Nick’s LeRun Jr Skatebike Restoration
Nick W (UK) contacted me August with questions on rebuilding a LeRun Jr. I connected him with Jon N (UK) who has written most of the LeRun articles here. Turns on they live close to each other. As you can see from the before images, the scoot was in pretty rough shape. I love the colour. Here is Nick’s story in his words.
So the story begins when I was 8 years old, living in Holland. My parents bought me this new contraption called a skatebike, supposedly Michael Jackson had one! I remember tearing around on it as an actual mode of transport, bike lanes being superb in Holland and me living in a sleepy suburb meant it was actually viable. Always loved speeding along and then pulling a massive skid with the back pedal braking.
Fast forward 34 years and the skatebike has made various appearances over the years in gatherings, parties etc and always provides a ‘woah, what is that?’ kind of reaction, followed by a rush of the more adventurous people wanting to give it a go. Sometimes it sits dormant for years at a time, but always comes back out to play when the time is right!
So we’ve been getting a pool build done. The guys laying the surrounding patio are onsite in the beautiful sunshine and baking hot temperatures, and somehow a unicycle comes up in conversation. I say nothing, but the next day I’ve got the unicycle out ready, freshly pumped-up wheel… and also the skatebike. Cue all 3 of the patio guys leaping at the chance to give them both a go. And as always, everyone fails miserably on the unicycle, but get to grips with the skatebike nice and quickly. The video I’ve shared is of the ‘pool chase’, one riding the skatebike and the other on my latest of crazy contraptions, my onewheel. Lots of fun had!
But the skatebike is looking tired, paint flaking off everywhere, severe rust showing all over, dirty and sad. I’ve thought to myself many times over the past decade that I really should clean it up, and now, finally, I’ve found the motivation and impetus to do so.
Into the workshop I go, and begin the teardown, carefully photographing everything along the way as I’ve never done any work to any kind of bike, beyond pumping up tyres! Most things came apart fairly easily, but I definitely got caught out on the crank arms. After much googling and some advice from Facebook friends, identified that the LeRun has a cottered crank, found some videos about how to remove and they came apart pretty easily thereafter.
Once I had the frame free from all other parts, I began removing the paint and rust. Used a hot air gun on the paint, although realised afterwards that some wire brush attachments I got for the drill would have done the job perfectly well without the heat. Once the frame was mostly clear of paint and rust, I treated it with a rust converter and my canvas was ready.
I mocked up a range of 14 colour schemes in total and between my 8-year-old daughter Ella and I, we chose a sky blue with yellow scheme. Ordered the spray paints and then primed the frame, followed by 2 main colour coats.
I’d also manged to steam the original decals off the frame. With photos of these I used photoshop to create a template which I then printed on to stencil film and after some careful work with a craft knife, I had a stencil ready to use. I sprayed the secondary colour on to the frame i.e. the letters themselves – and had a load of yellow overspray on my freshly painted sky blue frame. In hindsight, I should have sprayed yellow first and then masked the letters themselves before laying down the main colour.
After that I applied a metal varnish to try and protect the paint. I’ve realised now I need something more durable (after the skatebike fell and left a nice sky blue streak on the living room wall) so will be getting some 2K acrylic clear coat laquear and recoating the frame with that.
I tried the coke and tin foil approach to remove rust from the other metal parts, but it wasn’t particularly effective. Then tried vinegar but that had basically no impact either. So got the wire brush drill attachments going again and used them to clean up every nut and bolt, as well as the crank and crank arms. Came out nicely and seemingly no damage inflicted either, will definitely take this approach on my next one!
Then began reassembly, putting everything carefully back together. Thank god for the teardown photos! After seeing the price of skate/longboard wheels I looked around on Facebay (A UK Facebook selling group) and picked up a penny skateboard for £3 with some yellow wheels on it. They seem perfectly acceptable for now! Got a cheap coloured chain and pedals delivered and popped them on. Realised I hadn’t done anything to the seat handle so stripped that and painted that up too, and then some yellow faux leather to recover the seat.
And there you have it. I’m really pleased with the result, I’m so glad this relic has stayed with me throughout the years, and I’ve taken the time to give it the makeover it deserved. There’s plenty of things I could have done better, and I’ll learn from those mistakes on the next renovation – I managed to pick up another one off Facebay for a stupidly low price, and it was actually advertised as a unicycle! Looking forward to when that gets delivered and starting the next project. I’m thinking hot pink and neon yellow…
Nick W (UK)