The fork on a bicycle plays an important role between the rider and the bike. The fork connects the handlebars to the bicycle tire, allow the rider to steer. Depending on the model of your mountain bike, the fork may have a variety of attributes such as optimizations for cross-country, downhill or free riding. Differences in forks may provide your bike greater shock absorption, make it lighter or more durable. Depending on what you're trying to achieve, a mountain bike fork upgrade may be necessary, although the process for installing any type of fork is the same.
Determine the type of fork you want to upgrade to. Read consumer reviews of mountain bike forks and those found in biking enthusiast publications. Pick a fork that meets the needs of your riding goals.
Unscrew your front brake bolts from the fork on your mountain bike. Use pliers.
Remove the front tire from the mountain bike fork. Depending on wheel axle, this is done by turning the quick release hinge on the axle or by using pliers to unscrew the axle bolt.
Inspect the type of bolt at the top of the steering column to determine what type of tool is necessary to unscrew it. Use the hex wrench or pliers to unscrew the bolt and disconnect the handlebars from the fork. Leave the handlebars in the steering column.
Place a towel beneath the fork to catch ball bearings or spacers that may fall free. If necessary loosen the nut that may hold your fork to the bike frame. Slide the fork out of the steering column and collect ball bearings and spacers. Note the position of spacers as these will be replaced in the same configuration.
Remove the crown, or the flat edge on the fork that rests against the bike frame. Use a hammer to gently tap a flat screwdriver between the underside of the crown and the fork until it comes loose.
Grease the new mountain bike fork and then place the crown on it in the same position as the old one. Gently tap it down and wedge it into place.
Use the pipe cutter to cut the new fork to the appropriate length for your bike. Consult your bike's manual for the appropriate length or measure the old bike fork stem. Make the length on the stem with chalk and then cut it.
Use a hammer to tap the star nut about an inch below the lip of the stem. Follow your new fork's instructions or suggestions as there may be alternate tactics for completing this stage.
Position any ball bearings in the steering column as they were before removing the original fork, and then slide the fork into the steering column and replace the spacers.
Screw the bike's handlebar bolt into the steering column to connect it to the new fork. Replace the front brakes by screwing them into the new fork, exactly as they were arranged on the original fork.
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