1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

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1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby old steel Bikes » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:21 am

This showed up some time back about the time Photo Bucket failed to provide a service. So this build has been under way for some time but I have kept photos of the built and some of the issues that I have come across.

The frame was purchased from overseas and has been repainted. Also on further investigation Clydesdale Scot by the serial number it was confirmed a 1946 build. It has had a checked past and has seen more of the world than I have with a number of owners too. At some point in time the it has been damaged and back to Hetchins to have this work done. The owners name is on the top bar Jim Muir.

Some Info found on the Internet

Hetchins Super Special (RARE) 1946 frame no. 462955
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Hetchins Super Special (RARE) 1946

This 1946 Hetchins 22" with 22.5" top tube Frame number 462955, has been owned by my friend Jim Muir for the last 15 years and his father before him. It is in good condition throughout with exception of a tiny dent not really visible to the naked eye underneath the top tube. Although we photographed it, it doesn’t really show up. After an accident to the rear seat stays in the early 1960's it was taken by Jims dad back to Hetchins and Alf Hetchins fitted new seat stays and drop outs widening the back end to 1960's spec of 125mm. Front forks are 100mm the rest of the frame was undamaged at the time, generally speaking it is in good condition complete with bottom bracket, and original head clip and original seat post (which is free moving).

I do have some for this and some of the reason for the purchase

It was well packed and arrived with no damage which is always a good thing

ImageIMG_0043 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0046 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0049 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0050 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr
Last edited by old steel Bikes on Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

uart
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby uart » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:49 am

Very interesting looking old bike OSBs. :)

Just wondering what was the rational for the interestingly shaped rear triangle. Was that how it would have originally been in 1948, or was it "updated" when it was repaired?

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find_bruce
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby find_bruce » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:16 pm

Hetchins patented curly stays in 1934, which came with the curved seat stays, so they could well have been the original spec from 1948

uart
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby uart » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:25 pm

find_bruce wrote:Hetchins patented curly stays in 1934, which came with the curved seat stays, so they could well have been the original spec from 1948

What was the rational behind them? Was it supposed to be a more comfortable ride or something else?

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby spannermonkey » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:14 pm

uart wrote:
find_bruce wrote:Hetchins patented curly stays in 1934, which came with the curved seat stays, so they could well have been the original spec from 1948

What was the rational behind them? Was it supposed to be a more comfortable ride or something else?

I have a Cecil walker with the same type of stays ,it was always referred to " vibrant rear end "
And yes the theory it is meant to act as a shock absorber
And yes it is a more comfortable ride
Image

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:17 pm

The Hetchins 'vibrant triangle' has commentary at http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/hetchins.html

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singlespeedscott
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby singlespeedscott » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:44 pm

Nice frame. I think the curly stays where more about advertising than anything else.
Image

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RobertFrith
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby RobertFrith » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:23 am

There were a number of interesting mid century UK frame designs, the curly stayed Hetchins and Baines Flying Gates are probably the best known, but there are the Paris Galibier, Saxon Twin Tube, the triple triangled Thanet Silverlight, the curved seat tube Jack Taylors, Bates Cantiflex forks to mention a few more.
I have read (and for the life of me I can't remember where) that the proliferation of dramatic frame shapes was in part the result of a ban on advertising in British amateur racing; the idea being that the frame shapes under winning riders were readily recognised and assocuiated with the brand. These extravagant and eccentric designs really do seem to have been confined to the British Isles.
In any case Hetchins frames are very easy on the eye and a delight to ride.

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:50 am

RobertFrith wrote:I have read (and for the life of me I can't remember where) ...

One source is the link to Classic Lightweights I provided (above)
Another is at the dedicated Hetchins site

However, Peter Brueggeman (in 2015) offered a more detailed account of the design and the ban on advertising and the timelines which is worthy of a read. It looks at the many references to the unorthodox designs.The reference to Hilary Stone's paper,International Cycle History Conference (ICHC) Proceedings 1993 - 4.07 The Development of Unorthodox Frames - Why These `Funny Frames? can be found at the V-CC library.
In a commentary to the publication of the compilation, Peter Jourdain wrote:
Regarding such unorthodox British frame designs as a purposeful means of circumventing R.T.T.C. and other rules against advertising in amateur athletics, what is being argued (and I think successfully by Peter and Chuck) is the difference between design with advertising aims aforethought vs., shall we say, a fortuitous outcome resulting from a machine's novel physical profile.

The latter -- which had the effect of circumventing R.T.T.C. rules, was something which even important lightweight manufacturers and retailers back in the day were aware, as the quote below, from Cycling ( 22 April 1942) shows:
"Yet what. is the attitude of the game's rulers to the trade? They refuse to allow recognizable transfers on a rider's machine, although unable to deal with the problem of freak designs which are more readily attributed to their makers than the largest transfer." --- Russell Woodward

So while the unorthodox designs may not have been created for the purposes of circumventing advertising bans amongst amateurs, they certainly had that effect. Anyone who has perused the pages of the old magazines knows this.

In terms of Raleigh, while it is true that they had no unorthodox lightweight frame designs during the time trialing days under discussion, their circular-tube style fork crown makes the marque one of the few easily discernible in a poorly-reproduced cycling photograph. They are the one orthodox machine which I consistently pick out in the blotchy photos of Cycling. Again, this is not to show cynical commercial intention as to design, but simply -- for the manufacturer -- a fortunate result.

But I should also add this: Even though the radical frame designs may not have been concocted to thwart advertising bans, I doubt very much if during those days builders such as Hetchins or Bates, even if they were to have received data that their Vibrant rear stays or Diadrant front forks were of no practical effect, would have been motivated to scrap their unorthodox designs. Retooling issues aside, in terms of marketing, the primary reason would have been because of the already established notoriety in the marketplace which the designs had created for their makers. But I do think the R.T.T.C. ban on advertising would also have helped stay their hand. Why spoil a good thing?

(for members of Classic Rendezvous group this link will take you to the July 2015 thread "Why such fancy lugs on the hetchins" [sic] where the quote may be found)

Danny, the colour would be a good match for the GT (if you ever washed the GT :shock: )
now that my homework has been done, I can go for a ride. Today selection will be a Gios Torino Professional with its clean and simple lines and no fancy lugs.
Philip
always the contrarian.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby uart » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:01 pm

RobertFrith wrote:I have read (and for the life of me I can't remember where) that the proliferation of dramatic frame shapes was in part the result of a ban on advertising in British amateur racing; the idea being that the frame shapes under winning riders were readily recognised and assocuiated with the brand. These extravagant and eccentric designs really do seem to have been confined to the British Isles.

Clydesdale Scot wrote:One source is the link to Classic Lightweights I provided (above)
Another is at the dedicated Hetchins site


Thanks for the info Robert and CS, that's very interesting. Yes it certainly makes them recognisable.

On a bit of a side note. I'll never again worry about not being able to get everything totally straight when trying to pound out a bend or ding in the rear triangle in an old steel bike. ;)

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby GaryF » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:39 pm

Hi 'old steel bikes', beautiful frame. The curly Hetchins must be on or close to the top of lots of 'grail' lists - I know its on my grail list. It's also probably on my 'never to actually own' list as well - haha - boo hoo.

I just love the colour as it just says "British" to me. The lugs are also beautiful but probably a touch restrained compared to some other Hetchins frames - which can be completely over the top - as you well know.

It must have been so exciting opening up that box and slowly revealing that frame. And so relieving to see it was undamaged too.

Does the Hetchins overshadow the XW GT??? Maybe not; but they are both equally admired and revered.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:46 pm

I'm with GaryF on this, just something about a bike in Brunswick Green or British Racing Green that appeals to me. The XW on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish. I do love a Windsor, almost as much as I love a Chrysler small block. Sadly will probably never have another. So your pic inspires envy and longing on two levels. Although I'd probably do something stupid to the curly-wurly like upgrade it to 80s SunTour Superbe Pro, because I'm an anarchist at heart.
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby RobertFrith » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:23 pm

Very interesting read on the Peter Brueggeman site, thanks Philip. It's clear that a number of unorthodox frame designs were around prior to the advertising ban.
I'm now curious as to why these designs proliferated in the UK and are less prevalent in France, Italy and other markets.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby old steel Bikes » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:36 pm

RobertFrith wrote:Very interesting read on the Peter Brueggeman site, thanks Philip. It's clear that a number of unorthodox frame designs were around prior to the advertising ban.
I'm now curious as to why these designs proliferated in the UK and are less prevalent in France, Italy and other markets.


Robert the image is not working

Danny

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:01 pm

Danny, it just records that Robert is one of us... a broken athlete.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Gordon1 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:57 am

Circling back I am curious as to what parts you will be using for the build so we may be able to compare notes.

I have a restored 1955 Vade Mecum curly frame (purple) and am planning on running Cyclo Benelux 4 speed (my frame has a mount for a shifter that is difficult to "get working" so am using it as a clamp support) red Airlites, presently using some NOS track style bars, hope to use Chater Lea fluted cranks and Chater Lea pedals and I'm presently struggling with brakes but hoping for GB.

And no I don't do photo's on this damn site (see my earlier rants).

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby old steel Bikes » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:12 pm

The serial numbers and how the date can be identified on Hetchins from he 40s to the 50s

Danny

Image1904s Hetchins serial number info by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

ImageIMG_4667a by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby old steel Bikes » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:51 pm

Gordon1 wrote:Circling back I am curious as to what parts you will be using for the build so we may be able to compare notes.

I have a restored 1955 Vade Mecum curly frame (purple) and am planning on running Cyclo Benelux 4 speed (my frame has a mount for a shifter that is difficult to "get working" so am using it as a clamp support) red Airlites, presently using some NOS track style bars, hope to use Chater Lea fluted cranks and Chater Lea pedals and I'm presently struggling with brakes but hoping for GB.

And no I don't do photo's on this damn site (see my earlier rants).


The parts as of the start of this build will be period correct and as much English alloy equipment as possible
Handlebars MAES Have
Stem GB Grinder Need to find
Brakes Burlite Have
Seat Pillar STRATA Need to find
Seat Brooks Shallow Need to find
Cranks Chater Lea Round Have
Chain Rings Chater Lea Have
Chain Rings Adaptor Chater Lea Need to find
Pedals Chater Lea Tommy Bar Have
Gears Rear Simplex Need to find
Gears Front Simplex Need to find
Hubs Harden Drilled 32 40 Have
Rims Fiamme early model Have
Wheel Nuts GB Have

Clydesdale Scot offered both the front and rear changers to suit this build whilst assisting and confirming the serial numbers of this frame. He also supplied a chain ring adaptor a tandem model and I knew would to modify to make work. Which was a great help as trying to find the correct equipment for this bike was not going to be easy.

As for the wheels they were built but had the wrong rims on, so will need to be pulled down and rebuilt

As stated above this was the start list and things sometimes just do not work out how you want them to especially on bikes this old. As some of the equipment is cutting edge for this bike and at this date

Danny

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Gordon1 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:32 pm

Sounds like you have just about got it nailed. While we are are using different parts we are both sticking with the British theme. I was considering using some spare Harden hubs but I decided to use (unless I change my mind) Airlite because of the colour. Getting decent 32/40 hole rim combinations seems to be my biggest issue. I would like a nice clean Dunlop Lightweight set. I also have a very fancy home made stem that is almost as over the top as Hetchins lugs.


I'm trying not to over capitalize however a Hetchins frame deserves proper parts.

Good luck with the build.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby WyvernRH » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:00 pm

RobertFrith wrote:There were a number of interesting mid century UK frame designs, <snip>
These extravagant and eccentric designs really do seem to have been confined to the British Isles.


Not totally... a lot of these 'non-standard' frame designs were an attempt to shorten the rear chainstays which was believed to make the frame 'stiffer' and transmit more power. Thus the Flying Gate, various curved seat tube designs and the Saxon Split seat tube design.
Not sure about the French but the Italians (Rigi?) and the Dutch (RIH) also got into the short wheelbase, split seat tube designs at least back in the day.
Image
An example of a Rigi I think?

Also, so he is not forgotten, The Waller. I am currently building a copy of this frame, but it will have modern fittings so no-one can mistake it for a 'real' Waller in the future.
Image

Richard

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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:05 pm

back on the sidetrack again. The 'unusual' designed frames were not universally admired:
I liked to ride fixed gear sometimes and other times gears so it seemed the answer. I had a good look round at other builders first - there were plenty in the area - for example Rivetts Cycles, Rory O'Brien, Lapebie, EG Bates, Ephgrave, Hobbs of Barbican and Condor. Condor were popular in our neck of the woods but there was much teeth-sucking about the curly Hetchins machines and Paris bikes were routinely laughed at. I came close to getting an Ephgrave but in the end stuck to Hawkes.

recorded at http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/bu ... lders.html

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Gordon1 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:51 pm

So what you are politely trying to say, by quoting someone else, is Hetchins are overpriced rubbish. Thanks Clydesdale Scot.

WyvernRH, your comments about shortening rear stays is interesting. While having split seat tube and rear wheel sitting in between would both shorten wheelbase and stays (and clearly this applies with some of the frames you have mentioned) I'm not certain this applies to a "curly Hetchins". The old shortest distance between two points is a straight line as far as I remember.

When I get a chance I will measure wheelbase of my Hetchins against a Hartley I have which are both 1955 build. The very non scientific approach of measuring dropout distance will be used. Rear dropout is variable so I will take the middle of the dropout as a reference point.
Last edited by Gordon1 on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:29 pm

Just that you won't ever see me in any bidding war for a Hetchins. To me it is like French Baroque architecture. I prefer a Bhutanese dzong.
I'll leave Hetchins and similar for the rich kids.
There was a rider who I used to ride with. He had an old Giant aluminium bike. Whenever a time triallist on a shiny new bike went past, in full tuck, Ian used to accelerate up to him and ask him if the bike was new. 'Yes' was the answer to which Ian told him he had wasted his money. Ian then accelerated again into the distance. We caught up with him at the coffee shop.

I think in post-war Britain, with the rations and shortages, the extravagant lugs on some frames didn't win you races.

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby old steel Bikes » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:41 am

A couple of photos of the frame outside before any parts added. Just to see the frame by itself without to much bling

Sorry about the wheels only ones with tyres

Danny

ImageIMG_0051 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0053 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0052 by Danny Brooks, on Flickr

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Re: 1946 Hetchins Super Special Build

Postby Gordon1 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:10 am

Fair call Clydesdale Scot especially about a bidding war. Luckily I wasn't involved in one for mine. While it wasn't as cheap as the Gios roadside find it was very well priced for a fully restored frame (even though I prefer original). I won't tell you as you won't be happy.

Willing and eager seller converted this not so eager buyer into an eager buyer when the price was halved from it's reasonable original asking price.

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