Skidmark Garage 1969 LiL Indian Mini Bike

This custom mini bike started out as a 1969 LiL Indian, the brand that started the mini bike industry over 60 years ago. Check it out!

If there’s one thing you can always expect from Greg Castillo, it’s the unexpected. He’s a regular at Skidmark Garage, the Cleveland, Ohio-based community motorcycle garage where people can work on their motorcycles with provided tools, space and community for assistance. Around the area, he’s known as the “mini bike guy” for the unique creations he builds on a smaller scale.

We met him at the Piston-Powered Autorama last year where he showed us his Rat Fink-inspired mini bike, powered by a small Honda engine. Since then, we’ve made a trip out to Skidmark Garage to tour the shop firsthand, and Castillo was there to show us another one of his awesome builds.

“This one is somewhat of a hodgepodge,” Castillo admits. “But I started with the frame and forks from a 1969 LiL Indian.”

LiL Indian Mini Bikes was found in 1959 by three brothers after getting the idea to build a small-motor scooter that could power them around the pits at races rather than walking. Larry, Ray and Regis Michrina were 20, 24, and 16-years-old at the time and were single-handedly responsible for starting the mini-bike industry. Today, LiL Indian mini bikes from this era are the rarest of the rare.

“There were holes drilled everywhere in the frame and stuff welded to it and the motor plate had a bunch of extra slots where someone had put a larger motor in. The bike probably would’ve come original with a 3 horsepower Briggs motor, but I wanted to feature a 1963 Tecumseh. It runs great real great and there’s original patina all over.”

Before fitting the engine, Castillo had to do a bevy of work to fix the sorry state the frame was in when he got it. The whole front end had to be cut in 10 different pieces to straighten everything out, along with extensive welding work.

The rest of the bike is essentially made from parts that Castillo had laying around from other projects. The wheels came off a Fox Racing go-kart from the ‘50s, the exhaust is brand new and triple-chromed, and the gas tank came from an Ohlsson & Rice 25cc two-stroke motor.

All-in-all, the hodgepodge of parts makes for another awesome mini bike creation, and an excellent Ride of the Week.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected].

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