Klein Bikes

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Klein Bikes
Founders Gary Klein
Defunct 2009 (2009)
Headquarters Chehalis, Washington
Products Bicycles
Parent Trek Bicycle Corporation

Klein Bikes was a bicycle company founded by Gary Klein that pioneered the use of large diameter aluminium alloy tubes for greater stiffness and lower weight.

Klein produced his first bicycle frames whilst a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the 1970s, and full production runs of frames began in the 1980s. In 1995 the company was purchased by the Trek Bicycle Corporation, and the original Klein factory at Chehalis closed in 2002 as production moved to the Trek headquarters at Waterloo. Widespread distribution in the United States stopped in 2007, and ceased altogether in the rest of the world in 2009.

History[edit]

Seatpost badge on a Klein Quantum, saying "Made in Chehalis, WA"
Seatpost badge on a Klein Quantum

Gary Klein, born (1959-06-09) June 9, 1959 (age 55), attended the University of California at Davis before transferring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[1][2] During the Independent Activities Period in 1973, a group of students including Klein worked together under Professor Buckley to produce an aluminium framed bicycle.[3] After analysing a number of contemporary steel frames, and examining ones that had broken in use, they were able to determine the stresses placed on a bicycle frame.[3] Faced with limited availability of aluminum alloy tubing, the students chose to construct frames from 6061 aluminium alloy seamless drawn tube.[3]

After graduating from MIT in 1974 with a degree in engineering, Klein took a business course for entrepreneurs.[4] As a keen cyclist and Category II road racer, in 1975, he built a limited run of aluminium alloy framed bikes at the MIT Innovation Center, using a US$20,000 grant provided by MIT and US$1,000 of capital from each partner.[1][2][5] The prototypes, with larger diameter tubes and thinner walls than those produced in 1973, were displayed at the International cycle show in New York in the February of 1975.[3]

A Klein Adroit in Burgundy Blue

The next year, he relocated to some disused buildings on his parents' farm in San Martin, California that had previously been used for dehydrating prunes.[3][4] In 1977, he patented use of large diameter aluminium alloy tubes to increase stiffness,[6] and in 1980, he moved from San Jose, California, to Chehalis, Washington.[4][7] He started production runs of road bicycles in the early 1980s and mountain bikes in the mid 1980s.[3]

Whilst Klein's use of aluminium for a bicycle frames was not entirely novel, his use of large diameter tubes was.[1][4][note 1] Aluminium alloys have a Young's modulus around a third that of steel, but with thicker tubes he was able to make a bicycle that weighed around 15% less than a conventional model.[1][8]

In 1995, Trek bought Klein bikes, after Klein found it hard to compete without the sales network of a larger company in place.[7][9][10]

At its peak, around 250 people worked at the Chehalis plant, but operation gradually moved to the main Trek factory in Wisconsin.[9] In 2001, a workforce of around 70 people produced 15,000 to 20,000 frames a year.[7] In 2002, all production moved to the Trek headquarters at Waterloo, Wisconsin.[11] Bikes were still sold under the Klein name until around 2009 in Japan, but widespread distribution ceased in around 2007 in the United States.[9][12]

A green Klein mountain bike can be seen hanging on the wall in Jerry Seinfeld's apartment in the television show Seinfeld.[13]

Innovations[edit]

Rear triangle of a blue Klein Mantra
Rear triangle of a Klein Mantra
Bottom bracket and suspension linkage of a bright orange Klein Adept Comp
The bottom bracket and suspension linkage of a Klein Adept Comp

Some off-road models featured one-piece welded stem-bar combinations, marketed as "Mission Control" (MC), that eliminated clamping bolts and excess material.[14] The original version, MC1, used a quill stem and required a 1 inch (25 mm) threaded steerer.[15] MC2 used a locknut tightening against a collet that sat between the fork steerer and the stem, and a special eight pointed wrench was required to remove it.[14][16] The steerer had to be cut to the correct length in order to adjust the height of the stem.[14] MC3, produced 1996-97, did not have the handlebar attached.[14][17]

Klein held a patent (US 5433465 ) for an improved method of routing cables through the frame of a bicycle, that reduced aerodynamic drag and stress on the frame.[2][note 2] The front and rear derailleur cables were routed through the down tube, and the rear brake cable through the top tube, although some models changed in 2002 to top tube cable routing for greater harmonisation with Shimano components.[2][14]

In the 2002 model year, Klein replaced 6061 aluminium alloy with a new alloy called ZR 9000, that used zirconium in place of chromium.[18][19][note 3] Advertised improvements included a 190 grams (6.7 oz) decrease in weight per frame and a fatigue life five times longer than the 2001 model year frames.[2]

Techniques[edit]

Klein bicycles were famous for their paintwork, and offered a large number of custom colours and patterns.[14][20] The paint used was a Durethane enamel non-metallic paint that cost up to US$1,800 per gallon.[14] The Klein logo was debossed into the frame by painting the frame in the colour of the logo, then applying a mask and painting the pattern.[14][21]

Beginning with the MC2 frames, Klein used "Gradient tubing", where the wall thickness varied along the length and diameter of the tube.[2][14] Highly manipulated chainstays on mountain bikes allowed a tighter rear triangle to accommodate large off-road tyres, and facilitated efficient transfer of power.[22]

Welded aluminium require to be heat treated in order to restore strength lost in welding.[2] After heat treatment, frames were required to be aligned to within 0.004 inches (0.10 mm) on all alignment surfaces, and were then machined to within 0.0002 inches (0.0051 mm).[2]

Models[edit]

Klein produced both mountain bikes and road bikes.[23]

Models are sourced from the official catalogue for that particular year. Years marked dim are incomplete due to a lack of reliable source information.

Model '84 '85 '86 '87 '88 '89 '90 '91 '92 '93 '94 '95 '96 '97 '98 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08
Adept[note 4]
Adroit
Advantage
Aeolus
Agile[note 5]
Attitude
Aura
Criterium
Fervor
Karma[note 6]
Kirsten
Mantra
Mountain Klein
Navigator
Palomino
Panache
Performance
Pinnacle
Pulse
Q-Carbon[note 7]
Q-Elite
Q-Pro
Quantum
Rascal
Reve
Stage
Team
Top Gun
References [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [24] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47]


[edit]

German cycling team Gerolsteiner rode Klein Quantum frames before 2003, when Gerolsteiner changed their bike sponsor to Wilier Triestina.[48][49][50] In 2002, Klein were also sponsoring Team Lombardi in San Francisco,[51][52] Rishi Grewal[53] and the USPS Masters Cycling Team.[54] For the 2004 season, Klein sponsored the Jittery Joe's cycling team.[55][56]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Aluminum had been used previously in Monarch bicycles produced in the 1940s and by ALAN of Italy.[3]
  2. ^ Earlier patents for internal cables, such as US 4585246 , also exist, and the Klein patent specifically covers the entry and exit points of the cable.
  3. ^ 9000 series alloys are those that have not been assigned numbers.[2]
  4. ^ The earlier Adept models were hardtails; in the 1992 catalog it is described as "multi-use."[24] The ones produced in 2001 and 2002 were full suspension mountain bikes.
  5. ^ The Agile was a modified Adept, with a drop bar for cyclocross use. Only a very small number (two or three) were ever made for Klein team racers.[25]
  6. ^ The earlier Karma produced in 1998 was a full suspension mountain bike, whereas the later ones were commuter bicycles.
  7. ^ Distinct from the Q-Pro Carbon

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Gary Gordon Klein". Advameg Inc. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "2002 Technical Service Manual". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Art of Bicycles". kleinjapan.com. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Bob Woodward (March 1987). "Mountain Man". Backpacker. 
  5. ^ "Klein Bicycles: Gary Klein". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  6. ^ US patent 4500103, "High efficiency bicycle frame" 
  7. ^ a b c "Washington Bicycle Makers Are in High Gear". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. 15 July 2001. Retrieved 19 May 2014.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Modulus of Elasticity - Young Modulus for some common Materials". The Engineering ToolBox. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Roy Wallack; John Maynard. "Gary Klein". Switchback. 
  10. ^ "Press Release to Trek Organization Dealers" (Press release). bikepro.com. 16 June 1995. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Klein Bicycles Moves to Waterloo". Totalbike. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "SPOTLIGHT ON KLEIN". Chain Reaction. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  13. ^ David V. Herlihy (2004). Bicycle: The History. Yale University Press. p. 368. ISBN 9780300120479. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Klein Attitude evolution". oldklein.com. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Archival Review of Klein Mission Control Bar / Stem Combo". .bikepro.com. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Partially disassembled MC2 clamping mechanism". archive.org. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Klein Mission Control 3 Threadless Stem: Black MC3 85mm". bikerecyclery.com. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "A material designed for bicycle frames by Gary Klein". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Trek Bicycle". totalbike.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  20. ^ AdamsMorioka (2008). Color Design Workbook: A Real World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design. Rockport Publishers. pp. 110–111. ISBN 9781616736514. 
  21. ^ "Handcrafted Science Makes Klein Bicycles Superior". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  22. ^ Tom Walz (November 1985). "The Mountain Klein". Bicycle Guide. 
  23. ^ "Klein Models". oldklein.com. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  24. ^ a b "1992 Klein Catalogue". retrobike.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Klein Agile". oldklein.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014.  and they do not feature in the catalogs.
  26. ^ "Klein Bicycles". mombat.org. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "Klein Catalogue 1986 Page 2". retrobike.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "1988 Klein Pinnacle". mombat.org. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1988 Mountain Bike Specialists Catalog". archive.org. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "1989 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  30. ^ "1990 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  31. ^ "1991 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  32. ^ "1993 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1993 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  33. ^ "1994 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1994 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  34. ^ "1995 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1995 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  35. ^ "1996 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1996 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  36. ^ "1997 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1997 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "1998 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1998 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  38. ^ "1999 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "1999 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "2000 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2000 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  40. ^ "2001 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2001 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  41. ^ "2002 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2002 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  42. ^ "2003 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2003 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  43. ^ "2004 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2004 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  44. ^ "2005 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2005 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  45. ^ "2006 Klein". BikePedia. Retrieved 25 May 2014.  "2006 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  46. ^ "2007 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  47. ^ "2008 Klein Catalog". vintage-trek.com. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  48. ^ "Davide Rebellin's Gerolsteiner Klein Q-Pro Carbon". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  49. ^ "Klein and Gerolsteiner Move to Division I". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  50. ^ Chris Henry. "News for November 24, 2002". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  51. ^ John Crumpacker (7 September 2001). "TO BEAT THE BEST / Lombardi Sports cycling team has a lot riding on an S.F. race that features Lance Armstrong". SFGate. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  52. ^ "Ofoto/Lombardi Sports: New U.S. professional cycling team for 2002". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  53. ^ "Rishi's Comeback Journal Entries". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  54. ^ "USPS Masters Paint Job". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  55. ^ "Cesar Grajales' Jittery Joes Pro Cycling Team Klein Q-Pro XX". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  56. ^ "Klein sponsors the jittery joe's pro cycling team". kleinbikes.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 

External links[edit]