Step 1: Parts and tools

I paid a visit to my local bike shop (here in the ghetto) to see what it would take to make my old bike's fork better. The bike shop guy said that I had an older 1-inch (25.4mm) threadless headset (as opposed to a threaded headset), which would make replacement very difficult since new MTB headsets are all 1 and 1/8 inch (28.6mm). I did some research and found a manufacturer that still makes MTB forks that fit a 1-inch threadless headset: RST.

I know that RST makes forks that many MTB riders consider as "entry-level" (being generous), but let's face it - my bike is 15 years old, and the technology in a new RST fork, compared to what I have, is like voodoo. Besides, RST has been around for so long and sold so much product, that they have probably managed to get a good product or two out the door by now.

The deal with the RST forks is that they can be purchased without a steerer tube, and you just order the steerer tube that fits your bike. To find out where to purchase these forks and their steerer tubes, just Google on "RST no steerer" and choose from those retailers. There are usually three RST products you will find with no steerer: The Capa, the Neon, and the Gila. The Capa is advertised as a Sport/Kids product, the Neon is advertised as more of a city/trekking (dirt road) fork, and the Gila is advertised as more Sport Cross Country Trail fork. I decided to get the Gila (although the Neon may have been a better choice, for reasons I will get into later).

I am keeping the cantilever brakes, since upgrading them will require changing the brake levers, which will require getting new shifters (since the brake and shifter levers are integrated), and so on until half the bike is replaced. My goal in this project is to keep as much original equipment as possible to keep costs down - this is the ghetto.

The parts you will need to get will depend on your headset size. You should remove the top cap from the stem and measure the diameter - ordering everything and then finding out it's the wrong size will ruin your day and take two weeks of re-ordering and delivering to correct.

You will first need to order the fork, steerer tube, and starfangled nut for the steerer.  If there's a choice, get the longer steerer tube (265 mm) to give you some freedom for adjustment. As for the star nut, you can get the nut by itself, or get a 'headset kit' that consists of the star nut, bolt, and stem top cap (these are usually listed in the "headset parts" area of the website, even though we're replacing the fork, not a headset). I got a headset kit and a spare star nut just in case I had a problem installing the star nut, but I didn't end up needing it.

So, start by getting these parts:

RST Gila T9 26" Fork, No Steerer
RST Steerer 265mm 1" 25.4mm (or 1-1/8 in 28.6mm) threadless
Star-nut, Bolt and Nylon Cap (Headset Kit) for 1" (or 1-1/8" ) steel steerer tube

In addition to the fork parts, you will need these:

Tektro Front Brake Cable Housing Stop
Replacement brake and derailleur cables
a metric M6-1.00 bolt, the longest length available at the store
a metric M6-1.00 35mm hex-head bolt (or M6-100 20mm allen-key screw if you use a Neon fork instead of a Gila)

If you are going to experiment with ride position and different handlebar styles, you should also get:

Two or three Headset Spacer Kits to fit your steerer tube
A long, adjustable-angle 1-1/8-inch threadless stem with a 1-inch handlebar clamp
RST 1-inch to 1-1/8-inch steerer shim to fit the new stem to your steerer tube (if needed)
Handlebars with a 1-inch center to fit the stem
New grips (probably need those anyway)


Tools needed:

metric allen key set
metric wrenches
jeweler's screwdriver, flat-bladed
scrap of 2x4
15/64 drill bit
hacksaw (or jigsaw with metal-cutting blade)
half-round metal file
masking tape
<p>It's really easy to get the star nut crooked this was. So, here's a tip to make sure the star nut stays straight in the steer tube.</p><p>After the star nut clears the top of the steer tube by about 1/4 inch, take a deep well socket that fits closely inside the steer tube. You want it as close to the same size as possible without it actually rubbing. Set it on top of the star nut and use a rubber or wooden mallet or hammer with a piece of wood so you don't damage the socket and hammer the socket until it pushes the starnut to the proper depth. The socket will evenly push the starnut down the tube and it's almost impossible to end up with it crooked.</p>
<p>it is quite funny, since i had the exact same &quot;problem&quot; like you: guy at the bike store said, that my bike is quite old and still uses 1 inch and in combination with my old disc break caliper there was only one fork he could order - an rst fork<br><br>just now i assembled the new fork and was just about to insert the new tube in the frame, when i noticed, the thread of the new steerer tube is too small<br>the old tube has printed 25,4 mm on it, the nut has printed 25,4 mm on it - but if you use calipers to measure them, you'll find out that it is not true - they have an inner diameter of exaclty 1 inch / 25,4 mm but the outer diameter is in fact 1,125 inch <br><br>so i can repeat your advice: do your measurement first and don't trust what is written on your bike, do your measurements :D</p>
No wonder I couldn't find any spacers! <br>For real though, great project, I 95.5% perfer on hand McGyverism to &quot;buy it new&quot;. Disk brakes are fab, but pad repacement makes my wallet cry, so I went (back to) Old School. Nice 'ible :)
ANSWER bars? <br>I thought this was the ghetto?
Yo, I can pimp my ride if I want! Stop oppressing me! ;)
I love cantilever &quot;center-pull&quot; brakes like in the picture, simple and they work. I absolutely hate V-brakes. They never work correctly and one side always rubs against the rim.
Hello, <br>I have been trying to find a goose neck like that, to mount on my seat post. What brand is it? are they outrageously expensive (most mountain bike parts are for me)? Any and all help will be appreciated.<br>Thanks,<br>Jesse
This particular unit is a &quot;Zoom&quot; stem, and I think it's like 90 or 110mm long. I got all of my stufff online, and I think that you can get it from walmart.com if you want to. Really, you should go to Amazon.com or bikeman.com and just search for &quot;adjustable stem threadless&quot; and you will find tons of these, usually around $25 to $30 (or more, of course, but that's about what I paid). <br> <br>Be sure to measure your seat post - most stems are made for 1 1/8 inch fork steerer tubes and 1 inch handlebars. You can get a 1 inch to 1 1/8 inch spacer for the stem if your seat tube is smaller.
Interesting, I've never seen a fork with a split steerer clamp.<br />
I hadn't seen one either, and that's the main thing I wanted to share with the readers - that, and the Tektro cable stop so that the cantilever brakes could still be used.<br />
Yeah, you can get quite a lot of converters and things for bikes nowadays, like things that can make a bike without a disc mount have disc brakes, and something that you can use to split two cables into one so you can run both brakes off one lever!<br />
One new thing I&nbsp;found that relates to this fork project is a through-bolt that is used to instead of the star nut to hold the&nbsp; stem top cap.&nbsp; However, it costs about 10 times as much as a star nut, even with the long driver-bolt that I&nbsp;recommend using to install it.<br />
Another thing you can get doesn't require a star bolt is this http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/?fn=product&amp;productId=547&amp;categoryId=66 when you tighten it, it expands and it can be removed when changing the fork...you just have to remove the old star bolt first, and they don't like being removed! i know that from experience lol.<br />

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