The Vintage Mini Bike Family Photo Scrapbook

Here is the Only picture I have of my Ruttman, although you can't see much of it as I'm in the way, but you can see the vacuum cleaner tube sticking up in the air. This was taken in 1969 as I remember that Lincoln. My friend watching me is still a very great friend. He also has a minibike to this day. We ride together once in a while. Two 65 year old kids cruising around on minibikes :)


I have owned this 1961 Gator Gadabout for51+years! My dad traded some concrete (our family was in the concrete business) for this minibike and a Yard Hand tractor. I was 8 and my little brother was 5, so he got the tractor (we still have that, too!).

The Gator seems to have been built by Glennco, or been its predessor, as it is almost identical, with a couple of subtle differences: The pedal has a bend in it while the Glennco is straight, and the handlebars are flatter on the Gator. Mine has the original Clinton 2 1/4 HP 4 stroke motor. The prior owner had converted the foot throttle to a butterfly type lawn mower throttle and it had been mounted flat on the top of the bar, but at some time was moved to a location on the front of the handlebar for an up-and-down motion. I had been painted red when I got it, but the original color was cream with a red motor. It suffered many paint jobs during my ownership, including maroon, blue, black, and red.

Other mods during its lifetime included wheelie bars, headlight, electrical tape racing stripes, and a "ram air" contraption that I was sure would be similar to supercharging, at speed!

When I was 9 or 10, a couple of years after I got my mini, I decided that the fork angle looked too steep (and it was!). Since this little tall-geared, ungoverned bike with a super-light rider (me.... back then) had been clocked by a friend's 1966 "Twinjet Yamaha 100" at 42 mph just after dropping off of China street hill, I thought I would break out the torch and make it handle better and look cooler by making what I called at the time, a "rake-plate". If you look closely in the pic, you can see the 1/2" thick plate (I wanted it to be strong enough!) bolted to the bottom of the headset. I even added a hole in the front of the bracket for a planned headlight that never happened. I think that the bolt-on mod made the bike look better, but probably had the reverse effect on handling.

All that said, in looking at the pics, you can see that the top tube has a decided bend upward compared to the other Glenco-type machines. It has a patch badly welded to the support brace just behind the headset. I can surmise that the reason that the fork was so steep was that a prior owner must have had a close encounter with a curb or ? that managed to put so much stress on the frame that it bent the top tube and broke the weld at the support brace. Bet that was a wild "high-side"! I assume that the forks were bent and straightened.

Those were the good ol' days!

My older brother had a paper route in 1970-71, then we moved, so he gave it up. but he had saved up enough money to buy a minibike, which was neat, since we moved out to the country (west of Tucson AZ). It was a CAT, 3hp Tecumseh, very basic bike. We wore it out. Don't know what happened to it, probably got trashed after us kids all moved out.

Here's a shot of me on my very first motorbike.. it was a Plum crazy Ruttman wild goose about 1971 or 72.. Parents should be carful what they show their kids, since that picture I have never been without a bike of some kind.

This was my first Cheeftah. It's one of the later bikes and was a top of the lineup Cheeftah. It came with a 4hp Clinton with torque converter. Was suspended at both ends with a chrome sissy bar, chrome front end and chrome fenders.............
Here's a picture of mine around 1973...........

This is from the middle 60's. It is my little sister Cindy on one on my "creations". I made all sorts of powered contraptions back then. This one had a Honda 65cc motorcycle engine with a diaphram carb I adapted to it. Old bike frame with a wheel barrow tire. The front bicycle brakes barely worked but things like brakes didn't seem real important at the time. Plus the brake lever was on the vertical part of the handle bars. In a panic situation there wasn't much time to let go and grab for a brake. If you couldn't steer from the problem you would just bail out and fix what got busted up in the crash afterwards :).
I remember giving Cindy rides on my "minibikes" against my mother's direct orders not to. Yes I was a rebellious teenager like a lot of us.