Steering Head Bearing Replacement Tips

By: Ralph Catanese
April 2003

I just replaced the steering head bearings on my K11RS and would like to share a couple of tricks I used:

  1. I slid a screwdriver under the upper race, cut a broomstick and put it through the steering head from the bottom and tapped it with a hammer. That's a three handed job, since I only have two, I drilled a hole through the broomstick, pushed it through the steering head, then put the screwdriver through the hole in the broomstick and under the upper race. I couldn't get that upper race to budge, until I heated the steering head with a hair drier. Then it came right out.
  2. I cut away the lower bearing retainer and removed the bearings as you described, then used a dremel to cut a slot in the inner bearing cone. Wedged a screwdriver in the slot and tapped it lightly. The bearing cone cracked and slid right off the steering stem.
  3. When installing the new bearing, put the steering stem (with triple clamp attached) in the freezer and put the bearings in the oven at 180 degrees F. The bearing will drop right on, but you probably still need a pipe to push the bearing on straight. I found that a drain tube for a kitchen sink fit perfectly. DON'T FORGET TO PUT THE DUST CAP ON BEFORE THE BEARING. You'll never get the bearing back off without damaging it.