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:
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.
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.”
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
Jason S. from the UK recently bought on eBay a chrome Roller Shuttle, the UK branding of the Minson Skate Bike. While I have seen Roller Shuttles before, like Brent’s Brand New Unridden Roller Shuttle, I have never seen a chrome skate bike anywhere. Jason restores old Raleigh BMX Burner Cycles so he has the experience to do a wonderful restoration on the chrome skate bike.
I was very encouraged by yesterday’s ride. The tire pressure was low so I pulled the tire/tube but could not find any leaks. I applied two layers of cloth tape to the rim inside to protect the tube from the spoke caps, dusted the tire inside with baby powder and reinflated. I will watch it.
I was not happy with the seat height so I need to look for another post. I got an aluminum one but it is snug. I will check the steel/chrome ones. The post is one inch but sold as a 25.4mm. A steel one is easy to find.
Next was the seat. I have several saddles at home and found this old Trak one. The hand brake lever mounted nicely and the seat is higher so I am going to try it. As discussed before I went for a coaster brake wheel. I can see the value of the hand brake so I am looking for a new one. The old one is badly corroded.
I am getting there. In the last few days I installed a 300 mm 25.4mm aluminum seat post to replace the steel 200mm one. The old post was corroded but the key problem was it was too short. Even with it extended beyond the safe limit I was still about two inches short. I believe having the seat at proper height will give better control like it does on a unicycle. The challenge was the new posts were a hair too thick. Between a belt sander and a wire wheel I removed a small amount and the new post fits great.