Front three-quarter view of a black-and-grey bicycle with tan sidewall tires in a blue bicycle stand on a balcony. There is a pink wash basin on the balcony beneath and to one side of the front wheel.

Hold your fire

It’s too hot to ride, so I started getting parts and tools together for the Forking Dynamite project. It took some time finding things, and I actually emptied out the entire toolbox in the Workshop in the Sky while looking.

By the time I got to the bottom of the toolbox, I thought I had just about everything I needed, except for the brake olives and the headset bearing removal tool.

I picked up the very last tool from the bottom of the toolbox, in a cardboard tube that said Bottom Bracket Bearing Remover. When I opened the tube, inside was what I’d been looking for.

Except not really.

A silver metal cylinder-shaped tool. One end has several lengthwise cuts and has been spread out somewhat, giving it the vague appearance of an octopus. There is a blue label around the opposite end with the words Bottom Bracket Bearing Remover in white.
ParkTool BBT-90.3

I’ve used the ParkTook BBT-90.3 on a few occasions to hammer out the press-fit bottom bracket bearings. And I’ve seen countless videos of people using an identical tool to hammer out headset bearings.

Except that it’s not identical. Just looking at the BBT-90.3, I could see it wasn’t big enough. It’s made for bearings with an inner diameter of 24mm — Shimano bottom brackets. Headset bearings have an inner diameter of 1 1/8-1 1/4 inches, roughly 28mm-32mm. (Some aero bikes and other exotica have even bigger bearings.)

I could make do with the tool as is, even try to spread it out a bit wider. I’m sure I could get the job done. But then it might be less easy to use for its intended purpose (and I hope to be riding long enough to wear out a few more BBs).

By the time I decided I was going to wait for the proper tool, I had Kuroko in the stand, with a wash tub ready to catch the dripping hydraulic fluid when I removed the brake hose. I decided to take a few minutes of further prep, and trial fitted the front wheel in the new fork. Perfect fit.

Finally, I got out the scale so I could have a comparison, before and after. I don’t expect there to be much change as I’m already using the dynamo hub. (Yes, I put the front wheel back on the bike for the weighing.) I’m swapping one carbon fibre fork for another, ditto the lights. Adding some wiring and a USB charging port in the stem cap. There will probably be a slight gain.

It was really too hot to be working in the Workshop in the Sky. I’d waited for the hottest part of the day to get started. Once I was sure I knew what I needed I placed my order, including a couple of more brake olives (just in case) and a carbon fibre blade for the hacksaw. (Amazon and I both agree I have one, somewhere.) And then I had a long, cool shower.

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One response to “Hold your fire”

  1. […] intended to start last week, only to realize I didn’t have the right tool to hammer out the headset bearing cups. The proper tool arrived mid-week, and it was satisfyingly […]

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