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How to make a bike headset press & install a headset

Step 1: Assemble the headset press

Picture of Assemble the headset press
The keys to a headset press are:
- you need to be able to apply a LOT of force to the headset cups
- you need to apply the force STRAIGHT in line with the head tube, so the cups don't end up crooked or bent, or bend the head tube.
- you need to protect the frame and headset from any metal tools you use, which can scratch or dent them.

The basic strategy is:
- put a threaded rod through the center of the headtube and use a nut on each end to apply force in a controlled way
- space out the threaded rod and headset cups with plastic tubing so that they are centered in the headtube, and can't get off-angle

Ideally you will want a variety of sizes of rigid plastic tubing (such as PVC plumbing pipe) which you can use to to fit the various diameters of the head tube, the headset cups, and the tightening bolt.
 
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Prometheus7 years ago
actually I'd recommend against pvc as it can explode under sufficient force. Use washers to keep thje load secure. The press force is not extreme, only about 500 lbs at worst...
You might be confusing PVC bursting when used as a high pressure air line. In this case, the force increase is gradual. I think it would crack first. I have used PVC to hammer out old headset cups with success.
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