Monday, February 13, 2017

1987 Klein Pinnacle "Kleiningham" - Cunningham Approximation

Picture this, it's 1987 and maybe you've been on a waiting list for a Cunningham for some time, or more likely you don't have the money to have Charlie make you a frame. All your friends have the best of steel bikes, but you really want to show them up with this new trend of Aluminum bikes. So, what do you do? You improvise... you buy a brand new Klein Pinnacle, you get Steve Potts to make you one of his famous Type 2 forks and stem, fillet brazed no less and you bejewel the bike with the best that WTB has to offer. The result is what has been affectionately dubbed a Kleiningham. 

This particular bike is interesting from two perspectives, the first is the obvious one and the second is that it's one of the earliest Pinnacles on the books, #12. While there aren't too many unique features between this Pinnacle and another early one it's need to see that one of the first ones on the market would end up with this 'conversion'

While the Pinnacle hasn't earned an aggressive reputation in the history books of Mountain bikes, this one looks particularly rad. Rather than completely restore and polish the frame, repaint the fork and stem I decided to leave the bike's patina intact. In my opinion it really works and gives the bike the appearance of careful use and maintenance. Nothing on the bike was beyond saving and the only replacements made were to improve and complete the original package.

The original build on this bike is largely intact with the only changes coming in the form of a rear WTB Speedmaster roller cam brake and a pair of WTB Classic Grease Guard wheels (which I actually got from Gary Klein many years ago). The rest of the build is pretty much straight Shimano M730 with a 600ex short cage rear derailleur and a Deore front derailleur.

I toyed with  using a pair of Cunningham slo release levers on this bike, but ultimately decided that Shimano XT QRs would do, I suppose a nice pair of Specialized QRs might be a bit better.

The cockpit is pretty busy on this bike. A factor of both a cut down set of IRD Aluminum bars and the extra mounts for the Nightsun team light.

Specialized forged touring cranks received some minor modification to relieve the stress concentration around the transition from the arms to the spider much like most Cunningham or Potts bikes of the era.

The thing that caught my eye about this frame was the crazy large cable stop with the funny hole. That's a feature that was common on early Mountain Kleins, but was ultimately replaced by smaller and sleeker cable stops on later MKs and most Pinnacles. The dropouts appear to almost be handmade, and all the welds are just seem to be smoother than I'm used to, especially for a bare bike.

The Nightsun system is not original to the bike, but I think it looks really awesome and provides an extra bit of

Three downtube cables were common on early Kleins with a chainstay mounted u-brake, but were largely phased out by the late 80s.

Double downtube inlets and a beefy gusset between the downtube and headtube were unique to the early Pinnacles and Mountain Kleins. Personally I really like the execution of the double inlet, it makes the bike stand out from the later Kleins and is not a feature that I've seen on any other bike.

I've been turning out bikes at a rapid clip recently and while I make it a point to not build bikes that I wouldn't want to throw a leg over, lately that just hasn't been an option. In this particular case though I may have to make an exception. Although this Pinnacle is a bit too small for me, I think I can make it work for a short ride and intend to give it a whirl before sending it off to its new home!

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