Which tools do I need to service this headset?

One headset service tutorial shows just an Allen key and a torque wrench, others use a bearing press.

Is there a way to work out which tools are required before I start taking it apart?


This is the headset that came with the bike https://www.giantbikespares.com/Giant-Overdrive-Road-Bike-Headset--Alloy-Cap--Black--1310-NO56AA-902_1310-NO56AA-903/product_detail/3-41181

The bike is a 2019 Giant Fastroad

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  • 2
    What are you trying to do? What does “service” entail in this context?
    – Paul H
    Commented Jan 4 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


If you're planning on replacing the bearings, Allen keys (hex wrenches) of the correct size (check what size hex is the bolt holding the cap and what is the hex size of the bolts clamping the stem to the steerer tube) are basically all you need.

If you have a carbon steerer on your fork or a carbon stem, then a torque wrench is required, and additionally carbon assembly paste.

The bearings are drop-in. They should come out quite easily and installing new ones is simply putting them carefully in.

Don't forget to put a thin layer of grease on all mating surfaces of the bearings and the frame, and the bearings and fork tube - the idea is that it protects against water ingress and grime build-up.

When assembling back (non-carbon parts) - use common sense and not only strength. First tighten the cap until there's no play between fork and frame, but the fork still spins freely, then ensure the stem is aligned with the front wheel and tighten the stem bolts until they feel tight.
For carbon parts the order is the same but tighten to specified torque.

If you don't feel comfortable doing that service on your own, ask someone for guidance or take your bike to a local bike ship (not always a guarantee of a proper job, but at least you have someone to blame if things go wrong).

  • 1
    Pretty thorough answer. Although you disregard the use of a torque wrench for non-carbon component interfaces, it seems that someone with little to no experience should utilize the torque specifications and a torque wrench to tighten the stem to steerer interface, regardless of the material involved. There is too much of a risk of overtightening and damaging (or even under-tightening) these bolts for someone without experience. A torque wrench/torque-key takes this risk out of the equation.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Jan 5 at 19:31
  • Additionally, is carbon paste commonly used on a carbon steerer-stem interface? It IS often used on a carbon seatpost/seat tube interface, but I had not heard it used before on a steerer tube/stem interface much.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Jan 5 at 19:34
  • @TedHohl - not that I disregard a torque wrench. If you use common sense and have a bit of experience, you can do without it on metal parts. Carbon parts are somewhat brittle in certain directions, that's why you need to stick to torque specification. I'd use a bit of carbon assembly paste if both my steerer tube and stem were carbon. Otherwise I'd but some grease to prevent creaks and water ingress.
    – Mike
    Commented Jan 9 at 13:25
  • Mike, you and I may have enough experience to know what common-sense reasonable torque would be, but that cannot be applied to the general population. Since one purpose of this exchange is to educate others who may not have this experience. Mentioning the use of a torque wrench to guide the "unexperienced" until they gained the feel of what a common-sense torque application would be be valuable. It is way too common to over-torque all types of fasteners (not just on bikes) when a torque wrench is not used, and although there is tolerance in almost every torque spec, it can easily be passed.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Jan 9 at 16:01

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