By Racer

Powerlite got its start as a bike shop. Peddlepower was a bike shop located on East Grove Ave. in Orange, CA. The map shows the location. If you look to the North you will see Lincoln Ave. In the area where you see the words Ave. is the location of the famous Western Sports-A-Rama track. It was one of the first BMX tracks in America. All the legends from Stu Thomsen, Dennis Dain, Greg Hill to Tinker Juarez raced this track often.

The bike shop was run by Steve Rink. Being close to such a early and famous track helped launch the shop into sponsoring a team. Early riders included “The Red Baron” himself , Dennis Dain. Dennis went on to fame racing for Redline and Cooks Bros.

In 1977 it appears they released their first production bike, the SR. The decals on them used the bike shops name, Peddlepower. Late in 78 or early 79 this would change and the decals would read Powerlite.

By the early 1980’s BMX was booming. Powerlite was also growing. They sponsored BMX Action test rider Kirk Chrisco and another legend Tommy Brackens. The product line included full uniforms and custom helmets, bikes and even numberplates.

Not sure what happened next. It appears Freestyle took over the pages of the BMX magazines and the hardcore race companies that didn’t adapt quickly enough, were left out in the cold. While races where still drawing a thousand racers and freestyle events just a few, the magazine coverage was mostly freestyle.

Powerlite and Robinson seemed to get lost in the transition and where bought by GT Bicycles around 1986 or 87. If anyone knows the exact date please let me know and I will edit this.

Anyone have any additional information please post a comment and I will update the pages as needed.

Thanks, Erick Weinstetter

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56 Responses to “History of Powerlite”


  1. May 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    The GT purchase was actually 1989. I worked at GT at the time and had a part in making the logo transitions for both Powerlite, Robinson and Auburn.

  2. 2 Steve Venard
    June 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    It was about 1988 that’ when I stoped riding,BMX. I did not make it to PRO but I was close.I raced for Don in the erly 80’s all Powerlite! I am sure that Tommy would Remember me. and Kirk We had a lot of good times!and good races!

  3. 4 silverz
    October 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I have what I believe is a 79 or 80 powerlite racer survivor in excellent condition. The guy I bought it from told me he raced it back in 80 to 81. How can I verify the year and model. It has all the white powerlite decals but does not state the model.
    Thanks for a great site

  4. 6 Mark Rink
    December 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    You cant tell what year powerlite you have by the serial numbers ! they are not coded by years etc. they are random and only on there because back in the day you could register it in case it got stolen. Have a great day! Any ?s you might have about powerlite you can email me at markrink2001@yahoo.com , I worked for my dad from the age 13 to 22 at powerlite. My dad is doing well and retired here in florida. Take care Mark Rink

  5. 7 dave french
    May 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    hi, just bought a powerlite over the weekend. its a spitfire, green.
    serial number g01800016 anyone know what year this would be. its all
    orig. with the exception of a bell seat. interestingly its got gt pedals
    and wheels. i didnt know gt and powerlite were involved togather until i
    read this post. so thank you and that makes sense that its got gt parts on it.
    dave.

  6. July 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    i HAVE A POWERLITE COCKPIT P 61 OR P41 FROM THE LOOKS? i am not positive though, anybody whos knowledgeable with decoding serial numbers please help me out in figuring out the exact model and year,

    s/n ” SOAK00612

    THANKYOU

    • July 12, 2011 at 3:14 am

      Well early 61s were 4130 only the last ones were AL. So AL = late 90s early 2000s.
      The 61 had a longer top tube around 21″. It looks like the P51 was around 20″ That should narrow down the model.
      I found this info here on my site. https://powerlite.wordpress.com/gt-era-powerlite/
      Im guessing the first zero maybe for 2000.
      But at least you can figure out the details from the above link.

  7. 11 cody
    August 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    i have a powerlie spitfire with dirtbike stickers all over i am trying to decode the serial # here it is K6J01534

    • August 31, 2011 at 1:55 am

      Id bet the K is the month and the 6 the year. So 1996. But according to my page here https://powerlite.wordpress.com/gt-era-powerlite/ the Spitfire didnt come out till 2000.
      Not that I have taken the time to look thru any of my old catalogs to see. I think I may have sold all my old Powerlite catalogs.
      So are you certain its a spitfire model? Does it appear to have the original spitfire decals?

  8. 13 Bonze
    November 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I have an old Powerlite I bought in 1985 when I was a kid. I ordered an SRX but when it showed up the sticker on the seat tube says Pro. Do you know what the difference is? It has bothered me since Day 1.

    Also, there is not a serial number anywhere on the bike. I have taken this bike apart at least fifty times and there is not one anywhere, not on the bottom bracket, not on the rear “fork” where the rear wheel goes on the outside or inside. Nowhere.

    I recently restored the bike after it sat in pieces for many years. I am trying to find some new stickers for the forks. They are the red, black, and silver ones with horizontal stripes.

    Any information you can tell me will be useful. Thanks!

  9. October 2, 2012 at 6:19 am

    We have designed a new web site bmx gallery museum in Australia

    thebmxgallery.com.au

    In this we are searching the globe for bmx advises ,catalogs ,vids ,photos etcetc.

    Respecting the sites title in copywrites here …may we direct our galleries viewers here in auburns lists …our site has no powerlite materials nor can show the bmx in its glory without your assitances …..

    thank you ……..snap

  10. October 2, 2012 at 6:19 am

    adding to this plea ..we have hundreds of bmxs on display in all ……1 auburn is seen …..our site is now openly seen & across 3 countries and is only 1-mth old

    thank you again ……..snap.

  11. October 2, 2012 at 6:24 am

    we have contacted DG bmx and we have directed our galleries viewers to the site as follows in which we can do the same to powerlite ..

    sample #pages read as follows

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————

    DG Bmx 1978
    simply click the link and go directly to DG

    http://dgbmx.wordpress.com/
    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    yours will be as such in powerlite of course …:)

    thank you ….snap.

  12. October 2, 2012 at 6:28 am

    sorry i said auburns as i pasted this to auburns as well lol…

  13. October 6, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Dear sir ,

    I have contacted the site in a request in directing my sites viewers to you site ..i yet not heard a reply …

    our sites link …http://www.thebmxgallery.com.au/

    please contact me either ways …..view the respectfull dues given to both DG & AUBURN in your will be to that.

    i am unable to promote powerlite without your aid

    thank you …snap.

  14. October 6, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Snap.. are you trying to contact me? you can contact me. at markrink2001@yahoo.com with any ?s not sure if your trying to get this sites moderator or contact me… (powerlite) i can give you whatever info you might need i thing lol… Mark (powerlite) Rink

  15. October 6, 2012 at 7:43 am

    dear sir ,
    my gallery contains many makers but yours in fairness and legals i shall direct traffic in your bmx your way …as a gent i will let you know in presentations and direction in my pages ….i wish your site its full dues and thats why i shall direct them here ….

    i deem your bmx as a stable and i wouldnt be fair in not asking …..if you wish to do the same as a reference library our way the doors always open ……

    thank you ….i shall present my pages in works in my word later ………..snap….:)

  16. 22 Jeremy
    January 11, 2013 at 5:54 am

    I just ran across an 01 powerlite in reats shape no dents. i just stripped it. anybody have a value in mind and also need to know what colors they came in. i think the one i bought was painted with a roller. haha yeah 4 hours of stripping by hand

  17. 24 Jeremy
    January 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Pretty sure its a dirt bike. A big as it is, it is evenly weighted. It just feels like you could balance it if you set it on a block. I dont know if you know what i mean. but that is the best way to describe it.

  18. 25 Brenton
    March 2, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I have a powerlite that I’m looking to find some information on. I got it from a friend but all the stickers were ripped off and was wondering if anyone could tell me some info from the serial number. The number is YC96060476. Thank you for the help

  19. 29 Dennis Oswald
    March 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I have a Powerlite BMX 26 Cruiser. All components are anodized gold – Seat post, seat post clamp, MCS stem, bar, D/A crank arms, DiaComp brake caliper, brake lever, Suzuie large flange hubs, and Ukai rims. The original black paint, decals, Oakley grips and leather wraps on cross bar and stem are guideline. Is this bike collectible?

  20. 32 glen
    June 6, 2014 at 8:49 am

    hi , i picked up a powerlite the other day , but im not sure the yr or model , i was told it was 80’s but id like to know for sure , it has early style stem with long bolt and wedge (not a head style), butterfly style brake bridge, has no gussets,p stamped in forks and dropouts , serial is on bb , and reads wyv7k0074 , any info would be great , cheers

  21. 34 Calvin Miller
    December 25, 2014 at 1:30 am

    I picked up a BMX bike online they said it was a P-47 Powerlite Pro light team race bike .What it had for markings was a P under the seat and on the stem and a serial number SOHKOOO54 . It has 20″ x 1 1/8 tires on it . Is it what they said it was ?

  22. 36 Juan Lopez
    March 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    My question to you would be are the Robinson and Power lite made by GT or they where bought by GT owner.
    I recently went back to my childhood and been looking for old school bikes and Ice seen plenty of bike and came across two of the Robinson and power lite bike so am still lost if they consider GT bike or NOT people had said to me that’s they are so am still confused lease let me k now if they are GT brand.
    Thank you.

    • March 15, 2015 at 12:16 am

      GT at one point bought Powerlite and Robinson in the mid 1980s.

      • 38 mark rink
        March 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

        Powerlite and Robinson were purchased around 88ish…Before that Gt had nothing to do with GT… Powerlite built there own stuff until sold while pretty sure Voris Dixon made most of Robinson stuff… After the purchase Gt made both bikes and changed the brand,stickers etc…Mark

  23. 39 mark
    March 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Gt bought powerlite and Robinson around 88

  24. 40 Lee Addison
    July 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    reading all this, you guys are making me cry(lol). I am the original owner and racer of a 1981-2 Powerlite S-24 cruiser raced for 30 plus years(1st cruiser was a dbl bar 26). Loaded, 185 Flite cranks sealed BB, suntour sealed hubs,neck and beartrap pedals, arraya rims, and more even have some of the old red white and black
    “Gear” Racing pants I was given by a factory cruiser rider(24& over class) can’t remember his name. What I do remember he traveled with a beautiful Labrador retriever, sometime prior to the Gilly’s nationals. Love your website.

    • July 24, 2015 at 2:57 am

      Yeah some great times, some great memories.
      Dont know who the cruiser rider was there were alot of co sponsored riders thru bike shops in those days.
      What state did you live in?
      If you have any photos from those days email me them and I will post them for you.
      bulletproof2000@live.com

    • 42 Lee Addison
      July 25, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Hey Racer, Yep great times. Sorry no photos. We were to busy in between motos kickin the hackey sack around. you know important stuff. The rider I was talkin about with Lab, would travel all over and live out of the back of his pick up truck with his dog. He could pitch a tennis ball as hard as he could from about 15 yrds and she would jump up and catch it, amazing. By the way I’m south of Houston TX.

  25. 43 Mark Rink
    July 24, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Hey Lee very cool story… Friend me on FB or email me at markrink2001@yahoo.com i got some cool old pics etc you might like… Mark Rink The cruiser rider might have been Kevin Harlow or Mark Darcy ?

  26. 45 Chris Ruen
    August 25, 2015 at 12:46 am

    PeddlePower was bought in 1983-1984 by ROB….Don’t remember his last name.I was young and rode only Powerlites ( when they had the plates with the hole at the head tube) Then ” Rob ” would watch Myself (Chris Ruen, Brian Thein, Mikey Palomino,Will Ziggamier etc) Do freestyle and street tricks along with riding a street ramp we had cobbled together…”Rob” talked me into a “1984 HUTCH TRICKSTAR” as I was 12 and was riding halfpipes and also rode at “THE BOWL” in Yorba Linda so I got the HUTCH F&F for free =) and Peddlepower jerseys etc. Like a sponsorship of sorts….Peddlepower later moved to the corner of Orange Olive and Riverdale then about a year later across the street ( same cross streets) …….I do not know what ever happened to the old PeddlePower but rumors were that “Rob” lost the store due to drug addiction…..Any info would be nice.

    Hope this helps,
    Chris Ruen

    • August 25, 2015 at 3:36 am

      Rob was Rob Lynch. In fact when my cruiser got stolen I bought Rob’s old Floval Flyer this was around 1987-88.
      I was one of the kids that helped turn the “Lakebed” into a track. When they filled in the bowl area, the lines I remember where named colossus, jawbreaker and suicide. We called the place Colossus. Got to be friends with a couple of the locals Ryan and Craig. Craig lived near the water fountain and had I think Dalmations. He was friends with Ryan who later joined the Marines. Mr Leper??? had the water hose for us to drink from thru his fence. When he saw all the progress we were making on the track he got us a bulldozer! Then magazines heard about our “new” track and began testing bikes there. Ironically just as they began testing bikes there I joined the Navy and never saw any of the sessions or got to join in. Horse riders ruined the track and it fell into disrepair. The main berm is still there, though alot smaller and buried under weeds. The city tore down the main table top we built with the bulldozer, we had named the jump Volcano.
      Rob was a part of BMX since the beginning. He even had a column in Bicycle Motocross Action. He could race better then most people knew. I raced him in Cruiser. He has since passed away.

  27. 47 Mark Rink
    August 25, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Hey Eric was nice finally meeting you a few weeks ago… you know my email and feel free to hit me up anytime!! Yes Chris alot of shenanigans went on after my father sold Peddlepower … First was to Bob Osborn, he sold to jeff Bottema and Bottema to Rob lynch around 83… Unfortunately extra curricular stuff has ruined many people and us in bmx are not immuned. RIP to Rob and Scot B… may they finally rest in peace…:)

    • August 26, 2015 at 3:15 am

      Yeah Mark, you looked like you could still tear up the track, so did Kenny. I had to meet so many people its a shame I didn’t get to visit longer or remember to bring a note pad etc.

  28. 49 chris ruen
    August 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    The water hose was VOGALS …The Jumps were COLOSSUS, JAW BREAKER, THE HOOK, CAMELS…etc. I rode there in 1981-1989. We may have been within feet of each other my friend =). I am restoring the TRICKSTAR as we speak =)

    • August 26, 2015 at 3:08 am

      Yep that was his name. Yeah if you got to see the bowl before it got filled in. It looks like we called the jumps mostly the same as you guys. I rode in 82 a chrome Flying Rhino and in 83 a blue SE Quadangle with camo pads. I pretty much always ran a numberplate. I dont have any of my old bikes but am building a replica of my quad.
      That place was awesome. Last few times I rode there in the 80s was on my Boss cruiser or the floval flyer I got from Rob. The last time I went to the lakebed the place was not in good shape. A few jumps near the water and some by the dam but nothing like the old days.

  29. 52 chris ruen
    August 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Rob passed away? Good grief =(. I am so sorry to hear that…..I also used to meet up with two brothers, twins ..Landis and Landyn….Landis was Blonde like me and smoked at 12 yrs old…lol he rode a VDC Gorilla mini cruiser and his brother a CW mini cruiser…Good riders…..Ring a bell?

    • August 26, 2015 at 3:04 am

      Nope I probably was out of state when you guys got into the area. I was a few years older then you guys. Weird though cause now Im 39 and younger then you guys.

      • 54 Chris Ruen
        August 26, 2015 at 3:10 am

        Waffalow ( Bill Hohman ) Bought the rights to “peddlepower” and he was Robs partner. I have been speaking with him Today as hew owns “BASSETT” and is making me a 24″ BASSETT…..just like 1982 =)…So cool to share
        memories that only a select few would know =)

  30. 55 chris ruen
    August 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I remember Volcano…On the right hand side…Nice table top then down into a left berm and around…The main table top was to the left or The “track” …I love that place…Great memories and stitches…I am 43 now and all of those memories are so fond…My parents moved from Orange to Yorba Linda just so I wouldn’t have to ride 7 miles at 10 yrs old….I was the kid they called “blondey or HUTCH….Chrome trickstar with blue skyways….


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