Designing a bike that would help riders get the best starts possible was the main goal of the Hutch X-Long Pro project. Every angle and every dimension of the final design reflects Hutch's solution to that problem.
Hutch hails from Pasadena, Maryland, a seemingly unlikely place to be the home of the number one team on the East Coast. Pasadena is not exactly what you'd call a thriving industrial metropolis. Instead it is a quiet, Serene community unaccustomed to the hustle and bustle of big business. One of the bigger BMX states Maryland isn't mainly due to its normally cold winter (I can't imagine snow here in Los Angeles). But when Maryland finally does warm up in the spring it is a tremendously active BMX place.
Racing is what the Hutch Pro Model was designed for. Their first priority was to make a bike to perform on the track. Since most BMX are won at the start, it only makes sense to put the most effort into that area. To give the rider the best advantage at the start you have to first figure out what things might possible cause poor starts. The first is obvious: bad technique on the part of the racer. Beyond that however, one has to determine what would make the difference between two riders of equal skill.
Hutch reasoned that if a bike wheelies to easily it will force a rider to back off. Two pedal starts are the state-of-the-art so the bike must be proportioned to facilitate easy balancing. Many starts have speed jumps within accelerating distance from the gate. Bikes with a laid-back seat post can hinder speed jumping capabilities by not allowing the rider to get back or low enough.
Another problem with getting off the line is excessive frame flex. Longer chains are known to reduce acceleration, and when made longer than necessary, the chain stays can add to the flexing problem.
After extensive testing and research, Hutch developed a line of four models, each one designed to give different-sized riders the maximum benefit of their theories.
The Pro model we got for testing is the model into which Hutch really put all their ideas to full use.
A basic rundown of the Hutch specs in themselves doesn't indicate anything totally spectacular. Perhaps the only really unusual feature is the 37 1/2 inch wheel base (with a useful range of 36 3/4 to 38 1/4). The hanger height is 11 1/2 inches, the top tube is 21 1/2 inches (at the seat mast). The bottom bracket to rear axle is not unusually short at 14 1/2 inches. When you start to put all these dimensions together only then does the total picture come to life.
When the wheelbase is set at its longest possible length (38 1/4 inches), it's long by anyone's standards. Now bring the bottom bracket to rear axle dimension in. At 14 1/2 inches (or 15 1/4 with the axle in it's farthest position) it's slightly on the short side for a normal-length bike. On the Hutch it really makes the long front end stand out. The short rear end accomplishes two things: it shortens the chain length and it makes the rear triangle stiffer, improving acceleration and reducing flex.