Posts Tagged: Jon N – UK

The Motobecane Rodeocycle

By Jon N – UK

The Motobecane Rodeocycle was the precursor to the Garel Monocycle and shares multiple similarities including 32 tooth chainring and 16 teeth at the back, 16 wire spoked wheel, 110mm crank arms and cottered crank, although the bottom bracket shell on the Rodeocycle has a smaller diameter. The Rodeocycle has a two piece seat tube rather than the continuous one piece that is curved on the Garel and Lerun designs. My example has the clip missing from the coaster brake, which is easy enough to replace, the body did have stickers on when I acquired it and I used some WD40/3in1 Oil to help remove the gum left from the stickers. Overall it is in good condition and just needs a coaster brake clip to complete it.

The skateboard truck uses old school hole spacing and displays the Motobecane ‘M’ logo underneath. I believe the orange/red wheels in the pictures are original as I have seen them on other examples and are some in the 85a range firmness (comparing them to 78a wheels), measuring 62mm diameter and still have life left in them however I have changed the bearings to a fresh set of Bones Reds.

The plastic body sections screw together and are fixed to the frame via three screw points, one by the skateboard truck and one either side of the rear wheel axle nuts. It was a simple case of removing the pedals, then the screws and gently removing the two panels. Once removed I gave the panels a wipe down, replaced one of the axle nuts that had been rounded off and was then able to adjust the chain tension (which at that point was slack and rubbing on the plastic panelling).

Having given it a test ride on a running track I felt it was very similar to the Garel though depending on your viewpoint the Rodeocycle is arguably more eye-catching. It does feel a little heavier than the Garel or Lerun models however not by much and is likely going to be the same with the plastic panels removed.

Locating one for sale was difficult and I spent a good amount of time looking at pictures on the internet try to find recent images to see if they are linked to for sale adverts. I managed to locate one on a Polish classifieds website and reached out to the vendor, thankfully he was willing to post and even sorted out the courier from his place in Poland to mine in the United Kingdom, although it was definitely a risk so I would advise doing your homework before transferring money, if it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it. Luckily the vendor, had been registered to the website for years and was friendly, it took 3 days to arrive safely and after a good clean and a couple of parts it’s ready to roll!!

Garel/Lerun Generations

By Jon N. – UK

The Motobecane Rodeocycle designed by Yves Garel is the starting point for what would become the Lerun skatebike and locating one to purchase is rare so if you see one buy it! If I ever manage buy one I’ll go into more detail as to how it is constructed and the differences to the examples listed below.

Garel Monocycle

The Garel Monocycle was produced in Italy and is the next step in the design by using a single tube rather than the multiple welded sections of the Rodeocycle. The Garel Monocycle featured a 32 tooth chainring at the front and 16 tooth chainring on the rear wheel. Unfortunately my example does not have the original skateboard truck however the hole spacing is the same as the Lerun examples being reviewed here that were produced after the Garel Monocycle. It also features a 16 wire spoked rear when and 110mm crank arms. It’s hard to put a date on when this examples was produced but predates the others here.

Lerun Gen 1

The blue Lerun example is the next step in the design, the frame has remained the same however the front chainring was increased to a 36 tooth and a 14 tooth chainring on the rear wheel, which is now a 5 spoke hard plastic wheel, the crank arms have also been amended to now be 130mm. The increased tooth count and longer crank arms means it is easier than the Garel to go faster and have a lower cadence. The former owner of this example said it was from 1982, it did have a red reflector mounted under the seat which I have removed, the seat post clamp was a quick release format and I have switched it to a fixed clamp, the tyre was changed to a Vans Cult blue camouflage tyre and the Lerun branded skateboard wheels were changed. The sticker on the bottom bracket shell states it was produced in Malaysia.

Lerun Gen 2

The black Lerun examples is the last of the design steps with the only notable change being the crank whereby it was switched from the cottered crank format to a one piece crank with a larger bottom bracket. The 32/14 ratio remains as does the 5 spoke rear wheel. It’s difficult to place a date on the production however when MTV paired up with Lerun in 1989 Lerun were still using the cottered crank so my guess is that it is 1990 or after. The wording on the sticker references Garel rather than Lerun (as shown on the earlier blue example) and does not confirm the country where it was produced, although I have seen several examples of Lerun skatebikes stating they were part of the Raleigh group (who had a factory in Malaysia).

Summary

Each of the 3 examples here offer something slightly different, the Garel is great for learning on and cruising however the shorter crank arms can mean your legs will get tired quickly on a long ride. The blue Lerun is great for longer distances and better speed whilst the black Lerun is equal to the blue for speed it also has the benefit of having a more maintenance friendly one piece crank, which means it’s gives the option for an amateur like me to change the chainring and try and disc chainring or even try and go for a larger chainring with more teeth, which would then increase the torque going into the back wheel.

Motobécane Rodeocycle Owner’s Manual

Jon N found an old site with some images of the pages for a Motobécane Rodeocycle Owner’s Manual. I assembled them into a manual. If anyone has an actual manual, I would welcome some quality scans.

Max Skatebike Generations – How to Tell Them Apart

Max skatebikes are great fun but finding the right one means knowing what to look for when buying one. There are essentially three editions of Max skatebike and I’ll try to cover the differences between them all. As I’ve not been able to find any confirmed dates of manufacture I am making an educated guess for the dates, if you know of when the different editions were produced or the quantities then by all means get in touch.

The frame in primer grey is what I believe to be the first edition Max skatebike and created in the mid-1980’s. The main features to note for this model are that the mounting plate for the skateboard truck has the standard ‘old school’ hole spacing, the bottom bracket shell is smaller than the other two editions, the chainstay section is a slightly different shape to the later two editions and at the top of the seat tube there is a hole in the frame that is not present on the other two editions, lastly the seat is flat and has a different fixing to the seat than the later 2 editions. This edition comes with a 12inch rear wheel however the tyre is solid rubber as opposed to having an innertube that holds air. This frame shape is able to accommodate a 16inch wheel if you are looking to experiment or you can switch it out to a normal 12inch coaster brake wheel with an innertube. Overall I would advise not buying this type of Max skatebike unless it is in very good condition, I say this as spare parts for this edition can be troublesome to locate as I found out after a reputable indie bike shop advised me that the bottom bracket could not be replaced as the parts for that size shell were no longer produced and advised getting a new bottom bracket shell welded on and remove the original. The standard rubber rear wheel is not of the best quality and whilst it could be removed and a hole drilled for an innertube drilled and new tyre fitter this should be considered when thinking of buying.

The black frame is from what I believe to be either second or third edition, the differences when compared to the primer grey frame are clear, the smaller skateboard truck hole spacing on the mounting plate, the larger bottom bracket shell (I believe this to be called a ‘USA sized’ bottom bracket), then finally the chainstay shape is straighter. This edition is not safely able to accept a 16inch wheel however the rear wheel does have an innertube as standard as opposed to the solid rubber predecessor. I prefer this later edition frame as spare parts like the bottom bracket, crank and bearings are easy to source, replacement trucks can be located from auctions sites like ebay by searching for vintage penny boards as they have the same hole spacing to fit the Max. The main difference between the second and third editions is that one had a plastic skateboard truck and wheels (documented elsewhere on the site), as I’m not certain on the dates of production I’m not able to confirm whether the plastic truck edition was second or third however I would suggest avoiding the plastic truck edition as I found the truck was not strong enough and quickly broke when I tried it so it would be best to replace the truck so again would need to be considered when looking to purchase a Max.

In summary when looking for a Max skatebike I would suggest going for a Max that has a metal skateboard truck and an innertube in the rear wheel, checking these two details will save you time and money down the line when looking for parts and customizing. The Max skatebikes that have an innertube and metal skateboard truck do not need to be altered before using, maybe just need skateboard wheels and bearing depending on the level of use it has previously seen.

Jon N. – UK

Mats van der Gugl – Slovenia

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)

Jon asked:
@skatebikeuk
Is the red one a Lerun too? I’ve not seen a 16inch wheel Lerun, looks very cool!

mats.garage.67
@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 😉

Steampunk SQRL

Here is an interesting Steampunk SQRL that Jon N (UK) found on Instagram. Hey @rosierockets, amazing paint job.

LeRun Jr.

Jon N from the UK sent me an interesting find, pictures of a LeRun Jr. I did not know a junior model existed. Notice the Jr uses a traditional bicycle seat, unlike the regular model with a unicycle seat.

The LeRun Jr comes from Winson Ooi of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. He posted these photos on KELAB BASIKAL LAMA, a Facebook bicycle club to share their collections of bicycles owned.

The “thebigfatlittleshoppe” in Singapore is showing this pretty red LeRun Jr.

Garel Monocycle Repaint – Jon N – UK

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.

Max Skatebike – Jon N – UK

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.

AXL Skateboard Truck Details

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.