Making a Modern Bike Resemble a Retro Classic

Nov 4, 2018
by Gustav Gullholm  



Winter is approaching fast, and I have plans to train a little bit more seriously for the 2019 season, so it was time to figure out what to ride over the next six months. Winter riding where I live in Sweden means a wet and muddy, with some months of ice and snow in between.

My first thought was to use my "World's Lightest Scott Scale," but even though I'm all about "bikes are meant to be ridden" it felt a little like overkill for a winter training bike. I started looking at alternatives with a more decent price tags and came across the Scott Scale 950. It checked a lot of boxes: A pretty light aluminum frame, a Fox 32 Rhythm fork, Boost spacing front and rear, and it had solid components. Last, but not least, dual bottle cage mounts. Scott also offers the carbon framed Scale 940 at the exact same price with a simpler spec, but personally, I'd rather ride a good fork, brakes and parts, rather than to go carbon just for carbon's sake.
.
I ordered one and while waiting for it to arrive, I realized that I couldn't resist doing something fun with it. I really do think the bike looks good straight out of the box. You can't go wrong with black and yellow accents, but to me, a new bike is a blank canvas...

2019 SCOTT Scale 950 New bike for winter training and to have as backup for the others. Not many components will change but some details along with a new paint job is coming up.
The blank canvas: 2019 SCOTT Scale 950.
The inspiration: 1990 Klein Attitude, Team USA/Dolomite. Photo credit: Unknown

bigquotesThe first thing that crosses my mind when I think of colorful is Klein. The classic brand that, during the 90's, put out some of the wildest and most iconic paint jobs the mountain bike world has ever seen.

My Inspiration:

Since most of my winter training is done when it's dark outside, this felt like the perfect time go wild with colors to brighten things up a bit. After going for a really clean look on my previous builds, this felt like it'd be a lot of fun to do. The first thing that crosses my mind when I think of colorful is Klein. The classic brand that, during the 90's, put out some of the wildest and most iconic paint jobs the mountain bike world has ever seen. You truly can spot one a mile away.

Being born in 1986, I was just a kid when Klein was in their prime, but the first time I saw a picture of one as a teenager I just went "Wow." There's just something about them, and my favorite was the 1990 Klein Attitude in Team USA/Dolomite colors. Some might think it's a really stupid idea to take an iconic Klein colorway and put Scott logos on it, but to me it's a tribute. I want a modern bike to ride. Trying to get an original 26" rigid Attitude is out of the question, and Klein is not in business these days, so no way to buy a new one. I think the first few Black Sabbath albums are pretty much the holy grail, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy listening to a good cover.


From Idea to Finished Bike

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Couldn't resist to make some fun of most people's (including mine) fear of scratching their brand new bike.

After having the "before" photos taken, I immediately started to completely disassemble the bike. I like a DIY approach and since this isn't a dentist-level bike (when it comes to price) I was of course going to do the paint myself. I'm no expert, but common sense and a little bit of experience can take you a long way. When it comes to painting, prep work is just as important as it is time consuming. So, I spent quite some time sanding everything down to get a decent surface for the new paint, and then started to apply the primer.

Getting ready for some color


Unfortunately, the rest of the story turned out to be a classic example of "Learn the hard way" with most things that could go wrong, going wrong.

Not having time to order and wait for proper stencils for logos I went for a slightly backwards approach. This meant painting the color of the logos first. Then apply die-cut decals. Paint the frame and then remove the decals to reveal the logos. That's not the right way to do things, but normally it works out alright. But the green and pink color difficult to apply, and it turned out that the neon colors didn't like to be applied at all on anything but the primer itself.

Everything worked like a charm with the white paint, but the neon color crept and cracked leaving a mess. I managed to save the fork and its painted logos, but I had to start over with the front half of the frame. With some irony in regard to my "NO SHORTCUTS" pledge, I had to take a shortcut here and go for decals instead of painted logos. That still nags the perfectionist in me, but it would have to do. The paint was finally finished, and after a lot of wet sanding and polishing, I could start to assemble the frame kit.




Team USA Dolomite

SCOTT Scale 950 in 1990 Klein Attitude Team USA Dolomiti colorway.
At times, I averaged at least ten curse words per minute


Time for the Components

When it came to components I already knew there were some small things I'd have to change. To get the handlebar height right, I replaced the stock stem with a negative-17 degree 90mm Syncros XR1.5 along with their nicely integrated Garmin mount. I borrowed my Berk Composites seat from my other bike, since this simply is the most comfortable seat I've ever owned (despite being a 60 gram piece of carbon). I came across some perfectly retro looking Schwalbe Nobby Nic's and got my favorite Syncros Tailor 1.0 bottle cage with the slight side entry.

That was going to be it, but to no big surprise, my weight weenie side still managed to get the best of me. Placing the SRAM NX Eagle cassette on the scale made me go full Jim Carrey (see video below). Don't get me wrong, I love 1x drive trains and I really think that SRAM NX Eagle is great, since it makes the technology more affordable and available to even more riders. But, when you're used to your rear wheel weighing 590g and running a 265g SRAM XX1 cassette, this was just too much to swallow. So, I ordered a much lighter Garbaruk 11-48T cassette and their wide range compatible derailleur cage for my new 11-speed SRAM GX derailleur.

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Somewhere in all this craziness, I got the idea that it'd be fun to color match the derailleur as well. One lunch break later, I had a bunch of small-parts in front of me. To finish the drive train, I decided to borrow my super light Tune cranks with their 38T Garbaruk chainring until I need it for a race bike in spring. Better to use them than to have nice parts boxed away for six months.


SRAM GX derailleur disassembled for painting.


Garbaruk's wide-range Cassette is half the weight of the NX.





So, Here's the Result:





First ride: Scott Full Retro 950

After the first couple of rides on it I'm positively surprised. Of course, it's a really nice bike, but you have to remember that I'm coming from riding a sub 7kg Scott Scale RC 900 SL. The 900's frame alone weighs 1kg less and costs twice as much as this complete bike - and there's something to be said about how a really good carbon frame and super light carbon seat post help against vibrations and improve comfort.

The Scale 950 doesn't feel quite as responsive and it's simply not as fast, mostly due to heavier wheels and tires. But, this is a training bike. When the snow comes and you start using studded tires, it's just about heart rate and training hours anyway.

On the other hand, it handles very similar to my "dentist" Scale 900 SL and with a light wheelset, it'd be really close. I feel comfortable on the bike, the aluminium frame is stiff and lets me put the power down, the Fox fork is supple and I'm already having lots of fun on it.
I don't have a matching riding kit yet. Luckily, my regular clothes match quite well

bigquotesLife's too short to not have the bike you really want, so go full... anything you want.Gustav 'Dangerholm' Gullholm

What's Next?

With this project finished it's time to start planning for a new cross country super bike to ride and race in 2019. The goal is to try and build the best and fastest bike ever, so that's going to be a special one.
My Scott Genius is still in progress, and will see a remake before finally being properly presented some time during this winter. A Genius, with just three visible cables, if all works out. Feel free to have a look at my Instagram to keep up with those projects.

My newest build makes a colorful addition to my stable of "Dentist bikes."

I hope this might inspire some of you to have some fun and customize your bikes a bit. Warranties and resale value aren't everything. Life's too short to not have the bike you really want, so go full... anything you want.




Must Read This Week

121 Comments

  • + 145
 I put anodized screws on my bike once. Customisation has no limits.
  • + 206
 I bet they weren’t derailleur screws.

Those things really have their limits.
  • + 19
 @SickEdit tap into your inner rebel and unleash the fury with some matching cable end caps
  • - 4
flag whilgenb (Nov 5, 2018 at 8:10) (Below Threshold)
 @g123: I see what you did there. . .
  • - 4
flag npinder2002 (Nov 5, 2018 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 @g123: I like what you did there.
  • + 8
 Best paint job ever was David ‘Tinker’ Juarez Klein Adriot factory racer with purple storm paint and Purple anodized everthing from the early 1990's.

www.cycleexif.com/klein-adroit

Close 2nd was the Fat Chance.

factoryjackson.com/2017/02/01/fat-chance-yo-eddy-mtbflashbacks
  • + 1
 @krypto8: Chance will still paint it like that.
  • + 1
 Yea once I had a merlin handrail and every aluminium part war in margenta - pink wow that was flashy back in the days... have a kind of awakening these days with the specialized enduro Elite in pink
  • + 32
 Next year every bike will look retro after this. Thats the best paint job I've seen since 1985. Such a Thriller.
  • + 24
 Looks rad. It sounds like you didn't mean to, but painting the logos the way you did is actually period correct. Almost all of the old Klein's were "debossed" or painted using a positive mask instead of a negative mask, or stencil. I used to own a paint shop and we had a bunch of those come through from Second Spin Cycles. Awesome D. I. Y. job!
  • + 13
 Thanks a lot, both for the kind words and for that little history lesson, love to hear about small details like that!
  • + 4
 @bicyclerider: dude, I love your articles/projects. They are inspiring and bring a smile to my face.
  • + 11
 Reminds me of the Wade Simmons Rocky Mountain Pipeline video.

“This is quite possibly the best paint job that Rocky has ever done.”
“Yeah, we made you one last year...”
  • + 9
 Now that i've seen the down tube drops below the bottom bracket leaving an open ended tube presumably for internal cable routing. I can't unsee it and personally i hate it (the downtube design that is) its like the frame jig was made by a blind man!
  • + 5
 Scrolled up to see what the hell you were talking about, now I really wish I hadn't
  • + 3
 Apologies to blind people i'm certain they would actually get it right. But either way that's either very simple or half arsed frame design.
  • + 1
 @Andy-ap: really easy to route cables, so that's nice. And you don't see the opening when you're riding
  • + 3
 holy fuck, i hate you. thanks for that
  • + 6
 Love this! I'm all about custom bikes. I like the quote of "life's too short not to have the bike you want, so go full anything you want". I live by that mantra.
  • + 2
 I think we can all use a bit of that advice, thanks dude. Pension plan, I'm sorry.
  • + 12
 I've met way too many people who doesn't even dare to cut the spacer tower above their stems because they think they'll lose potential customers the day they're selling it. Better to live in the present and at least to some extent build your bike exactly as you want it!
  • + 3
 @bicyclerider: a fork should be blown the f up and creaking from the csu by the time you sell it anyway. cut that sht!
  • + 7
 now i need to google garbaruk 11-48T cassette.
  • + 3
 Same. I was hoping that they produce an XD driver version that I can use with a Shimano drivetrain. No dice.
  • + 3
 I had a Klein Adept back in the day, and the logos were "recessed" into the color. This leads me to believe that they were originally done just like these. Logo color first, then the color (mine was the white/silver fade), then a clear to protect it all.

The white "Klein" logos on the carbon seat stays were vinyl, though.
  • + 1
 Thanks, appreciate the info!
  • + 2
 nice bike Gullholm. as pretty as the klein attitude was, you wouldnt want 1 for actual riding as they were renown for cracking, although you can still find them fairly easily. UKs david hemmings had 2nd place junior DH at durango 1990 uci worlds on a klein attitude. which must be the least likely downhill bike ever

i'd be curious to hear how the gabaruk cassette deals with winter riding. I could save a big chunk of weight replacing my sunrace mx80 cassette with a gabaruk, but i log a lot of miles & the sunrace is around 1/3 the cost

as others have commented, debossed was how Klein did the decals back in the day

I was surprised when you sold the spark & scale; i'm really looking forward to seeing what you replace them with. Unno Horn?
  • + 2
 Definitely rather ride a modern bike like this, but they were cool nonetheless and nice to hear about some old stories like that!

Time will tell how the Garbaruk cassette deals with winter, but I've been very happy with my Garbaruk chain rings and hopefully this is just as good.

Unno would really be the only alternative I'd consider, but the plan is to build a new Spark. A little less weight focused (but still very light of course) and more about just building a super fast bike. I also have some quite unique ideas for looks and cable routing, we'll see.
  • + 1
 @bicyclerider: thats interesting to hear your views on the replacement Spark. where there any parts of the previous sold Spark that you wouldnt do again?
  • + 1
 @scantregard: Honestly the absolutely biggest reason for building a new one is simply that I enjoy building bikes, and after two seasons it'll be fun with a fresh start as well as to try some ideas I have. Didn't break a single thing on the Spark so all the parts worked well, it'll be more about refinement and test some different things. Things like getting slightly wider and stiffer wheels, perhaps try a different shifting/cassette system and then some more extreme solutions for cable routing and looks as I mentioned. Lots of ideas and if I can make it all work out it'll look and ride like no other bike out there.
  • + 2
 Fantastic work! I used to own an Ibis Trials with a paint scheme that wasn't far off - it was a bit more muted/pastel than the Klein take, but no less ridiculous. I found some grips that were blue w/ white stars and it was pure style.
  • + 2
 Bicycle art is my favorite! I so hope the days of standardized murdered out of the box goes away after seeing this. it makes me think of how some brands are actually trying to offer custom-ish colors like the Transition, Specialized and going away from boring black.
  • + 1
 That seat-post head is the worst design ever. Like a saddle rail guillotine.... think my weight-weenie friends helped certain saddle companies to record profits for a few ears until they finally came to their senses. Or finally got rejected for warranty.
  • + 1
 Speaking of Retro vs Modern, what blows my mind is the progression I witnessed growing up in the 90's and 2000's. In just over 10 years, the entire scene went from the 2nd to last image of him posing with the bike to things like the NWD series, Rampage, park and dirt riding etc. Basically the foundations of everything we have today. Crazy.
  • + 3
 That picture of Dangerholm with the 80’s blade shades on made my Monday morning. I can’t wait to hit some dirt after work today.
  • + 3
 The middle bike in the last shot has a polished fork. Is that a fox? Anyone tried?
  • + 1
 It's a Fox 32 SC Factory, to read more about it you can click the "World's Lightest Scott Scale" link in the beginning of this article.
  • + 3
 That scratch video was nails-on-a-chalkboard horrible. The end product however is amazing!!
  • + 2
 First off, awesome project. Second, it is amazing to see someone following their passion. Love watching your projects, stay true.
  • + 1
 Thanks a lot, really. Plenty of ideas for future projects, so hopefully I can keep showing you some nice and unique bikes.
  • + 2
 you've gone all the way to do a custom paintjob...why did you add the Scott branding ?Unless you are paid by the brand I find it odd to be a rolling billboard on purpose.
  • + 2
 Paid for and bought this bike like the shop rat I am, but it is a Scott bike after all and I wanted to place some logos in a similar way to the original Klein. As for the "No Shortcuts" it wasn't really planned but just went for it since I personally think it adds to the looks, while still being quite hidden from most angles. Maybe it'll add a bit of motivation too on those long winter rides!
  • + 1
 Having chosen a bike with a lifetime warranty, and having used the service twice now, I would never even consider this. That being said, I think this project is awesome. Well done.
  • + 1
 OMG! that is my fave scene in Dumb and Dumber: when Harry comes back from the date in the Lambo and Tom Brady (forget his character's name in the show) is hiding up the hill and sees them and he starts gagging.
  • + 3
 It would look sweet with the Syncros integrated bar/stem combo like the old skool Klein mission Control bars. Awesome bike!
  • + 1
 i so want that bike......looks amazing. I see a guy ride a classic klein in those same colours some mornings to work and i always thought how cool it looks and kudos for actually using it and not storing it away.
  • + 4
 So rad. Bikes still aren't this cool today.
  • + 3
 Awesome job on the bike and possibly even better article and writing style. Loved it Smile
  • + 3
 Super nice. Enjoyable read on a monday morning. The complete shot with you and the bike is 90/90.
  • + 1
 This paint scheme looks better now than it did then, for some strange reason. Well done! Makes me want to do a retro hot pink and navy KHS inspired job.
  • + 1
 Sounds like an awesome idea, go for it!
  • + 2
 CONGRATS BROTHER!!! So F ing stoked to see this on the front page!! You finally made it @bicyclerider !!!!
  • + 3
 That pose with the bike and the short-shorts had me a bit worried.
  • + 2
 Kudos for using Garbaruk parts! Really good quality components, decent weight and looks
  • - 5
flag LOLWTF (Nov 5, 2018 at 8:02) (Below Threshold)
 Kudos for being rich! We'd all like to use Garbaruk but unfortunately they are twice the price of similar products
  • + 1
 @LOLWTF: I find it pretty pricey as well, but it's super light and functional and available in many colors. So it's designed to build your dream bike, not the wallet-saving bike you are talking about
  • + 3
 You're a weird dude, but damn it looks like you're having fun! ????
  • + 2
 Haha I take that as a compliment!
  • + 1
 Or one of the nicest gravel rigs. Or great toy to throw around my back yard. Heck best looking paint job i've ever seen on a bike
  • + 1
 Looks great! Dig the retro colour way. What was the bare frame like? Would love to get a aluminium frame and polish it kind of like the old GT’s etc
  • + 1
 Thanks! While I didn't strip this frame down to bare metal, it's usually no problem to polish a frame. Paint stripper and then the work begins with quite some wet sanding and to finish it you get some polishing wheels and polishing paste for aluminum.
  • + 1
 Hey Gustav, if someone were less of a weight weenie and wanted to clear coat magnesium lowers after polishing them as you do, what would you suggest they use?
  • + 3
 You saved my day. It´s Monday. Nice story. Thumbs up.
  • + 1
 Amazing work. My two cents, black seatpost and chromed out rear derailleur. Post us some pics of it covered in full winter battle mode mud and grime!
  • + 2
 Rad, i have thought about this idea several times over many years with many bikes but laziness nips it in the bud.
  • + 1
 This is awesome, takes a boring xc bike an makes it interesting to say the least.
  • + 1
 I want some details on how the Genius will work with only 3 cables, love these custom jobs, keep em coming!
  • + 1
 It'll involve a custom made remote with integrated Di2 shift buttons and some other tricks. Keep an eye on my Instagram for coming updates until I can present it properly.
  • + 3
 Ok. This is epic.
  • + 2
 Saddle is made in Slovenia. Hoho!
  • + 1
 Bike looks Bad A$$...I use to do custom paint, so I have some idea what you went through...Nice work.
  • + 1
 funny, a friend of mine is a dentist and his bike looks exactly like the first bike in the last picture-nice guy btw.
  • + 2
 I'm going to be a little picky here, but maybe you should of used a Trek?
  • + 1
 Even though Trek owns the brand I felt like it wouldn't really make a difference, so just went with the bike I wanted!
  • + 1
 That's fair enough. I'm thinking of turning my Rose Soul Fire into a homage to an old bike I once had. A Giant ATX990, just need to make the stays and fork red.
  • + 1
 Love it and would actually buy something like that - nice tribute , attitude red, pink and yellow next??
  • + 2
 Two words: Schwinn Bassboat.
  • + 2
 This guy is as mad as a bag of hats. Love it!
  • + 2
 I think it looks great. I love the derailleur, too.
  • + 2
 Did you give us the final weight? What did it weigh?
  • + 2
 It weighs 10,88kg, not too bad considering the wheels are 2100g and tires about 700g each. Stock the Scale 950 was 11,60kg without pedals.
  • + 3
 chuck norris approved
  • + 1
 Ouch isnt sanding paint off a no no? Surely acid bath is the correct method!?
  • + 3
 On Aluminium frames atleast yes.. because the tubes are really thin and you can even change the density. On carbon or steel I dont know
  • + 4
 For aluminum and steel frames using paint stripper is usually the best way to go if you want the old paint fully removed. But since I only had access to rattle cans as new paint, I chose to just sand the existing paint down a bit since the new paint would stick better to that surface than to raw metal.
  • + 1
 @bicyclerider you sold both the carbon Scale and Spark, right? So a new project is under way?
  • + 2
 Yeah, sold them right after writing this blog/article. Biggest priority is to build a new Spark, other than that nothing is set in stone yet really.
  • + 1
 Very nice! It’s a sexy time!
  • + 1
 We need more customization.......
  • + 1
 This is not a dentist bike lol
  • + 1
 I have aluminum water bottle cage bolts and don't run a water bottle cage.
  • + 1
 Wow I’ve wanted to do this with the Klein Top Gun for a while. Congrats.
  • + 2
 I have a Top Gun as well. It was in baaaad shape when I got it, so it has been stripped and powdercoated a raw clear. Kind of a shame, especially after seeing this, but at least I'm still rocking it.
  • + 1
 @andwrong: Wanna sell it? ha
  • + 1
 I love the Ritchey P21... So I gonna buy a RITCHEY to mimic an old RITCHEY
  • + 1
 WOW! This is so cool! It's an art piece, I don't want to ride it now lol
  • + 0
 This, in my opinion, is probably the best xc bike I have seen. Great job man!
  • + 2
 Awesome work! YOLO!
  • + 1
 Nice work... I think you definitely got that Klein feel that you wanted...
  • + 1
 Nice job !
  • + 1
 RAD
  • + 1
 Harry Lloyd
  • + 1
 LMFAO....
  • + 1
 Wireless brakes anyone?
  • - 2
 It's really cool, I just don't get the idea of doing a Klein with so many nice paint jobs and classics from Scott. Some even resemble this one.
  • + 3
 Still a great project. The Klein paint is awesome. But the Scott ones were great too. Like this one:

www.pinkbike.com/photo/16541599

Btw, I had this beast:

www.pinkbike.com/photo/16541600
  • + 1
 @urinalmint: yeap it is indeed! I really enjoy this new warm retro vibe, like the rock shox judy colors on someones dj bike.
I was just stating that it messes a little bit with my OC(P)D, brands and matching colors ;D
  • - 1
 It's just paint... who gives a fuck.
  • - 1
 Gum walls should have been left dead and buried ????
  • - 2
 Main thing that holds me up from spray jobs is warranty. Sorry to be such a killjoy
  • - 1
 Clearly you weren't riding in the early 90s...
  • - 1
 Last photo looks like Randy.
  • - 3
 Do those bikes still have their warranty?
  • + 1
 No, most manufacturers void the warranty if the frame is re-painted. If the carbon frame breaks, you can have it repaired for not much cost. I painted my 2014 Spec Enduro, it's burly aluminium frame so I'm not that worried that the frame will break.
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