Minson Restoration – Rich Helms – Canada

My old Minson skatebike before I restored it.

In the mid 1980’s while shopping in Eaton Centre in Toronto, Canada I spotted this SkateBike in Collegiate Sports. It was love at first sight and I bought it. After we moved to the country it got little use as we lived on a dirt road. For years it sat in my barn rusting. In June 2013 I pulled it out and restored it.

My bike is badly rusted and the tire cracked. I have been collecting up measurements to replace parts. Fortunately most of them are common. As I intend to actually use it I want to replace the wheel with a coaster brake one. The tire is 16×1.75 so finding a coaster brake unit should not pose a problem.

A longboard truck will work on the front. The included truck is an old-school mounting with 2.5″ holes front to back. Once I settle on the tire and truck/wheel I can select the appropriate riser thickness.

The biggest challenge is the cranks. The old bottom bracket is a common British/ISO unit but the cranks are only 100 mm long. The shortest unit I can find is 115 mm for BMX riding. You can see from the videos there is room for a longer crank and as I recall the short length makes for hard pedaling. This weekend I will investigate the bike parts. I may have to just restore the old BB/crank.

My first stop was Bay Cycle and Sports in Pickering. There were two challenges to my visit. The first had to do with the fact that I went when they were having a summer tent sale and it was packed. Thanks to the guys in the repair shop, however, I got the new wheel, tire/tube, chain, pedals and seat post. The wheel has a coaster brake, which several other skate bikes used. I always found reaching under the seat to stop inefficient, and frankly, embarrassing. The hand brake comes off easily, and the lever is held on with two screws, so I could mount it again if I want to.

Old Crank Cotter

What is a crank cotter?

The cranks proved to be a problem. While the bottom bracket (BB) is a standard size, the cranks are very short (100 mm). Removing the cranks was difficult, as the cotters that hold them on were in solid. The cranks and BB proved to be OK except for some surface corrosion. Buying a replacement would be difficult, so I decided to clean them up and reuse them. The crank cotters on the bike were corroded and damaged, but I couldn’t find replacement parts at Bay Cycle Sports. A search of the web led me to Mark Stonich at Bikesmith Design & Fabrication. A set of Grade A cotters is in transit from Minneapolis. Thanks, Mark.

Skateboard Truck

On to the skateboard parts. The truck is an old school mount (2.5″ vs 2.125″), and I needed only one truck. Gord at Area 51 provided the answer with a single Tracker RT-X. Gord also gave me advice on other bits, such as the best riser for the situation. I ordered Powell/Peralta Mini Cubic 64 wheels in all black, as they match the black tire and new wheel rim.


Exciting day for me as the skateboard parts arrived. The crank cotters came yesterday. One thing that has been bugging me is what to do about the sticker. Obviously they are no longer made. I measured the plate and it is 3 inches in diameter. Then an idea. How about a stick on reflector.

While it would be nice to have a proper sticker, my goal is not a vintage restoration but a functioning bike. The reflector will not look out of place.

The frame is still rough but I decided to put the new parts on and see how it works before sandblasting and repainting the frame. From my old long distance bike riding days I have a proper Park Mechanic Repair Stand. Once the frame is mounted it is easy to spin the frame to the most convenient position for each job. My first goal was the skateboard trucks. What lovely units and well engineered. The shipment even came with the skater obligatory stickers for the various brands. Thanks Gord.

Bottom Bracket and Cranks

Bottom Bracket and Cranks

Cleaned and polished the skate bike bottom bracket and cranks. From the beginning this was going to be the toughest part to replace. The bottom bracket (BB) is an old British/I.S.O. 1.370″ X 24 tpi threading with a shell width of 68 mm. The size on the spindle is listed as 3S but does not match any I can find. Fortunately the corrosion is not too bad. I wire brushed the parts. The most corrosion is on the locking ring which should not be hard to replace. I am going to mount them and use a grease finish to protect the raw metal. The skate bike will not be exposed to rain so the covering should provide the necessary protection.

British/I.S.O. 1.370″ X 24 tpi threading
Shell width of 68 mm
Spindle width: 147mm A: 42mm B: 53mm C: 52mm
Adjustable cup on the left, fixed on the right
Sprocket 36 teeth

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  1. Reply
    John Cummings III 11 February 2014

    Awesome! Found a LeRun skate bike on my walk to work this morning. Going to attack it this weekend for the rebuild. Nice to see I am not the only old guy guy wanting to ride one of these!

    When I sold bikes back in the 80’s I tried getting the hang of the unicycle but it was a no go!

    • Reply
      Rich 11 February 2014

      In reply to John Cummings III.
      John – What a find. Love to see some pictures of your progress. As you can see from my posts finding some of the old components is a challenge.

      Post comments to tell your progress as you go.

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