How to Assemble a Giant OTC Headset

The headset is the piece of a bike that connects the front fork to the frame of the bike. The headset is composed, in part, of a ring of bearings, which are what allow you to turn smoothly when riding a bike. Though the over the counter, or OTC, headset will differ depending on what model of Giant bike you have, most modern headsets are built the same way--with a threadless design so that frames and front forks can be swapped and interchanged.

Things You'll Need

  • Allen key set


    • 1

      Remove the headset parts from their packaging and put them somewhere safe where they're all together and won't get lost.

    • 2

      Insert the bottom of the headset, called the crown race, onto the fork. The crown race is tapered and should be inserted with the wider side down. The crown race shouldn't be confused with the dust cover, which looks similar but should be bigger than the crown race.

    • 3

      Slide the bottom headset cartridge bearing onto the crown race. The beveled edge should be facing up.

    • 4

      Slide the lower head tube race onto the fork, on top of the bottom headset cartridge bearing. The larger end should fit snugly onto the bottom headset cartridge bearing.

    • 5

      Insert the fork up into the head tube on the front of the bike frame.

    • 6

      Insert the upper head tube race onto the fork, this time with the narrow end of the race pointing down into the head tube.

    • 7

      Insert the upper headset cartridge bearing into the upper head tube race with the beveled side pointing down.

    • 8

      Place the compression ring into the cartridge bearing with the narrower end fitting into the cartridge bearing.

    • 9

      Slide the dust cover on with the wider end facing down and covering the previously installed parts.

    • 10

      Slide the stem, which is the part that joins the headset to the handlebars, onto the fork. The gap that's left between the top of the stem and the top of the fork should be about 3 millimeters or less. If it's more, take the stem off and insert a spacer onto the fork.

    • 11

      Place the top cap on the very top of the stem. Thread the top cap bolt into the hole in the top cap and down into the stem. Tighten it with the appropriate size Allen key.

    • 12

      Tighten the two bolts on the side of the stem with the appropriate size Allen key.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're unsure about which part is which, it helps to look at pictures or at the installation manual that should have come with your Giant headset.
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  • Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

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