Jon N. from the UK wrote this article about changing the seat on his Max Skatebike to a unicycle seat. My personal skatebike is a Minson which uses a traditional seat post and seat. The Garel/LeRun/Max skatebikes use a unicycle like seat connection.
BTW: A unicycle seat is often referred to as a unicycle saddle.
The skatebikes used in the photos are a black Max skatebike and a blue LeRun, the LeRun and the original Max seat are the same design and are shown for comparison purposes. When I purchased my Max skatebike from eBay the seat post was too short for me to ride in a comfortable position. The post was 250mm long which once you’ve taken into account the section required to go into the frame it did not leave a lot the space required for a person just over 6 foot tall like myself. I had hoped to simply replace the seat post with a longer one and all would be fine, however when I examined the fixing of the post to the seat I realised the seat itself had 3 shafts for nuts and were positioned in a triangular shape. I searched online and couldn’t find a replacement seat post that had triangular hole positioning so I decided to replace the seat too. The fixings on most bicycle seat posts are designed to work at an angle and for a skatebike it needs to be straight up which is how I arrived at a unicycle seat and post.
I used unicycle.com who had a good selection of seats and posts along with other supplies. The seat post width for my Max is 25.4mm (Lerun and Garel models use 25mm), I went for a 350mm long post and a zebra print seat for a total of £30. There are other colour variations out there but as soon as I saw this I knew it was the one for me! As you can see there are differences in the designs of the original seat and the unicycle seat, namely the width is reduced on the unicycle seat and the curve angle is increased on this ‘freestyle’ seat (flat unicycle seats are available on the website too). The unicycle seat is firmer than the original from the Max and is fixed to the seat post via 4 shafts in a rectangular formation and allows for tweaks on the angle of the seat rather than the fixed position of the original seat. The grab section at the front (there is also a grab section at the rear of the unicycle seat) is incorporated into the seat design rather than the ring design of the original, this can take a little getting used to at first if you’ve been using a ring for a long time. When I first put the unicycle seat on and went out on it I really noticed the width difference compared to the original and was concerned that it would take something away from the comfort aspect however I found it is easier to understand where my body weight is in terms of positioning. The original seat is wider and in comparison feels almost too wide for me now and there’s less clarity in knowing where your centre of gravity is, however the original is more comfortable and has more of a shallow sideways C profile. From a top down view the unicycle seat is an hourglass shape which helps position the rider and the original is a teardrop shape. I would suggest trying one out in a shop if you can, I’m average build and a unicycle seat may not be comfortable for everyone.
Out of the two seats I would say I prefer the unicycle seat as I find it better for comfort, response and firmness. The original seat works as a seat but there are other options out there and it might change how you feel on a skatebike and grow your confidence to try more moves or go for longer distances so why not give it a try?
Another change I made to the Max was to the seat post clamp and removing the quick release system. I decided a fixed seat post clamp would be better for me for when I lock it up outside a shop I don’t have to worry someone can pinch the seat, plus it looks slicker to me and matches in terms of colour. It was a simple case of taking off the quick release fitting and popping the fixed seat clamp post (I sprayed it black as it was chrome – 28.6mm seat post clamp for Max/Lerun/Garel) and tightening it accordingly.
Jon N. – UK
I was very encouraged by yesterday’s ride. The tire pressure was low so I pulled the tire/tube but could not find any leaks. I applied two layers of cloth tape to the rim inside to protect the tube from the spoke caps, dusted the tire inside with baby powder and reinflated. I will watch it.
I was not happy with the seat height so I need to look for another post. I got an aluminum one but it is snug. I will check the steel/chrome ones. The post is one inch but sold as a 25.4mm. A steel one is easy to find.
Next was the seat. I have several saddles at home and found this old Trak one. The hand brake lever mounted nicely and the seat is higher so I am going to try it. As discussed before I went for a coaster brake wheel. I can see the value of the hand brake so I am looking for a new one. The old one is badly corroded.
I am getting there. In the last few days I installed a 300 mm 25.4mm aluminum seat post to replace the steel 200mm one. The old post was corroded but the key problem was it was too short. Even with it extended beyond the safe limit I was still about two inches short. I believe having the seat at proper height will give better control like it does on a unicycle. The challenge was the new posts were a hair too thick. Between a belt sander and a wire wheel I removed a small amount and the new post fits great.
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.