BMX PLUS! Test /  March 1982 (thanks to Maurice Meyer)
HUTCH 24 CRUISER
Test report by Bob Hadley

When is a cruiser not a cruiser?
When it's made for racing.
What is the new Hutch 24 made for?
Racing.
What proof do you have?
Plenty. Toby Henderson rode it to victory at the biggest Pro Cruiser race ever,the International Grand Championships at Knott's Berry Farm.
Where can I find out what makes the Hutch so hot?
Glad you asked,because what we have here is an exclusive report on the very bike the same one,that

Toby rode to victory at the Knott's race. The fact is,at the time of this test it was the only Hutch cruiser in existence. A real prototype.
When Richard « Hutch » Hutchins from Hutch called to tell us about this new bike,we knew it was going to be hot. At first we tried to put together a riding session during the week before the big race,but plans for that were blown put by our typically hectic deadline situation. We had no choice but to postpone the shoot until after Knott's.
HOTTEST NUMBER
Our postponement turned out to be a stroke of luck. When Toby hit the jackpot,al of the sudden we had an exclusive on the hottest number in the Pro Cruiser class.
Tuesday afternoon we picked up the vehicle at Toby's house and took it to the lab for measuring.
Hutch had said the bike was only a prototype,warning us « . . . It probably isn't exactly straight. » Like most prototypes,the Hutch was not welded in a permanent fixture. It didn't matter,we were more interested in the angles and the proportions than how perfectly the prototype was aligned. We figured if it was straight enough for Toby to win on it against the heaviest competition in the world,it was straight enough for us. We did double check with Hutch to be sure that the specifications on this bike were going to be identical with those of future production units.
When he said yes,that was all we needed.

The Hutch is so versatile for a cruiser you almost forget it's a big bike. The 24'' format may well be the bike of the Pro class in a few years. The Hutch 24 doesn't even look like a 24 with six foot tall Toby Henderson in the saddle. A great view of the Hutch pedals. The wide « platform » style cage is the coming thing.

THE TRICKEST THINGS
Hutch had this bike set up so trick!
It had all the latest chrome parts on it: Chrome Ukai 24'' alloy rims,Dia-Compe MX 900 caliper brake (with Shimano DX lever),and wide bars with an upside-down Pro-Neck cruiser stem. Toby is over six feet tall and the components reflected that. The trickest things on the bike were the new Mitsuboshi Comp III skinside tires. By the time you read this they should be available,but as of this writing there were less than ten sets in the country. When I took the bike Toby said, »Don't skid on them,that's the only set I have. »
Lab sessions always have a way of bringing put the best and worst of the manufacturing process that goes into each frame. The first thing we found out is that this cruiser has the same chainwheel clearance problems that the smaller Hutches have. Hutch uses a 1/8-inch-narrower-than-normal bottom bracket. They do this because it makes the Hutch cranks fit better. If you use a standard one-piece crank the problem is solved by adding a spacer between the sprocket and the stationary cone. Without the spacer the chainwheel will rub on the frame. Even with the spacer we were limited to front chainwheels size 43 or smaller. The reason the frame is so wide is simple: Hutch likes to keep the tail section short,to bring the rear wheel as close to the cranks as possible.
Hutch feels this improves starts and cornering response. Hutch did mention that gaining more chainwheel clearance was going to be one of the minor changes before production begins.
SUPERB CRAFTMANSHIP
The rest of the Hutch 24 was A-O.K. Outside of the slight misalignment that we had expected,the craftmanship and welding were flawless. Toby said the fork on the bike was actually an MCS 24 cruiser model. Anyway,it was a work of art. The welds were the best we've seen in a long time.
Here's a basic rundown on the Hutch geometry: The wheelbase is 39 inches,the hanger height is 11.3 inches,and the hanger-to-axle distance is 15.9 inches. The head angle and seat angle are 71 degrees and 72 degrees respectively. The front end has 2.8 inches of trail.
We didn't get a very long time to analyze the handling of the Hutch--only one day. But I guarantee that we made the most of it. By we,I mean Toby,Jeff Ruminer,and Jeff Botteme,and me. We met at Toby's early Wednesday morning and headed some sixty miles away for the fireroads. (We didn't ride there,we drove. Do you think we're crazy?)

The new Comp 3 tires by Mitsuboshi are a blessing for the 24 inch cruisers. Toby takes advantage of the traction as he squares of this turn. Toby launches off the radical ledge. The Hutch 24 has good balance,making it a great jumper. The fireroad crew taking a  short break to repair a flat. Left to right: Jeff Rumirer,Toby Henderson,Jeff Bottema and the author. The Hutch in it's prime territory: bermshots.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The ride down the mountain was interesting as well as fun. Looking over my notes from that day,I wrote,  « Wheelie 1/2,F.E. (check trail). . . Seems to push on roll-ins,little slide,O.K. no hands,and like H 20. » Before I decipher my notes,let me reiterale that these were just initial impressions. One day of riding doesn't give you very much of a chance to get used to a bike. Too many factors exist. I wouldn't believe anyone who says he can give you a complete evaluation of a bike in one day.
On to the notes. « Wheelie 1/2 ». I wrote this because on fireroads you have to be able to get the front end up instantly to avoid ruts and rocks.
The Hutch responds to this very well;in technical terms that means it was half-decent. I would move the front end around with more ease than with some twenty-inch bikes. Not bad for a cruiser. In regular wheelies it is well balanced. The bike speed jumps without any undue effort;it's one of the few 24-inch bikes that does. The next note is a long one: « F.E. (check trail) seems to push on roll-ins,little slide ». This all centers on one topic:cornering response. The main impression the bike left was a definite reluctance to broadslide in corners whether you wanted to or not. Instead,the bike responded better when smooth lines were taken. You have to aim the Hutch exactly where you want it,because it'll grab for the line the instant you make your move. This is probably the result of the 2.8 inches of trail. Slightle less trail might help slow this effect down a bit. We didn't have the chance to find out for sure.
The final note: « O.K. no hands,and like H 20 »,means that the bike rides well and stable with no hands like the Hutch 20-inch. Again,this is probably the result of the 2.8 inches of trail in the front end.
BIG BERM BUSTER
In summary,the bulk of these impressions indicate the Hutch 24 would be a great berm rider.
Unfortunately,fireroads rarely have good berms. Based on these assumptions. I would have to say that the Hutch 24 shares many of the same handling properties of the Hutch 20-inch. Toby Henderson helped confirm this deduction: The Hutch likes the fast way around turns: berms are best or you can take the groove with little or no sliding. The overall balance of the 24 is very even. You don't come away from the bike with the impression that the front end is either light or heavy. Bunny-hopping is fairly easy for a big bike.
We wish we could have spent more time on the Hutch than just a couple of days. We liked the bike a lot. Anyway,I have no doubts we would've liked it much more after a couple of weeks. To put it in a nutshell: The Hutch isn't a cruiser,it's a racebike. Racebikes usually take some getting used to before you can really blaze on them. When Hutch gets these into, production,we'll be blazing.
DIMENSIONS
Weight: 26 lbs.
Wheelbase: 38 1/4-39 1/2''
Head Angle: 71 degrees 20 minutes
Seat Angle: 72 degrees 15 minutes
Hanger Height: 11.317''
Hanger to Axle: 15.875''
Top Tube Height: 23.737''
Trail: 2.833''

FRAME SPECIFICATIONS
Serial Number: Prototype
Weight: 4 1/4 lbs.
Material/Construction: 4130 chromo-moly/heli-arc
Seat Post Diameter: 7/8''
Head Tube Style: Standard
Hanger: Standard
FORK SPECIFICATIONS
Weight: 1 lb. 14 oz.
Material/Construction: 4130 chrome-moly/heli-arc
Height: 16.633''
Offset: 1.218''


BACK