Gary Klein is no stranger to controversy. His unique oversized Aluminum bicycles have garnered more than their fair share of praise and criticism, innovation and imitation, aesthetic kudos and ugly duckling comments, and through it all Klein bicycles have kept on doing what they do - and doing it better every season.
To the bicycle world the name Klein stands for fat tubes. Gary Klein turned his college education into a business and managed to set the design world on end. The fat tubes of the Klein, which are now a trademark, weren´t allways so readily accepted. What the scoffers didn´t realize was that the jumbo aluminum tubes of a Klein allowed it to be as strong as steel, exceedingly rigid and marvelously light. In today´s era of alternative materials (carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium and matrix composites) a lot of people forget that aluminum is the most successful alternative ever used. Gary Klein not only recognized the alloy´s potential, but he spearheaded the design movement that made its use possible.
DID HE INVENT IT?
No, Gary Klein didn´t invent the aluminum bicyle, but he invested in it. Time, energy, creativity and innovation have advanced the aluminum bicycle from those early, cobby and crude beginnings to the art form that it is today.
The 1990 Klein Attitude is a bike that has benefited from Klein´s unfailing devotion to aluminum. A close perusal of the Attitude is like taking a trip through Gary Klein´s scrapbook, for it abounds with all the innovations, tricks and craftsmanship that have made Klein the most popular oversized aluminum bike on the off-road rider´s wish list. Gary Klein isn´t living in the past, though - he is moving forward, and in a year that will see designers serve up radical new elevated chainstay bikes, titanium featherweights and multi-material composites, the Attitude outshines them all with its evolutionary new concepts.
Take a tour of the Klein Attitude with the MBA wrecking crew.
FIRST STOP: THE TRUCK SCALES
What does it weigh? It is light, and it is honestly light. What do we mean by that ? In the past we have tested super-light Kleins, but a lot of the weight savings came with the use of off-road-mirrors - sleight of-hand-tricks like Huret Jubilee derailleurs. Jubilees are wonderfully light, but not too durable. Past Klein ´diet´ bikes didn´t weigh much, but what you saved in pounds you lost in time locking for replacement parts in roadie shops. Not so for the Attitude !
Hitting the infallible MBA scales at 23.75 pounds (with water bottle, cage, clips and straps), the Attitude is incredibly airy. There are no time trial parts, drilled derailleurs or French components on the Attitude. It is equipped with ´real´ parts, the kind you could actually risk going off with for a day in the boondocks.
NEXT EXIT: THE FORKS
Take a close look at the Klein aluminum forks because you are seeing mountain bike history in the making. No other big-name manufacturer would dare put aluminum forks on their bikes. No one ! Gary Klein did, and he should be applauded for it. Why ? Because all the other builders steered away from aluminum forks due to fear. Fear that the forks wouldn´t be strong enough, that they would fatigue from the flex and that they would be ugly. The Klein Attitude´s forks are ugly. To make aluminum forks strong enough to take the fear out of riding with alloy blades to have to make them big. The thought to putting really ´big´ forks on their bikes drove other builders away, but Gary Klein has never veered away from anything fat. Fat forks were a natural extension of his original fat frame.
We think that Klein aluminum forks are a bold move. By using 1-5/ 8-inch tubes spundown, the Klein forks have a constant wall thickness of .058". The steerer tube is a humongous 1-9/ 16 inches. Given the oversized