How To Replace Mountain Bike Headset?

How To Replace Mountain Bike Headset? – [Complete Guide]

You went outside on a bright day and felt like going off-road, but your mountain bike didn’t seem comfortable!

There may be a problem with the handlebar or headset. Or you can ride your Mountain bike often and have noticed a problem that needs to be corrected, particularly with the headset.

According to my experience, the handlebar is where the unpleasant sound or harsh sensation originates due to incorrect maintenance, or the headset desperately needs a fast examination.

Are you worried about “how to replace a mountain bike headset?” I will guide you on how to remove, replace and reinstall a mountain bike headset so you can do this at home.

How To Replace The Mountain Bike Headset?

Mountain bike headsets are simple to install and take off since they are integrated.

MTB Headset Equipment:

A pair of Allen wrenches and an awl or tiny flat-headed screwdriver

A set of L-shaped screws with a hex head at either end and a length of 2 to 10 mm would work well.

Remove the MTB Fork’s Accessories:

  1. Fork removal is required to change a headset.
  2. Remove all attachments, including any installed remote speed locks, first.
  3. Using a 5mm Allen wrench, loosen and remove the disc brake caliper bolts.

Removing the 3 Main Bolts:

There are these three bolts you have you remove.

  • Compression bolt
  • Left stem bolt
  • Right stem bolt
  1. Loosen each stem bolt a bit at a time.
  2. Now, remove the right stem bolt. Screwing them out somewhat, but not fully, leaves them in place.
  3. Remove the rubber bung on the top cap.
  4. Next, remove the compression bolt.
  5. Remove the stem and handlebars from the steerer after removing the compression bolt and top cap.
  6. The handlebars may hang next to the bicycle since they are still attached to it through the brake and derailleur wires. Just watch that they don’t hit the frame.
  7. Steers made of carbon or alloys tend to cling to them differently; alloy steerers tend to slide more readily.

bolts and headset of mtb

Removing Dust Cap, Spacer, & Compression Ring

  1. Dust caps fit firmly around steerers, so you will need to twist first one way, then the other as you push the cap up to the top. Taking out the spacer and the compression ring shouldn’t be too difficult.
  2. Leave the sealed bearing in place for the time being while you slide the steerer out of the head tube.
  3. To prevent frame damage, keep the handlebars away from the down tube. Set the fork down on your work surface.
  4. It is safe to remove the sealed bearing at this point.

New MTB Headset:

To prevent dust from getting into the components before installation, new mountain bike headsets should be packaged in plastic. Unless you’re installing a new fork without the star nut, detach it from the compression bolt and store it.

Lay all components in the desired assembly sequence, starting with the crown race (number 7).

Crown Race and Bearing:

  1. Use a screwdriver to remove the old crown race from the steerer’s bottom.
  2. Light finger pressure is all needed to place the new crown race; you’ll encounter resistance when the ring enlarges around the steerer base.
  3. It often “clicks” into place, or you can see it tight against the fork crown.
  4. The inner bevelled edge of the lower sealed bearing is made to fit precisely into the similarly bevelled inner race of the crown race.
  5. The bearing may be slid downward.
  6. The inner race of the bearing rests on the bevelled edge of the race, leaving a tiny space between them.
  7. When the fork is reinstalled into the head tube, the bearing’s bevelled outer race slides into the lower flange.
  8. Additionally, the upper sealed bearing fits similarly into the top of the head tube.
  9. Apply grease within the bottom part to stop direct alloy-on-alloy contact, which might be the future cause of creaking.

Upper Assembly:

After greasing the head tube and the bevelled edge of the sealed bearing, install the bearing, reinstall the fork into the head tube, and move the compression ring as near as possible to the bearing.

Due to the steerer’s ability to move from side to side, the compression ring frequently fails to lock into place precisely. Place the dust cap on top after the spacer. Push the fork up while lowering the dust cover.

In most cases, everything will remain in place due to the dust cap’s grasp on the steerer. However, keep an eye on the fork to watch whether, once you release go, it gently slides back towards the floor.

Tightening the 3 Bolts:

  1. On the steerer, slide the stem into place.
  2. Then, fully tighten the lightly lubricated stem bolt with the top cap.
  3. Any play should be eliminated by a tension of no more than 2Nm.
  4. If the steering is stiff, you’ll be able to tell it’s too tight. In other words, the front wheel is off the ground, and the steering wheel is stuck in one position.
  5. The forks should easily turn left and right
  6. , and there shouldn’t be any play.
  7. It’s time to tighten the stem bolts when the tension is just right.
  8. The stem bolts must be tightened.
  9. The front wheel and handlebars are easily twisted out of line every time the stem bolts are loosened.

Align The Front Wheel And The Stem:

bike stem

  1. You may use a tool to ensure that the alignment is perfect. However, it just requires a keen eye to match the stem with the front wheel to within a millimeter or two.
  2. After a line of sight, softly touch or move the handlebars left or right.
  3. Using an Allen wrench, rapidly tighten the left or right stem bolt until it holds the alignment before tightening.
  4. After that, gradually tighten the nuts on each side until they are suitably secure.
  5. Tightening to the right torque is necessary to complete the work correctly.
  6. The left one is the most useful because of its precise calibration technique.
  7. Frequently, the stem is printed with the recommended torque setting for the stem bolts.
  8. If not, a safe setting is between 8 and 9 Nm.
  9. To get the proper torque, tighten each side a little at a time, one turn at a time.
  10. Continue to tighten the opposite side after the wrench “clicks,” signalling that torque has been achieved, and then double-check that each side has truly attained the proper tolerance.

When Should I Check The Headset On My Mountain Bike?

It’s time to inspect your headset to see if it’s grinding, gritted, muddy, or making creaking noises. It may be necessary to repair or clean the old bearings, forks, gaskets, etc. if they have been partly or permanently damaged. The major cause of the rusty sensation is often the bearings.

Therefore, it is wise to briefly examine the headset pieces after a few months. The health of your MTB or bicycle headset, which is often disregarded, will be certain then. The best option is to replace the headset with a new one if it is completely or 60% damaged.

How Do I Choose The Right Headset For My Mountain Bike?

So, it’s not exactly rocket science. Check your head tube first; what sort is it? Is it incorporated threadless or anything else?

headset of mtb

  • Check your head tube’s internal diameter.
  • Examine the fork’s diameter; particularly it’s top and bottom diameters.
  • Now, list all of your dimensions and choose a headset based on each one’s specific data.

Your new headset or individual components will be available on the market. Additionally, you may replace your outdated headset with a new one compatible with your headset type and measurement numbers.

How Can You Ensure Proper Mountain Bike Headset Installation?

Just do a few simple inspections once the steering and front wheel are aligned and before you ride: To ensure that there are no unintended movements on the headset, keep the front wheel slammed firmly on the ground.

Check to see if any horrible noises are being created. If there isn’t any unpleasant noise, the installation and assembly were done well. Finally, your Mountain bike is ready to ride if there are no rattles or play.



If you are reading this, you know about the MTB Headset, its components, how to install and assemble a new headset, and so on.

Now, you can quickly access your headset anytime you need it. To maintain your mountain bike’s health, it is always a good idea to service it every six months. Remember that although the setup of any headset may vary, the fundamentals are always the same.

Related Articles:-

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *