Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Visit From An Old Friend

1992 Klein Attitude
Warning: Way Back Machine Post: 

When I started off road biking on an actual  off road bicycle, (as opposed to just riding any ol' bike in the woods), it was on a Mongoose Sycamore. It was an okay bike, but at the time, the shop where I had purchased it had a screaming pink frame with a custom build that would have fit me to a tee, but it was about $200.00 more than I wanted to spend. That bike was super sweet, and deeply discounted.

I always kicked myself for not getting it, and "settling" for the Sycamore. Not that the Sycamore was "bad", it was just barely enough bike for what I was doing then. That pink number was a purpose built single track shredder. It would have been all that I needed.

Well, the Sycamore was showing the kinks in its armor when I took it down to the local bike shop at the time, Advantage Cyclery in Cedar Falls. The owner took me aside and kindly explained how I needed the "right tool for the job" that I was doing. It all made sense. So, in late summer of 1991, I started looking for a new rig.

I got stacks of catalogs, magazines, talked to lots of folks, and the owner of Advantage. Finally, in very early 1992, I decided on a Klein in Sunset Linear Fade.

Do Your Eyes Hurt Yet?
The Sunset Linear Fade was waaaay bright and had pink in it, like that bike I let get away. The cool thing about the paint job was that from a direct front view, it was yellow, from the side- orange, and from the back- pink. It was perfectly eye searing and I thought it was awesome. Yeah- I bought it for the paint job! Well- that and it had a press fit bottom bracket and a press fit, over sized bearing head set. Low maintenance and way ahead of its time.

The problem was- for me- that the frame was ultra-stiff. Crazy stiff! So stiff that even small "G-outs" on our local trails would rebound the back end into the air. I crashed so many times due to this bike it wasn't funny. At least it wasn't to me.

So one day at work a former shop race team bike came in. It was a Park Pre 925 in the neon yellow/blue colors. It was steel, my size, and rode about 10,000 times better than the Klein did. I picked it up and the Klein slowly started getting less and less rides. In a last ditch effort to make it work, I had a custom aluminum spacer machined so I could insert a Softride suspension stem into the steer tube. It helped, but I didn't like the weird monkey motion that it induced. 1996, I sold the bike.

I knew it was still in town, and I am amazed to say that it pretty much, (with exception of the rear wheel and saddle), is exactly the way I had it in 1996. It came in for servicing the other day, and I got to clean it up one last time.

Just like the old days. See ya down the trail, old friend!


SS:Mntbiker\Olskoolrodder said...

You just can't beat that,memories coming back for one last hello :) Cool beans,my friend!

MG said...

Good stuff buddy. You know I shared a similar passion for the Klein bikes for a spell... Gary Klein is really good guy. Those early Attitude models were pretty brutal though. I had the predecessor to the bike you owned and it was tough to hold onto in the rough, but the advent of suspension did wonders for later versions of the bikes... Good memories and beautiful bikes.

Dan O said...

Pretty cool having your old bike return for a visit.

I had an online version of the story occur for me. A few years ago, sold off my '91 Bridgestone MB-Zip, since it was collecting dust. Sold via Craigslist to a local shop who planned to display it.

They wound up selling it, then the current owner cruising the web found my blog story on it. He's now riding it, not displaying it. Much better then it collecting dust...