With rain and wind lashing the window when I awoke this morning, it seemed a good day to spend in the garage and cut the steerer tube on my Thorn Club Tour forks.
I’d purchased a dedicated tool for this job, the SJS steerer cutter clamp, and all I needed was a decent hacksaw.
Reading the cycling forums, cutting a steerer tube is one of those jobs that requires a deep breath before you start. It’s pretty final: get your measurements wrong and you’ll need a new set of forks.
Heeding the advice, I took my time over the measurements, using spacers as a guide in order to give me a little bit of scope above the stem should I want to increase the height of the bars in future and to ensure I cut a few millimetres short so the compression cap could do its job and take any play out of the headset.
Once marked up, I carefully lined up the steerer cutter clamp. ‘Check and check again’, the advice goes, and I duly did. Once aligned, I wound down the clamp, which sat on the tube in a reassuringly positive manner.
The base of the cutter locates in a vice as shown in the picture. The hacksaw made easy work of the steerer tube and left a square, clean cut.
I was perhaps a little lazy when I built my Thorn last year and didn’t prep the steerer properly. This time, I took time to file off the burrs and slightly chamfer the edge of the cut tube. Likewise, I removed any burrs from the inside of the tube prior to rubbing down the tube with some finishing paper to remove any leftover paint.
All that remained was to tap in the star nut, a job made much easier thanks to a dedicated tool. No more hit and hope.
With the bike on the stand, I loosely installed the forks, taking care not to let them drop out of the head tube, and installed the bars.
Once the wheel was back in situ, I reset the bars and took any play out of the headset, taking care not to over-tighten the compression cap. Job done.
(Apologies for the pics by the way… hope to be investing in an SLR soon so I don’t have to rely on the dreadful autofocus on my compact).