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  1. #1
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    Anyone ever seen a big Klein?

    Okay enough with all the threads for steel boat anchor vintage bikes. Maybe you've got a Cinelli, maybe it is a repainted Windsor, but at the end of the day it is still just a steel lightweight in name only. Okay, sure, there were better framesets and clearly better framebuilders but in reality what you still have is just plain' ol' steel. I'm saying that the master framebuilder badging is for the most part "paint only" on lugged steel bikes. Very rarely were these ever really built by the grandmaster with a torch in one hand and a cappuccino in the other the way so many would envision. I've always wanted to sand blast a bunch of epic vintage steel bikes and have discerning cyclists due "taste tests" after riding 'em. I'm betting that a Raleigh built with proprietary 555 or 555SL tubesets is not discernible to one cyclist in a hundred compared to a Mercyx, Cinelli, Masi, Olmo, Colnago, etc. I really think it would be interesting to have CycleArt paint up a bunch of stovepipe bikes as epic rides and paint down some epic bikes as middling bikes. I'm calling it now half this stuff is "cult" propaganda and wanting to believe.

    That's my rant. Feel free to disagree. However, enough about steel. There were actually vintage aluminum bikes being made in the 19th century, let alone the oversized stuff that was USA built at the end of the 20th. I think the epic frames of the era of USA built Cannondale and Klein bicycles are forgotten in the all "steel is real" discussion.

    So I've got a question. Now that USA built Cannondale grail bikes like the old 27" ST series touring ones are becoming harder and harder to find...how many people have actually seen the big Klein road bikes that are supposed to have been built?

    I keep noticing people selling off their vintage Klein and Cannondales to make room for boat anchor junk like Surly Long Haul Truckers and I'm just aghast. That's like trading in your Porsche 911 for a freakin' Kia, for crying out loud. I mean at least get a "good" steel bike. I digress again...

    Back on topic. According to the Klein geometry sheets there were supposed to be some monster Klein road bikes built. I bought one of these once but it turned out to be a run of the mill 63cm Quantum II (I think, it was definitely just a 63cm).

    So has anyone ever actually laid eyes on a Klein that was 66cm or larger? The old Klein geometry charts showed that one of the Stage models and at least one other went big (like 68cm and even 72cm big). So I'm curious if anyone has an anecdote of ever laying eyes on a big Klein, or an actual image.

    I've never seen one, let alone one for sale. Heck I've seen 70+ cm titanium Zinn bikes sold on eBay but never a single big Klein. So I pose the quesion, did they actually exist or were they something that Gary intended to make, but never did?

    Thanks for reading my minority perspective, clearly I get tired of reading the dogma and drivel that Jan spews online and through Bicycle Quarterly, and also what comes out of the cult that Grant built.
    Last edited by mtnbke; 11-15-11 at 04:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member brockd15's Avatar
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    Nope, I haven't seen one, but I haven't looked either.

  3. #3
    Is a real super guy. Henry III's Avatar
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    People ride Klein bikes? I like them after they've been converted...to soda cans.

  4. #4
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I actually see a bit of interest in '80s and early '90s cannondales. Dunno why, cuz those things kinda hurt to ride, IIRC.

    Kleins are pretty rad too and there are folks who dig pre-Trek Kleins especially. The kooky proprietary fork/stem/headset action on the MTBs from back then is a bit of a bummer, though. Gotta really want a klein to deal with that nonsense. Seems like the lowend models always had normal stuff up front, though.

    Never seen a 66cm Klein, myself. Probably had to special order those. Not the kinda thing you'd see on the floor of the LBS.

    As for your challenge, I could easily tell my Pinarello from my old Trek 400T blindfolded. I might be hard pressed to discern Pinarello from my old Univega Super Sport.

    Could you tell the difference between an old Klein roadie and a Walmart Denali with the same wheels/gruppo installed?
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 11-15-11 at 06:50 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Anything larger than 63cm was rare, even in steel, so something that size in a Klein would be extremely rare.

  6. #6
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    mtnbke, Despite their popularity in my area during the late '80 and early '90s I've never seen a Klein larger than ~58-60 cm. I suspect there's some out there, somewhere. Large frames from even the major manufacturers are scarce and I would expect frames from the smaller manufacturers like the pre Trek Klein are even more so scarce. It is the larger frames that would benefit most from big tube aluminum technology so it is an interesting question.

    Brad

  7. #7
    Senior Member joe v's Avatar
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    No, but I've seen a couple of small Giants at my lbs!

  8. #8
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I'm a Cannondale rider, 97 CAD 3 and love it. I disagree with your statement on telling a high end steel ride from a bike boom bike or a cheapy new bike now. I have been lucky enough to own a high end 531 Double Butted and lugged frame and at the same time a blow to mid range bike (at the time) and the International was better riding and handling by far. Just my personal take.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member embankmentlb's Avatar
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    Klein's are very nice riding bikes! My main ride is a 2003 Klein. I also have a 87 Cannondale criterium that i bought new, It' a horrible bike. It vibrates like a tuning fork. It is really bad!! Cannondale made steady advances in design, I am sure the 90's & up dales are also good.
    Panasonic used to make huge steel bikes for the US market.

  10. #10
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    we had a customer who had a 61 or 62. personally I think he was a bit of an idiot but that is beside the point here. the bike was very funky as it was a road bike but had those reversed track style dropouts that Klien was using in the early '90s
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SS, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  11. #11
    Is a real super guy. Henry III's Avatar
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    I'd have to say the same about the blindfold test. My 531db Raleigh Comp is one plushest rides and tracks like it's on rails. I can be doing something with my hands off the bars and then take a foot off just because I can and it steers whereever I want just thinking about it. I'm excited to get my Ciocc back from the painter and build that up before it snows and see what that's like. I'm not much of a fan of aluminum bikes as my Giant OCR1 was horrible on a century I did and they had a carbon fork. I just felt beat up afterward. Not to mention it was still a noodle and I could get the rearend to move enough to touch the pads and I don't run my calipers super tight either. My Colnago is aluminum with carbon seat stays and carbon fork and that isn't that bad to ride. I had a ST400 earlier this year and that thing was stiff. Felt like the thing was cnc'd from a solid block of aluminum.

  12. #12
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    It's been said before, but I'm going to say it again - there are about 1 billion things that go into how a bike rides. You can have mushy aluminum, lively carbon, dead feeling steel, etc etc. I have two 531c bikes, both from the same maker, put the same group on them, and I'd know which is which within a quarter mile. Throw a Schwinn Traveler (1020 tubing) or the Centurion Sport DLX in (Tange Infinity) and I'd still be able to say which was the 531 frame. Now if you took my 531c Gazelle, and my Columbus SL Serotta, that may take me a while to tell apart until I started throwing them both into the corners at speed.

    Back on topic - didn't care a bit for the cheap aluminum frame I owned. Certainly wasn't any Klein or even a later Cdale though. I keep meaning to get over BF member Jsharr's place and check out the mid-80's Cdale touring bike he picked up recently. Can't say I've seen more than a handful of Kleins in person, always thought they were pretty interesting, but not really my cup of tea.

    P.S. - if I threw enough money at it, I could probably build my upcoming custom steel up into a sub 16.5 lb bike without being too fragile. I'm aiming for about the 18lbs mark, which will be plenty light for my needs.
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  13. #13
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    A true Giant of lugged aluminum goodness in the midst of a world of welded aluminum triangles

    Not my Caminargent,but if anyone has one for sale.......
    Last edited by Velognome; 11-15-11 at 09:53 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Trucker Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    we had a customer who had a 61 or 62. personally I think he was a bit of an idiot but that is beside the point here. the bike was very funky as it was a road bike but had those reversed track style dropouts that Klien was using in the early '90s
    I was helping a friend work on one of these. I went to take off the rear wheel and was baffled. I guess some of the pro teams running kleins had problems with neutral support not being able to do quick wheel changes.
    I ride a 62, so I'm always on the lookout for big bikes. I have never seen one but there is one on ebay. Late 80s with shimano 600. Not a bad price, looks like it would clean up really nice with some work. Probably a 62 center to center.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/real-nice-65...item45fe8dbecc

    Looks like he had it listed earlier for 375 with no bids. I bet he would take 300-350 for it.

    /Must not make offer: too many bikes./

    Maybe I could get it shipped to a friends house so my wife won't notice another bike. Damn you ebay!
    Last edited by Trucker Dan; 11-15-11 at 08:42 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member KOBE's Avatar
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    Cannondale made some nice 66cm R400s & R600s up until a few years ago. I have never seen a Klein that large and I look.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    The local coop had a fairly large Klein but not a 66, more like a 64 or so.

    I look too and I once saw a vintage 65-66cm De Rosa at a local cross race. It wasn't being raced and wasn't a cross bike, it was just in the bicycle 'parking lot' of the event. Hopefully I'll find something like that before I'm too old to ride it.

  17. #17
    Larger Chainring Oregon Southpaw's Avatar
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    Heckuva OP.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dovetube View Post
    At times my crotch has thought the title to this thread.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Okay enough with all the threads for steel boat anchor vintage bikes. Maybe you've got a Cinelli, maybe it is a repainted Windsor, but at the end of the day it is still just a steel lightweight in name only. Okay, sure, there were better framesets and clearly better framebuilders but in reality what you still have is just plain' ol' steel. I'm saying that the master framebuilder badging is for the most part "paint only" on lugged steel bikes. Very rarely were these ever really built by the grandmaster with a torch in one hand and a cappuccino in the other the way so many would envision. I've always wanted to sand blast a bunch of epic vintage steel bikes and have discerning cyclists due "taste tests" after riding 'em. I'm betting that a Raleigh built with proprietary 555 or 555SL tubesets is not discernible to one cyclist in a hundred compared to a Mercyx, Cinelli, Masi, Olmo, Colnago, etc. I really think it would be interesting to have CycleArt paint up a bunch of stovepipe bikes as epic rides and paint down some epic bikes as middling bikes. I'm calling it now half this stuff is "cult" propaganda and wanting to believe.

    That's my rant. Feel free to disagree. However, enough about steel. There were actually vintage aluminum bikes being made in the 19th century, let alone the oversized stuff that was USA built at the end of the 20th. I think the epic frames of the era of USA built Cannondale and Klein bicycles are forgotten in the all "steel is real" discussion.

    So I've got a question. Now that USA built Cannondale grail bikes like the old 27" ST series touring ones are becoming harder and harder to find...how many people have actually seen the big Klein road bikes that are supposed to have been built?

    I keep noticing people selling off their vintage Klein and Cannondales to make room for boat anchor junk like Surly Long Haul Truckers and I'm just aghast. That's like trading in your Porsche 911 for a freakin' Kia, for crying out loud. I mean at least get a "good" steel bike. I digress again...

    Back on topic. According to the Klein geometry sheets there were supposed to be some monster Klein road bikes built. I bought one of these once but it turned out to be a run of the mill 63cm Quantum II (I think, it was definitely just a 63cm).

    So has anyone ever actually laid eyes on a Klein that was 66cm or larger? The old Klein geometry charts showed that one of the Stage models and at least one other went big (like 68cm and even 72cm big). So I'm curious if anyone has an anecdote of ever laying eyes on a big Klein, or an actual image.

    I've never seen one, let alone one for sale. Heck I've seen 70+ cm titanium Zinn bikes sold on eBay but never a single big Klein. So I pose the quesion, did they actually exist or were they something that Gary intended to make, but never did?

    Thanks for reading my minority perspective, clearly I get tired of reading the dogma and drivel that Jan spews online and through Bicycle Quarterly, and also what comes out of the cult that Grant built.
    You might want to consider less caffeine.

    And "Gary" didn't build much of anything. After his mommy set him up in business, and with his stolen equipment from MIT, others did the actual work. Have a great day!

  19. #19
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe v View Post
    No, but I've seen a couple of small Giants at my lbs!
    This is funny of course, because "Klein" is German for "small". So "Big Klein" is like the reverse of "Small Giant"

    Biggest I've seen is 63, and I keep track. Still, that's pretty big.
    And anybody who compares these bikes to *Mart aluminum is just a troll.



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  20. #20
    Hoarder Pur Sang non-fixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe v View Post
    No, but I've seen a couple of small Giants at my lbs!

  21. #21
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    And anybody who compares these bikes to *Mart aluminum is just a troll.
    Just speaking the OP's language, that's all. If he's gonna put me on gas pipe with Colnago painted on it, all else is fair game, ain't it?
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  22. #22
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    I regularly see a guy riding a very large orange Klein in my general area, never had the chance to speak to him.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 753proguy View Post
    You might want to consider less caffeine.
    +1
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  24. #24
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    As the Original Poster I don't take stuff personally. What I get frustrated with is the lack of intelligent dialog in cycling. The lemming like shift (no pun intended) from 7 speed to 8, then 9, 10, and now 11. I hope it is not lost on anyone the underlying Spinal Tap amp corollary. I think the intellectually bankrupt stuff that comes out of Jan and his Bicycle Quarterly nonsense makes me fear for the state of the republic, when I realize that the subscribers vote. I understand brand identity, I understand the need for validation, and I understand marketing. However, at the end of the day riding a bike has to at least have a component about what riding the bike feels like along with what the telos of the bike being ridden "is." I think the "steel is real" cult is inane. You'll never find an aspiring roadie trying to qualify for a berth on a competitive UCI squad riding his steel bike. You'll never see a competitive gran tour rider on a steel frame ever again, and there is a reason. Aluminum and then titanium/carbon changed the paradigm. It's almost like the difference between a slant parallelogram derailleur and something beautiful like a Mavic 851 SSC. The erector set derailleur is just hauntingly perfect in every way. It makes any bike its hung on (Joe Bell or CycleArt paint be damned) look undeserving. However, that doesn't mean that it shifts as well as anything even low-end in the Suntour line (I'm thinking even half-plastic Blaze).

    I've owned a Giant OCR1, unfortunately as well. Back in the day ~03-04 Giant was marketing the XL compact geometry frame as fitting like a 68cm (or was it 66cm) frame. Subsequent marketing material introduced a revision to just 63cm (or maybe 64cm). It didn't take me long to realize I owned a "63cm" bike that was just as too small for me as my old 63cm '89 Cannondale series 3.0, which was an epic bike for someone that would actually fit it (I have long since sold that frame off). With Cannondale you can't evaluate the frame/bike until you've actually, at least once in your life, actually ridden one built up with like components to what you actually love. That means that if you have a vintage Cinelli/Colnago/Serotta/Olmo/Guerciotti/Mercyx etc. you have to compare apples to apples. What Cannondale did not ever do (save for the ST series of touring bikes) was match forks to their bike that appropriately matched the bike. Find yourself a series 3.0 Cannondale that isn't a crit version (but don't be confused as non-crit bikes still have cantilevered stays) and take your best build for a 1" threaded fork and move it off of your handbuilt Italian and onto the C'dale fork and all. Then go ride it. It will the fastest bike you've ever been on. It will outclimb anything you've ever ridden and ever will ride again. The series 3.0 was the optimization of the aluminum Cannondale that resulted from Cannondale hiring a Stanford engineer to get them into carbon. Fortunately, he explained that he could transform their frame into something that would be lighter, faster, stronger, and stiffer than anything else. Every CAAD iteration that followed the series 3.0 made the Cannondale less than what it was. The series 3.0 is an insane bike. However, you can't evaluate it until you've ridden one with the components, wheelset, and fork that make the steel bike you love what it is. Put 'em on the series 3.0 and be prepared for insane. It's that good. Everything since climbs slower, sprints slower, and is weaker, albeit but also weighs less.

    However, the purpose of this thread isn't to convert those that are born-again steel lovers. I have strong opinions on aluminum bikes. I'm no Marco Pantani, however. Although I do still squeeze into my old Mercatone Uno bibs when I'm not afraid of getting arrested. I'm nearly two meters and even when I was a competitive basketball player I weighed over 200lbs. I've since ballooned (read got fat). When I was dragging my non-cyclist body on the NORBA circuit in the early 90s I saved up to buy a Bontrager (Pre-Trek) Race Lite. I remember going to buy it. After everything I'd heard from those that absolutely loved the bike (and the Privateer) it just failed to be that, on a test ride. Kind of like riding a Santana after having ridden a Co-Motion or C'dale tandem. Admittedly, my outlier experience (even twenty years ago) is probably not yours. I'm not a typical cyclist in any aspect. My experience on a bike is completely outside the reference frame for almost all other cyclists.

    I use 200mm and 205mm custom cranks (nearly 100cm cycling inseam) that really tax the BB. If a bike has any propensity for flex natively in a 56cm frame, you can imagine what it feels like when the triangles open up on a 63cm frame. I ride between a 68cm and a 70cm bike. I absolutely love vintage Cannondale ST touring bikes (pre-Cannondale optimization of the series 3.0). While they may not be what the 3.0 bikes are, they were made in 27" cm sizes (68.5cm c-t & 73cm to the top of the C'dale trademark extended seat collar) so they actually fit me.

    So take my opinion with a grain of salt, and in context. However, meet me halfway and don't be a mindless lemming that believes that 9/10/11 is "better" what with increased dish, thinner weaker and faster wearing cogs/rings/chains. Don't believe that disc brakes (with smaller diameter actual "rotors" than rim brakes) are "better" than properly set up cantilevers and v-brakes (weight considered). Don't believe that you really need more than about 40mm of front suspension for competitive XC racing (anyone remember when the world champion used a flex stem and everyone not the world champion used front suspension?). A lot in cycling has to do with the need to keep selling stuff and that involves a cycle of marketed innovation that characterizes some epic components into the bin of obsolescence.

    /blah blah blah

    I buy nearly every 27" Cannondale ST I come across. The market for aluminum road bikes >63cm just doesn't exist.

    However, I've seen with my own eyes the Klein geometry charts, and they definitely included bike much bigger than 63cm. Someone out there has to have seen one, read about one, seen one for sale...I've been looking for forever and never had more than 63cm bikes mislabeled as 66cm by people confusing c-c measurements with c-t (oversized tubes make comparing c-t between steel and aluminum problematic, and to a lesser extent even c-c).

    I mean if I one the lottery I could have a Zinn/Paketa. However, I'm just a C&V retrogrouch at heart. Is it even possible to be a retrogrouch concerning Klein considering all the innovative stuff they did (pressed in BB, Mission control headsets/bars, proprietary dropouts, etc.).

    I can't believe I'm so obsessed with finding one of these some day. I mean I don't even like the Gary Klein story. The manner in which he tried to characterize "his" contributions to the oversized aluminum bike development was disingenuous at best. I'm surprised he actually even tried that lawsuit. For those that don't know, there were affidavits submitted in the discovery of that lawsuit that testify that in that MIT class that Gary Klein was late to the party. Upper classmen in that same group had built oversized aluminum bikes and Gary had seen these. More interesting is that Gary's interpretation of what others did before him actually involved small aluminum tubing not the oversized ones the students senior to him had realized gave significant weight/strength/stiffness gains. Gary Klein, justly, lost his suit over Cannondale due to "prior art," meaning that everything C'dale and others had done was out in the public sphere prior to him having adopted it as well. Just for the record.

    However, that doesn't stop me from buying older Klein bikes for family/friends when they need bikes. However, a cyclist can dream that there is one out there somewhere meant for him, and still early on in its fatigue cycles, can't he?

  25. #25
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