Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Custom Dynamics LED Cluster F$@ks
One of my winter projects is to overhaul all the signal lighting on my '08 Shadow Spirit, so after a lot of shopping around, I decided to go with LED clusters from Custom Dynamics.
I'm putting Dynamic Clusters in the rear turn signals, which adds running and brake lights to the turn signals, and Dynamic Ringz in the front. I got a bunch of other stuff for other parts of my project but I'll save that for a different post.
Firstly, they don't tell when your order is shipped or send a tracking number so once they acknowledge the order by email, that's pretty much it. After about a week I emailed them to ask for a tracking number and got no answer but the order arrived a couple days later.
First thing I noticed, right through the packaging, was that one of the pair of dynamic clusters was mounted crooked on its trim ring. Under some circumstances, that may not be a problem but I'm also replacing those dorky lollipop lenses with Kuryakyn deep dish bezels with smoke lenses; you can see right though them.
I emailed Custom Dynamics (on a Saturday night) about the problem, attached a picture, and was shocked to get an answer a little later that night. The problem with the cluster was that one of the attached wires was pinched between the cluster and the trim ring and epoxied that way, so it was pushing one side of the cluster up.
I was assured a new cluster would be sent out the next business day and sure enough I got a call that a replacement was being shipped and to expect its arrival in about 3 days. It took twice that. So, not too great on shipping, in general.
Replacement arrived and I found they sent a pair. Since the clusters are supposed to mount from a tiny rectangle of 3M tape from the back of the trim ring to the socket holder of the turn signal, there is a right and a left oriented cluster, different only in the shape of the trim ring and the location of the 3M mounting tape.
I picked out the right side replacement cluster and immediately noticed that the running light and brake light wires, which are supposed to be orange and red, respectively, both looked red. I'm still not sure if they're exactly the same red but they're not nearly as different from eachother as any of the other 3 clusters I had.
So, I wrung out the wiring with a 9V battery to figure out which wire goes where. In the dynamic clusters, a cable terminates in a bulb socket connector for the turn signal functions and the red and orange wires have to be run through the turn signal housing into the brake light housing where you connect them by tapping into the running light wire (brown) and brake light wire (green/yellow) with a pair of PosiTaps, supplied. The PosiTaps work really well but were a tight fit for the gauge of wire used in the brake light.
All this was done, of course, with the fender and pillion frame off of the bike, a major pain in the ass to disassemble, considering I had to remove my saddlebag mounts and sissy bar, first. To test, I had to partially reassemble the fender and pillion frame to plug the cables back in to the bike. Once in, I turned the key and all lights sprang to life, except the right-side replacement cluster looked much brighter than the left-side cluster. I checked all the wiring and all functions (brakes, running lights, turn signals) worked fine; it got even brighter when brakes were applied, so I knew it was hooked up right.
To see if the other replacement cluster they sent was just as bright, I ran some long wires from the battery, hooked them to the replacement left side cluster with clips and compared to the installed left and right clusters. Perfect match for the installed left-side cluster. Great. Disconnect everything, disassemble the fender and pillion frame, pull off the right side turn signal, remove the replacement right-side cluster and replace it with the replacement left-side cluster, reassemble everything, plug everything back in, brightness matches.
I know I said there's a left and a right side cluster and now I have a left-side cluster installed in a right-side turn signal but it's OK because the mounting method supplied by Custom Dynamics is so weak, I'm not going to use it anyway. Since the clusters would just be hanging off of the one tiny square of tape Custom Dynamics supplies, with no support anywhere else in the turn signal housing, there's no way I'm going to trust it mounted that way. How I ended up doing it will be another post; not really relevant to this review.
So, let's recap:
Custom Dynamics has terrible quality control. I got one mechanically defective cluster which they replaced with an electrically defective cluster that also had miscoded wiring. Material quality appears excellent; it's their manufacturing that sucks.
Custom Dynamics has really good technical support. And it's a good thing, because they need it.
Custom Dynamics has average shipping time but poor shipping communication.
Hard to say if I'd buy from them again. They have a lot of problems but they do take care of them. So, if you've got the time and the patience with redoing your work a few times and dealing with tech support and waiting for replacements, I suppose they're OK. Their stuff doesn't seem to be junk, it's just that it's assembled by monkeys and no one seems to notice before they send it to you.
Last edited by PapaSmurfMC : 01-13-2013 at 02:40 PM.