Many Guises

In 1991, when I still thought I might do a lot of track riding, and when I felt I needed a recompense for two years of gruelling job training, and its successful end, I went ahead and ordered a special frame from David Miller in Preston. At the time he was the one you had to approach when you wanted a Hetchins, and curly stays it had to be.

His framebuilders must have had a well-filled odd parts bin then because he offered to have a real track fork built; twin plate crown, round taper blades and all.

It was to be a Novus Ductor model because I really preferred something less elaborate in the way of lugs than I had had on my Mercian some years earlier, but Dave just spared the bottom bracket, and nowadays I quite like the outcome.

At first I equipped the bike with a mixed bag of parts; I remember a Maillard rear hub and an old Brooks Standard. From the beginning I wanted a bike which was also road going, so I ordered the fork crown drilled and mudguard eyes added. I didn´t care about a rear brake bridge because there were rearward facing track ends with a 120 mil spacing.

I can remember Dave saying that his new cast headbadge was that big that many smaller frames couldn´t be fitted with it, but that there was space for three on my frame.

Next came the NR track groupset which is depicted in the first picture, but my track riding declined, I moved to a hilly area with the closest track 65 km away, and the Hetchins started a long hibernation.

Then there was Sheldon Brown and his idea of resuscitating the fixed three speed Sturmey ASC. I was thrilled from the start, and got one as soon as they eventually came out under the name of S3X. I used the Hetchins much more, and decided to equip my around town bike with an S3X as well. I took the silver shell one for this, because the second one I bought, used off a fellow CR member, had a red shell, and as I also had found red cranks quite by chance, I thought they might make a nice pair.

I have since advertised for more red anodized parts, but alas to no avail. So if there are some suitable parts in your box…

One more part which I replaced now that I´m riding the Hetchins more was the saddle. I had scored a B15 Champion Flyer (which is much narrower than the Narrow) some years ago. It looked superbe but was a superbe torture instrument when ridden. Now there is the modern B17 Standard I bought with the 1958 Ellis Briggs.

And this is what the bike looks like at the moment. I´ll keep you posted for any changes.

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