We recently stumbled upon this incredible DIY seized seatpost remover made by Andrew Lang of Stirling Bike Doctor, and watching videos of it yank brutally stuck components out of frames is our new favourite pastime.
Removing a stuck seatpost is one of the most difficult jobs you can do in the workshop. It most commonly happens when an ungreased seatpost comes into contact with a frame, bonding the two together through a process called galvanic corrosion.
Suggested methods for removal usually range from the reasonable ‘cut-it-out-carefully-with-a-hacksaw’ to the – frankly quite silly – ‘soak-it-overnight-in-coke’ trick. Speaking from experience, none of these is particularly effective or quick.
Andrew’s DIY tool is, by far, the most effective we’ve seen yet and, critically, is also non-destructive, which means it can be used on dropper seatposts.
In short, the tool bolts into the bottom bracket shell of a frame and, using machined split clamps, grabs the seatpost. A plate attached to a threaded rod fits around these clamps and a headset press mounted to the top of the tool works in reverse to pull the seatpost out of the frame.
Watching the tool work is extraordinarily satisfying. In some cases, the force required to get the seatpost moving is enormous, and when it does eventually go – woof! What a noise!
Stuck seatpost removal is not the only unique service Andrew offers – his Instagram feed is filled with fascinating videos of fork steerer and stanchion replacements, as well as loads of photos of his impressively well-organised and well-equipped workbench.
We spoke to him to find out how the tool came into being, as well as to learn more about his other services.
Who are you, what is Stirling Bike Doctor and how long have you been a mechanic?
I’m the owner/mechanic at Stirling Bike Doctor. I started working in a bike shop at weekends and after school as a kid, and have been doing it ever since.
I’ve worked full time as a mechanic for the last 10 years, and the last three and a half years I have been self-employed. I set up Stirling Bike Doctor in 2016 when the last shop I worked for was closing down. I decided to focus on service/repair rather than retail.
What inspired you to make the seatpost removal tool, and how does it work?
I made the tool in summer 2018 as I had three bikes to fix in one week with seized seatposts – two steel bikes with alloy post and one carbon bike with a dropper.
I did not want to spend hours cutting out the posts, and a seized dropper cannot be cut out in a conventional manner. I figured there had to be an easier and quicker way to get out the seatposts.
Over the years I have tried most of the traditional methods of removing seized seatposts but I thought pulling the seatpost in a straight line would be the best method of removal.
I started talking it over with my dad (I am lucky that my dad has had many practical jobs over the years: car mechanic, chassis welder, engineer etc). We decided that pulling should work, but you would need something to anchor too – strapping the bike to the floor and pulling from the ceiling is not really practical!
Mounting the puller from the BB seemed like the simplest solution – there is a steel bar through the BB, with two steel box section legs running up either side with a crossbar welded on top to pull from.
The machine’s split clamps fit onto the seatpost. Stirling Bike Doctor
You need to be able to grab hold of the seatpost, so I bought split clamps on eBay and bored them to size in the lathe – 25mm, 27.2mm, 30mm, and so on.
You also need to be able to pull the seatpost, so I drilled a hole in the crossbar and fitted a headset press. The headset press and the clamp on the seatpost need to be connected and adjustable for different bikes, hence the threaded rod and plates.
The puller was made quickly and cheaply, trying to use as much stuff as I had in the workshop and at home. It’s not a perfect design – it was made to remove those three seatposts, which it did successfully, and I have just kept using it.
I intend to replace the headset press with a large trapezoidal-threaded rod and to weld handles onto a nut. I would like to do the same for the threaded bar adjusters and make it angle adjustable at the bottom for frames with kinked seatposts, but that seems to permanently be on my eternal to-do list.
What’s the hardest seatpost you’ve had to remove?
The tool will not magically remove all seatposts – I will not pull that hard on a lightweight road frame, so I have still cut some seatposts out.
For this, I made a hacksaw blade holder that only allows the blade to protrude a set amount to allow quicker/safer cutting out of seatposts (this prevents you cutting through the post into the frame).
Would you consider producing the remover?
The puller was made to do the three bikes in the shop that week, with some room for adjustment. It’s not a perfect tool, rather made for minimal cost out of what we had, and minimal purchase.
I have been asked to make/sell the puller a few times, but I am very busy with my work. It’s not a complicated design and anybody could make one up.
What other unique services do you offer?
Andrew can also replace fork steerers. Stirling Bike Doctor
Other more unusual services I offer include fork steerer replacement on Fox and RockShox forks.
I buy new steerer tubes from ND Tuned in Portugal and, if somebody has cut a steerer short, or bought a second-hand fork with a short steerer, it can be pressed out and a new one fitted.
I also repair creaky fork CSUs [crown-steerer units] by pressing out the steerers and stanchions, cleaning and refitting with a Loctite retaining compound.
Both procedures are not Fox / RockShox authorised, so would void the warranty, but can be a great option compared to buying a new CSU or fork.
ND Tuned sell 32mm stanchions, or if you are looking for 34/35/36mm stanchions, you want to speak to Dave at RSF Suspension.
I also modify 11-speed cassettes to fit on 10-speed freehub bodies (assuming there is clearance at the wheel).
Thank you so much to Andrew for taking the time to answer our questions. Take this as a reminder to go grease your damn seatpost and make sure to give Stirling Bike Doctor a follow on Instagram – you will not regret it.