Install a Headset in a Bike

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Introduction: Install a Headset in a Bike

Ever need to install a new headset in a bike? Well it couldn't be easier, it only takes 15 minutes and some basic tools.

Step 1: Tools

To do this you need an adjustable wrench, hammer. screwdriver, another wrench.

Supplies: To press in the headset cups, you some washers and a big bolt.

Step 2: Install the Race

You need to install the race first.

Wedge the shim if you need to, if not just put a small bead of grease on the fork and slide the race as far down as you can. Now you need to beat the race down to sit flush with the fork.

I use a large adjustable wrench and tap the race down using a hammer on the wrench. Keep turning the wrench so you tap it down straight.

Step 3: Remove the Old.

I had to remove the old headset. I did this by tapping out the cups using a LARGE screwdriver and a hammer. You don't want to hit it on a funny angle. If you don't have the screwdriver on straight it will gouge the cups. So tap them out carefully.

Don't hit the screwdriver up towards your face. If the screwdriver goes awry you may hurt yourself.

Step 4: Grease the Cups

Grease the cups and line them up in the head tube.

I refused to buy the Park Tools $170 headset press. Don't get me wrong, it is very nice and I have used it quite a bit. But for $5 at McGuckins Hardware I made one. Just buy some long bolts, nut and a few washers. Get 8 washers, this will allow you a lot of flexibility when it comes to tightening down the cups.

Step 5:

Tighten the bolt down and watch the cups go in! Well the only thing to watch is that you don't over tighten and crumple the head tube.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself - yo!

Grease the bearings and tighten everything up.



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    Great Idea! I will do this on next weekend! Thanks a lot

    this was awesome, thanks for the help. i managed to install my headset over the weekend, and now i'm stoked to put the rest of my bike together.


    that totally beats the old way that we used to put new cups in our old schwinn cruisers; with a hammer, just bash them till they are in... However i just put an internal headset in my brand new aluminum-framed bike, borrowing/renting the real deal can be worth the extra bucks. I really do not feel like replacing a brand new frame.

    A 'real' headset press is way overpriced. But it comes with guides that guarantee the cups will go in straight. I just use a big bolt for the press, but I only do 1 cup at a time. It takes longer, but that way I only have to make sure 1 is going in straight. Like you said - remember to grease those cups before putting them in!

    what do you meen by headset? i thought you ment headset as in mp3 player or something... although that would be a good instructable

    Awesome instructable! I don't want to pay to do something I should do myself - and this makes it affordable.

    Using a lubricant on the fork is actually somewhat acceptable if the stem to be used is wedge-style. Because the wedge works inside the fork tube, the added lubricant won't effect the stems ability to remain tight. If you are going to use a "clamp-style" (I forget the proper name) stem, meaning a stem that is tightened down around the outside of the fork tube, then absolutely follow prometheus' advice, DONT lube the tube!

    Thanks for taking the time to make this. I was really frustrated when I first started to work on my own bikes at the lack of practical info for the repair of common bicycles. You should do another one for the bottom bracket. I don't think enough people realize how easy it is to work on most bikes.

    Park Tools makes a really nice tool for this job, about $30 USD I think. I personally use a set of handlebars, grips removed, as a sort of slide hammer.