By the mid-70s, bicycle motocross had grown from a bunch of neighbourhood kids racing their Schwinn Sting-Rays around dirt tracks in empty southern Californian lots to a full-blown phenomenon. Gary Turner, a former drag car racer, decided to build his son a better bike to ride, utilising his engineering experience and, in 1979, GT Bicycles was founded, beginning a meteoric rise to become one of the world’s biggest cycling brands.
Gary’s son raced his dad’s frame, then other kids wanted one. Richard Long, a racetrack operator and owner of the Pedals Ready bike shop in Orange County, asked to stock and sell the frames. Soon, Richard and Gary moved into a dedicated space to manufacture high quality BMX frames in Santa Ana. Sponsorship of riders followed and distribution spread across the US and into Europe. By 1981, sales had reached US$4 million.
In 1984, a designer and inventor named Bob Morales teamed up with a fellow freestyler, the legendary Eddie Fiola, to design GT’s Performer frame, specifically designed with a uniquely bent down tube that allowed a full revolution of the front wheel without obstruction. It was an immediate success, evolving into this Pro Freestyle frame by 1988, by which time GT’s revenue was approaching US$40 million.
Brady Tokoly restored this PFT, inspired by Kevin Jones, ‘The Master of Flatland’. Brady built it up with GT’s Power Series cranks, Shimano’s DX pedals, GT Chrome Superlace hubs laced to UKAI Speedline rims and NOS GT Freestyle Tires. With the compulsiveness common to BMX collectors, he had custom pegs made for it, and restored the Dia-Compe Tech 7 levers and Nippon calipers.
Follow the build process and see more details on Brady’s flickr stream.