Posts Tagged: Eric Alley from California

33 Years Later

33 years ago in 1986 during halloween at Walnut High School, a friend shot a picture of Eric Alley riding a skate bike he was loaned by a bike store he rode for.

To quote Eric’s story:

During high school (Walnut High School, California) in 1986, I was given one of these as I raced BMX for a local bike shop. Had to give it back after a few years though. The picture is of me at 17 on halloween at school. The principal actually let me cruise around on it the whole day.

Today he sent me a photo of him recreating the old shot on his restored skate bike down to the style of bike clothing.

See how Eric restored his skate bike.

The Best Minson Skate Bike Restoration

In Aug 2019, Eric Alley of Walnut California contacted me about an old skatebike he bought and wanted to restore. For months we emailed back and forth with questions and answers. One of his biggest challenges was his bike was missing the under-seat brake handle. I sent many measurements and detailed photos. Eric bought a similar handle and a friend made a bracket to hold it on. Eric used the same skate truck as I did also replacing the stock bushing with a hard downhill one.

This week Eric sent me the finished picture and to put it mildly I was blown away. I took my restoration pretty far but Eric went the whole nine yards. This is by far the best skate bike restoration I have ever seen.

Skate Bike – Eric Alley 1986

Before

After

Parts List

Here is Eric’s list of parts he used in his restoration. His is a wonderful combination of original parts such as the seat and pedals with modern anodized cranks, brakes and chain.

  • Model: Minson Skate Bike
  • Size: 16-inch
  • Color: Candy Apple Red
  • Frame: Steel
  • Brake Lever: Sunlite Brake Lever (modified to original Skate Bike specifications)
  • Brake Caliper: Dia Compe MX 1000 Side-Pull W/Quick release
  • Crankset: LDC (Little Dude Components) 110mm CNC Machined Alloy W/Red paint inlay
  • Front Chain Ring: LDC (Little Dude Components) 36-Tooth sprocket CNC Machined Alloy W/Red paint inlay (LDC – 281 E. Chilton Dr., Chandler, AZ)
  • Chainring Bolts: Litepro CNC Machined Aluminum (Blk.)
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano (113mm) Sealed Square tapered
  • Chain: KMC (Gold)
  • Rear Cassette: DICTA 20-Tooth Sprocket
  • Pedals: 507 PVC Block (1/2”) – New Original type
  • Rear Wheel: 16”x1.75” 28-Spoke Chrome – Freewheel
  • Rear Tire: Duro 16”x2.125” Red Gum Wall
  • Saddle: Original Skate Bike Saddle W/Logo
  • Seatpost: Chrome 25mm x 280mm
  • Seatpost Clamp: 1-½ inch (35mm) 5/16” Chrome Binder Keyed Bolt
  • Front Skate Truck: Tracker – Race Track 140mm Truck (Polished)
  • Bushings: Khiro Yellow 92-A (Med. Hard Density)
  • Skate Wheels: Bones Pizzanista 60mm – 90A Density
  • Paint: Premier Bicycle Werks, 1617 W. Collins Ave, Orange, CA

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.

Brakes

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.

Another Skatebiker

Skate Bike – Eric Alley 1986

Got an email yesterday from Eric Alley. It said:

I saw your site regarding the skate bike. I just purchased one off Ebay. Unfortunately, it did not include the brake system. I was wondering if you have any, or if you know of a source for one.

During high school (Walnut High School, California) in 1986, I was given one of these as I raced BMX for a local bike shop. Had to give it back after a few years though. The picture is of me at 17 on halloween at school. The principal actually let me cruise around on it the whole day.

I replied:

Brakes are easy except for the handle. Cable and brake itself are pure old school low end. The challenge is the handle.

On my system I have 2 brakes. When I replaced the wheel I put on one with a coaster brake. Those are easier to find then a wheel without a coaster brake. The challenge is it is hard to lightly apply the brakes. Tend to skid.

The handle connects to the two bars on the bottom of the seat. I live in Canada and my brake cable and wheel assembly are from Canadian Tire.

The handle is going to require some construction. Either build a new base or find a way to connect a piece of handlebar under the seat for the brake to connect to. Here is a picture I took of my brake handle.

Under-seat brake lever

Eric – Looking forward to pictures of your restoration. Be sure to take apart the cranks and clean/grease. The chain is basic old school as are the pedals. The biggest recommendation on parts is family bike store. My skateboard truck and wheels were trash. I wrote several posts on replacing them and the challenge of bushings. Just read previous posts.

Eric sent a few before pix.