How to Change Forks on a Mountain Bike

mountain bike image by JCVStock from

Changing the forks on your mountain bike at home or on the move takes only a few simple steps using common household tools and equipment, eradicating the need for expensive professional assistance. With some concentration, patience and a little preparation time you'll be back in the saddle in no time.

Lay your bicycle flat on its side to give you easy access to the front fork and handlebars. Remove the front wheel from the bike. Unscrew the brake calipers and cut the cable tie that holds the brake cables.

Unscrew the bolts securing the headset of the handlebars and undo the top cap and its bolt from the end of the steering tube. Gently place the headset holding the handlebars down to one side to give you space to fit the new forks.

Remove the old forks and steering tube. Collect any spacers that were fitted with it and place these down in the order that they were removed. Remove the crown race, the circular disk at the bottom of the steering tube, by tapping it carefully with a flat-head screwdriver and hammer. Place to one side.

Attach the crown race onto the steering tube of your new forks. Slide it down the tube and gently hammer it back into place at the bottom of the tube until it is firmly lodged in place.

Cut your new tube to size. Use your old fork and tube as a guide if the new tube is of the same dimensions. If not, measure the desired steering tube length with a ruler and mark with a sharpie. Using a hacksaw or pipe cutters, cut the tube to the desired length and sand the top of the tube until it is smooth.

Install the new star nut into the top of the steering tube; it will have been supplied along with the new forks or purchased as an extra. Either use a dedicated star nut tool for this by fitting the star nut into the tool and tapping it into the tube with a hammer, or gently tap it into place using a bolt and hammer until it is in its required position inside the tube.

Replace the spacer onto the new steering tube. Push the steering tube back through the bicycle head tube. Replace the top cap and washers and bolt these into the star nut using the top cap bolt.

Re-attach the brake calipers and wheel of the bike. Cable tie the brake and gear cables back onto the head tube. Place the handlebar stem back onto the steering tube, line up with the front wheel and secure by tightening the nuts on it with an Allen wrench.

Restore the brake and gear settings to your preferred adjustments. Return your bike to a standing position and take a test ride to ensure that the new forks perform correctly.