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if it doesn't have the crown race installed on the fork (its a small metal ring with a seat for the bearing)- i'd pass - give it to the shop. U do need that crown race installer thingo... dunno if there is a ghetto way of doing that... maybe if you had 11/8" plastic pipe somehow...

crown race below:

also, the shop will correctly tighten up the compression bung, and then the stem (hopefully)... despite the simple instructions on the interweb, many first timers mess it up.

parts of the headset:

The big black bits are the cups that should be firmly attached to your frame headtube... the cartridge bearing (hopefully) will fall out the bottom along with the spacer as you can see in the pic. The top cup contains much the same stuff (ex the silver crown race you can see in the pic obviously) that will also pop out when you withdraw the fork from underneath. Not too many parts, nor difficult to replace.

btw, even though i don't know labour rates in the US, i still think the rate quoted is fair - as long as the shop has a great rep re: its mechs.

You need the headset tool (hundreds of dollars) to extract the race on your old fork, press it onto the new, cut the steerer and repack the h/s (easy). Then set the stem tension. An experienced mech blitzing the job would prolly take 20-30min.
 
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