1983 GT BMX Frame with MCS Stem, Kuwahara Braced Layback Seatpost, and Schwinn Sting Handlebars

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - angle view
GT phone home

If you're reading this, you've probably done a Google search for "GT BMX frame" or "Kuwahara seatpost" or "MCS stem" or "Schwinn Sting handlebars" or "crusty piece-of-junk vintage BMX bike" because you're a Person Who Knows About Old School BMX.

The guy who owned this 1983 GT BMX wasn't a Person Who Knows About Old School BMX. He was a dude hanging out with his buddies working on cars in a garage full of stuff, and one of the things in his garage was a rusty old GT bike with no wheels, and what the hell did he care as long as he could sell it for some beer-and-or-gas money?

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - frame detail
I guess the head tube was stored in a puddle

I am a Person Who Knows About Old School BMX, so I recognized the GT BMX frame and MCS stem. I also recognized rust and years of obvious neglect, which can make disassembling an old school BMX bike a pain in the ass. Nevertheless, I gave the guy his beer-and-or-gas money and a firm handshake, took my new rusty old GT, and drove on into the night.

On the way home, I found a wall that happened to have an alien flying saucer hovering next to it, with bright UFO lights that were perfect for night-time photos. So I sculpted my mashed potatoes into a scale model of Devil's Tower, put some sunscreen on the left half of my face, shot a few pictures, and got a closer look at the old school BMX bike I'd just bought.

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - front end
This front end has personality

The frame was probably a 1983 GT Expert. Like other early GT frames, it had a pierced top tube with a straight end, kind of like a little chromoly salami. The down tube had a classic chrome "GT BMX Santa Ana, California" decal. The head tube was rusted pretty heavily. The rest of the frame wasn't too bad.

Below the torn, worn and totally inappropriate padded Next seat was a chrome Kuwahara braced layback seatpost, raised as high as the laws of physics would allow, and held in place by a copy of a SunTour seatpost clamp. The post had a stamped Kuwahara logo on the straight section, which, like most vintage BMX seatposts, was a little bent.

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - handlebar detail
$200 worth of rusty old handlebars

So far, I had a rusty GT frame and fork and a bent Kuwahara seatpost, which gave me enough profit to buy a new bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid so I could clean the grease and rust off of my hands, because stripping vintage BMX bikes is a dirty job.

But I wanted to be firmly in the black on this deal, and not just firmly in the orange of citrus-scented Dawn. Maybe I could find a few dollars in the MCS stem.

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - seat and seatpost
"Next" thing to do is toss the seat in the trash

MCS was a boutique BMX brand out of Florida that made somewhat odd-looking high-quality BMX frames and parts, like the MCS Mantis race frame and the MCS Styler freestyle frame. MCS also made unique front-load stems. The MCS stem on the GT had a silver body, black cap and four rusty bolts.

It was an interesting piece of handlebar-clamping hardware, but its meager resale value wasn't enough to make driving to the guy's house, giving him his beer-and-or-gas money, photographing the GT frame during an alien invasion, and getting my hands dirty worth the effort. Had buying this old school BMX bike become a futile exercise in breaking even?

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - mcs stem
My, what a Cool Stem

No it hadn't. It turned out that the handlebars, which I'd shrugged off as a set of generic vintage BMX bars with an arched crossbar and crappy welds, were brazed chromoly Schwinn Sting handlebars. And unbeknownst to me, but knownst to the fellows who banged elbows for them on eBay, Schwinn Sting handlebars are awesome. Aesthetically and financially.

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - mcs stem close-up
Grade-8 bolt and dramatic shadows

So thanks to GT, Kuwahara, MCS, and especially Schwinn, my after-dark excursion to a random dude's garage in search of old school BMX relics had paid off. I had a few bucks in my PayPal account, a nice new bottle of Dawn, and a bunch of photos of an old GT BMX frame. Enjoy them.

1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - top tube / seat tube junction
Ignore the rust, feel the awesomeness
1983 gt bmx frame with mcs stem, kuwahara braced layback seatpost and schwinn sting handlebars - down tube decal
GT BMX, Santa Ana, California