BICYCLE DESIGN PART 3

Picture courtesy of www.oldklein.com

Picture courtesy of www.oldklein.com

The Devil is in the detail.  

Following on from last week, I posted 2 items that Klein had as standard on their frames. The pressfit bottom bracket and oversized headset. Getting something simple takes a lot of work and it is often the details that make the whole design appear simple. 

Take a moment to look at the above picture.  Go past the paint and the anodised parts and you will see the attention to detail over every part of this frame design.  This is what made Klein desirable.

Designer solutions:

KLEIN had one of the most desireable MTB and Road brands from the 1980's to 1990's.  And no one painted a frame like Klein.
Klein was responsible for developing large tube thin-walled aluminium frames in a market that was full of 4130 steel.
However Klein was more than oversized tube manipulation, Gary Klein was also a head of the game with frame detailing.

Headset = patented oversized bearings much like todays aheadset system

Bottom bracket = pressed bearings, much like todays pushfit bearings

Disc brakes = Hayes direct mount, much like the new "flat mount" adapted for Road discs.

Internal cables = some people hated this, but bespoke frame builders are returning to this as it does keep the frame design looking clean.

For the mountain bike, this was the point of purity and simplicity.  Where everything had evolved to a point where it cannot go much further.  Any other developments at this point would be considered "unnecessary".  

But this is not the way that the industry works and unfortunately suspension came along, complicated things and diverted customer focus into the promise of comfort.  
The above mentioned details were not adopted by the rest of the industry, so when Trek bought the Klein brand they reverted to standard components.  At the time there was no reason for Shimano to change their components to meet one suppliers requirements.Ultimately the market moved on and customers valued "complex yet comfortable" over the "simple and functional".  

Over the last few decades there has been the development and adoption of more "standards" and some of these look very familiar to a Klein owner.  There was a few simple USPs that made a Klein special, detailing was just one of them...

Steven OlsenComment