For folks who frequently swap forks (i.e. rigid fork for one race, suspension fork the next weekend, back/forth) how do you manage headset/crown race compatibility? I assume you end up with matching crown races on the forks so that you don't have to remove/install with each swap? I'm not seeing many resources online where one can buy an extra matching crown race for my headset....is this common? Maybe it's just not something that is 'retailed' often but the LBS would have to 'special order' it from the manufacturer's catalog? Any known retailers sell complete headsets with TWO crown races? Or am I way off track - is there a different way to approach this?

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    Who swaps forks that frequently? I would honestly expect fork swaps to be rare, and that people who want both would prefer to have more than one bike.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:27
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    I swap between rigid and suspension forks on my hardtail MTB frequently, mostly it's seasonal or for certain events, but it happens a few times a year at least. Most of the time I like my fancy suspension fork. However, I like to keep the Rigid fork on during the winter or super muddy offroad rides to prevent too much gunk from getting in my fork seals. Also, sometimes I like a rigid fork with bosses for bikepacking bags and would swap out for a weekend (or longer) trip.
    – Benzo
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 18:00
  • Exactly. One may not be able to afford 2 or 3 very nice bikes, but may be able to afford one very nice bike and an additional wheelset and/or fork that make it more appropriate for a wider variety of situations. Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 18:31
  • It is strange I have not found this question before, so I even posted my own as I have exactly the same issue. My search has shown that you can actually buy only pieces you need, not just the whole set. In my case, Cane Creek seems to guarantee compatibility between its series 10 and 40: canecreek.com/products/headsets/ten and sells different lower and upper bearings separately, if needed. Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


I have done such a thing for many years with a rigid carbon fork for winter and a suspension fork for summer. At the beginning I simply called the headset manufacturer and ordered another crown race for my headset.

Many reputable manufacturers sell crown races separately (or give them away if you call and ask nicely). It is quite common to damage a crown race if it is not removed properly during a fork swap and SHOULD NOT require buying a whole new headset. If your manufacturer won't sell you another crown race, I would highly recommend you buy another headset from a manufacturer that will and be done with it.

Companies that won't sell small replacement parts for their products generally have a "disposable" mentality for their products. If they consider their products disposable, you should as well. I personally avoid such companies as I would prefer to not ride or deal with disposable parts.

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    I use Chris King headsets partially for this reason, and the fact that they are built to last. It's about $18 USD for a spare crown race. I have 2 mountain bikes with the same headset and 4 forks with extra crown races mounted I can swap between them. It's a great system for me to go between rigid forks and suspension. Alternatively Cane Creek has options for spare crown races for their headsets for less cash than king. You may need to replace your headset, but you should be able to get spares for cane creek 40 and above models (though, you want to confirm availability before you buy).
    – Benzo
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 17:56

I think you are in such a small niche, that there are no dedicated solutions for you. Buying two complete, identical headsets is an option. In general people replace the whole headset, so there is no need for spare parts to be present on the market.

Edited after comment: If the producer of the fork and crown race does not mention explicitly such possibility, once removed, crown race should not be mounted back, because it can get imperceptibly bent.

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    Many forks (and crown races) have slots intended for removing the race during a fork swap. It requires a flathead screwdriver and some gentle pressure. Unless it has been damaged, there is no reason a crown race can't be reused. Doing so weekly, may however, prematurely wear the race. Reputable and quality manufacturers will make maintenance and replacement parts for their headsets. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 18:15
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    Once removed, crown race should not be mounted back - please explain
    – andy256
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 0:07
  • @andy256 Clarified. If there is no special design, mentioned by Suspended User, I would strongly discourage mounting it back.
    – krzyski
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 10:04

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