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Headset Press Recommendation?

Old 05-04-19, 03:55 PM
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smontanaro 
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Headset Press Recommendation?

The last two headsets I've attempted to install with the homemade threaded rod/washer tool haven't gone well. On the previous (early Chris King headset for my Redcay), I gave up rather quickly and just took it to my LBS. My latest endeavor (Campy Super Record headset on my Griffon) leaves me with a partially completed job, lower cup installed fine, but I can't keep the upper race aligned with the head tube to press it in. It keeps wanting to go all cattywampus on me. I think it's time for a proper tool.

I see a couple headset presses in the $40-$60 range from Chain Reaction and Jenson USA. Though named differently (X-Tools vs. Foundation), they look identical to me. There are a couple which don't look any better than my homemade tool (including the Park HHP-3 - what's up with that?), so I'll avoid them. I see a Cyclus press for about $50 which looks promising, but might be expensive to ship from Europe (haven't seen any stateside vendors for it). Then you get into the better Park and Wheels Mfg tools which quickly jump you into the $125-$150 range.

I'm not a tool geek and don't install headsets all that often, but it seems like it's time to buy one. What have people used and liked, or used and found lacking?
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Old 05-04-19, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
The last two headsets I've attempted to install with the homemade threaded rod/washer tool haven't gone well. On the previous (early Chris King headset for my Redcay), I gave up rather quickly and just took it to my LBS. My latest endeavor (Campy Super Record headset on my Griffon) leaves me with a partially completed job, lower cup installed fine, but I can't keep the upper race aligned with the head tube to press it in. It keeps wanting to go all cattywampus on me. I think it's time for a proper tool.

I see a couple headset presses in the $40-$60 range from Chain Reaction and Jenson USA. Though named differently (X-Tools vs. Foundation), they look identical to me. There are a couple which don't look any better than my homemade tool (including the Park HHP-3 - what's up with that?), so I'll avoid them. I see a Cyclus press for about $50 which looks promising, but might be expensive to ship from Europe (haven't seen any stateside vendors for it). Then you get into the better Park and Wheels Mfg tools which quickly jump you into the $125-$150 range.

I'm not a tool geek and don't install headsets all that often, but it seems like it's time to buy one. What have people used and liked, or used and found lacking?
I have one that came from Nashbar that I suspect is like the X-tool. I have very good luck with it. I am usually inclined to chamfer the cup and head tube slightly, some times just with a sanding sponge or paper, then axle grease. Works pretty good for me.
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Old 05-04-19, 04:12 PM
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I'm the world's worst mechanic, but I just use a 2 by 4 and a hammer for installation, and have never had a problem. Find a flat piece of soft wood, use it to hold the cup / upper bearing race into place, and then bang the board with a hammer. I can't guarantee this method will work for every single headset, but I've done it at least a dozen times without the headset getting bent in any way.

If it's a super tight fit, that could be a problem. Some headsets and crown races can be quite tight. But your can file / sand some metal down to fix that, as long as you don't get too carried away. Proceed at your own risk, but maybe save a few bucks.
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Old 05-04-19, 04:18 PM
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I use a Bikehand headset press have had it a few years and it works well, I don’t use it often seems the cost was 60 or 70 dollars
I looked at the foundation tool at Jenson it looks like the bikehand press I’m using.
On a side note I couldn’t find a Bike Nashbar press on their website other than name brand ones park ect.

allen

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Old 05-04-19, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
The last two headsets I've attempted to install with the homemade threaded rod/washer tool haven't gone well. On the previous (early Chris King headset for my Redcay), I gave up rather quickly and just took it to my LBS. My latest endeavor (Campy Super Record headset on my Griffon) leaves me with a partially completed job, lower cup installed fine, but I can't keep the upper race aligned with the head tube to press it in. It keeps wanting to go all cattywampus on me. I think it's time for a proper tool.

I see a couple headset presses in the $40-$60 range from Chain Reaction and Jenson USA. Though named differently (X-Tools vs. Foundation), they look identical to me. There are a couple which don't look any better than my homemade tool (including the Park HHP-3 - what's up with that?), so I'll avoid them. I see a Cyclus press for about $50 which looks promising, but might be expensive to ship from Europe (haven't seen any stateside vendors for it). Then you get into the better Park and Wheels Mfg tools which quickly jump you into the $125-$150 range.

I'm not a tool geek and don't install headsets all that often, but it seems like it's time to buy one. What have people used and liked, or used and found lacking?
I've had good luck with the Nashbar press but I always chamfer the head tube ends, make sure that the spigot ends of the cups have a chamfer or radius, and I do my best to make/help the spigot feed squarely, initially.
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Old 05-04-19, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jmclay View Post
I've had good luck with the Nashbar press but I always chamfer the head tube ends, make sure that the spigot ends of the cups have a chamfer or radius, and I do my best to make/help the spigot feed squarely, initially.
A third vote for the Nashbar press. I got it on sale, and am always glad I finally sprung for the proper tool. Quick and effective. I don't currently see that they sell it though.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:31 PM
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The Nashbar and Forte Performance house brand parts and tools seem to have gone away with the takeover for the most part, still a few Spin Doctor tools offered.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:38 PM
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I bought a set of these Park Tool bushings to use with my homemade tool and they help. I seem to remember paying less than this, but it was 6-7 years ago. Right now my threaded rod is much smaller diameter than the openings in the bushings, so I have to pay close attention to make sure the rod is aligned along the head tube and even so it takes 2 or 3 tries before I’m satisfied. I’m thinking if I get a fatter threaded rod it would make the process easier.

https://planetcyclery.com/catalog/pr...RoCvpcQAvD_BwE
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Old 05-04-19, 07:43 PM
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I have had good luck with the unit I got from Bike Nashbar not sure if they still sell one under their own brand anymore
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Old 05-04-19, 07:46 PM
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I asked Amain if they were going to step in and fill Nashbar/Performance's shoes by offering their exclusive high value house brand stuff, since that's what their old customer base really expects, and received silence. I don't know why Amain thought it was a good idea to buy what amounts to a mailing list of discount shoppers for a million dollars to sell their catalog of stuff you can get anywhere else for similar prices. Good for LBS though. If you can't get the headset cup straight, for a DIY threaded rod press, sometimes starting it off with a mallet helps.
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Old 05-05-19, 02:40 AM
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I bought the X-tools from Chain Reaction Cycles. Haven’t used it yet, but I can get additional pictures of it for you. Feels solid.
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Old 05-05-19, 03:31 AM
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@Lemond1985 I am totally with you. A hammer and a piece of wood. I suppose you could get fancy and use two pieces of wood and drill a hole in each then skewer a piece of all-thread through both, with the head tube between and nut each end but a hammer would be way faster.
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Old 05-05-19, 04:42 AM
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I used the hammer and wood method until I effed up an alloy Stronglight A9. I then bought the Park tool and have been happily and successfully installing headsets ever since.
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Old 05-05-19, 05:33 AM
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I have the Cyclus tool which I bought state side about 10 years ago. It is good quality. I ruined the bearings on my Acros 1-1/8” hidden headset on my Flyte due to a stupid installation error. A bushing that fits in the internal diameter is less important than making sure it is fully supported on the outside of the cup as you press the cup in. I mangled a very sophisticated Acros bearing and had to start all over again. Another nugget of advice: only press in one cup at a time. You are greatly increasing the chance for something to go “cattywhompus” if you roll the dice on pushing both cups in simultaneously.
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Old 05-05-19, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Yes, one cup at a time is what I did. The lower (alloy) cup went in just fine. Couldn't get the upper (steel) race to go in straight. As I said, this is two misses in the last two tries. I think that means it's time for the proper tool. I don't mind taking things to my LBS when needed, but I also like doing things myself (even if I sometimes mess up).

In the end I bought the Cyclus tool from Slane Cycles, a new-to-me UK vendor. The price of the product was good, as was the shipping.
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Old 05-05-19, 06:44 AM
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Bikehand YC-107, copy of the Parks tools, works great. Used it several times on acvariety of aluminum and steel headsets.
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Old 05-05-19, 07:35 AM
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The Park Tool pro model is an awesome tool. Like you, I used the threaded rod technique for years, finally upgraded to the real deal.


Now I see Jensen USA has a nice Foundation headset press for $59, very similar and $100 less than the good Park unit. I'd be tempted!

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Old 05-05-19, 07:44 AM
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I have a 12 ton hydraulic press that I bought for working on vehicles that I use.

A light touch on the handle and cups pop right in. I've only done maybe 8 or so headsets though.
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Old 05-05-19, 09:44 AM
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Threaded rods work fine but a proper press facilitates the process and look nicer on the peg board over the workbench. FWIW, I've been using my Park press for almost 4 decades,
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Old 05-23-19, 10:16 AM
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Efficient Velo! It's not "cheap" but it worth it. However you could make a copy with a fairly competent machinist but probably not for the price.
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Old 05-23-19, 11:39 AM
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+1 on the Cyclus headset press. Not as expensive to ship as I was expecting. Works well, I press one cup at a time. It is slower to use than the Park tool because you have to thread it on and off for each cup, but I don't press in cups often enough for that to matter.
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Old 02-18-20, 08:57 AM
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I just installed a sealed headset that didn't take to the hammer and wood method. I thought i may have to invest in a press after all but ended up using shop vice i have. It took a few tries and a jaw modification to get it to open wide enough but it worked in the end.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:00 AM
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I have the x tools one and it works just fine. I lubricate the headset cup friction fit parts first.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
The Park Tool pro model is an awesome tool. Like you, I used the threaded rod technique for years, finally upgraded to the real deal.


Now I see Jensen USA has a nice Foundation headset press for $59, very similar and $100 less than the good Park unit. I'd be tempted!
I have one I bought a couple years ago that looks just like the Jenson one. It was about $50. Juat like the others in this thread who have one of these, or similar, cheap presses, I have good luck with it. For a $50 tool, it's substantial and well made.
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Old 02-18-20, 10:14 AM
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Washers. Large washers with small holes, pressed upon by a smaller washer (both top and bottom). Nuts on the outside.

Yes, there is a little bit of technique involved, but it's not difficult. All my parts cost me about $5.00.
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