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Fork swap -- worth the hassle / risk to do it myself?

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Fork swap -- worth the hassle / risk to do it myself?

Old 11-23-22, 09:33 AM
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cormacf
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Fork swap -- worth the hassle / risk to do it myself?

Going full rando on my roadie -- dynamo lighting, front rack and Swift Industries bag, etc.

Swapping forks on from an old 15mm to a 12mm Roadeo Spork with internal dynamo routing. Part of me wants to do the whole thing myself as a project and to save some cash, but while I've swapped non-carbon forks with mechanical (caliper or disc) brakes in the past, I've never set up hydraulic brakes, and never messed with carbon steer tubes before.

I'm thinking maybe I should just have a shop swap the fork and set up the brakes, since it needs a tuneup anyway and I'd probably have to take it in to get the tube cut. Then I can set up the dynamo lighting myself because how much can I really mess that up?

Any thoughts from those of you who've done this a lot?
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Old 11-23-22, 09:53 AM
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Whether it's worth the hassle is a question only you can answer.

Do you enjoy tinkering and learning new things? Then the answer is "probably."

If you're more interested in getting the bike done so you can ride it, the answer is "no."
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Old 11-23-22, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cormacf View Post
I'm thinking maybe I should just have a shop swap the fork and set up the brakes, since it needs a tuneup anyway and I'd probably have to take it in to get the tube cut.
Swapping and cutting a carbon fork isn't a big deal, but it will require a a race remover and setter, a carbon-specific blade, and a cutting guide. Hydro brakes are similarly straightforward, but they require a brand-specific bleed kit and a hose cutter. So weigh out whether buying these tools or rolling their expense into the pro install would make more sense, especially if the bike's in the shop anyway. I would offer that the steerer-cutting tools probably won't be used often enough to warrant the investment, but a bleed kit might come in handy down the line.
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Old 11-23-22, 10:38 AM
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If you are needing a tune up and not wanting to do it yourself just have the shop do it. It isn't ridiculously hard but isn't something I want to bodge. If you are confident and want to do it and have the proper tools to do it as @Rolla listed go for it but I would probably rather just send it to the shop and get the bike back faster and go riding on it. It sounds like a sweet set up. Post pictures when finished (and don't forget drive side is the important side.)
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Old 11-23-22, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Swapping and cutting a carbon fork isn't a big deal, but it will require a a race remover and setter, a carbon-specific blade, and a cutting guide. Hydro brakes are similarly straightforward, but they require a brand-specific bleed kit and a hose cutter. So weigh out whether buying these tools or rolling their expense into the pro install would make more sense, especially if the bike's in the shop anyway. I would offer that the steerer-cutting tools probably won't be used often enough to warrant the investment, but a bleed kit might come in handy down the line.
Thanks! I do actually have a Shimano bleed kit--I've just never used it. Maybe I'll give that a shot and if I bork everything, I'll just have the shop do that when they cut the steerer. Thanks!
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Old 11-23-22, 12:18 PM
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Cutting a carbon fork is not a big deal. Just use a very fine hacksaw blade 32 TPI would work well. Then assemble the bike and measure where you want your fork length. Then use a sacrificial aluminum spacer as a guide and cut. Wear a tight-fitting N95 mask to be safe.
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Old 11-23-22, 01:38 PM
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If you're going to do more of it in the future then go for it, but you'll likely pay way more for the tools than a shop will charge you.
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Old 11-23-22, 01:43 PM
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I've done 95% of my own wrenching, for years now. But, for what the OP is looking at, I would personally be inclined to pawn that off on the pros.
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Old 11-23-22, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Swapping and cutting a carbon fork isn't a big deal, but it will require a a race remover and setter, a carbon-specific blade, and a cutting guide. Hydro brakes are similarly straightforward, but they require a brand-specific bleed kit and a hose cutter. So weigh out whether buying these tools or rolling their expense into the pro install would make more sense, especially if the bike's in the shop anyway. I would offer that the steerer-cutting tools probably won't be used often enough to warrant the investment, but a bleed kit might come in handy down the line.
I've installed several CF steer tube forks and just used a fine blade hack saw and cut it square by hand. I put a band of tape around the tube and draw a line around the tube that is square to the tube, and cut carefully, and dress the inner and outer edges lightly with appropriate files or sandpaper. Sometimes I finish any areas on the cut that are out of square with a flat file, but that is just a minor touch up sort of thing. So, the specialty blade and cutting guide are nice, probably "best practice" but not absolutely necessary.

For cutting a hydraulic tube, a nice sharp, stiff razor blade, cut carefully and square, avoiding excessive force that might crush the tube, will work fine if a person needs to cut it and doesn't have ready access to a cutter. Carefully, clean and square is not that hard to do, which is all the cutter does without having to be so diligent - i.e. it would be more fool proof.

The bleed kit is necessary as far as I can tell.

None of these tools are all that expensive, and I'm not recommending avoiding them. But I found myself not having ready access to them when I was doing these projects and have had perfect results.

As for the installation of hydraulic brakes - I'd never done it and just understood and followed the manufacturer's (Sram) instructions carefully and thoroughly. Two bikes, two years with no brake issues or need for re-bleeding.

I wouldn't discourage the OP from having a shop do all this, but the installing of the fork and hydraulic brakes - including bleeding - is just a new bike building/maintenance skill that isn't that hard to learn. But time and aggravation may make having a shop do it the best path.
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Old 11-28-22, 05:30 PM
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Update: LBS will swap forks, cut the tube, bleed the brakes, and give it a full tuneup including wheel true and bottom bracket for $200. No-brainer to say yes to that. Thanks!
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Old 11-28-22, 05:41 PM
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I'm not sure why the brakes are a problem; presumably, your old fork and new fork take the same sort of brake caliper, so just swap it over. If it's hydraulic, I don't think you'd need to bleed it again, assuming it's working properly. Or is there something I'm missing?
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Old 11-28-22, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I'm not sure why the brakes are a problem; presumably, your old fork and new fork take the same sort of brake caliper, so just swap it over. If it's hydraulic, I don't think you'd need to bleed it again, assuming it's working properly. Or is there something I'm missing?
Could be internally routed on one or the other which is a pain and while sometimes yes you can successfully do it without needing a re-bleed it is not bad to have it on the ticket just in case. Could also be old fluid and could use some changing it may not be mineral oil it could be DOT fluid.
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Old 11-28-22, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Could be internally routed on one or the other which is a pain and while sometimes yes you can successfully do it without needing a re-bleed it is not bad to have it on the ticket just in case. Could also be old fluid and could use some changing it may not be mineral oil it could be DOT fluid.
Ah, yes, internal routing. I hadnít thought of that.
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Old 12-04-22, 08:03 PM
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did a fork swap once. spent as much on tools as I spent on the low end entry level fork. it was an OEM straight replacement but I still had to learn as I went along

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...rk-swap-2.html
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Old 12-04-22, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
did a fork swap once. spent as much on tools as I spent on the low end entry level fork. it was an OEM straight replacement but I still had to learn as I went along

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...rk-swap-2.html
I've never installed a suspension fork. What sort of tools did you need to buy?
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Old 12-05-22, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
I've never installed a suspension fork. What sort of tools did you need to buy?
don't think these are suspension fork specific

- SR SUNTOUR XCT Mountian Bike Bicycle Cycling Fork 29er Coil Travel 100mm 9mm QR

- Bike Bicycle Fork Star Nut Setting Installer Install Tool with 2 Free Star Nuts - Size 1-1/8Ē

- Bike Bicycle Headset Fork Crown Race Removal Tool

- Park Tool SG-6 Threadless Saw Guide


I already owned a bike stand, hack saw, screwdrivers, nut drivers, Allen wrenches & hammers including rubber & wooden mallets. if you read that other thread you'll see how more experienced mechanics suggested alternates methods not requiring all these tools. but I used them & was glad to have them.

Last edited by rumrunn6; 12-05-22 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 12-05-22, 06:22 AM
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Star nuts and cf steerer tubes are not a good combo.

.
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Old 12-05-22, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
I've never installed a suspension fork. What sort of tools did you need to buy?
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
don't think these are suspension fork specific

- SR SUNTOUR XCT Mountian Bike Bicycle Cycling Fork 29er Coil Travel 100mm 9mm QR

- Bike Bicycle Fork Star Nut Setting Installer Install Tool with 2 Free Star Nuts - Size 1-1/8Ē

- Bike Bicycle Headset Fork Crown Race Removal Tool

- Park Tool SG-6 Threadless Saw Guide


I already owned a bike stand, hack saw, screwdrivers, nut drivers, Allen wrenches & hammers including rubber & wooden mallets. if you read that other thread you'll see how more experienced mechanics suggested alternates methods not requiring all these tools. but I used them & was glad to have them.
Sort of wrong-ish only because they are posts from alibaba (and one is misspelled) or similar site for some of it. I wouldn't recommend buying a coil fork unless it is a high end one most of the cheap stuff just is a downgrade or if you already have one a grade from one same thing to the other. Get a quality air fork from a known quantity.

For a metal steerer tube a star nut setting tool is very helpful to have but "bike bicycle" is not needed Park Tool makes a fine star nut setter but Unior or Pedro's makes quality stuff. If you have carbon fiber you do not use a star nut setter but a compression plug. Typically your star fangled nut comes with the headset again if you are buying a headset of quality from a known quantity.

A crown race removal tool is also handy if you are moving from one fork to another but you can also get a new crown race from your headset manufacturer generally. Again though "bike bicycle" is not a thing. Park, Unior, Pedros...all make fine quality tools for the job.

A saw guide is nice however you can also use a pipe cutter as well. I do prefer hand sawing with a guide myself and that was an actual part from an actual tool maker so no worries there.

Posting a guide is helpful but just posting titles from Alibaba or Jeff Bezos is silly especially if you actually read them.

Basically most forks are all the same basic install. Things change minutely depending on steerer tube material but really it is all the same. Measure twice cut once if you are cutting and consider especially for carbon leaving a 5mm spacer on top but maybe just on anything or if you are unsure don't cut it till you are. If you are planning on selling the bike, go ahead and sell it now and get the bike you want. Don't just buy a bike to sell buy a bike that you will ride and enjoy for a while and if down the road you end up selling it the other owner can get a new fork or cut it down to their length as needed that is not your concern.
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Old 12-06-22, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Sort of wrong-ish only because they are posts from alibaba (and one is misspelled) or similar site for some of it. I wouldn't recommend buying a coil fork unless it is a high end one most of the cheap stuff just is a downgrade or if you already have one a grade from one same thing to the other. Get a quality air fork from a known quantity.
Posting a guide is helpful but just posting titles from Alibaba or Jeff Bezos is silly especially if you actually read them.
just for some clarity
those are the tool titles directly from Amazon. just copied/pasted them
that's not a guide that's a listing of tools I bought
I provided a link to my fork swap thread that disscussed some of the details of the job
the coil fork was an OEM swap of what I already had. I thought it would make the job easier. I wouldn't mind a better fork of course
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Old 12-06-22, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
just for some clarity
those are the tool titles directly from Amazon. just copied/pasted them
that's not a guide that's a listing of tools I bought
I provided a link to my fork swap thread that disscussed some of the details of the job
the coil fork was an OEM swap of what I already had. I thought it would make the job easier. I wouldn't mind a better fork of course
Yeah I wouldn't have done that if I was linking to them maybe but because they are of unknown origin and their names are so weird it is just an odd post.

Get yourself a better fork. Easy peasy, your local shop may have them or can easily order whatever you need.
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Old 12-12-22, 03:48 PM
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Update: The LBS is actually only charging me $140 for the tuneup plus fork swap. BB swap (my parts), new chain (their parts, at additional cost--but within a couple bucks of online prices). Well, plus a new olive for the brake line. But damn. They just earned a ton of future business.
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Old 12-12-22, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cormacf View Post
Update: The LBS is actually only charging me $140 for the tuneup plus fork swap. BB swap (my parts), new chain (their parts, at additional cost--but within a couple bucks of online prices). Well, plus a new olive for the brake line. But damn. They just earned a ton of future business.
Good stuff. This is excellent news. Post pics when your done!
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Old 12-13-22, 11:23 PM
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I do all my wrenching myself. I actually chuckle when someone says theyíre ďdue for a tuneupĒ because so many of us never get a tuneup.

Weíll adjust something nearly every ride and regularly inspect and replace stuff.

Itís great because my bike pretty much always runs perfectly and if it doesnít, itís my fault.

Iíve done a small handful of hydraulic brakes. Had to buy a new kit for each one, and have always lost track of some of the kit by the time the next service comes along. Itís become the one thing I will bring the bike into the shop for. Itís not a fun part of bike fixing and frankly, Iím not that good at it.
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