The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
2011/24/1 Skate bike, full size, metal / rubber, made by Skate Bike America Inc, Boynton Beach, Florida, United States of America or Minson Enterprises (USA) Inc, Los Angeles, California, United States of America, 1984-1986. Click to enlarge.

Skate bike

Made by Minson Enterprises (USA) Inc in Los Angeles, California, United States of America

This unusual bicycle is called a skate bike or unitrike. It has three wheels and is a cross between a BMX bicycle and a skateboard, comprising a rear-wheel driven unicycle with a set of skateboard trucks and wheels at the front. A disc attached to the seat stays would have indicated the manufacturer but it has been sprayed with paint. It was most probably made by Skate Bike America Inc., Boynton Beach, Florida, USA or Minson Enterprises (USA) Inc., Los Angeles, California, between 1984 and 1986....

Summary

Object No.

2011/24/1

Object Statement

Skate bike, full size, metal / rubber, made by Skate Bike America Inc, Boynton Beach, Florida, United States of America or Minson Enterprises (USA) Inc, Los Angeles, California, United States of America, 1984-1986

Physical Description

Skate bike, full size, metal / rubber, made by Skate Bike America Inc, Boynton Beach, Florida, United States of America or Minson Enterprises (USA) Inc, Los Angeles, California, United States of America, 1984-1986

This skate bike is similar in construction to a unicycle except that it is driven by a conventional chain wheel and chain, in front of which is a set of skateboard wheels. The unicycle rear wheel is spoked with a conventional rim fitted with a red pneumatic tyre. The chain wheel sprocket is protected with a solid disc and the cranks are fitted with standard rubber-padded pedals. The rear-wheel, side pull, calliper handbrake handle is attached to the underside of the seat, which can be raised or lowered in the usual manner on the seat post. The rear wheel is located by conventional seat and chain stays. The skateboard trucks and wheels are attached to a continuation of the seat post. The bike is finished in anodised red paint with a red and blue seat.

Marks

No marks

Dimensions

Height

690 mm

Width

400 mm

Depth

770 mm

Production

Notes

It is uncertain which of two American companies may have made this skate bike, either Skate Bike America Inc., of PO Box 41, Boynton Beach, Florida or Minson Enterprises (USA) Inc. of Los Angeles, California. The Minson firm held a number of patents for other skate related items. The Skate Bike America company advertised skate bikes to young teenage boys in the August 1984 edition of 'Boys' Life', the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. The advertisement stated: 'Something new on wheels?Skate Bike' and went on to grandiosely say that skate bikes have 'shaken California like an earthquake. They've been cruising, whirling, spinning all over the coast while the rest of us sat and watched.' The skate bike came in a choice of 4 colours, red, blue, green or yellow and retailed for US $99.95 by mail order. The lack of sales is indicated by the fact that by 1986 the advertised price for this skate bike had halved.

Skate bikes with much smaller rear wheels were also made by other American manufactures, including Le Run Industries Inc. of Michigan and Max, while Garel Monocycles were made in Italy. Early models of these skate bikes featured brakes which were applied by back pedalling but these tended to lock the wheel completely, launching the rider off the bike. Later models had calliper brakes to the rear wheel.

History

Notes

Nothing is known about the history of this skate bike. It was given to the donor by a friend.

According to unitrike collector and skate bike rider, John Main: 'they are great fun to ride but can be rather dangerous ? you can go at great speed (particularly downhill) but steering is an art in itself and they have a rather wide turning circle so avoiding obstacles takes practice ? When you are up and riding the first thing you notice is the response of the front wheels ? with more weight forwards it is easier to steer but bumps in the road, stones etc are much more of a problem. You naturally find yourself leaning forwards for corners and back for straight paths? as you lean to steer but also lean to balance you need to get used to shifting your hips when you want to turn and balancing with your shoulders and arms ...also the brake lever is under the seat? which means that to operate it you must lose the balancing ability of one arm.'

Skate bikes also needed careful calibration for them to be ridden well. John Main continues 'the steering bushings [sic] need to be tensioned just right, the front wheels need to be at the right level?and if the seat is not at just the right height for your legs you'll find steering difficult. To me, with a little love they are the coolest vehicle out there, but I would bet that most people lose patience before they really start to enjoy riding them.'

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Kenneth Edworthy, 2011

Acquisition Date

11 April 2011

Cite this Object

Harvard

Skate bike 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 May 2019, <https://ma.as/415263>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/415263 |title=Skate bike |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 May 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Know more about this object?

TELL US

Have a question about this object?

ASK US