I had seen this chrome Lerun for sale and had a vision of how it could look with a few changes. Whilst I’m not able to verify a production date it has a few differences from the other Lerun models and I believe this is from towards the end of the Lerun skatebikes, if you have a record of when you bought your Lerun from a shop please get in touch!
The crank has 36 teeth like the previous Lerun models however the rear wheel has a 12 tooth gear on it rather than 14, the serial number is different in that now it is a sticker with the number on rather than being stamped into the metal on one of the wheel-stays. There was no seatpost housing when I purchased it but I did try it with the housing from a different one, do you think it looks better with or without it?
As it has a mirror-like chrome finish my vision was to swap out the rear black 5 spoke rear wheel and put in a chrome wheel with as many spokes as I could find and put some distinctive skateboard wheels on to top it all off. I managed to source a 52 spoke 12” coaster brake wheel through ebay and was shipped from the USA with a 16 tooth gear pre-installed and I also purchased a Duro whitewall tyre that was wider than the previous Kenda whitewalls I have used on other models and also has a wider whitewall section than Kenda tyres.
I tried some 70mm skateboard wheels initially but they were slightly too big and were changing the angle of the seatpost to be leaning back slightly so I switched to some 60mm shark wheels which maintain the 90 degree seatpost angle. Shark wheels are fantastic and definitely get more looks and interest from people with their unique design that looks like it would be a rough ride but have a perfectly round end-view profile.
Riding with the 16 tooth gear means it’s more of a cruiser rather than speed demon however this could be made faster by switching to a gear with fewer teeth. This isn’t one I’ll be using down at a skate-park anytime soon but definitely widens the spectrum on how skatebikes can look!
See Jon’s Chrome Minson Restoration
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?
See Jon’s Chrome LeRun Restoration
Linda M. (Florida, USA) and her husband bought this AXL for their 12 year old son in the mid 1990’s. They decided to restore it as a Christmas present for their 11 year old grandson.
The frame was stripped and powder coated. The seat was commercially redone.
Mats van der Gugl has some skatebikes in Slovenia. Here are Instagram posts from him.
I’ve attached a shot from Instagram of a design similar to the Lerun but with a 16inch wheel. Mats said it was a Slovenian bike maker who made it. Looks pretty cool.
Jon N (UK)
Is the red one a Lerun too? I’ve not seen a 16inch wheel Lerun, looks very cool!
@skatebikeuk No, it’s a “PlayBike”, made in a small Slovenian local bike shop in 80’s. I admit didn’t know for them till I got one in my hands 😉
Jon Newton (UK) rode 11 miles on his Garel skatebike in the heat! He injured his ankle in June so have been resting for a bit. In the words of his idol Richard O’Brien ‘Would you start the fans please!!!’ He has no idea when he got up to 17.7mph
Here is a fun activity for the kids. Print and assemble a SkateBike.org Paper Truck. Chris at PaperTruckLogo.com made the pattern for me. Print on a card stock, cut out and glue together.
I purchased the Garel from eBay thinking it was a Lerun skatebike, the previous owner had made some alterations to the front and replaced the original truck with a newer and poorly fitting skateboard truck. The skateboard wheels were dry and cracked with one coming off on the first try riding it, the rear wheel didn’t sit correctly under the frame and the spokes were bent and needed attention. (See part 1)
I took the skateboard truck off and switched it with a Continental skateboard truck that I purchased from eBay mounted on an old Penny board. The hole spacing for the truck to be mounted to the Garel is the same as the Lerun and Max, for finding a replacement I would recommend old Penny boards made by companies like Variflex, Skuda and Super Star if you are on a budget as they can be picked up quite cheaply, alternatively higher end models by companies like Vulcan and ACS-430 also appear to have the correct spacing but always double check with the vendor before you buy it. With the Conti fitted I installed two Deville Whitewalls 70mm / 78A and would highly recommend them to anyone. My attention then turned to the rear wheel whereby I took it to a local bike shop where they managed to true the rim, the next change was to the tyre and switching from an old and degraded one and to a newer whitewall I had taken from elsewhere. I put some washers in place on the rear axle and managed to line up the wheel to be under the frame which in turn would improve the stability. I then switched the quick release seat-post clamp to a fixed one to improve the lines of the design and eliminate the risk of someone pinching the seat if it was locked up outside a shop.
Riding the Garel after these modifications it was clear how the changes vastly improved the riding experience, it is stable and smooth rolling and a pleasure to ride!
Lastly I changed the colour to Chromacoat Peacock (available through Kustom Canz suppliers) as the original green had chipped and rubbed off in various places (I did buy a can of a very similar green before I started just in case it didn’t work out and I wanted back the way it was). There are lots of colours to pick from and I wanted something that would appear as a different colour from different angles and Kustom Canz do a kit of 3 cans consisting of base coat, main colour and the top clearcoat, alternatively you can just go for the main colour if you wish. I removed the truck, rear wheel, chain and seat-post clamp but left the crank arms, pedals and bottom bracket on (it is a Cottered crank and I didn’t want to risk damaging it trying to remove it) and masking taped them to be ready for spraying. I then removed the Garel sticker from the frame and sanded down the frame to ensure it was smooth before applying primer. The primer went on without issue and I checked to see if there were any sections that needed attention before adding a base coat. I gave the primer a light sanding with some 2000 grit paper and a clean down before applying a black base coat in order to help the main colour stand out. I then gave it another quick sanding with 2000 grit again and then went on with the Peacock colour, which like most spraying is better done in multiple lighter coats rather than 2 thick ones. Make sure you are spraying in a very well ventilated area and use a mask as this has a very powerful odour and harmful chemicals, even outdoors wear a mask for it! Once the main colour was dry I applied multiple coats of a clear finish to protect it, once that was dry I reattached the wheels and chain (I had sprayed the seat-post separately).
The Garel rides great and looks even better and is a far cry from how it was when I originally received it, I might change the colour again at some point and go for another variation but I’ll keep it like this over summer as the sun highlights how vibrant it is.
By Jon N. – UK
I purchased this Max skatebike from Facebook marketplace with the intention of giving it a go and seeing what happens and ended up becoming obsessed with it and making little design changes to it along the way.
I started off by changing the seat-post and seat as the seat-post was too short for me at 250mm long (Changing LeRun/Garel/Max Skatebike Seat/Saddle), once the unicycle seat was installed it made riding it considerably easier and more comfortable.
The next change was to spray the rear wheel black to match the frame and change the overall feel of it. It was a simple case of taking the wheel out and removing the tyre and tube then masking off the metal sections to leave only the yellow plastic visible and then spray. I would advise using a primer first and then your colour and then a protective clear coat on top, I went straight for black without a primer and didn’t put a clear coat on after and it has come away in a couple of small sections so will probably need a respray at some point.
Once the spraying was done the next change was to the tyre and I installed a Kenda ‘whitewall’ tyre, to me the colour contrast works really well and matches the seat colouring. The tread on the whitewall is aimed more at roads as opposed the original tyre that had a deeper tread pattern aimed at muddier terrain. The width of the Kenda is slightly less than the original but this does not negatively affect the riding experience.
The seat post clamp was then switched to a fixed clamp rather than a quick release, this aspect is also covered further in the article on changing the seat. The chain that was on there originally had seen better days so I thought why not get a gold chain for it? As a further little touch I bought four dice valve covers and added one to keep it colour coordinated. I also sprayed the crank arms and sprocket black as the chrome would have stood out. I had also changed the truck bushings to 94A by this point to aid the turning ability.
Lastly were the front wheels, originally it had Kryptonics 70mm installed (not sure of the firmness rating), these were great for different road surfaces and small pebbles and sticks but were not in keeping with the colour scheme and I wanted to go for something at the soft end of the scale to see if there was a difference. I opted for Deville Whitewalls 70mm and 78A rating and they are fantastic! They feel very smooth out on roads and paving slabs and wonderful on smoother surfaces.
In terms of how the impact of the changes in functional terms the largest would be changing the seat-post and the bushings and the front wheels, the aesthetic colour changes influenced how I saw the skatebike and allowed me to put my mark on it.
The Max rides fantastically and whilst it looks very different to how it arrived it has developed into something I am very proud of and I hope it inspires people and shows what is possible with a little TLC.
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.