Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hey all,

My lovely gf got me a new fork for xmas (Reba SL! yess) and i am going to install it. I'm very mechanically inclined and have a ton of tools, but i'm new to bikes.

1) star fangled nut. how hard is it to press in w/o a special tool? can i uses a nicely sized socket on an extention to drive it downward? that might keep it straight.. is there a specific depth it should be? i planned to use the same as it is in my old fork. is it ok to reuse the old star fangled nut? is this nut's sole purpose in life to hold that cap on? ive heard confusing things about it putting pressure on bearings, but how can a piece of rubber possible apply any force outside of the steerer tube?

2) cut steerer tube. Does the hacksaw+metal hose clamp to keep straight method work well? If not i'll probably just bring it down the street to a shop to have them cut it.

3) w/ my current fork set up, i have 3 spacers above the headset, the stem, and then the cap. would it be a good idea to put an additional spacer on top of the stem to give me a little more steerer tube length just incase? i mean..how much do head tube lengths vary? if i got a new bike is it likely i'll wish the tube was longer? just no way to tell?

4) lube, is there any particular sort of grease/lube i should put on steerer tube?

thanks!
 

·
Old man on a bike
Joined
·
12,383 Posts
First, you are a lucky guy to have such a nice gf! Second, you can find a lot of what you're looking for by searching the forums, but here's my take:

1/ There have been posts regarding how to install a starnut without the setting tool designed for it; using an appropriate size socket sounds right as long as you're careful not to set it too deep (the starnut setting tool automatically sets it to correct depth of 15mm). I use the starnut setting tool and it's not always easy even with that to easily drive it in straight. Why reuse a star nut when they're a buck or two? I just leave old ones in the old fork, it's more useful left alone to my mind and driving them out is a pain. The starnut is to allow you to tighten the top cap bolt to tighten up the headset stack and set the preload on the headset bearings, useless after you tighten the stem to the steerer tube.

2/ I use a saw guide, but I've seen many posts where people use the hose clamp method, and others. Some folk love pipe cutters for this, I prefer a hacksaw with guide.

3/ Headtube lengths vary a bit, but usually within the same general range for the size bike you ride...go look up some headtube lengths on a variety of bikes in your size range if you want to get a better idea. Spacers come in different heights but I usually allow for use of about 20-30mm of spacers so I can play with stem height a bit and usually don't go back to cut again (remember, you can always cut more off, but you can't go back once you cut).

4/ A bit of regular old bike grease for metal to metal contact points is always a good idea.
 

·
Old man on a bike
Joined
·
12,383 Posts
Oh and don't forget about the fork crown race, unless you're just going to buy one or have an extra around...taking it off the old fork is probably easiest, using a screwdriver or similar with a hammer works well if you tap off evenly (going around the circumference of the race) and carefully. Installing it you can homebrew it, altho the tool I bought is really just a heavy piece of pipe in the right diameter used as a slide hammer; some use a piece of wood with a hole drilled in it as a softer surface. In either case be careful with the race bearing surface and be sure to drive it on evenly and flush.
 

·
Give dirt to me... Repent
Joined
·
127 Posts
Grind off the sharp edge on the inside radius of a piece of PVC pipe for a cheap fork race installer. You can also just get the fork cold and the race hot (last one I did I left the fork in the unheated garage overnight, used a hairdryer on the race)--the race will drop right onto the steertube.

Improvising a star nut tool is a lot harder, and in my opinion not worth the effort. Nashbar sells a GREAT star nut installer, the best one I've seen, for $7. It has a sleeve that guides the punch into the steerer, making it dead simple to get the nut in perfectly straight and at the right depth.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=10531

I like a pipe cutter for trimming the steerer tube, but used a hacksaw and clamp a long time ago with some success (got in a hurry, drifted a little, and had to file it down a bit afterward; thus the switch to pipe cutter method).

I like leaving a 5mm spacer on top of the stem. This gives you a little margin if you get a new stem or frame. Even better, though, doing this ensures that your stem's clamping area is entirely engaged on the steerer; it probably doesn't really matter, but it's cheap peace of mind.

Oh, and with the money you save on installation, buy your girlfriend an engagement ring. She sounds like a keeper.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Go for the ring. She'll dig it and you'll be stuck for the rest of your life. No more sex for you.
 

·
Your bike is incorrigible
Joined
·
3,179 Posts
some more tips

I've put star fangled nuts in just by screwing the bolt in a little, holding the nut on the steerer tube and whacking the bolt with a mallet. Works every time. Sometimes it gets a little cock-eyed, but you can just whack the bolt to straighten it up. If you're going to do it once every year or two, I don't see the need for a tool.

Races are SOBs to get on a new fork. You can't whack them with a hammer because they will dent. The PVC works fine, if you have some laying around. If not, just get your lbs to do it for $5. Then you know it's done right.

If you are currently using 3 spacers, stick with that. If you want to be extra careful (or want to experiment with height), then add a spacer on top. It's not going look ugly or get in the way.

Ok, with both of my forks I've used a tiny hacksaw (the kind they sell for $8 at HD), and it makes a mess. It's really difficult to get a clean cut (one that isn't sort of at a diagonal). Also, the last fork I cut was a Pike. If the Reba's steerer tube is similar (and I think it is) it will be extra-freaking tough. The first fork I cut took about 2 minutes; the Pike took 30. The cut was all jagged, so I spent another 30 minutes filing it. After that I noticed it was about half a milimeter to long... To put it succinctly, I would definitely go with the pipe cutter.

There is one tricky part that always scares me a little, and that is cutting the steerer to the correct length. Headsets settle after a few rides. The cups find their way just a little further into the headtube, and the race eases down on the crown. After a few rides you will need to tighten everything up. If you haven't left enough room (cut the steerer tube so that there is 1-2 mm of space between the top of the steerer tube and the top of the stem) then you will have to go back and try to either recut or file away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
interrrrresting. thanks for the tips all.

since i could almost walk to the shop i think i'll have them cut the tube. and since i have to buy a new star nut i might as well have them install that too. unless they want to charge some rediculous labor that is.
 

·
Vaginatarian
Joined
·
5,685 Posts
if your going to have them cut the tube and install the nut you might as well have them do it all, its only about 10 more mins. of labor and they can use your old fork for measuring.They can give you an expert opinion on your headset while they have it apart.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
but then it wouldnt be DIY and id feel horrible about myself :p

so that settles it, ill do it all myself

:cool:
 

·
Vaginatarian
Joined
·
5,685 Posts
HuffyMan said:
but then it wouldnt be DIY and id feel horrible about myself :p

so that settles it, ill do it all myself

:cool:
you should, its a piece of cake
remove the cap & stem
pull the old fork out (might need a smack on top , use a piece of wood so you don't hit the fork tube directly)
measure old fork tube length
mark new fork tube
re measure old fork tube twice
cut new fork tube (I use a pipe cutter)
remove headset bearings, clean bearings and races.
check races for pitting check bearings too make sure they roll easy and no rough spots
re grease bearings
install new star nut, I use a wooden dowell (insert dowell into old fork tube and mark the top, install new nut to same depth (just lightly tap untill its right)
install new fork
don't tighten stem untill you don't have any play in fork
tighten stem
ride it a little bit
check for play in fork tube
the hardest thing about the whole procedure is adjusting the tightness you don't want any play (hold the front brake on and rock the fork if theres play you will feel it)
and not too tight either ( if you lift the front end the wheel should fall to either side freely)

have fun
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top