Looking at the photos of before & aft I see a mistake. I routed the front brake cable around the outside of the fork instead of inside. Don’t think I will take everything apart to correct that. The easy thing would be to detach the caliper, but it was so hard & time consuming to get it where I wanted it, that unless there’s some compelling reason, or unless I get a quick adjustment instruction, it will stay as-is

WITH THE FORK SWAP COMES THE FENDER SWAP!

The fender doesn’t have too many attachment points so this was a small job compared to a new fender installation which always includes custom problem solving.

Getting the same brand/model fork also helps because some elements are similar like lower stanchion diameter & the top cross piece / arch / brace is the same distance from the tire


Test ride is the woods was real fun! No squeak! I can now go over rocks & roots silently! I forgot what that was like! I almost miss the squeak. No I don’t

Last edited by rumrunn6; 05-31-21 at 07:59 PM.
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