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Thread: Cutting steerer

  1. #1
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    Cutting steerer

    Iíve done a couple with a hacksaw and miter box, ( maybe even a saws-all once? ) and was not impressed with my less than square results. LOL

    And tips? What do shops usually do? Maybe go to a machine shop instead?


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    You can get a metal pipe/tube cutter at home Depot/Lowe's it works great, perfectly straight Everytime just need to finish some smoothing with a file after cut.

    https://m.lowes.com/pd/BrassCraft-1-...tter/999903321

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    Oh, cool.
    I didnít know those were up to doing this hard a tube?


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    I use a Park SG-6 Threadless Saw Guide but they're frikkin' expensive if you don't have access. I have heard of people fastening 2 hose clamps around the steerer as a saw guide. I have had mixed results with a tubing cutter. Mainly due to steerer material or condition of cutter roller. A new cutter is key. An old, used cutter usually renders a spiraling and shitty cut on anything more than soft copper tubing that it was originally intended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Oh, cool.
    I didnít know those were up to doing this hard a tube?


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    Steerer tubes are far from "hard" to be honest. The steel ones are pretty standard steel pipe.

    Those are how I cut all tubes. Steerer, handlebars etc (except carbon fiber of course). Simple tubing cutter. Cheap, easy, dont have to remove the parts from the bike and a straight clean "cut" every time.

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    I've always used the tube cutter, easy fast works. Unless carbon. Otherwise some sort of guide would be helpful, sure there are some cheap options out there. Can always practice on a part of the tube above where the cut is needed.

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    Yip, pipe-cutter. By far the best thing for steel and alloy steerer tubes.

    Cutting steerer-cutt.jpg

  8. #8
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    Awesome. I made an assumption that the aluminum steerer tube was just too much for a plain ole copper plumbing pipe cutter. Thanks guys!



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    Aluminum too much? Nope not even close, you cut thinner walled steel tubing with these too including steel steerer tubes.

    Be careful with allow though, dont just crank on it and cut it. You can crack it. So take it a bit slower, dont cut as deep per adjustment.

    Other nice thing is that star nuts dont hold as tight in alloy steerers, so you end up with a nice lip inside that keeps the star nut from coming loose if your someone like me that uses them to press on the crown race. yes it works fine, doesnt hurt the bearings one bit as long as dont get crazy cranking on the stem cap bolt and the loosen/set preload properly before riding. Bearings take way more abuse in 1 mile of trail than they see using the forks to press the headset bits into place.

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    after years of bodging starnuts and crownrace I finally bought proper tools.

    Foundation Star Nut Setter | Jenson USA
    Foundation Crown Race Setter | Jenson USA

    Seem well made and should be better than my old methods
    Last edited by dundundata; 04-04-2018 at 04:47 PM.

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    Cutting steerer

    After all your suggesting as much, I picked this up at Loweís on the way home. And it worked nicely
    A few minutes into it I was having my doubts and could barely see the cut it was making, then presto, the last mm of the thickness began cracking with the last few rotations and we were done. Yippie!
    Thanks again. Love buying tools that work and save me a lot of prime daylight time driving to a dealer, and instead get satisfaction of accomplishment, even with a beer in hand. LOL

    dundundata- bodging star nuts... yea that too for me!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    After all your suggesting as much, I picked this up at Loweís on the way home. And it worked nicely
    A few minutes into it I was having my doubts and could barely see the cut it was making, then presto, the last mm of the thickness began cracking with the last few rotations and we were done. Yippie!
    Thanks again. Love buying tools that work and save me a lot of prime daylight time driving to a dealer, and instead get satisfaction of accomplishment, even with a beer in hand. LOL

    dundundata- bodging star nuts... yea that too for me!


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    Quick, cheap, and easy! Like I said earlier you may need to file a very small amount sometimes there can be a little roughness or an edge pushed out due to the compression of the cutter that can make it difficult to get a very tight stem or spacers on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Awesome. I made an assumption that the aluminum steerer tube was just too much for a plain ole copper plumbing pipe cutter.
    Nope. They'll cut steel steerers as Clutch says, just take your time. I have no idea why Park or other bike tool makers don't sell them, they are perfect for the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    And tips? What do shops usually do? Maybe go to a machine shop instead?

    All the shops I've worked in used cutting guides and a hacksaw, the tubing cutter you got will work fine but it's little slower and can leave a little bulge at the cut which sometimes requires a little filing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I have no idea why Park or other bike tool makers don't sell them, they are perfect for the job.
    They work well but IME the cutting guides they sell work better.
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    I hate cutting guides cause you get metal shavings everywhere you have to clean up. Tubing cutter is quick and clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    I hate cutting guides cause you get metal shavings everywhere you have to clean up. Tubing cutter is quick and clean.

    I guess so if you're doing it in your living room


    I agree that a tubing cutter is quick and clean and for most diy'ers a good choice because you don't need a special tool, a bench vice and a sharp hacksaw. Just comparing apples to apples though a guide is significantly faster, cuts cleaner (no bulge) and for me clean up was never an issue. Unless it's for a shop where time is money it's no big deal either way though.
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    Nah I have a garage, Im just anal about stuff like that. Comes from being a mechanic my whole life. Metal filings and moving parts dont mix well and always afraid Ill miss one and my crap luck means it would somehow get into and kill a headset bearing. My bikes are always kept away from anything like that. Like I put them at the opposite side of the garage night before last to cut a cassette socket to take my Magnum Pro apart to change upper crown/stancions cause steerer was too short, bought used. Had to take my dremel and big cut off wheel to cut the notch which meant dust sized filings everywhere. Bikes went outside and fork was covered up with one of my sweat shirts till dust settled lol.

    I agree a good guide and hacksaw is so nice and clean cut, with aluminum its possibly even a tad faster, its the mess that bugs me. Why cf handlebars are a love/hate relationship. That dust is some nasty crap, not for bikes but even a little gets in my throat Im coughing the rest of the day. Wish tubing cutters worked for them too lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I guess so if you're doing it in your living room
    Sharp eye. LOL

    Speaking of carbon bars.....that might be on my list at some point too. Probably do that on the back porch though. 🤣


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    I do it OUTSIDE. Face mask and goggles lol. And change clothes as soon as Im done. Thankfully doing them has been twice in the last few years. But CF bars for my b+ bike is on the list as I cant convince myself to go back to alloys on my fat bike (both have bars at same width).

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    Amateurs. All my bike work is done in a clean room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata View Post
    Amateurs. All my bike work is done in a clean room.
    LOL wish my living room were cleaner. Just love picking pet fur out of greased assemblies 🤣


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    I thought everybody knew that Cat fur and Labrador hair adds watts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    I thought everybody knew that Cat fur and Labrador hair adds watts?
    If so, my name would be Nino!

  25. #25
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    I have the Park SG-6 guide. The sawing is pretty quick with a fresh blade. I'll use some sandpaper to clean up the edge of the steerer.

    I used a mitre box to cut my carbon bar. Wrapped some painters tape around the area I wanted to cut. Came out pretty clean and no fraying of the carbon.

  26. #26
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    I use a small 4.5" handheld grinder with a metal cutoff disc. Fast and perfect cut. It is loud though and makes a bit of a mess.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    They work well but IME the cutting guides they sell work better.
    In what way? I have a cutting guide but I never use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    In what way? I have a cutting guide but I never use it.
    I already mentioned it but using a guide is a bit faster IME, a sharp blade will get the job done in about 15 seconds. Also it results in a cleaner cut because it doesn't create a bulge which sometimes needs to be filed.

    I also mentioned that unless you're working in a busy shop these differences are trivial.
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  29. #29
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    Tubing cutters flare the end of the tube. I used one on my bars. Never will again. Proper hack saw blade with a cutting guide is the way to go.

  30. #30
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    On aluminum bars, I find that tubing cutters don't deform material much at all compared to what happens on soft copper or aluminum pipe. The wheel of the cutter needs to be sharp and not dulled. I gradually advance the cutter after several rotations about the bar and the cut piece cracks off with very little deformation of the bars. If desired, the small remaining external and internal burr is quickly removed with a file or emery cloth. In my experience, it's quicker, easier and the finished job cleaner using the cutter rather than a saw.

    If the cutter is advanced too fast or the wheel is dull, it will raise larger external and internal burrs.
    Do the math.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    If the cutter is advanced too fast or the wheel is dull, it will raise larger external and internal burrs.
    Yeah, that's it. If you try to cut too quickly you'll get burs but if you take your time the result is perfect. A lot better than with a saw anyway. Even if you cut with a saw, you still need to dress the end. With a pipe-cutter the only untidy part is the inside edge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Yeah, that's it. If you try to cut too quickly you'll get burs but if you take your time the result is perfect. A lot better than with a saw anyway.
    Not burrs but because of the way a tubing cutter works (doesn't remove metal like a saw blade) it does create a small bulge IME no matter how slowly you go, not always an issue but sometimes it affects tight fitting headset parts and stems.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    In my experience, it's quicker, easier and the finished job cleaner using the cutter rather than a saw.
    I'll race ya if it takes longer with a saw you must be using a seriously dull blade because you should be easily be able to slice through any steer tube in under 30 seconds with a hacksaw and as you said you need to advance pressure on pipe cutters slowly for a proper cut, nature of the beast.

    Again, both ways are fine IMO and there are plusses and minuses either way. Plus for pipe cutter is a neat cut without the need for using any other tools.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I have no idea why Park or other bike tool makers don't sell them, they are perfect for the job.
    Looks like I was wrong: LINK

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    Lol, no bike based brand makes them, simple re-label ones bought from another brand and charge twice as much lol. But there are enough gullible people out there that would pay double the price cause its sold by a cycling brand.

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    Lol, no bike based brand makes them, simple re-label ones bought from another brand and charge twice as much lol.
    Yeah, you could say that about a lot of stuff bike brands sell.

  36. #36
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    Lmao so true. All of the lubes and most bolts/screws for starters. Except I havent found slick honey/sram butter lube yet. Beginning to think that its actually proprietary, not relabeled from another purpose. And nothing beats it for free hub pawls and fork service.

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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Not burrs but because of the way a tubing cutter works (doesn't remove metal like a saw blade) it does create a small bulge IME no matter how slowly you go, not always an issue but sometimes it affects tight fitting headset parts and stems.
    I prefer using a tubing cutter, but I've always done a few quick passes using a Dremel with a stone bit to remove the inside and outside lip that gets created. Takes about 5-10 seconds.

  38. #38
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    I use a SG-6 from park. To be honest I get more use out of it holding my dropper posts when I do maintenance on them.
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    This Thread is timely for me. I don't have specific tools for cutting a steer tube, but I have to cut a carbon steerer. Can I use a power miter saw with a metal cutting disc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctxcrossx View Post
    This Thread is timely for me. I don't have specific tools for cutting a steer tube, but I have to cut a carbon steerer. Can I use a power miter saw with a metal cutting disc?
    I wouldn't. I think you'd melt the resin/epoxy. Heck, might even catch it on fire.
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  41. #41
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    I wouldn't either. There are special blades that fit on hacksaws for carbon tubes but I'd probably just use a regular fine tooth blade and be careful.
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  42. #42
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    32 teeth per inch for carbon, just a regular hacksaw blade.
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  43. #43
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    I wont even use a toothed blade in carbon fiber, still risky. I use a carbide blade for ceramic tile.

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  44. #44
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    I have a machine for cutting carbon arrow shafts to length that uses a high speed abrasive cutoff wheel. I would not try something similar on a carbon steerer. I've done plenty with a standard fine tooth hacksaw blade.

    Come to think of it, I have a bunch of steerer pieces I've cut off that could be used for experimentation or practice. If you haven't done it yet, you might see if your LBS has a leftover piece you can practice on.
    Do the math.

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    ^ I was thinking he could try the very tip of the steerer first and see how that goes. I still can't imagine that it wouldn't create a lot of heat regardless if it made a nice cut or not. Best to err on the side of extreme caution with a carbon steerer, people have literally died from them failing. With that I come back around to the conclusion that I wouldn't use a power miter on carbon.
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  46. #46
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    I just used a fresh standard hacksaw blade to cut the carbon steerer on my road bike. I wrapped some painters tape around the area to be cut. Never had any issues with fraying of the cut area. Same with my carbon bars.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    I just used a fresh standard hacksaw blade to cut the carbon steerer on my road bike. I wrapped some painters tape around the area to be cut. Never had any issues with fraying of the cut area. Same with my carbon bars.

    Thanks for bringing up carbon bars again! So to hijack my own thread just a bit, other than fine tooth saws, tape and presumably a lighter touch, what other precautions might there be to bar shortening? Carbon bars being much thinner than steerers, how does that affect technique? Thought about a dremel with a metal cut off wheel, just not sure if I could get a good angle on the cut line.

    I have some crazy light/thin Mt Zoom bars that are also pretty wide (relative to my old Salsa Pro Moto 1), and not sure if I'll be leaving them stock...

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Thanks for bringing up carbon bars again! So to hijack my own thread just a bit, other than fine tooth saws, tape and presumably a lighter touch, what other precautions might there be to bar shortening? Carbon bars being much thinner than steerers, how does that affect technique? Thought about a dremel with a metal cut off wheel, just not sure if I could get a good angle on the cut line.

    I have some crazy light/thin Mt Zoom bars that are also pretty wide (relative to my old Salsa Pro Moto 1), and not sure if I'll be leaving them stock...
    I would use a blade over a dremel, and if you really want peace of mind the hacksaw blades made for cutting carbon are only ~$10.
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  49. #49
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    I used a mitre box to cut my Enve bars. Taped the area to be cut. Hold the bar so that it does not move while you're cutting.

    Carbon dust is pretty nasty...you might want to wear a mask...but I didn't.

    Just make sure you use a new blade and to measure both sides correctly!

    Nice and clean.

    Cutting steerer-img_20180412_174601.jpg


  50. #50
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    Cutting steerer

    Cool, thx!
    The thin walls of my bar seem a bit fragile, so Iíll definitely be cautious.

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