Tech Headset help required

Aug 27, 2012
London, UK
Swapping out the (heavy) front forks on my wifes MTB for some nice lightweight rigid ones. All going well apart from the headset. Part of the lower headset (the part that the bearing sits on) is stuck on the old forks. The part (I think its called the crown race?) wouldn't budge after some force applied with screwdriver/hammer -

Any ideas how I can get another one to fit on the new forks with the existing headset?

I'm hoping I won't need to buy an entire new headset as the rest of it is press-fitted into the frame and would take some force and the right tools to extract (plus headsets aren't exactly cheap!). I have the full headset part number on the top headset - Cane Creek VP-A76C but I can't locate that either.

The bike is a Trek 4500 MTB circa 2010-11
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Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
Many thanks for the link - some good ideas. I'd already tried the screwdriver methods mentioned there (and failed) but the blow torch on crown and ice on the fork might be the one to do it!
just buy a new one if it's that much of a bother, Have you used plenty of CRC556? Let it soak for a day or two.


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
I use a kitchen knife. Honestly, with a toolbox full of Snap On, I still resort to an Obasan multi-tool. But basically you just need to get a chisel edge (flat side next to crown) and then tap it with a hammer. It will start to break free then work your way around it. Alloy steer tubes are pretty rugged. Crown race will be different if it's an actual race (balls ride on it) or just centering the cartridge bearing. And that could be different , too , depending on the spec'd bearing (45 degree, 42 degree, etc). Most replacement headset kits will include a new crown race. That's what you want to use.
Likes: macrophotofly
Aug 27, 2012
London, UK
depending on the spec'd bearing (45 degree, 42 degree, etc
Yep that's what worried me (its just the centering piece) when considering buying a replacement - hence why the removal tips are very helpful. Didn't get home until 11 last night so no chance to get the chisel or blowtorch out... (frankly I like the blowtorch idea - a much more scientific approach and I value the crown over the old fork)

COLA! soak it in coke works a treat!
Basically it corrodes it off? How long do I apply it for before applying knife/chisel? And I presume Diet coke, since it rots teeth faster than full fat coke?


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
basically long enough to eat away the oxidisation between the crown and the race.