GT/Dyno 'Kustom Kruiser' Bicycle

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‘Dyno Kustom Kruiser - Glide Deluxe’ This is the hi-tensile cantilever steel framed cruiser bicycle released around 2005 and available in a striking orange finish. It was relatively inexpensive, guaranteed to turn heads and attracts comments from all who see it. The ‘Glide Deluxe’ was equipped with deep (colour matched mudguards), a sprung saddle, a springer fork, wide handlebars and is extremely comfortable to ride. It looks like something from the 1950’s with fat tyres and eye-catching ‘Harley’ like appearance. Weight fetishists should stay away from it no matter how drawn they are to its looks. 

In standard trim it was fairly hefty and manufactured in Taiwan but marketed by Dyno cycles a subsidiary of GT cycles (now owned by Schwinn). The frame is decent with a mix of cheap off the shelf and bespoke cycle parts. The paint job is deep, has a metallic appearance with plenty of lacquer covering a number of decals. Average wheels, cheap handlebar grips and a rebranded ‘Velo’ saddle finish off the package. This bicycle is single speed and as standard, does not have a front brake (although the dealer I purchased it from did fit one to comply with UK regulations). Braking falls to a rear coaster hub, which is actuated by pedalling backwards, and takes a while to get accustomed to. The downside is that the rear coaster brake is not up to stopping quickly on steep descents or in an emergency. If the chain were to snap, you would have no brakes at all.

The elegant front fork assembly is connected to a single spring just ahead of the handlebar, which is adjustable for preload and makes for a plush ride. This bicycle uses a number of BMX parts, making it easy to upgrade with quality parts, which you will almost certainly do immediately after purchase. The build quality is a mixed bag but the frame is definitely the stand out part. The front fork can dent the headtube/downtube when the handlebars are turned through full lock but the quality of frame welding is as good as any other mid range bicycle out there and in 5 years of ownership the paint polishes up beautifully. A combination of long wheelbase, long chain and horizontal rear dropouts make rear wheel alignment difficult. The long chain needs adjustment quite often so I added a ‘Tugnutt’ chain adjuster. After 2 instances of the standard 1-piece crank snapping where it mates with the chain wheel. I switched to a ‘Ruption’ 3-piece BMX crank which is still going strong after 5 years. 

The original black-wall 26 x 1.9” tyres made by Cheng Shin have been prone to punctures so I added some puncture proof tyre tape to a pair of  Schwalbe 'Fat Frank' cream tyres (absolutely required to complete the look). I replaced the standard alloy rimmed wheels with heavier 144 spoke ‘fan pattern’ chromed wheels along with an 11T rear cog in an attempt to get faster pedaling on the flat or downhill. I replaced the standard 36T chain ring with a 46T item and although this makes the bicycle harder to set off on, it is a lot quicker where it matters. The original cheap retro beachbike rubber and steel pedals fell apart after less than a year which I replaced with Odyssey ‘Triple Trap’ Pedals that have yet to fail. There are a number of places on the internet that specialise in custom parts for this bicycle and have replaced most of the original cycle parts out of inevitability with better made or better looking components. 

In summary this is a good looking bike that is difficult to pedal quickly uphill due to weight and gearing. The riding position (including deeply sprung saddle) is comfortable. Deeply valenced mudguards keep the rain off you, a chunky chain guard stops grease from getting onto your clothing and the rear brake makes this bicycle a skidding machine. A bell is a must if you do not have the front brake because you have to plan way ahead before stopping. This and other bikes in the ‘Kustom Kruiser’ range are quite rare especially in the UK so prices are an unknown. You will almost certainly get the customising bug if you own one. Nothing will prepare you for everyone staring as you ride (never before have I owned a bicycle that attracts so much attention).

On the negative side, The weight (42lbs+ standard – mine is even heavier) makes it less than ideal for carrying up and down stairs. Many of the original cycle parts are budget items, absolutely not up to daily commuting. Despite a lack of gears and a single brake this bicycle requires a fair amount of maintenance. This includes regular chain adjustment and tightening of every nut and bolt (does not rattle when ridden unless something is loose). I have had the original crank arms snap, the original pedals fell off and the seat loosened to the point where it fell on a ride (finally broke after 5 years). Better cycle parts will address these issues and if you barely ride this bicycle (unlike myself), you may not encounter any problems. This and other Kustom Kruiser bikes (from a big range) ooze character. This one has easily cost me 3 times the purchase value in custom parts.

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