How to make your own headset or bottom bracket cup press

Difficulty: easy

You will need:

  • 5/8″ threaded steel rod (12-18″ long)
  • washers (2 small, 2 large)
  • 2 5/8″ nuts
  • JB Weld (optional)


1. The first step is getting the proper supplies. You can probably find a piece of 5/8″ steel rod at most hardware stores. The tag should tell you the thread spacing, and then you can pick out nuts that will thread onto the rod properly.

You will want to get 4 washers in 2 different sizes. One small and one large one per side of the steel rod.


2. Now, assemble the washers and nuts onto the steel rod as shown in the picture. The small washer goes against the nut and then the large washer goes against the small washer.


3. To make it easier to use, you may want to glue the washers together so they stay centered and don’t rattle around. I used JB Weld on mine, and it helped, but the weld cracked after one use.


4. Hopefully you were able to throw this thing together in a few minutes and spent just a few dollars. Now it’s time to use it!


5. First, place one headset cup part way into the head tube, making sure it is perfectly straight. Then disassemble one side of the tool and insert it through the head tube and reattach everything so the rod is held through the head tube and the washers are on each end of the head tube.

-I usually press in one cup at a time. It’s easier when you only have to deal with one cup.


6. Simply tighten the nuts until the washers are snug against the frame. Make sure the headset cup is lined up and continue to tighten the nuts until the cup is pressed firmly into the frame.

You may have to finish the job using the hammer and block of wood method, but this tool will have gotten the cups lined up so you are less likely to press the cups in crooked.


Note: If this scares you, take your bike to the local shop and have them install your headset using their expensive cup press!