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1998 Klein Navigator - CRAZY repaint and retro-mod

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1998 Klein Navigator - CRAZY repaint and retro-mod

Old 02-04-18, 08:21 PM
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1998 Klein Navigator - CRAZY repaint and retro-mod

My girlfriend was getting tired of her main bike (an old Surly Crosscheck she's had for years), so I suggested we find a cheap older bike, strip the paint, repaint with Spray.Bike, and rebuild with some new parts. I found a 1998 Klein Navigator on Craigslist in a 56cm and brought it home. We stripped the parts, spent hours stripping the tough Klein paint and primer with paint thinner and razor blades, and then spent many more hours implementing her crazy design with Spray.Bike paints.

Overall we were really happy with the results despite a slightly lumpy texture in spots (we left some spots of the old primer) and a little paint bleed here and there due to our amateurish execution.



The Navigator was only made in 1998, I believe this was after Trek had bought Klein but before they moved Klein production from Klein's original Washington facility to Trek's Wisconsin facility. It is a sports touring bike with rack mounts, a steel unicrown fork, and came with mid-level components, including Shimano 600 bar ends, Dia Compe V-brakes and levers, a Sugino touring crankset, etc... And Trek's Icon cockpit, which was ultimately recalled due to stem cracks.

The previous owner had upgraded the bike to STIs, Ultegra 6600 cranks, 105 5500 derailleurs, a Ultegra/Mavic wheelset, a Thomson seatpost, and XTR V-brakes for use as his commuter. Unfortunately I don't think he realized that the STI levers are short pull while the V-brakes require long pull levers. The braking power was horrendous.

Anyway, we cleaned and reused the 105/Ultegra drivetrain (ISIS bb/cranks!) and XTR brakes, but put new Velo Orange PBP wheels on, along with a 1" threadless Soma chrome CX fork, Salsa Cowbell IIs, Cane Creek V levers, Dura Ace 9 speed bar ends, a short Easton stem, a Tange/IRD 1" threadless headset, new Ergon saddle, Panaracer 35mm GravelKings, and the new Serfas ribbon bar tape.













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Old 02-05-18, 03:21 AM
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Great find and well done on the wacky balls paint job! It all works in a very crazy way. Plus, you have some very nice parts on it that somehow are a bit stealth. The Octalink Ultegra triple is a favorite of mine (and I have another one now!). How does it ride?
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Old 02-05-18, 04:21 AM
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Love it.

Where's the bar tape from?
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Old 02-05-18, 05:10 AM
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Great build! What is girlfriend’s verdict? Your component choices are thoughtful, urging many follow up questions. The V-brake levers with the XTR V brakes look like they would work really well. Same with the 3x9 Ultegra/105 drivetrain - brilliant!

I remember hearing about the Klein Navigator. You all are lucky to have one as these are rare. Much more versatile frame than the Performance touring frame which used rim brakes. Love the concept on the paint job - funky & fun for sure. Just curious how bad the original Klein paint was and what the original paint color was.

Also, I have to ask about the angled rack mounts inboard on the seat stays. Is the intention that the rack mounts for a rear rack be bent to fit?

Please give a follow up review of how it rides.
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Old 02-05-18, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Love it.

Where's the bar tape from?
It's the new Serfas EVA-backed ribbon tape. Lots of colors and patterns.
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Old 02-05-18, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by masi61
I remember hearing about the Klein Navigator. You all are lucky to have one as these are rare. Much more versatile frame than the Performance touring frame which used rim brakes. Love the concept on the paint job - funky & fun for sure. Just curious how bad the original Klein paint was and what the original paint color was.

Also, I have to ask about the angled rack mounts inboard on the seat stays. Is the intention that the rack mounts for a rear rack be bent to fit?

That's the stock look for the Navigator. Navy blue. Our frame came looking like that. The paint was in good shape but rather boring.
The angled rack mounts are meant to be used with a rack with flat bendable tangs. Not sure why they did this. Maybe to keep the tangs out of the way of the V brake arms and noodle?

Test ride is pending due to the large amount if snow just dumped in our area. I'll update the thread later.
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Old 02-05-18, 07:34 AM
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Thanks for your prompt response. Yes, I remember seeing photos of that blue paint. I’m considering a repaint on my white 1989 Klein Quantum frame that I recently acquired from eBay. For now, I rubbed the paint out with Meguiar’s Paint cleaner on an old kitchen scrubby sponge, going over the frame 2 or 3 times then switching to Meguiar’s cleaner wax. It cleaned up pretty nice so I’m going to run with it for now. I considered using paint stripper then trying to polish the bare aluminum but that will have to wait for another winter when hobby time is more plentiful.
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Old 02-05-18, 08:25 AM
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Looks cool, followed your other thread here. A couple questions

- Did you do any sanding?

- They say one larger can is enough for a bike, then a can of clear. What would you think I would need if just doing one color + clear? It's just a 57cm frame and steel fork on an old beater.

I'm tempted to spend $50 on my old beater and repaint with the fluoro orange they offer.

Edit - 57cm not inch

Last edited by GrainBrain; 02-05-18 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 02-05-18, 08:30 AM
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Tell us more about your experience with Spray.Bike. I'd never heard of it before. Any idea on durability?

oh...just saw the other thread on Spray-Bike.

Last edited by John Nolan; 02-05-18 at 04:13 PM. Reason: to report on other thread
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Old 02-05-18, 11:23 AM
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I like.... I think the bleed on the star look on purpose and artistic.....go ahead and steal that thought and run with it
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Old 02-05-18, 04:39 PM
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I love it. It reminds me of a Landshark or some of the funky Yo Eddie paint schemes.

I never understood those dropouts though
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Old 02-05-18, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
I like.... I think the bleed on the star look on purpose and artistic.....go ahead and steal that thought and run with it
I agree. The bleeding star is just right.
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Old 02-05-18, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine
I agree. The bleeding star is just right.
I thought it was on purpose! I like it.
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Old 02-05-18, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain
Looks cool, followed your other thread here. A couple questions

- Did you do any sanding?

- They say one larger can is enough for a bike, then a can of clear. What would you think I would need if just doing one color + clear? It's just a 57cm frame and steel fork on an old beater.

I'm tempted to spend $50 on my old beater and repaint with the fluoro orange they offer.

Edit - 57cm not inch
We did not sand in between coats. One can + clear should be plenty for 1 frame.
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Old 02-05-18, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll
I love it. It reminds me of a Landshark or some of the funky Yo Eddie paint schemes.

I never understood those dropouts though
Wow, what a compliment! Yeah, the rear facing dropouts are sorta weird. I'd be afraid to see what happened if someone didn't clamp the QR tight enough...
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Old 02-05-18, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread
Wow, what a compliment! Yeah, the rear facing dropouts are sorta weird. I'd be afraid to see what happened if someone didn't clamp the QR tight enough...
Neat bike, cool and original paint. What kind of stencil did you use for the tubing ends at the BB? That area in particular looked very cleanly done.

Actually, the results would be worse on a set of forward-facing DOs if you forgot to clamp the QR tightly. There have been a couple stories here where rear wheels came completely out of the frame. How difficult is getting the rear wheel out of the frame with those rear-facing DOs? It looks like it would be a PITA.

DD
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Old 02-05-18, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude
Neat bike, cool and original paint. What kind of stencil did you use for the tubing ends at the BB? That area in particular looked very cleanly done.

Actually, the results would be worse on a set of forward-facing DOs if you forgot to clamp the QR tightly. There have been a couple stories here where rear wheels came completely out of the frame. How difficult is getting the rear wheel out of the frame with those rear-facing DOs? It looks like it would be a PITA.

DD
We used sticker paper for the foxtail pattern. The gf drew the pattern and then cut each shape out with an exacto, and then we stuck it onto the frame. Worked great except when we had to take it off. The adhesive was too strong and left lots of torn paper and adhesive on the frame. We spent a couple hours with Goo Gone and razor blades getting rid of the residue. Lesson learned, just used masking tape.

I haven't actually had to remove the rear wheel with chain on yet. I took the old chain off before removing the original wheel and put the new chain in after installing the new wheel XD
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Old 02-05-18, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread
I haven't actually had to remove the rear wheel with chain on yet. I took the old chain off before removing the original wheel and put the new chain in after installing the new wheel XD
I hope you don't have any issues, but if you do please share here. I've always kinda wondered that Klein made a road frame with rear-facing DOs as it would seem difficult to repair a flat without removing the chain.

DD
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Old 02-05-18, 10:44 PM
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Apart from the rear-facing dropouts, I'm seeing a 1990 Cannondale ST here; OS aluminum tubing, longish chain stays, canti/V-brake posts, steel fork w/mid fork rack braze-ons. Nothing wrong with that. Since C-dale swiped the basic design from Klein in the early 80's I guess turnabout is fair play. It's funny to me, since my ST came to me with V-brakes, not original to that bike. I swapped in cantis, with a lot better modulation (for me). The V's were too grabby.

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Old 02-06-18, 02:36 AM
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I like it!

Sorry if I missed it, but did your do the fading on the fork too? Because it looks great.
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Old 02-06-18, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Lovenutz
I like it!

Sorry if I missed it, but did your do the fading on the fork too? Because it looks great.
Yep, we did the fades on the fork, with the crown and dropouts masked off.
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Old 02-06-18, 08:01 AM
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The fork is very cool. Great job, she'll be proud to ride it!
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Old 02-06-18, 09:27 AM
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I like that you went completely off the rails on the paint scheme! My LBS has a late 90's Klein Quantum , and by then, the wacky early Klein paint schemes seemed to be a thing of the past

Yours looks original and fun !
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Old 02-11-18, 09:52 AM
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That would get her free beer at the Dairyland Dare. No doubt.
Heck, BBC would ask $3000 for it.

Super cool. Super setup. Would be great to see you in August.
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