A Few Answers on SkateBikes
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.
The front gear originally had a cover. Eric’s still has his. I was never a fan of the cover so I removed mine.
Back to brakes. The wheel brake is a classic side pull unit. Nothing special, just old school lower end. The lever is a different story. Minson started with a low end unit and flattened the handle bar mount to mount it on the bars under the seat.
Making a Brake Lever
I was fortunate. I bought my bike new so it was complete. Eric is missing his brakes. My suggestion to make a brake lever was to either use a stamped unit or figure out how to attach a piece of handlebar to the bottom of the seat. Stamped units are made from a piece of metal stamped into a shape. The parts that attach to the handlebar can be flattened. Amazon.com
Mounting the Wheel
The distance between the wheel mounts is about 114 mm. The wheel is a tight fit. I juggled where the nuts were as well as added a chain tensioner after adjusting mine a few times. Amazon.com The tensioner makes it easier to get right chain tension as well as keeping the wheel straight.
There are several things to know about getting a new truck. First there are old and new school hole placement. The skatebike is old school as it was sold in the mid 80’s. Most trucks have both sets of holes.
I looked for a truck with a wide stance. My truck is 139mm wide. Eric told me, the original Minson truck is 148mm, the wheels are 64mm and the overall axle length is 8.5-inches. I found 64mm wide wheels. A truck comes with bushings BUT I found when I did my first ride they were far too soft. On a skatebike you are using the bike as a level applying your full body weight to turn. I bought the strongest bushings.
Seat and Seat Post
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.
A toy I bought on a whim in 1985 has become a collector item to me. It sits in my office right behind my chair beside the unicycle I never learned to ride. I hope my enthusiasm for skatebikes rubs off on others.