Totally Redeem Yourself! 1965 Skat-Kitty

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Like my varied and somewhat scattered list of favorite vehicles, I have a pretty eclectic list compiled for my favorite movies. Citizen Kane is my favorite movie and has been for the last three decades – it simply can’t be beat, in my opinion. There really is no order to the rest of my top picks, but some top movies are: North by Northwest, School of Rock, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and a little gem called Dumb and Dumber. I know, right! You either love it or you think it’s the stupidest thing of all time. Sort of like collecting minibikes. This 1965 Skat-Kitty is a rare one and is priced as such, on eBay, with a buy it now price of $2,500! It’s in Galveston, Texas, so if you wanted to drive it home to recreate the famous scene in the movie, here on YouTube, don’t forget to bring your helmet, and a really dumb friend.

Unless you’ve been hanging out under a rock for the last decade, you know that the minibike craze has officially hit. These things are hot, people with money are buying them because they’re relatively inexpensive and they bring back such good memories. The Dumb and Dumber minibike wasn’t a Skat-Kitty, of course, but those ape-hanger handlebars reminded me of it. The one in the movie was most likely a custom creation built on a hardtail frame. There were dozens and dozens of companies making minibikes in the 1960s and 1970s so it could have been almost anything. The movie bike looked somewhat like a Trail Horse, but who knows. The seller of this Skat-Kitty says that it’s “Original and unmolested!!” I’m not sure if it’s 100% original and unmolested as there are some missing stickers so parts of it must have been repainted. It does look good, though.

Believe it or not, grown, rational, thinking, wage-earning, normal adults love, own, collect, and restore minibikes. It’s really no different than anything else that people collect to bring back memories. Maybe they had one as a kid, or maybe they never had one and now they can afford to buy one, or a few. Yes, sadly, they’re like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t get just one minibike. Don’t ask me how I know this. With a cast-aluminum frame, the Skat-Kitty weighs only 65 pounds! And I thought my Motocompo was light at 90 pounds.

The Skat-Kitty was made in Dayton, Ohio by a huge, diverse company called Projects Unlimited, Inc. They’re still around building such non-fun-non-mini-bike things such as “electronics, aerospace components, transducers, sirens, microphones and piezo benders, etc.” Like anything else, I’m not going to change anyone’s opinion on minibikes and the value of them and/or the value of reliving one’s youth no matter if others think you look like a knob. It’s like anything, some folks aren’t afraid to ride these things (me included, at 6′-5″ tall) and there are those who wouldn’t be caught dead on one. Minibikes are like politics, it’s a 50/50 split and neither side is ever going to convince the other side that they’re right.

To show you what a serious business minibikes are, and the Skat-Kitty in particular, this company, which restores all sorts of high-dollar exotic and collector vehicles, also fairly recently restored three Skat-Kittys. For a bike with an original price of $209.50 in 1965 ($1,626 today), I bet the owners of those bikes are paying a couple of thousand dollars in restoration costs for each one, if not more. For such a carefree, fun thing, these minibikes are a serious business right now. The engines were a 2.5 hp side-valve Lauson four-stroke unit, by Tecumseh, good for around 100 mpg and 25 mph, if the rider wasn’t too heavy. They had a 250-pound weight limit. The Skat-Kitty is on a different level than the bent-tube-frame minibikes that you’re probably familiar with, with its cast-aluminum frame, fenders, and chain guard, and its cute, tiny size. Have you seen one of these l’il things before? Which side are you on: minibikes are fun even for adults reliving their youth, or they’re just for dumb and dumber people?

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Comments

  1. Tyler

    Got room for one more if you still wanna go to Aspen.

    10+

  2. Joe Nose

    Skat Kitty. Sounds more like what the kitty left behind on the floor.

    6+

  3. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    This was a fun and creative write-up, Scotty. Well done!

    14+

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, jimbunte! That’s darn nice of you to say.

      5+

  4. Salt Man

    Skat Kitty is one of the better looking mini bikes.
    Regarding your movie list, I slept 3 times though C.K. before I managed to watch it all the way to the end.
    The best movie ever made is “Mary Poppins.” Followed by “Death of a Chinese Bookie” and “Tony Manero.”

    2+

  5. Mountainwoodie

    When I was a young teen seems like a lot of kids had Rupps……..as for movies, Scotty, I think you need to watch Bad Santa 2……….and put that on your list.

    1+

  6. Howard A Member

    As a kid, I’d have killed for one of these. I had a frumpy Honda step thru 50, but it was still a bike. Mini bikes came in all types, whatever was lying around. These were the things we hurt ourselves on for the 1st time. Every vacant lot had a makeshift track, we had a lot of fun. Tecumseh’s are touchy, and not made anymore, but always thought they had more power than a Briggs. Cool find. Some lucky kid will get this, I hope. You adults interested in this,,,act your age for heavens sake,,,

    3+

  7. Mike

    The one in Dumb and dumber is most likely a Rupp it looks just like mine I use it to get to my fishing hole in the black hills what a blast!

    3+

  8. Car Guy

    Love the ape hangers, and the chrome exhaust pipe! Just the thing for cruising the seawall in Galveston…..

    2+

  9. LAB3

    If mini bikes WHERE politics I wonder what Machiavelli would have rode?

    1+

  10. Metoo

    The frames of the scat kitty and the dumb & dumber mini bikes look absolutely different from one another. Me? I would rather have an exact copy of the sled “Rosebud” from Citizen Lane to lean near my living room fireplace.

    2+

  11. Jeffro

    Oh yeah…I’m riding this to Sturgis!

    6+

  12. Gunner

    50 miles to the gallon, straight up!

    4+

  13. boxdin

    Love this thing. I’ve got a honda CT70 and love it.

    1+

  14. Zack

    That little thing is too cool……I’d ride that around in the house….maybe chase the dog or cat just for fun… I remember having mini-bikes when I was 11-14. First one was probably homemade (not by me), and next a Fox mini that was the sharpest thing on wheels for a young biker-to-be… and somewhere along the way I was involved with one called a “Little Indian” I believe, that we managed to shoehorn a Yamaha 80cc engine onto… I only got it up to 55….it was too scary to go any faster but it would get up there as quick as you could go thru the gears and HANG ON! If you weren’t careful it would pull the front end up in any gear…way too much power for something that light. Who knows..
    maybe it grew up to be a Hayabusa one day…. From there I went into dirt bikes, Kawa H2 750 (widowmaker), KZ900, and 35+ bikes since. Loved ’em all and still ridin’ (cruisers now).

    3+

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Zack, you hit it right on the head. Many riders of these crude machines, ended up a life long affair with motorcycles. Think about it. What was the 1st activity you can remember doing? Riding a bike. From that humble Honda 50, I too have had dozens of bikes, and after a long hiatus without one, at 62, I recently bought a used Gold Wing, and still love riding. Dirt bikes, not so much anymore.

      2+

      • Zack

        Did you see that sweet little Honda Jerry just put up for all to see? I still look at every ad for all the old minis and small Honda and Yamaha bikes of yesteryear. I’m often tempted to buy one just for the conversation of it again in my life… I was with an old schoolmate a couple of weekends ago when the conversation drifted to a group of friends that rode mini-bikes back when we were young, and he remembered me as having one and riding with those guys. He didn’t have one himself but he knew each of us who did and he thought of that and brought it up. What a memory that recaptured for me. We use to ride the trails thru a local wooded area down by the river (3 or 4 of us each time) that led to a neighborhood further out of town along the river. It was so much fun and it kept us out of the eyes and ears of the “law” (small community…one Cop car…lol). I still keep in touch with two of those guys down in Nashville today. We’re all 63-66 years of age now and we all still ride. Shoot, I just picked up an older Yamaha Royal Star a couple of months ago that needed a lot of work (someone laid it down). Now I have it back together and done my way…and once again I feel the freedom….and the wind in my hair (less now than long ago). I don’t know how long guys like us will be able to ride (safely)… My Dad just stopped riding a couple of years ago…… health reasons… but he’s now 86. He had a good long ride. So I guess, God willing, I should be able to ride for another 20 maybe….? and like you, not the dirt bikes anymore….that just shakes me up too much to enjoy. Although I do like to ride in the desert on the easy trails from time to time…

        2+

  15. Jerry

    Nothing like a small bike to play with on the street, envy of the kids in the ‘hood and I’m 75!

    5+

    • Puhnto

      Is that a Honda 90 from the mid-sixties?

      0

      • Zack

        I want to say it might be early 60’s due to the fender styling. And I can’t be sure but I think Honda had a 65cc back then that looked like that. I had a similar one in red/chrome in ’68 and I bought it used, so it may have been a ’65 or so. I think mine was called a Super 90. It looked somewhat like Jerry’s extremely “nice” little bike…. how much for that Jerry?

        0

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Puhnto, looks like a 1965 Honda CA110 Sport 50. Very rare today.

        0

  16. Jay E.

    Had a bent tube mini bike, it was street legal and my first set of wheels. I chopped it and added chrome spoked wheels. That briggs sure wound up, pushing through a Mercury Hillclimber clutch. The brakes were suspect, but I didn’t care. It was freedom, one step above the my skateboard. I kept it well into my 40’s, finally passing it on the another family to enjoy.

    1+

  17. rustylink

    pfftttt….a chain guard! What fun is a mini bike without a chunk of skin missing from your ankle bone. Luckily the exhaust pipe is close enough to your ankle for a little scarring from that. Seriously – most of the kids I rode mini bikes with the chain guards were always the first casualty of the first good lay down…

    1+

  18. DRV

    I have quite a few hours on one of these running around my uncles tree nursery. It started out as a stashable ride into the luggage compartment of my dad’s Cessna Skyhawk. Loosen the big wing nut on the fork and the ape hangers fold down to make it incredibly compact. The wing nut will also kill you if you run into something from not having any brakes. When the plane was sold it went to the nursery where it was “safe” to run. It was never safe. I was 13.
    It is so small to be on top of for an adult that the sitting position will make anybody laugh continually. My dad sliced his hand up by falling off and the starter pull mechanism catching his fingers. I remember him running his hand under the kitchen faucet water while he stitched his fingers!
    It’s a crazy bike and it’s crazy small.

    1+

  19. Jerry

    @Howard A and Zach: It’s a 1968 Honda S50 (c110) that I just finished restoring. It’s got 2021 actual miles. Had an S90 that was a beauty, all original and a CB100 JDM model which was actually a 90cc, another all original even with the Japanese dealer sticker, km speedo, etc. Low buck fun and a great hobby. Just sold my ’73 Elsinore MR50, restored.

    2+

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