I want to clean my headset/head tube. I removed the top cap, the stem, the (only) spacer, and a conical thingie from the steerer.

Still, the fork (a RockShox Recon SL circa 2009) won't come out! Suggestions?

enter image description here

  • 5
    Hit the top with a rubber mallet
    – Andrew
    Oct 9, 2020 at 23:43
  • @Andrew That's the general solution to most problems. Oct 10, 2020 at 0:22
  • 1
    Actually I hope that's not your go-to strategy for everything. @Andrew is dead right in this case, a sharp tap with a mallet should move the fork down a bit. You can then push the fork up again, and then push down the collar with your fingers. The wedge (mentioned in the answer below) should then come out easily, and you can slide both the wedge and collar up and off, and the fork will drop out.
    – Mikkel
    Oct 11, 2020 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


The grey part is a wedge and has a split in it. You could use a metal pick to pry it out at the split. If you deform it in your attempt, file or sand off any burrs before you reuse it. If you hit the top of the fork too hard it's possible to knock it out of round, even with a rubber mallet. The problem you have encountered is quite common and can be frustrating for the mechanic when there is also corrosion on the steerer tube.

  • In retrospect (after having all the parts out and inspected), this makes perfect sense! In my case, carefully hammering the top of the tube worked out ok. Oct 14, 2020 at 17:46

The OP describes that he has removed a conical thingie, which is probably the compression ring. If so, I don't think a pick will solve anything.

I would use a 2x4 as a buffer between the fork and the a mallet or hammer.. Just make sure your whack is good and lined up, and make sure the 2x4 is flush with the steerer tube.

Also, drip some oil or even penetrating oil on the steerer andand let it sit for a few hours. The oil is bad for the grease in the bearings so be sparing, and keep it on the steerer. A little bit will work its way in there and loosen things up. You could also use some oil on the bottom with the bike upside down, but that will probably wreck the bearing, since you won't have the same easy access you do at the top. You may want to be replacing the headset bearings anyway though.

Finally, depending on your work stand situation, you may need to adjust how the bike is being held. If you give a whack and the head tube moves, a significant amount of the energy is being deflected into the work stand. I did this recently, and found success by clamping the frame as close to the head tube as possible. I would not recommend this on a carbon frame. If that is the case, I think going to a LBS is essential.

Good luck.

  • The conical thing is a spacer. Look at the photo, ben
    – Noise
    Oct 20, 2020 at 16:50
  • Sorry, Ya'll. The pic is blocked by over protective filtering on my work computer, in fact, I didn't even notice there was a pic there.
    – Ben Stokes
    Oct 22, 2020 at 14:35

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