How To Build A Minibike

Thirteen year-old Tim Johnson shares his methods on how to build a minibike on the cheap, including finding a minibike frame, essential parts, and how to put together the minibike.

| September/October 1986

MOTHER'S CHILDREN: This 13-year-old built a scooter for only $60! 

MOTHER EARTH NEWS feels strongly that youths can be creative "Doers,"working toward more ecological and self-reliant lifestyles . . . whether their tasks be raising chickens on a farm or maintaining rooftop container gardens in the city. To support the endeavors of our often overlooked "underage" citizens, we're glad to publish well-written articles from younger children and teenagers concerning projects they've undertaken. However, we recommend that all young authors query (that is, send us a letter telling about the story they'd like to do) before writing a full article. Address inquiries to Mother's Children, MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. 

How To Build A Minibike

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!

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