A VISIT TO THE FAM. HUTCHINS
September 2016, James Hanna had the opportunity to visit the family Hutchins. Here is a bit of James talk with them.

Hey all, some of you know I had the honour of spending the evening with the Hutchins family, Mr Rich "Hutch" Hutchins included. Took me a bit by surprise and I didn't have a prepared "interview list" with me while we ate hamburgers and pineapple turnover cake.
Thought it time to share my little blog I did after. Just a bit of waffle but if something interests you then it's not time wasted.
Hope it makes sense.
Ok I've got some spare time to try and jot down bits and pieces that got discussed with the Hutchins family. Some of this is going to sound very different perhaps to what has been said previously so please just understand the style of

the conversation was casual and I'm fairy sure that more recollections could come back to Mr Hutch in time.

1. Profile never made any Hutch frames according to the entire family.....that one took some effort not to argue but i did question it a little and mentioned Corey Alley "drilling brake bridges after school".
Mr Hutch said "who?"
Look forward to discussing that a bit further
I also pointed out early drilled brake bridge rear drop outs. There is the little taper/notch at the end of the bottom one.
Mr Hutch said along the lines "oh yeah we got the drops from Profile for a while".
Did they get the drilled plates also?
Hutch said that the reason to change had nothing to do with cracking at all, it was the cost to do it based on the time taken.

2. Hutch was never "sued" at all. He stated be was grateful never to have had a lawsuit taken out for any reason related to the bikes or injuries at all.
So the "lawsuit" model rumour is just that it seems? A kid getting his leg shredded by pedals was another rumour Keith Hutchins had heard led to a lawsuit but according to Mr and Mrs no, didn't happen.
However, Hutch sports products (NFL helmets/pads/uniforms etc did launch a claim about trademark in the later 80's (I didn't press for the exact year).
Despite running as Hutch BmX for al those years before, eventually he had to change to Hutchins according to Rich Snr.

3. The Hutchins never wanted to go off shore but Bill Bellis had become involved in a business partner role (not sure if that involved partial purchase or not).
Bellis insisted it had to happen for costs reasons. Rich Snr said everyone else did it so reluctantly he agreed.
Mrs Hutchins hated Bellis from day 1 when he walked in the door, always did.

4. The Sears bikes in Canada is one of, if not the greatest "mistake" and "regrets" that Mr Hutch has...... He had worked at Sears in the 70's and had relationships and thought he could spin some profit without it impacting on USA market reputation/ sales etc.
He was pretty downhearted on this reality that he did it..

5. Red white decals were a very short time, by early 81 they were black and chrome, presumably beginning of 81 given TJ was given his bike in beginning 81 and Heidi received her bike in earlyish 81, both with black and chrome decals but still first gen forks.
Best guess from Mr and Mrs as to first production frames was around Sept/October 1980.

6. Hutch didn't physically make the first gen box cranks. Probably not new news to most. But I didn't press at the time on who designed the shape or spindle etc.
But his thoughts were a company other than Profile manufactured them......
The name KenLee Precision kept getting mentioned in every discussion of anything early Hutch products. From frame assembly to crank assembly.
No one else really had anything other to say. Keith Hutchins said to me today he is tempted to contact KenLee who still operate out of Baltimore to see what he can discover.
There's an interesting early brochure that talks about new Hutch cranks coming soon, made from chromoloy tubing, lighter than Takagi cranks, available in 1/2 only.
Very interesting to me this one.

7. Hutch only made the single item in the 24k gold woody bike and maybe 2 sets of the Woody style Suntour roller cam setups. None of the Huthins kids or anyone else got another gold 24k bike because of cost.

8. Pedal crush protectors and pedal boxes
I had a Hutch beartrap boxed set of pedals with me that Keith made me take to show his dad.
Not one of the family recognised the crush protectors. At all...... Rich Jnr commented what a great idea they were though.
The only packaged versions of the protectors I've seen for sale are in the Hutch packets stating the Kentucky address, which was the time that Hutch was solely owned by Bill Bellis. So they're not to do with the Hutchins family and are effectively an early 90's product.
Everyone said the box should be logo'd, does that make the blank cardboard boxes much later versions after Hutch was sold?
Interestingly I scanned another dealer catalogue with prices, and it refers to USA made pedals and overseas made versions and the price is fairly similar. Could that explain the blank box?

9. Red white crank decals
Probably belongs above but there was recollection from Rich Jnr that he had to place those decals on cranks in the early days, he thought for factory riders maybe only.
Discussion about whether they were to fit the profile 2nd gen indentation didn't lead to anything certain or confident.

10. The magnesium mini 3 bolt stem
Prototypes were made, but it didn't work well and wasn't manufactured to market.
Apparently bill groves designed it and he might have some prototype left?

11. On bill groves
"Most brilliant engineer ever" according to Rich Snr.
Hutch made a commercial contract that Groves wouldn't sell his product for himself during his tenure with Hutch. Hutch didn't buy Titron out.
Keith on the way to his parents house told me that something happened between

Rich Snr and Groves and that led to groves leaving after years of very solid friendship.
I didn't ask Hutch himself in order to be polite but it was well after the first aerospeed cranks it seems.

12. Aerospeed cranks
Interesting this one. Acknowledgment the spindle wasn't perfect.
But there were very few returns apparently due to failure.
Crank arms broke in half when ridden by team riders, most notably Veltman and Miranda. They just cranked too hard apparently!
Riders were allowed to run whatever cranks they wanted because they were chasing points and cash of course. This was confidently spoken about by Mr and Mrs Hutch and Rich Jnr.

13. Hutch western H stem
The deep H stem was done with a router. When a new CNC machine arrived at end 1983 early 1984 and was programmed, it was able to do the more fancy H. Nothing more than that in it. Leftover deep H stem would have been sold until they ran out.

14. Hutch 2n1 headset locks/stiffeners
You could tell Mr Hutch was proud of this one for sure based on reducing stem wobble/flex.
A CNC machine was operating more or less 24/7 on these items they were that popular!

Anyway guys, that's a start for now, I'll keep trying to think of any other snippets that came out.
Oh, Thelma did take off in the team bus while rich Jnr was still on the roof tying bikes down, they all had a laugh at that one!
Such an amazing brand and awesome bunch of people, many thanks to Keith Hutchins and his family for the opportunity.

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