Hetchins Pista

HETCHINS TRACK FRAME AND FORKS 1954 CURLY 23" VINTAGE LIGHTWE IGHT PISTA 531 | eBay

Tasty

I’m sure Spirito and Blakey will want to slap me for saying this but I think the stays on Hetchin frames are so damn ugly. Still never seen a Hetchins Pista on the bay before. I expect it will go for a good few $$$.

I don’t like it either. Not to mention that the design is useless on the track anyway. But a good bit of history in that bike.

Jack Denny once described the purpose of the curly stays in a magazine interview. The idea was born in the 1930s when road races took place over bad roads, often over cobblestones. The raked fork in front absorbed some of the road shocks, but conventional straight rear triangles transmitted all the road shocks to the frame causing the whole bike to rattle and shake. This rattling and shaking is wasted motion and translates into lower speeds and lost time. Denny believed that a sort of a fork in back would absorb some more of the shock, resulting in less rattling and shaking and, in theory at least, less lost motion. The idea was not to provide a bouncy suspension, as on modern mountain bikes, but rather to let the dropouts vibrate–hence, the official designation, vibrant stays. The claim of the curly stays is untested, but it has been proven that suspended mountain bikes are faster over some kinds of terrain than conventional bikes, so there may be merit to Denny’s idea. The curly stays do not offer any functional advantage to the cycling tourist, Denny said in the interview; nor, presumably, to the track cyclist. Nonetheless, many track frames were fitted with the elegant stays, and this brings us to another twist in the tale.

In the early days of cycle racing, amateur status was taken so seriously that a frame builder was not even allowed to ‘advertise’ his name on the bikes ridden; frames for amateur competition therefore bore no transfers identifying the maker. Unorthodox frame designs were allowed, however, and some frame builders used unorthodox designs to identify their bikes, if not for functional reasons. This explains the curly track bikes ridden by a number of successful riders in the 1930s.

The claim has often been heard, and is repeated by Hugh O’Neill in his historical article, that the curly stays also stiffen the bottom bracket. Why this should be so is not explained. However, the original patent application adds a significant point, namely that “both stay members are butted two gauges heavier than normal or standard gauges…” [line 35]. The stiffer bottom bracket must therefore be attributed to the heavier gauge tubing, not to the curl. What is not clear is, whether the heavier gauge stays were used throughout Hetchins production, or only until the introduction of Reynolds tubing (which post-dated the patent on the curly stays).

In either case, the stays on 1930s Hetchins are markedly chunkier than the so-called pencil stays of the 1940s. In the 1980s, round chain stays were replaced by oval-round stays.
From here.

i like the seller’s english sensibilities.

I imagine that it’s actually a 1940s path racer, rather than a track bike.

Path racing appeared to be a big thing in the UK once upon a time.

Nah, strong opinions about things we’re all passionate about is expected.

Would I buy/own one? No … Do I think they are way cool? You bet.

I like them for what they are. Right/wrong … good/bad, doesn’t matter.

And the Borges quote sig at the bottom, just to top it off…
spirito = zen