One of the easiest ways to con people is to present them with something different and allow them to assume that it must be an improvement, whether it really is or isn't. This is the underlying principle of modern bicycle marketing, and...
Sorry. The curmudgeon in me escaped again. BACK IN YOUR CAGE! GO!
As for the so-called "curly" Hetchins stays--which aren't "curly" at all; curved or maybe wavy, but not curly--of course they have no functional benefit. But focussing on functionality is a distraction from the real significance, which is the whole Hetchins phenomenon. I continually marvel that a country with a national personality that is so socially conservative could produce so many bicycles--not just Hetchins--that are so completely over the top, to use the British term. The contrast is absolutely extraordinary. It's as if there was a component of the British personality in painful conflict with the stereotype, just aching to get out. And this is how it was expressed, not just by the folks who made them, but by those who bought and loved them.
Bicycles from Britain say more about the time, place, and people they came from than those of any other nation. (France is perhaps a close second. In contrast, Italian bikes say virtually nothing about Italy; they could have been made anywhere.) Look at my Carlton, for example. Handsome, carefully hand-cut lugs combined with crapola drop outs stamped out of an old chunk of 3/16" steel plate. What on earth were they thinking of? This says quite a bit about how the country's industry couldn't get its act together back in the 1960s. The Hetchins "curly" stays were purportedly based on a need to "soften" the ride, and were based on both an incorrect assessment of the need and an incorrect technical concept. But they look cool, really cool. Quintessential mid-twentieth-century British industrial reasoning, succeeding in spite of itself. How can you not love it?
Steve Maas (Speaking from experience in) Long Beach, California
Scott Minneman wrote:
> Since we've been discussing various Hetchins bikes recently, I stumbled
> across this one that it looks like a fellow list member is selling. Ebay
> item #7221807103.
> The engineer in me keeps saying that there's no possible benefit from those
> zig-zag chainstays, but another part of me is starting to find them
> intriguing enough that a Hetchins will probably occupy a spot in my
> garage...eventually. This one is too small for me.
> Scott Minneman
> San Francisco, CA