Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY Crown Race Setter from PVC Pipe

You need the right tool for the job, but sometimes the right tool is just too expensive. I work on my bikes all the time, but I haven't bought a crown race setter as installing a fork crown race is something I almost never do. The Park CRS-1 can be had for about $70, but I use a couple of pieces of PVC pipe instead. I first tried using a 1" inside diameter length of pipe, but it was not large enough and would get stuck on the larger diameter section of the fork steerer tube near the crown. I then tried a 1 1/4" inside diameter length of PVC, but it was too loose and was difficult to center and keep in place when using a rubber mallet to set the race. It then occurred to me that two lengths of PVC might nest, with the 1" PVC serving as a guide for the 1 1/4" PVC. This was the easiest time I've ever had setting a race. I didn't even have to use the mallet--I just slid the outer PVC down really hard twice or three times and the crown race was set. You might have a couple pieces of PVC laying around or you can pick up a couple lengths from the hardware store or home center. Remember that PVC is measured by inside diameter. Make sure that the larger pipe is cut longer than the steerer tube, especially if you're going to use a rubber mallet or hammer.. It's also a good idea to use the factory-cut end of the PVC against the crown race as this provides a smooth even surface. In the photos below I used 1" and 1 1/4" PVC on a 1" steerer tube. I haven't tried this on other diameter steerer tubes, but 1 1/4" PVC alone might work on a 1 1/8" steerer, or some combination of other diameter PVC.


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