Modern mountain bikes are designed around a modular system that allows riders to have parts removed for cleaning, repair or replacement without having to buy an entire new bike. A mountain bike fork plays an important role in how well the bike performs. It also takes quite a bit of abuse from intense riders. Whether you need to take your fork into a local bike shop for regular maintenance, or you'd like to upgrade to a better model, knowing the proper way to remove a mountain bike fork will come in handy.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Bike stand
- Adjustable wrench
- Allen wrench set
- Flathead screwdriver
Place the bike in a bike stand. If you do not have access to a stand, you can still proceed. You may need a second person to help hold the bike steady at several points.
Remove the front wheel. For a quick release system, simply flip the quick release tab, loosen the threaded cap with your thumb and pull out the skewer. For a bolt-on wheel, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the bolt at each side and let the wheel slide out of the dropouts.
Unscrew and remove the brake caliper, using an Allen wrench, that is mounted to the fork. Cut the zip ties that hold the front brake line against the fork with a pair of scissors.
Remove the top cap of the headset with an Allen wrench and set it aside in a safe place. Loosen the two stem bolts with an Allen wrench until the steerer tube of the fork is able to slide out of the stem. Keep a hand on the fork, so that it doesn't fall to the ground.
Slide the fork out of the stem and the head tube. The fork should come off of the bike completely without any resistance. Hold the spacers and all headset parts that are between the head tube and stem so that they do not fall. Thread a string through the parts stack and tie it so that they stay in order, then set it in a safe place.
If you are not planning to remount the same fork, lay the fork down and remove the lower crown race of the headset. Use the flat headed screwdriver as a wedge between the race and fork and hammer on it carefully until the race comes loose and slides off.
Tips and warnings
- Do not remove the lower crown race if you are having the fork serviced. It will need to be there when you remount the fork.
- If you feel unqualified to perform any of the steps to remove your mountain bike fork, take the bike to a certified mechanic.
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