MYOG : Crown Race Tool

Fitting a fork is one of those things that most bike owners don’t get to do very often, so they find it difficult to justify the cost of a professional tool to do the job.

If you fall into this category – or you’re just a bit tight – then you may want to know how I built my own version of this very simple tool.

The parts are very simple to obtain, and very cheap, with the whole lot coming to less than £5, and consist of a length of plastic wastepipe a 32mm coupler and a 4omm coupler.


The pipe needs to be cut to length, but should be at least a couple of inches longer than the longest steerer that you’re likely to encounter.

The 40mm coupler is pretty much the exact size required for the crown race that I was fitting, but you may want to take your crown race with you, when purchasing the parts, to make sure it suits yours.

The purpose of the length of pipe, is not only to keep the 40mm coupler in line with the steerer (as the pipe’s internal diameter is a pretty good match for a 1 1/8 steerer tube). Unfortunately, the 40mm coupler doesn’t fit onto the 32mm pipe, so the 32mm coupler serves as an adapter shim, between the pipe and the 40mm coupler


Couplers, err, coupled…


Couplers attached to the pipe…

To use the tool…

  • Slide the crown race into the steerer by hand, pushing it firmly into place, as far as it will go, making sure that it isn’t sitting at an angle.
  • Place the tool over the steerer tube, until it is sitting flush againt the crown race.
  • Hold the pipe in one hand and the crown of the fork in the other.
  • Turn the whole thing upside-down, and tap the end of the pipe onto a hard surface (concrete floor, etc) whilst maintaining a gentle downward pressure on the fork crown.
  • A few firm, but careful, taps are all that should be required.
  • Check that the crown race is seated evenly, and that there are no visible gaps underneath it
  • Fit the fork to your bike.

A few points to note…

  • There is no need to glue the parts together, as the alignment is good enough for the way that they are used.
  • It may be possible to mount a 1 1/8 inch crown race, by using just the pipe and the 32mm coupler, but I haven’t had the chance/need to do this yet – maybe somebody can check the sizing and let me know.
  • This worked for me, but you will have to use your own judgement, as to whether you want to do it yourself , or get your LBS to do it for you.
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I’ve started, but I may not finish.

As the saying goes “You must lead, by example”, so I’ve started on my own personal odyssey on the County Town Network

Over the Christmas period, we were visiting friends in the Midlands, so I took the opportunity to bag the nearest county town to their house.

Add in the aspect of seeing two castles (Kenilworth and Warwick) on the trip, and visiting the rather excellent Wild Boar Pub  and it was a worthwhile trip.

(The pub is a whole 443ft from the railway station, has a micro-brewery on site and they’ll unlock the side gate to the garden, so you can get your bikes in)

Warwick is now well and truly crossed off my list.

For future reference, I’ve started a Flickr page to record my exploits.

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The Empire Strikes North

Ooh, look Luke, we made a Saltire!

I’ve now added Scottish county towns to the network – welcome chaps.

(Rather appropriate blog entry title, as I understand that it’s not unlike the Ice planet ‘Hoth’ in certain parts of Scotland at the moment)

Scotland officially has ‘unitary local authorities’, rather than counties, but they serve the same purpose, which is to define an area of influence of a division of local government, so that’s near enough for me. As was the case for Wales, a railway station was not available in all cases (particularly understandable on the islands) so I’ve used the council offices where appropriate.

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County Town Network heads west

As mentioned on the CTN website I’ve now included the Welsh county towns in the network.

Some of the Welsh county towns are similar to Newport (Isle of Wight) in that they don’t have a railway, so I’ve followed the pattern of deferring to the town hall/county offices as a reference point.

Head over there and check it out.

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Scratching an itch

You may be familiar with the situation where you have an idea but never get round to doing anything about it – well I had one of those ideas a while back and have finally got round to unleashing it on the outside world.

A little bit of history is in order…

I’m a pretty keen cyclist and, having previously completed the classic C2C route and a Devon South to North trip (well, almost), as well as organising several runnings of the now infamous “Cutty to Butty”™, I have recently been spending an unhealthy amount of time looking at maps, reading bikepacking posts and bike trip blogs – such as this one by Daniel Groves ,this one Japan by Bicycle  and this one from some rather nice young ladies  .

All of these have inspired me to embark on further adventures on my bike.

Whilst looking at the maps, and contemplating the predictability of the classic LEJOG (Hats off to those who complete it, though), I noticed that three of the towns on the map in front of me were towns whose names can be followed by “Shire” to form the name of a county. Then I started to wonder just how many of these (English) counties I had visited – it turned out to be all but one of them

Things progressed from there and I started to wonder about the county towns themselves, and the count dwindled somewhat, with 22 of the 47 having eluded me so far – so the idea of the CTN (County Town network) was born

In a nutshell, the aim CTN is to provide a the starting point for bike rides that will, hopefully, inspire people to get out on their bikes and explore a bit more of the countryside. When adding the extra criteria of having to arrive at a county town by bicycle, my tally drops to a rather dismal 1 out of 47 – not very good at all.

For me, the appeal of the CTN (if Sustrans can have a network, so can I) is that, unlike the classic LEJOG route, most people live within striking distance of the network, and could quite easily bag a few of their ‘local’ county towns. Due to the size of the network, it’s not really feasible to do the whole lot in one go, so it is best suited to short periods of exploring, allowing the participant to do as much or as little of the network as their ability or available time will allow.

I’m not promising that I’ll ever complete the challenge myself, but it’s given me a new focus, and I’ll certainly be eyeing up more bike trips whenever I travel to another part of the country.

So, get out your maps and get out on your bike – but pop over to the CTN website for a bit of guidance, first…

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