This time around in my somewhat regularly scheduled wrap-ups of what’s weird, amazing, or expensive on eBay, we’ve got some crazily expensive and rare bits.
Klein Death Grip tires
It’s a set of Klein Death Grip tires! One of the last two bits that I’m sure the dedicated Klein guy struggles with when he/she wants the perfect bike. The other part being Klein grips, which may be called Instinct grips, or may be called Death grips.
Death Grip grips? Of course.
It’s finally time to talk about Trek.
Starting out in Waterloo, WI, in 1976 with five employees, Trek has grown into a company of 1600, and revenues of $600 million. If you believe Wikipedia that is. First making touring bikes, they moved to road bikes, and marketed their first mountain bike in 1983.
But, as they moved through the Golden Age of Vintage, they did very little to stand out – until the Y-bike was introduced in 1995 at least – making plain steel and aluminum bikes. Compared to the “Canadian” geometry of a Blizzard or Brodie or a Kona, the Treks just looked like small road bikes with more tire clearance.
Couple that with really dull paint styles and colours, and it really felt like they just weren’t trying that hard. A Trek was the bike you bought before you realized what other companies were doing.
But, vanilla sells, so here we are in 2015, and Trek is still cranking out bikes while so many other companies aren’t.
Of course, Trek is the reason why some companies aren’t making bikes any more. In 1993 Trek purchased Gary Fisher – from a Taiwanese company though, not the man himself – and then in ’95 they bought Klein, Bontrager, and set up Lemond with a line of road bikes.
Here’s another candidate for the mythical Mount Rushmore of Vintage MTBs that I mentioned in the Yeti post. Klein wasn’t there right at the beginning like Ritchey or Charlie Kelly, but his bikes today are held in very high regard.
Gary Klein’s bike building career actually began at MIT in the mid 70’s, but Klein the company didn’t start selling bikes until 1985. Very few other builders were using the large diameter aluminum tubes that he was. And what further made his bikes stand out from the rest of the pack was his paint.
Klein’s had bright fades early on like everybody back then did. The Top Gun in red, white, and blue was particularly nice. And later, his paint jobs got crazy. Backfire, Painted Desert, Rainforest, Team Storm, Gator, and Dolomite. I haven’t been able to find a good gallery of all of them, but this website has most of them.
Klein Adroit (rainforest)
They were loud as hell, and some “important” bloggers didn’t like them. But I don’t really like some “important” bloggers, so whatever.