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My First Complete Bike Build

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My First Complete Bike Build

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Old 01-05-18, 11:24 AM
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My First Complete Bike Build

Still very much work in progress but the extremely cold temperatures hasve given me a chance to work inside. They've covered the greens at our golf course until the daily low temperatures will get in the 30s so probably another week or so of missing my daily 18 holes of walking. It's good cross training for keeping the legs active and the weight down, not to mention the social aspects.

Background on bike decision:
I'm still trying to find my "niche" in this cycling stuff. I've had the opportunity to do a little of everything and have enjoyed it all....except for single track MTB. I seem to like longer rides and those with destinations. I've done some of the more difficult daily centuries (11,000' of climbing, steep hills etc.). I've done multiple 200 miles in one day. I've done long tours (multiple supported tours, ridden across the US etc.). I've even done a week long tour on a tandem. I enjoy riding in new places and especially like having a destination, particularly new areas I haven't ridden if all that makes sense. It tends to keep cycling fresh for me.


I've been really curious about gravel bikes. On my XC trips there were a number of times I could have taken a dirt/gravel road but my 23/25 tires and road bike setup just wasn't the right vehicle for it. There are a lot more rails to trails out there I haven't ridden and more being developed. There are a lot of dirt roads in the West/Midwest (Colorado, Montana etc.) that would be fun to explore. I need a bike that will be more versatile than what I have in the current fleet. I'd like to have a bike with a road bike setup but would take me off road and also give me the ability to do some "light" self supported touring. The gravel bike seems to fit that description for me. There are more and more folks in our local cycling community who are starting to ride off road in the Western NC mountains and really enjoy it.


So I did a little research (not extensive by any means) but I liked the idea of a titanium frame that was designed for a rear rack. Lynskey (Chattanooga) ran a special on their frames and bikes late last year so I jumped on it. I haven't had the opportunity to ride one so I relied on feedback on those who've ridden earlier models, some of those were local riders who I know well and could count on their information. First decision was to just by the frame/fork or a complete build. The complete build was a pretty good price so hard to turn down, but from previous bikes I've bought I knew there would be things I'd prefer to have different than stock. Things like the saddle, bars, gearing etc. So I made the decision to just get the frame and fork and build it up with the help of friends. I enjoy doing that kind of stuff anyway......


Components:
I wanted to go with a Shimano Ultegra 11sp groupset for a few reasons. It was pretty serviceable if I had issues on the road, a good product and the groupsets were pretty reasonable. When I bought the frame they were plentiful. However I waited a few weeks to purchase the groupset just to make sure the brakes on the frame were indeed going to be flat mounted and not post mounted. That was a bad decision. When it came time to place the order you could not find a groupset with post mounted brakes at a reasonable price. I'm even hearing from our local LBS it may be a good while until Shimano supplies their orders and they are really frustrated with them right now.



So I finally wound up buying components in "pieces". I got all the groupset except for the shifters from one supplier and found shifters and brakes with another. I think I purchased their last set but I had to go with post mounted brakes and adapters to mount the calipers to a flat mounted frame.

I'm still waiting on the shifters to arrive from Europe and along with Light-Bicycle carbon rims from China. They will be built with Hope hubs by my local wheel builder.

It's great having the internet and youtube to guide you on how to build it up.

More details later but here a few photos:


Frameset-Large Size

IMG_0337 by joe price, on Flickr


Rear mounts

IMG_0339 by joe price, on Flickr

Nice graphics

IMG_0451 by joe price, on Flickr

Fork with crown race installed

IMG_0455 by joe price, on Flickr

My cheap crown race tool

IMG_0453 by joe price, on Flickr

Bottom Bracket installed

IMG_0440 by joe price, on Flickr

Replaced the 36 chain ring with a 34

IMG_0446 by joe price, on Flickr

Crankset installed

IMG_0450 by joe price, on Flickr

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Old 01-05-18, 11:34 AM
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Specialized Zertz seatpost with setback

IMG_0445 by joe price, on Flickr

Lynskey sent the FSA headset with the frame. It is a carbon steerer tube so I need to use expander nut on the right. The star nut is for alloy steerer tubes. They had already installed the cups on the headset.

IMG_0459 by joe price, on Flickr

Going with Centrelock hubs-these lock rings are the wrong ones! Need tightener ratchets around the outer diameter

IMG_0462 by joe price, on Flickr

Hope hubs

IMG_0463 by joe price, on Flickr

Current state-waiting on shifters. Band on Front Derailleur is on. The stem is on temporarily until I figure out where I want the steerer cut. I'll wait to mount the RDto keep it from being bent.

IMG_0461 by joe price, on Flickr
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Old 01-05-18, 12:07 PM
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This is great!

Originally Posted by jppe View Post
FSA headset came with the frame-carbon steerer so need to expander on the right
Can you explain this more or help me understand how the headset/steerer/stem hold together?

Maybe the FSA frame-carbon steerer is something I've not heard of.


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Old 01-05-18, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
This is great!



Can you explain this more or help me understand how the headset/steerer/stem hold together?

Maybe the FSA frame-carbon steerer is something I've not heard of.


-Tim-
Well when it's written the way I wrote it I can completely understand the confusion. I've edited it to say:

Lynskey sent the FSA headset with the frame. It is a carbon steerer tube so I need to use expander nut on the right. The star nut is for alloy steerer tubes. They had already installed the cups on the headset. (the star nut is a part of the standard headset package so they added the one expander nut for carbon tubes. It essentially works like any other headset. I'll wait to put the expander nut on the steerer until after I get it cut.
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Old 01-05-18, 02:18 PM
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I have this mounted close by when I THINK I know how things go together only to have to undo it and start over!!

IMG_0435 by joe price, on Flickr
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Old 01-06-18, 04:54 AM
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Hello, thanks for the enjoyable thread.

Kona has a Ti Esatto frame (built by Linksey) on sale and I was considering a similar project. Already spending money like a drunken sailor, so I think it will have to wait, but...

Best of luck on the build,
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Old 01-06-18, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Can you explain this more or help me understand how the headset/steerer/stem hold together?

Maybe the FSA frame-carbon steerer is something I've not heard of.
A star nut digs into the inside of the steer tube. Since carbon tubes are sensitive to physical damage, that's something you don't want to do. That expander thingie presses on the inside of a carbon steer tube firmly enough to adjust the preset on the headset bearings. Once set the stem clamp, of course, is the primary preset retention.
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Old 01-06-18, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
A star nut digs into the inside of the steer tube. Since carbon tubes are sensitive to physical damage, that's something you don't want to do. That expander thingie presses on the inside of a carbon steer tube firmly enough to adjust the preset on the headset bearings. Once set the stem clamp, of course, is the primary preset retention.

Well put. That's why I'm leaving it off until I get the steerer tube cut. It doesn't provide any preset tension unless you have enough spacers above the head tube to allow it to put force on the bearings.

Question for anyone. Has anyone seen specifications for the maximum height of a carbon steerer tube above a headset? I don't want to go too high as I have this underlying concern about the steerer tube weakening at some point. I guess the spacers provide a good bit of support but the last thing I want is for the steerer tube to break off while I'm descending at 50 mph.......

On second thought not that I don't value everyone's opinion I think I'll check with Lynskey since it's their fork.
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Old 01-06-18, 08:50 AM
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I was not aware you could get a 30 chainring for Ultegra. Do you mind sharing where you got it?
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Old 01-06-18, 09:12 AM
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Nice build thread Joe, Lynskey frame sets have intrigued me for a while now. Ti is a good choice, it will be nice for many years to come. I believe you'll like the Ultegra group, my 6800 with rim brakes is the bee's knees, on my CAAD 10. I'll be really interested in your wheel build choices being put into play. Hope hubs seem a great choice, never heard of your rim choice though. Should be educational to follow this thread.

Bill
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Old 01-06-18, 09:17 AM
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Lynsky or Litespeed, now that is the question. What isnt the question is the cool factor of TITANIUM.

Nice build you have going. Are you dreaming about that first ride??
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Old 01-06-18, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Planemaker View Post
I was not aware you could get a 30 chainring for Ultegra. Do you mind sharing where you got it?
Good catch and my bad. It's a 34 not a 30.......I had 30 on the brain as that's ultimately what I'd really like. I've corrected it.

My gravel buddy tells me "34 is all you'll need"......Yeah right. He's a lot younger than me and prefers standing to sitting in the saddle when climbing. A 34 will be okay for me with my 11-34 cassette for 90% of what I have planned so I'm going to give it a try to start with. However I think a 46/30 will be in my future at some point.

I've suggested to some component manufacturers they need to make 30 chain ring compatible with Ultegra....
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Old 01-06-18, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Nice build thread Joe, Lynskey frame sets have intrigued me for a while now. Ti is a good choice, it will be nice for many years to come. I believe you'll like the Ultegra group, my 6800 with rim brakes is the bee's knees, on my CAAD 10. I'll be really interested in your wheel build choices being put into play. Hope hubs seem a great choice, never heard of your rim choice though. Should be educational to follow this thread.

Bill
Thanks Bill! I'm super stoked about the wheels. I've run FarSports Carbon wheels from China on my Pinarello and probably have 30,000 miles on them with minimal issues. The only thing I've done is replace the bearing on the rear wheel, which doesn't have anything to do with rim durability.

I started down the road of alloy rims with a very similar profile of HED Ardennes. However when my wheel builder got the rims in, they had gawdy decals on them and he couldn't get the decals off like he normally could. When we were debating wheels we had also talked about carbon rims and he showed me some that he rides. However I was going cheap as my first choice until I figured out overall use..... with the idea that I might add some lighter carbon wheels later. So I'm immediately going to Plan B as we changed plans and are going with Light-Bicycle Carbon rims. They look really solid built up and are pretty versatile. They were more $$$ but heck, let's do it right the first time around!!

The profile is 21 mm inside width and a whopping 28 mm outside. They are 36 mm deep. That should provide a really solid foundation to ride on about anything. They are also tubeless compatible which is how my gravel buddy runs them. Although I'll probably start with tubes as that is what I know best......If I get the same service from these as my FarSports I'll be thrilled. My gravel buddy wheel builder is high on them and that is all the recommendation that I need as he is very particular with this components.

The only downside to these rims as they can be more difficult to get tire over the rim....but I'm dealing with that with my FarSports carbon wheels so nothing new for me there.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on delivery. They have sent me the tracking information and they are somewhere between China and the US right now. Until they clear customs I don't have much more detail which is unnerving.

Here is their web photo---mine will NOT have the stickers.

road-bicycle-rims by joe price, on Flickr
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Old 01-06-18, 02:08 PM
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In my initial post I mentioned customizing components. A few of them are wheels (already discussed), handlebars, stem, saddle, seat post and gearing. I'm sure a stock bike would have been fine but I tend to personalize the components to fine tune the ride. I also have shown where I changed the small chain ring to a 34 as it came with 36.

I wanted carbon bars to help a little with road dampening. I also wanted a different width from stock. I found a great deal on an Easton EC70 AX bars. Here's their web info: Easton's new EC70 AX bars were designed with gravel and adventure drop bar bikes in mind and with these fitted you'll be able to hang on in the corners faster than ever. They feature a 16-degree flare on the drops to give you much more control on loose terrain. This flare makes the width at the drops a full 68mm wider than at the hoods, keeping your wrists away from your knees when you're sprinting for the line. Constructed from carbon fibre for the ultimate in stiffness and low weight.

I like the idea of the flared drops as that should provide a little more stability on descents. I have the 44 cm width. I might just get another set for our tandem. I have Easton bars (and stems) on several of my bikes and really like them.

Not the best of photos but maybe it will help show how the drops flare out a little. They also have a shorter reach which I like.


IMG_0470 by joe price, on Flickr



image1 by joe price, on Flickr

image2 by joe price, on Flickr
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Old 01-06-18, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Are you dreaming about that first ride??
Oh yeah. I'm really looking forward to it. One of my buddies got rid of his road bikes and just rides his gravel bike now. He has the Lynskey GR250 or previous model to mine. I wonder if this new one would be up to taking me on another cross country trip??????
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Old 01-06-18, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Good catch and my bad. It's a 34 not a 30.......I had 30 on the brain as that's ultimately what I'd really like. I've corrected it.

My gravel buddy tells me "34 is all you'll need"......Yeah right. He's a lot younger than me and prefers standing to sitting in the saddle when climbing. A 34 will be okay for me with my 11-34 cassette for 90% of what I have planned so I'm going to give it a try to start with. However I think a 46/30 will be in my future at some point.

I've suggested to some component manufacturers they need to make 30 chain ring compatible with Ultegra....
I'm following this thread closely.

I have the Litespeed Gravel bike (almost bought the Lynskey) and love titanium.

Interestingly enough, I am in the process of going from a 50/34 to 46/30. I'm also considering the Easton carbon bars as well.

Could you share a link on where you picked up the good deal on the bars?
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Old 01-06-18, 06:21 PM
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I don't think anyone complains about a ti ride, unless:
the fit is bad or
An early model with skinny tubes that were whippy for larger riders

Congrats on the build.
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Old 01-07-18, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Planemaker View Post
I'm following this thread closely.

I have the Litespeed Gravel bike (almost bought the Lynskey) and love titanium.

Interestingly enough, I am in the process of going from a 50/34 to 46/30. I'm also considering the Easton carbon bars as well.

Could you share a link on where you picked up the good deal on the bars?
I had too look at my build sheet. I picked it up from bikestiresdirest.com. I think it was $179 but I had several discounts that dropped the price a good bit more than that.
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Old 01-07-18, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Well put. That's why I'm leaving it off until I get the steerer tube cut. It doesn't provide any preset tension unless you have enough spacers above the head tube to allow it to put force on the bearings.

Question for anyone. Has anyone seen specifications for the maximum height of a carbon steerer tube above a headset? I don't want to go too high as I have this underlying concern about the steerer tube weakening at some point. I guess the spacers provide a good bit of support but the last thing I want is for the steerer tube to break off while I'm descending at 50 mph.......

On second thought not that I don't value everyone's opinion I think I'll check with Lynskey since it's their fork.
The maximum is usually 40mm or less. 30mm, 3 standard spacers, is just about always okay.

Ask them about a spacer above the stem. Some forks seem to require it, to keep the stem from clamping right at the the top of the steerer tube. I have a 10mm above my Whisky fork, partially to allow future adjustments.

I cut my own steerer. Checked it about 5 times on the bike with the spacers and stem ... paranoid I'd cut it too low. Marked the top of the spacers and stem stack with a silver sharpie, then drew the cut line approx 3mm below that.

I clamped a hardware store hose clamp as a guide. Outdoors for the carbon dust, I used a very fine hacksaw blade, and extremely light pressure -- I was probably much too worried about fracturing the carbon. Just the blade itself, no hacksaw frame, going around and around. It worked fine. I suppose the bike store guys don't think twice with experience, and just chop right through it.

Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I don't think anyone complains about a ti ride, unless:
the fit is bad or
An early model with skinny tubes that were whippy for larger riders

Congrats on the build.
It's interesting to compare my carbon bike, with 25mm actual width tires (23mm tires on wider rims) with similar 29mm (25mm tires) on my Ti bike. Lower pressure on the 29mm, of course. The Ti just seems to absorb bumps, where the carbon bike is kind of loud on bumps. And the Ti is quite amazing with 38mm Compass tires, just floating over very rough chipseal. I'm looking forward to trying those tires on real gravel.

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Old 01-07-18, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
The Ti just seems to absorb bumps, ..... And the Ti is quite amazing with 38mm Compass tires, just floating over very rough chipseal. I'm looking forward to trying those tires on real gravel.

I can 100% agree with 'Ti just seems to absorb bumps'.
I compare with my CF bike and the feel is different. Road wheelsets are interchangeable for me, so over several years of riding them, (I think) I'm comparing framesets and the Ti is somehow silkier in feel. The Calfee rides a lot like new OS steel = road vibrations muted resulting in good "road feel"; the Ti then makes it silky.


I think once the tire size exceeds 33mm the frame material becomes (for ride quality) immaterial. And even for 30-32s if you run reduced tire pressures.
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Old 01-08-18, 10:53 AM
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I reached out to Lynskey on the maximum lengths for spacers around the stem. Their feedback was 35 mm maximum from the stem to the headset and 5 mm above the stem. Interestingly my stem in its current temporary position is 33 mm so I really don't need to change it very much unless I find the bars to be too high.
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Old 01-08-18, 11:48 AM
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Here are the tires I plan to use initially. Until I ride the bike on different roads I just don't know what I'll eventually use but these should get me started. I generally prefer Continental 4000sII (or latest model) on my road bikes so I picked up some 700x28s. Those should be great for mostly road and a little dirt. Heck, I could probably run 25s but with the 28 mm outside diameter of the rims that just seems strange.

I also got some Kenda Happy Medium 700x35 mm tires thinking those might be good to start with on the more "gravely rides". I had a hard time deciding on 32s, 35s and 40s but opted for the 35s. My clearances allow me to ride up to a 45 tire. My buddy rides 40 tubeless and loves it. Who knows, I might get there one day but you have to start somewhere.

I think the 35s should be pretty versatile on the trail rides I have in mind. They shouldn't be that gravely, muddy or hilly so these should fit the bill.

Anybody running gravel tires they especially like?


IMG_0479 by joe price, on Flickr
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Old 01-08-18, 03:12 PM
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My experience is only with 2 sets of light off-road tires, both knobbies, both tubulars. Schwalbe Racing Ralph (33mm?) and Challenge Grifo (32mm). Not even sure if they are current models.


Durability on both is good. I bought them 2nd hand after a team had ridden them for 'just over a year or so'. I have had them 3 years. I ride a 30mm road tire for very hard packed surfaces where there might be some gravel. But on Forest Service type roads and where there may be large/deep gravel or sand (or mud which I try to avoid) the 33mm knobbies can be marginal.


Good luck. Tires are an easy swap based on your destination.


So -- to answer the question -- gravel tires they like??? It depends, on How Gravely? 35s are a good start, but for off-road NC in the Spring = wider is more versatile for the courageous.
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Old 01-08-18, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Good catch and my bad. It's a 34 not a 30.......I had 30 on the brain as that's ultimately what I'd really like. I've corrected it.

My gravel buddy tells me "34 is all you'll need"......Yeah right. He's a lot younger than me and prefers standing to sitting in the saddle when climbing. A 34 will be okay for me with my 11-34 cassette for 90% of what I have planned so I'm going to give it a try to start with. However I think a 46/30 will be in my future at some point.

I've suggested to some component manufacturers they need to make 30 chain ring compatible with Ultegra....
FWIW I have what you are thinking about. 46/34T with 11-34T will be enough for 90% of what you need BUT if I were to do it again I would go to a 11-36 cassette if you haven't bought your cassette yet. I wish that I had one or two more gears for those 8-10% climbs. Ultimately I would like to go to the 46/30T (who makes this BTW) in the future but have not decided if I want to drop the $$$ for a new crank just yet.

Nice build...
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Old 01-09-18, 05:15 AM
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Great thread Jppe. I've always enjoyed build my own bikes. The sense of accomplishment is strong.

One tip that might be worth a try. In addition to bikes I still race RC race cars and there is a finish treatment for carbon frames. We treat the cut edges of the chassis plate with thin CA glue to seal the cut and to prevent de-lamination. I have not had the opportunity to try this yet as I haven't used a fork with a carbon steerer tube yet. Perhaps someone else has heard of this and can comment. On the cars, just a couple of drops spread along the cut surface with a toothpick is all it takes. Just don't get heavy handed a create a build up on the outside of the steerer tube.
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