Monday, February 25, 2013

1949 Hetchins road racing bicycle.

The Old Bicycle Showroom has often been referred to as "Britain's most traditional bicycle shop". They dominate sales of vintage bicycle parts and often stock a varied range of classic vintage bicycles for sale.

I have noticed an increase in their vintage bicycle stocks recently and always enjoy browsing through their on-line catalogue. Log onto their site at and subscribe to their mailing list to receive an updated list of vintage bicycles for sale. Their images of classic vintage cycles are always a pleasure to view. 

I recently spotted a magnificent 1949 Hetchins road racing bicycle on their list of vintage bikes for sale, however the item had been quickly snapped up by a discerning vintage bicycle enthusiast.  

The beauty of this bicycle blew me I thought I'd share the images with you.
1949 Hetchins road bicycle.

A typically curved 'Hetchins' chainstay and Chater Lea cranks. 

Magnificent "Hetchins" detailing on the head tube. Great lugs too!!

The bicycle is described as below:

A rare and beautiful Hetchins six day model road racing bicycle with Super Special lug work. 22" frame re-finished in black enamel retaining the original transfers and original chrome work. Frame number: 493468. Apparently purchased from Hetchins the 21st March 1950 for £32-15s-1d as a complete bicycle according to the label with the bicycle.

Bought recently as just a frame which was then sympathetically re-finished and then built up with period components with a few exceptions like the rims and brakes. A very rare bicycle from this sort-after maker with lovely patina.

The frame has a concave indent just in front the rear wheel on the saddle tube which was a feature of this model.

Well preserved seat tube decal - beautiful! 
An image capturing the indented seat tube.

A classic chromed GB quilled stem.
  • 22" 1949 Hetchins six day curly stay steel road frame in Super Special lugwork. # 493468
  • Chater Lea head set.
  • Chater Lea Chainset (50 tooth)
  • Huret 'Tour De France' Rear derailleur gear and lever.
  • Sheffield Steel quill pedals.
  • GB '531' chrome long reach handlebar stem.
  • Blumfield 'Duralite' hubs.
  • Original Brooks 'Swallow' leather saddle.
  • Gripfast logo chrome wingnuts.
  • Weinmann Caliper brakes and levers.
  • R.E.G of Italy 'Special' toeclips.
  • New 5 speed rear gear block.
  • 700c Mavic MA2 rims

The 5 speed cluster is not original but provides the modern rider with greater flexibility.

A classic Brooks Swallow saddle from the period.

....more front end detail, stunning!

I suppose my favourite  aspect of this build is that the original feel of the bike has been restored by re-painting the frame in black enamel paint and restoring the original decals. The bike has also been given a 5 speed cluster to provide the modern rider with greater flexibility. The Hetchins logo on the head tube is stunning, rivalled only by the chromed lug detail. The total package would be an ideal L'eroica cycling event contender!

Lovingly restored Hetchins decals.

I hope you enjoyed the images.

Safe riding,

James from perthvintagecycles.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ideale #92 Diagonale saddle

Brooks saddles are usually the saddle of choice when finishing a vintage bike rebuild. You may buy a new Brooks traditional saddle or simply hunt around for an old Brooks saddle to compliment the build.

I've always known about French built "Ideale" brand saddles but I've never owned one until recently. I've done a little research and discovered that Ideale saddles from France have a history as deep and as rich as Brooks saddles from England.

At the height of cycling in the 1950's and 1960's both brands were equally well respected throughout Europe. Each brand had a wide variety of racing and touring saddles and the brands were very competitive, as indeed the French and English have always been.

After a bit of research I decided to track down an Ideale #92 Diagonale saddle, the model that has the words "rodee main selon Rebour" stamped into the leather on the top of the saddle. I am unsure of the French translation of this phrase, although the word "Rebour" relates to Daniel Rebour who was a French illustrator of the post war era.

During the 1940's, 50's and 60's Rebour created precise line drawings for catalogues and magazines documenting the innovations, intricacies and curiosities of bicycles and their components. His exquisitely detailed and beautifully crafted illustrations showed a love for the bicycle and its mechanical beauty.

"rodee main selon Rebour" stamped into the leather.

I was after an older model saddle and managed to score a near new #92 Rebour saddle pictured above. At a guess I would say that it was manufactured during the mid 1970's as this one has small copper rivets with the word IDEALE stamped into the top of each rivet. This is a beautiful saddle. The leather is very clean and supple and is held together with chromed steel framework and rails. The nose of the saddle is particularly nice, it has a chromed steel nose with the words and letters "IDEALE TB BTE S.G.D.G" stamped into the surface.   

The nose of the saddle.

Apart from leather bicycle saddles, I also have a strong affinity with Masi brand bicycles. I won't go into the history of Masi bicycles, but I will say that the brand played an important role in the history of cycling throughout Europe in the 1950's. They still manufacture Masi bicycles today (now a U.S brand), but most importantly.....they still pride themselves on producing stylish steel framed bicycles of excellent quality.

Masi bicycles - perfection in steel.

In 2010 I bought my first Masi bicycle, a steel framed Masi Speciale 105. The bike rides beautifully and is my daily road bike. Over time I've upgraded many components of the bike, and as I love vintage bicycle components I thought I'd add the newly aquired Ideale #92 Diagonale saddle to the bike. Here are some images below...

My Masi Speciale 105.

The blend of old and new.

The blend of old and new is fantastic. The steel bike rode beautifully anyway, but the addition of a classic French leather saddle has improved the riding experience.

I've had the saddle on the bike now for about 1000 kms or so and I am really pleased with it. Although it is not a lightweight saddle it is a very stylish and comfortable addition to the bike.

Perhaps blending old and new can be done on occasions...

Please ride safe,

James @ perthvintagecycles.