How to Install a Shimano Headset

Written by matthew ferguson
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A bicycle headset is an assembly of bearings and spacers that allows the steering column to attach to frame of the bicycle. Shimano headsets are threaded, and are compatible only with threaded steering columns and threaded handlebar stems. It's important that all eight pieces of the Shimano headset are installed in the proper order. One piece interlocks with another, creating a tight bond that ensures safe and effective operation of the steering column.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Press fitting tool
  • Hammer
  • Headcup press
  • Two 32mm cone wrenches

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the Shimano headset on the ground or workbench in the order it's placed in its box. From top to bottom the headset includes the following pieces: locknut, lock washer, upper cone housing, upper cartridge bearing, upper bearing cup, lower bearing cup, lower bearing cartridge, and lower head cone housing.

  2. 2

    Place the lower head cone housing, bevelled edge face up, over the bicycle fork steering column.

  3. 3

    Place the press fitting tool over the fork steering column so that its base contacts the lower head cone housing. Hammer the tip of the press fitting tool once, forcing the lower head cone housing onto the base of the fork steering column.

  4. 4

    Fit the narrow end of one of the bearing cups into the top of the bicycle frame head tube. The head tube is the part of the bicycle frame through which the fork steering column passes.

  5. 5

    Pass the headcup press through the top of the bicycle head tube until it is resting against the bearing cup.

  6. 6

    Fit the narrow end of the second bearing cup into the bottom end of the bicycle frame head tube. Hold the bearing cup in place for now.

  7. 7

    Slide the headcup press plate onto the end of the headcup press until the plate is flush against the lower bearing cup. The press plate will now hold the bearing cup in place.

  8. 8

    Rotate the head cup press handle clockwise to press both bearings cups into the bicycle frame head tube. Remove the headcup press and set it aside.

  9. 9

    Place the lower bearing cartridge over the fork steering column, bevelled edge face up.

  10. 10

    Pass the fork steering column through the bottom of the bicycle frame head tube. Hold the fork steering column in place for now.

  11. 11

    Place the upper bearing cartridge into the upper bearing cup, bevelled edge face down.

  12. 12

    Thread the upper head cone housing onto the tip of the fork steering column, and finger tighten until the head cone housing is flush against the upper bearing cartridge. The upper head cone housing will now hold the fork steering column in place.

  13. 13

    Place the lock washer over the tip of the fork steering column.

  14. 14

    Thread the locknut onto the tip of the fork steering column, and finger tighten until the locknut is flush against the lock washer.

  15. 15

    Attach a 32mm cone wrench to the upper head cone housing. Attach a second 32mm cone wrench to locknut, just above the upper head cone housing.

  16. 16

    Turn the upper 32mm cone wrench counterclockwise against the other 32mm cone wrench to tighten the locknut.

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