Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Klein Quantum II built by Adelaide artist David Hume

Klein Quantum II

Gary Klein was a cycling visionary who produced his first bicycle frame when he was studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the 70s.

Known for their oversized aluminum tubes and gregarious paint jobs, Klein Bikes was swallowed up by the Trek Bicycle Corporation in the mid-90s and when an old school specimens become available, they’re quickly snapped up.

Adelaide’s David Hume is an accomplished artist, and he acquired this fine example of the Quantum II, one of Klein’s road models, produced mainly from 1989 till 2002. Klein fans are a passionate bunch, whether they’re inclined towards on, or off-road riding, because in their day, they were highly regarded in both disciplines.


David tells the story of how he came by the Quantum II: “This 20 year old Klein Quantum II frameset had never been built up — it was the classic barn find. I love Kleins — my main ride is a 1997 Klein Quantum Race. I was not looking for a new bike, but a friend found this and didn’t want it; there was no way I could pass on this frame.

“The Quantum II has the oversized and ovalized tubing common to Kleins of the time. This one has alloy forks — which I think look fabulous, by the way. The frames of this time were transitioning from alloy to carbon forks and external to internal cabling. The simpler Quantum with external cabling and round tubes was also sold at this time, as well as the Quantum Pro with carbon forks.

Klein Quantum II

“I was adamant that I would be building it to ride regularly and the build would be worthy of the frame. At the same time I did not have any spare money to throw at the project, so it had to be a sensible build. These frames have press-in bottom bracket bearings with a square taper axle, so that limits the choice of crank.

Klein Quantum II

“I thought of trying to hunt up immaculate used bits or NOS, but I decided instead on all new current components. Reliability and a nice ride were key considerations. So were aesthetics. To be sympathetic to the frame and its age, the build had to be entirely done in silver alloy, so that meant a Campy Groupset.

“Initially I was hesitant about starting at the bottom of the range with Veloce, as I had no experience with Campy. When the bits arrived, with new square taper crank and all, I was very happy with the decision. It’s nicely made and very simple and elegant. The other thing I wanted was shallow 32 hole rims (and silver hubs of course) which all the Kleins of the day had.

Klein Quantum II

“Mavic Open Pros seemed the obvious choice, and I found these nice Miche/Mavic wheels which are understated and look nice I think, as well as being good value. I’ve been looking at this bike daily for over a month and I’m still blown away by the paint. The red is stunning. It was the standard color for this frame, but the way they were painted makes them special.

“There’s a complete yellow undercoat given to the frame, with stencils applied for the logos, and then the red is painted over the top. The stencils are then peeled off to reveal the yellow, and this also gives the red some extra pop. On the road, it’s great. It’s a big, old-fashioned bike, not the lightest on the street but it fits me well, it’s comfortable and handles beautifully.”

If you’re riding around the Adelaide Hills, keep an eye out for David upon his Quantum II — he won’t be hard to miss. And if you’ve a taste for riding off-road, he’s set up a mini-site about his experience riding the Mawson Trail, a 900km MTB trail running from the Adelaide Hills to Blinman in the Flinders Ranges, and has painted about it as well.

Klein Quantum II