Friday, July 24, 2009


As mentioned in my previous post, the HeadShok on my Cannondale blew up during my last ride - rendering it as useful as a leaky pogo stick. Options were weighed, opinions researched and credit card pulled into duty. It's time for a HeadShokectomy.

Let's begin....

Official "before" shot - Cannondale resting comfortably against garage door. Even though this rig was an eBay frame and fork deal with parts pulled from old donor bike - it looks cool. Since "white is the new black" in the mountain bike world, it appears modern. Then you spot the V-Brakes and HeadShok, welcome to the '90s. Looks like something Tinker Juarez would have raced in 1995 or so. I don't care, looks wise - I dig it.

First - using tiny Allen wrench, remove giant lockout lever from top of fork. Note silver nut on top - this is a target for later. Little pink bike in corner giggles at the Cannondale's misfortune.

Next - remove front wheel, stem, handlebar and V-Brakes. Man, gotta love removable face plates on stems. In my old school bike shop daze, this would require removing one grip, brake lever and shifter, then side handlebar out. No thanks. Little pink bike now looks on in horror.

My, what a big headtube you have. Not shown due to inability to man camera and hammer at the same time - hit the top of fork with a rubber mallet (remember the silver nut target?) A few whacks and entire fork assembly drops out. Piece of cake to remove. The headset is a little tricker to extract, but still pretty easy.

Here's the dead HeadShok, complete with leaking oil (brain fluid?). Lockout lever reinstalled for storage. Who knows, maybe one day I'll dig up a replacement cartridge.

Not shown, due to PG-13 rating - removal of original headset. I don't have official headset tools at my disposal, so carefully tapped them out with a hammer and punch, through the headtube. Don't try this at home without adult supervision or prior experience.

Spiffy new headset ready for installation. It's a Cane Creek XXc Flush II unit. Sounds like a high capacity toilet, but it's not - just a well designed headset that allows a 1 1/8" fork to work with a 1.5" headtube. It also has a super low stack height - what I need, since the Fox steerer tube from donor bike is cut a bit short.

Installation not shown due to graphic nature and additional use of hammer. New headset carefully pounded in with my patented "blocks of wood and rubber mallet" procedure. Do not attempt this at home, your mileage may vary, management not responsible for stolen or damaged items.

With the new headset nestled in the aluminum frame, I then pressed the new bottom race onto the Fox fork steerer tube, using a PVC pipe I keep for such occasions. Someday I'll pick up some real headset tools, but for now, my semi-caveman methods work just fine.

With all headset parts ready to roll - slipped the Fox fork into the headtube, added a few spacers where needed, installed new Race Face stem and reinstalled the handlebar. I needed a new stem since the Cannondale stem won't fit the "normal" sized Fox fork. All other stems collecting dust in the official Dan O Garage are too long for this set up.

The completed installation. Cane Creek wasn't kidding on the flush mount description. The short, pre-cut for previous bike steerer tube, has room to spare. With the skinny ass XC stem, mondo headtube and stack of spacers ready my puncture my sternum - looks pretty damn stupid. It'll do the job though, so okay for now. If I did it again, would use a beefier looking stem with a 31.8 bar, to offset the huge frame tubing. This Frankenstein set up keeps the bars in the same relative position as before.

The "after" shot, suitable for framing. Looks uglier and gained a little weight, but the Fox suspension quality is worlds better then the HeadShok. Will test ride this weekend.

Adios from the Bike Garage. Ride safe, ride often - just ride....

NOTE:  If you're actually using this post for real information - read update post here.


  1. If anyone out there in Internet Land is actually using this post for info on running a 1 1/8" fork on their Cannondale - all did not go so well - as noted in a later post:

    The fork didn't clear the downtube - big hassle. Update to follow.

  2. The stem I took off my Kona is super wide/thick and might look...uh...more appropriate. It's 120mm with ~7 degrees of rise. You're welcome to try it out.

  3. Thanks for the stem offer. I'm okay now - installed a different headset lower race today - combined with a little grinding (ouch), fork now clears.

    I'll post a new update in case someone actually uses this info for real.