A black bicycle fork laid horizontally in a white cardboard box

Clear coat and bearing race

I’ve taken the first few steps on the next big maintenance project, which is to replace Kuroko’s fork with one that has internal routing for the dynamo hub and a mounting point for the dynamo light. I received the new fork some time ago, and I’ve been slowly taking stock of what I need for the project.

I could have left it raw

I’m happy with the bare carbon fibre appearance of the fork, but I thought it best to give it a clear coat. My experience with the spray.bike paint for Dionysus was mixed, and the stuff is hard to get in Japan. After casting about for some time, I stumbled across Holts, which is readily available. I got a 2K clear coat and then waited for a weekend with suitable weather.

There’s a bit more fiddling with the preparation of a 2K paint, but with that out of the way it went very smoothly. The paint was more forgiving than the spray.bike had been, and the result was four coats laid down in about an hour, with no runs or other blemishes apparent.

I’ve always been curious when watching videos of people painting in clear coat how they know which parts they haven’t done yet. It was actually very apparent where the surface had wet paint and where it still hadn’t been touched.

The instructions said the paint would be dry in 20 minutes, but I left the fork overnight in the vise before touching it.

Game of thrones?

There’s probably nothing wrong with Kuroko’s headset, but as I’m replacing the fork anyway this is a chance to splurge. And in doing so, I’ve saved myself the trouble of trying to remove the crown race from the old fork to install it on the new.

Once I’d verified the headset dimensions were the same for the old fork and the new (er … something I should have done before buying the fork), I quickly chose the White Industries headset as a bling-worthy part that didn’t break the bank. (It’s kind of awe-inspiring what the top names go for.)

The one tool I didn’t have for the job is a crown race setting tool. The ParkTool option was a bit pricey at about $120, so I’m glad to say I found an off-brand at about $15.

When the crown race set tool arrived, I was worried it wasn’t long enough to clear the end of the steerer tube (before cutting the tube to length, which will be the next step). But it had about a centimeter to spare. After I put some grease on the juncture of the steerer tube to the fork crown, I slid the crown race into place — and it popped right into place without any effort. Just for peace of mind, and because I already had the tool, I gave it a couple of whacks. (The setting tool’s shaft is heavy enough that no mallet is required.)

And then it was just a matter of wiping off the excess grease. The headset is as stealthy as advertised: it’s almost impossible to see that the crown race has been installed unless you know what you’re looking at.

Next steps

I still haven’t got all the bits I need. I have the dynamo hub (I used it on Lejog, and I’ve had it on the bike — sans lights — since I did a wheel swap a while back) and the lights, but I need a mount to put the front light on the fork crown. I’ll probably fabricate the mount for the rear light to go on the pannier rack. And I need to figure out what I need to wire up, and the waterproof connectors, etc. (I bought a soldering iron probably more than a year ago in anticipation of this project.)

I want to run all the wiring through the fork before putting that on the bike, so I don’t have to take it off again. (Actually I don’t think I would need to even if I were to change the wiring set-up.) And as a pièce de résistance, I’ve got some nice handlebar tape to replace the now-frayed Supercaz tape I put on during the Switching to Glide project.

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