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Old 12-06-19, 07:15 PM
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GeezyRider 
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Delaware Sea Shore
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Bikes: 1973 Fuji Special Road Racer, 1980 Dawes Lightning, 1987 Panasonic DX-3000, 1989 Trek 420, 1992 Trek 5200, Catrike Trail, Mercier SC1, Giant Iguana, 2019 Gravity SaltyDog

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Gravity SaltyDog Review

I recently noticed a major problem with my fleet of bicycles--it didn't include a cruiser. I have vintage steel road bikes, a modern aluminum road bike, a carbon fiber road bike, a mountain bike and, of all things, a recumbent trike. But no cruiser to be found anywhere. Ignoring the fact that I haven't ridden a coaster brake cruiser type bicycle in 60 years, I decided to fill this gap in my bike collection last week. After considering many choices, new and used, I decided to order a $200 bike online from Bikesdirect. I have purchased two other bikes from Bikesdirect and with a little effort on my part they have served me well.

I ended up with a matte black SaltyDog by Gravity Bikes:


Here are my impressions after assembling the bike and doing a 15 mile shakedown ride.

The Good:

This bike is lighter than I expected. It has an aluminum frame with a steel fork and it weighs 29.4 lbs. as pictured above. I was expecting something like 35 - 40 lbs.

The bike arrived in great shape, well packed and no dings or scratches anywhere.

The workmanship on this Chinese frame seems to be pretty good. The welds in particular look good.

The bike took less than an hour to assemble including unpacking and unwrapping the frame and parts.

The Bad:

Like any Chinese bike purchased on line, the bearings (wheel bearings in particular) were adjusted way to tight. What appeared to be a thin layer of petroleum jelly was used to "grease" the bearings, cups and cones.

The Bikesdirect online specs are very general and light on detail. For example, the photos on their website show what appear to be mounts for a water bottle cage on the seat tube but nothing is mentioned in the specs. My bike arrived without these mounts so out came my trusty right angle drill and a couple of rivnuts. Problem solved. The handlebars on my bike also differ from the ones pictured but that was not a big deal to me. In fact, after cutting 3 inches off each of the bar ends I kind of like these bars.

The Ride:

Simply put, this bike is slow but comfy. I live in a rural area with chip and seal roads. The slightly stretched out aluminum frame, steel fork with a slight rake, and the Seyoun 65psi tires smoothed the ride out very nicely. There was no road buzz transmitted to my hands and the massive, plush saddle was like sitting in an EasyBoy recliner. For longer rides, I will want to use my new Selle Anatomica R2 saddle.

Before my ride, I installed a front brake as a safety backup but my intention was to use it only if necessary. During my ride I stopped many more times than necessary just to get the feel of the coaster brake and practice stopping and restarting smoothly. I never felt the need to even think about using the front brake. It came off as soon as I got home.

Hills and riding into the wind are a little tedious but not difficult at all. During the bottom bracket service I swapped out the factory 44t chainring with a 38t chainring. The lower gearing was perfect for my aging knees.

Conclusions:

If you have average wrenching skills and a little patience the Gravity SaltyDog can be a pretty good option for someone looking for an entry level cruiser that won't break the bank or weigh a ton. For me, this will be a fun bike to ride when I don't need to be anywhere in a hurry.
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