I ordered a new front fork for my ’93 Specialized Rockhopper last week and it arrived yesterday, so the next step of the rebuild was to drive the headset bearing ring onto the fork crown race. I used a length of 1-1/4″ PVC as a driver. I needed to ream out a bit of the inside of the pipe to get it to fit over the bearing ring. I did this with a pipe reamer and a circular file. Then, I greased the fork crown, set the fork on the edge of a 2×4, slipped the PVC over the steerer, and attempted to drive the bearing ring onto the crown. Initially, I was unsuccessful.. the ring wouldn’t go on straight, and I couldn’t get it started. Eventually I gave up for the night. Before I went to bed, I stuck the fork in the freezer. The next day I took the fork out, and heated the bearing ring up with a heat gun, and tried again. This did the trick. The heat expanded the ring just enough to make it seat on the cold fork crown.
There’s definitely something to be said for using the correct tools for the job. I’m sure a bearing ring setting tool would have gotten the job done without any fuss.
Next step is to pick up a stem and some spacers. Then I can test-fit things together and see where I’ll need to cut the steerer tube. Getting closer!