This second generation chrome Minson needed some serious TLC to bring it back to life and I could see the potential of how it could be with a good clean and some new parts!
The rear wheel was in a poor state and full of rust and whilst I’m into the distressed, relic and steampunk aesthetic it wasn’t in keeping with the vision I had for this one so I sourced a 72 spoke 16” form ebay which has a coaster brake built in. The new wheel gives it a much cleaner and lavish look, I had taken inspiration from low-rider bikes I had seen online and thought it would be interesting to see if it was possible to try and do something similar for a skatebike.
The seatpost was an issue as it had rusted and fused to the frame. I had to send it off to a specialist who has a device that can pull out pretty much any seatpost without damaging the frame. This was an added expense however this Minson needed saving! Whilst it could have been used by younger people at the height it was stuck at, it was far too low for me (just over 6 foot) and so it was a necessary spend. It’s a 25.0mm seatpost and I opted for a 400mm long model to give me the greatest range and also still leave ample depth in the frame.
The brake cable and callipers were yellow/gold initially so I switched these to blue options to try and match the saddle colour and the brake leaver colour. As the saddle is higher I got a slightly longer brake cable that I had sourced from ebay and that was designed for a Raleigh Chopper but had a good length for a skatebike.
I also put on a new chain and gave the frame a good clean with cola initially and then used some Autosol on a shammy to try and bring out more of the shine. The skateboard truck was switched as the rubber had eroded in the pivot cup and I couldn’t locate a replacement that would fit so switched over the full truck.
Riding the Minson is different to the Lerun and Max/AXL models and feels more sturdy due to the increased distance between the front and rear wheels and the crank is slightly closer to being directly underneath the seatpost. The 16” wheel does feel a bit quicker than the Lerun with it’s 12” wheel, however, the biggest change difference is the braking. Personally I prefer the coaster brake option rather than the handle and callipers however it’s great to have the ability to use both!
This Minson has come a long way since I took receipt of it and I’m pleased with how it has turned out, if you could do something different to a skatebike, what would it be?
Jon N (UK) at Instagram: @SkateBikeUK
See Jon’s Chrome LeRun Restoration
Jeff E (Calif) found this in a dumpster yesterday. He said “there’s no way I could let it stay in there, never really seen one before so I grabbed it, it seems complete except for seat isn’t original I don’t think, but I’ve found my next project.”
The seat is not original but the rest appears to be from a Minson Gen 2 sold by Minson in Florida. Little rust. Looks like it was stored indoors. Looking forward to seeing your restoration. Be sure to replace the skateboard truck bushings as they will be hard as concrete. Lots of details on restoring a Minson in my personal restoration.
Recently Jon (UK) and I were discussing variations in the LeRun/Garel skatebikes. Jon is working on an article on those. My experience is with the Minson bikes. There were several changes in the Minson design, I believe for economic reasons (ie make it cheaper to manufacture).
The Minson Users Manual that came with my Minson shows the original Gen 1 version. Gen 1 bikes are the hardest to find.
In Aug 2019, Eric Alley of Walnut California contacted me about an old skatebike he bought and wanted to restore. For months we emailed back and forth with questions and answers. One of his biggest challenges was his bike was missing the under-seat brake handle. I sent many measurements and detailed photos. Eric bought a similar handle and a friend made a bracket to hold it on. Eric used the same skate truck as I did also replacing the stock bushing with a hard downhill one.
This week Eric sent me the finished picture and to put it mildly I was blown away. I took my restoration pretty far but Eric went the whole nine yards. This is by far the best skate bike restoration I have ever seen.
Updated May 7, 2021. Two ads added, Nov 1984 and Sept 1986.
Minson was sold through several companies.
SKATE BIKE AMERICA, INC. was incorporated on September 16, 1983. On September 23, 1983, they filed a trademarks for “SKATE BIKE” (73444980) and on July 29, 1983 “MINSON” (73436921) The trademarks were later ABANDONED.
There were three brandings used:
This ad was printed in the Nov and Dec 1984 issues of Thrasher Skateboard Magazine.
Original Nov issue (Page 18/19) Price: $99.95
Original Dec issue (Page 30/31) Price: $99.95
Most skatebikes use a skateboard truck up front for steering. There is nothing special about the truck except the choice of wheels and bushings. Assuming you are looking at a Minson or a Garel/LeRun bike, you have 30+ year old rubber in the truck. The bushings and pivot bushing will be hard as a rock and the bearings probably need cleaning and greasing.
If you need to replace the truck on your skatebike, there are several factors you need to consider.
On YouTube Futon Express who has some interesting videos of him riding unusual bikes, has two videos of him riding a Minson. The focus of the video is the skatebike so you get to see the steering and peddling in action. He describes the Minson as “Hands-free tilting recumbent tadpole trike.”
Notice the unusual placement of the brake handle on the seat down tube.
From what I can find it looks like Skate Bike America was the original company. They created Minson Enterprises and trademarked “Minson” and “Skate Bike.”
Incorporated in the US on Sept 16, 1983.
Company Number: G60525
Current Status: Inactive
Incorporated in California
4943 McConnell Ave.
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA UNITED STATES 90066
U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for MINSON
by Minson Enterprises (U.S.A) Inc
Mark Identification: Minson
Filing Date: 7/29/1983
Serial Number: 73436921
First Use: 12/20/1982
Use in Commerce: 2/7/1983
Status/Status Date: Cancelled. 3/19/1991
Minson 73436921 Trademark Status & Document Retrieval USPTO.gov
Minson Trademark Certificate
U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for SKATE BIKE.
by Minson Enterprises (U.S.A.) Inc.
Word mark: SKATE BIKE
Filing Date: 9/23/1983
Serial Number: 73444980
First Use Anywhere: 9/15/1983
First Use In Commerce: 9/20/1983
Status/Status Date: ABANDONED – FAILURE TO RESPOND OR LATE RESPONSE 10/19/1984
Skate Bike 73441849 Trademark Status & Document Retrieval USPTO.gov
Skate Bike Trademark Certificate
The Puyallup Post on YouTube did an intro to the Minson Skatebike called “Odd Objects: Skate Bike”
Anthony from Australia found this 12″ junior skatebike on eBay in the UK. Notice they call it a Minson Roller Shuttle. Also it has the curved front support tube and even has the original box.
I searched on Minson Roller Shuttle and found this new eBay UK listing