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.
Minson skatebikes use standard “Old School” skateboard truck hole pattern.
Garel, LeRun and Max skatebikes use a smaller pattern
AXL skatebikes use a third hole pattern
AXL trucks are plastic rather than cast aluminum like the other skatebikes.
This is an AXL skatebike that Jon N from the UK bought. One of the wheels came apart on his first ride. Because the hole pattern is so small he could not fit any of the old skateboard trucks. The axel hanger from an old 70’s Continental skateboard truck fit.
May 19, 2021 update
Jon also found this old Tony Hawk skateboard in second hand shop. The holes are very close and for not much money he got 2 trucks, 4 wheels and 8 bearings.
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:
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
Jon’s Garel Monocycle, his LeRun Skatebike and Max Skatebikes use an unusual skateboard truck. The mount is much smaller than traditional old and new school skateboard trucks. Minson trucks are Old School – 2 1/2″ X 1 5/8″. LeRun truck holes are 1 5/8″ X 1 1/4″.
Jon took some photos of the original LeRun truck for reference for this site. The bike has not had any work yet. As you can see the bushings in photo one are cracking.
Important: AXL Skatebikes use a similar but different skateboard truck setup.
I found the original owner’s manual for my Minson Skate Bike. I usually save owner’s manuals and while cleaning found it.
It is interesting that the manual refers to a 16″ wheel version (which is what I have) and a 12″ wheel version. I have never heard of the small wheel Minson. The LeRun used a 12″ wheel.
Brett from England acquired an unridden Minson skatebike, circa 1985. This is a first release version. In the UK it was called a Roller Shuttle. You can tell it is a first generation from the stripe on the seat, the brake mount and the secondary curved tube to the front truck.
Eric has been restoring his skatebike. Eric asked me a few questions about mine. I figured others restoring a Minson Skate Bike might find the answers helpful.
The hand brake is one of the unique things about a Minson Skate Bike. To use it looks unusual to say the least. The Skatebike came with the hand brake setup only. My wheel was rusted badly so when I replaced it I bought a 16 inch wheel with a coaster brake. They are by far the easiest ones to find. I often wondered why the bike didn’t come with a coaster brake originally. Then I used it. The problem is the crank arms are short (100 mm). This means to work you end up skidding. I wanted to replace the arms but could not find any that short. There is about 120mm of ground clearance so a slightly longer arm may work. The sprocket is only 36 teeth so the combination of the small sprocket and short arm is hard to find. A slightly longer arm with a smaller sprocket may even work better.