The Vintage Mini Bike Family Photo Scrapbook

Desert terrain surrounds - John/Caroline Williams on a Tote Gote

"This is the type of desert terrain topside around the spring. There were three draws feeding down from the north and east to the spring pool. Other than that, there were rock cliffs thirty to fifty feet high on the west and east sides of the spring and its tributary that tapered down to the Rio Grande a good quarter mile or more south. Each family owned a "Tote Gote" and this is John and Carolyn on theirs. They would climb anything but a tree." -- Fritz Holt
I have this pic in my thread but thought it needed to be documented here. This is the original owner with his niece and nephew in 1981. He bought this Super Bronc as a kit in 1974. I bought it from him with a Troy bilt Horse Tiller for $80.00 @ 3yrs ago.



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Vintage Wards Mini -

Hello All -

I am new to the site and can only say I wish I had found this forum sooner. There's a lot of good info here and I appreciate the many contributors who are willing to share their experience and expertise with others.

The original mini-bike, I found abandoned in a garbage pile back in the 70's and first put it back together myself when our kids were small in the 80's. Here's a shot of my young bride on the bike with the oldest of our four girls, who happened to grow up to fly F/A-18 Super Hornets. I think the original bike had a 2-1/2 HP Briggs; long ago blown up and gone. The bike's been stashed in a corner for the last twenty plus years.

What fun we all had tearing up the yard! No helmets... no shoes... no sense! I guess we saw things differently back then in our own youth. These days, a picture like this one could likely get you arrested or a visit from the DCFS! It's a miracle any of us survived!

These pics and story come from: Bonedoctor_Springfield, MO

"My first thing with two wheels and a motor" :

"While doing the photostory of my dad's scooter/motorcycle shop, I scanned these infamous pics. It's my first two-wheeled motorized thing, a mini bike. It was called a Scat Cat (Tiawanese or Korean made probably). Came from Small Engine Distributors in Kansas City.

Both me and my brother got one. I was something like 7 years old, my brother was 11. We woke up the morning of June 14, 1971 and there they were....a brand new mini bike sitting in each of our bedrooms. Those are some pics of us as we discovered them. My father assembled them and rolled one into each bedroom without us being the wiser. We rode the snot out of those things that first day, 'round and 'round the house in our large yard wearing a path in the grass. I still remember the governer sticking on mine and taking a full-speed crash into the neighbor's, Mr. Allen, fence. Luckily, it was a wire fence and acted sort of like a trampoline. Only crash I've ever had on two wheels. I can barely touch the ground with my foot in those first pics. Notice the pajamas and the plastic still on the seats.

Can't remember if we'd been asking for these, but probably were. Story is that we earned the money picking up the returnable soda bottles (we lived near a highway in Oklahoma). We had several hundred, maybe even a thousand of those bottles, but at 2 and 5 cents apiece when we cashed them in, I think my dad musta pitched in some $$$, too. They had Tecumseh engines, probably 3.5 hp max, with a kill button on the handlebars, or for the brave, a grounding lever on the sparkplug. My dad always laughed and tried to talk us into trying to kill the engine by peeing on the sparkplug. We were too wise for that, but that grounding lever was good fun on your unsuspecting little friends.

My brother, in typical fashion, didn't ride his much, always took care of it, never got himself or it dirty, etc. His also had a kickstart, but I was too small for one. Mine had the pullstart and even that sometimes was a struggle. Kinda reminds me of trying to start the Norton currently. We eventually sold my brother's bike for more than we paid for it. Mine was another story. I rode the piss out of that thing, broke the handlebars, burned out a few centrifugal clutches, bent the forks, countless throttle cables, etc. Rode it until I was too big and then we sold it for something like $50. I think these little bikes were just over a $100 new. Started with the blue eggshell helmet and graduated to the Captain America helmet (just for picture-taking purposes). He had the helmet for sale at the shop even though I wanted it.

Now, if I'd just wake up now and find a new motorcycle sitting in my bedroom, I'd be really amazed. Even better would be if a scantily-clad woman was sitting on it."
From: Finkawhile_Sydney Australia

"I live in Sydney and rode a minibike in the early 70's. Didn't get to ride it that much it was my big brothers. But I sure did want one just never happened.

Me, on my brothers Dekson or Deltek not sure of the model. Early 70's
This is an old article I found....submitted by a kid named Tim Johnson to Mother Earth News_September 1986

"Like many other kids, I wanted a minibike I could scoot around on. But most new minibikes cost from $260 to $450. I couldn't afford that — I only had $70!
One day while I was working with my dad, I got the idea of making my own minibike. I told my dad. He said I could try, but he doubted I could really do it.
That didn't stop me. The first thing I did was to start looking for a used engine with a side shaft. I tried hardware stores and also shops that repaired lawn mowers and small engines. The best-priced engine I found was a 3-horsepower Tecumseh with a 5/8 inch side shaft. It cost me $35.
Then I started the hard job — looking for a minibike frame. After trying junkyards and other places, I finally found one in a lawn mower repair shop. It had a size #35 chain, brakes, tires, chain sprocket, throttle grip, and throttle cable . . . and it only cost me $5!
There was just one thing left that I needed: a centrifugal clutch (that's the kind of automatic clutch that engages when you accelerate the engine). It had to have the same size hole as my engine shaft, as well as gear teeth that would fit my chain. So once again I began looking in shops. In a hardware store, I found a new centrifugal clutch that would do. It cost me $20.
Now I had the main parts for my minibike, and I'd spent only $60. Then came the fun part — putting them all together!
First I bolted the engine to the frame with strong bolts, nuts, and lock washers. Next, I put the centrifugal clutch on the engine shaft. To do this, I first lined up the key slot on the shaft with the key on the clutch. (I put the clutch on so its chain sprocket was on the inside.) I tightened the key in place with an Allen wrench. Once that was done, I hooked the chain up to the sprocket on the clutch and to the other sprocket on the minibike.
The only job left was to hook up the throttle and throttle cable. I put the cable end that had a ball on it into the throttle grip on the minibike's right handlebar. Then I slid the other cable end into the clamp on the side of the engine and through the hole in the metal bar that controls the engine speed.
To hold the wire end in place, I made a wire swivel stop (you could buy one at a hardware store if you wanted to). I drilled a hole through a nut, slid the wire through the hole, and then — once I had the wire as tight as I wanted it — screwed the bolt on the nut to hold everything in place.
I also hooked a spring to the engine speed bar and another part of the engine. That way, whenever I let go of the throttle, the engine bar gets pulled back to its idling position.
That's all it takes to make a minibike. I've had a lot of fun with mine. Remember, if you make one, to be careful when you ride it — minibikes can go 25 miles an hour! Always wear a helmet when you ride, and always stay off public roads and untracked property."
From Warren Leadbeatter:

Deckson Hunter 1974

"A top little bike that served me well during my younger years. It had a 3HP Briggs & Straton Engine with a belt driven automatic clutch (no gears). That's my brother Mark seated."