What happened to
First things first.
If you came here looking for info about EXACTLY what Hutch you have or where it came from you will quickly learn that identifying it can be quite difficult sometimes due to Hutch not really following a set standard on how they did things. Therefore you may find yourself wondering why you have a Hutch frame that in nearly every aspect appears to be American made but it may have one odd characteristic about it that would make you think it was done overseas. Good luck. It won't always be easy figuring this stuff out. The information presented below is as accurate as I know at this point but the possibility exists that some precise piece of information could be inaccurate. I do know that Richard Hutchins himself has seen the site and did comment that there were a few things here and there that weren't totally right. It would be very cool if someday he chose to set the record straight but until then this is what we have. Enjoy! And for all that come here looking for any info I hope this site helps.
Also I'd like to thank Jeff Haney for all the help he has given me in putting this together! He met the last owner of Hutch when he bought all of the remaining inventory from him and has lots of knowledge about the company. Without his input I could never have put all this together.
Remember though, this info is all second hand knowledge and there is always a possibility that some of the stuff on this site is not entirely accurate. Please understand that none of this info came from Richard Hutchins himself so there is really no way we can be 100% sure of the authenticity of it.
Hutch was started by a guy named Richard Hutchins. Richard was a bike shop owner in Maryland. Sometime around 1979 or 1980 he put his bike ideas into motion and started his own company. He of course named it Hutch. I don't know his age when he started the company but he was probably in his thirties. Profile designed and manufactured the first Hutch frames (up to around 82). This is of course the same Profile who are famous for their 3 piece cranks. Later Speed Unlimited (in New Jersey) took over production. Speed Unlimited were the makers of the racing bikes called Thruster.
Interesting little bit of info:
Speed Unlimited was also starting to pile up a lot of good Hutch bikes that had minor chrome flaws. Richard was extremely particular with the chrome on a Hutch as it was basically what he marketed his bikes with. This is where colored Hutch frames came in. They told Richard that they had to do something as there were tons of good bikes with minor flaws so they decided to paint them instead of scrapping them. So if your Hutch is scratched somewhere and you can see some show chrome shining through then there is a good chance it is an early Hutch "chrome flaw " bike. I wouldn't say this necessarily makes the bike worth more money, they just didn't want to throw out all these frames because the chrome wasn't dead on perfect.
THE "LOOP TAIL"
Regarding the famous "loop tail" design you see on nearly all Hutch frames, Hutch did try around 1986 to actually patent this design. They sent statements to the US patent office saying it was the benchmark of their bikes and what their bikes were recognized by. The pursued it pretty hard but came up empty. Lots of companies have utilized the loop tail design at some point in time. Among those that have are Robinson, JMC, Diamond Back, Mongoose, Titan, Webco, FMF, Cook Bros., Panda, Kuwahara and SE. I think with most people however, when you think of the loop tail you probably think of a Hutch or a Mongoose. They seemed to be the most well known with that design. As for why that design even came about, from what I understand it was that back then it was easier and cheaper to build a bike that way then it was to have the seat stays and chain stays as separate tubes. Some people claimed it made the bike stronger. I doubt it actually made any bike stronger but it looked cool. According to SE the loop tail is a bad idea for aluminum bikes. That's why they scrapped that idea on their PKs and Quads. Bending aluminum like that caused it to break too easy. As for chromoly the design is fine. I've never seen any chromoly bike with this design break in the back end. (The Trick Star 2 is another story however. I'll cover that later.)
Profile made the original Hutch 3 piece cranks. They were the same as the first production Profile box cranks except they were flat with a Hutch sticker on them instead of the oval cut in the middle of the crank arm where the Profile sticker went. Hutch later had the cranks made themselves and called them Aerospeeds. There were not many made however and to this day they remain difficult to find. They were produced in small machinist shops and were basically hand made one at a time. Production was almost nothing and it really put them in a bind. There were many advertisements in magazines for mail order companies like Wes BMX, which was a big distributor of Hutch, and they were advertising their Pro Star and team Trick Stars with your choice of Redline flights or Profiles instead of the Hutch cranks and this was in 1986 when they were practically new. I've heard lots of people say these weren't particularly good cranks but due to their rarity they command a lot of money now. And really, if you're going to restore a Hutch to factory condition you'll probably want these.
THE RACING BIKES
Here's where it all started for Hutch. They made many different racing frames. The most common is the Pro Racer. Most of their racing frames looked pretty much identical which makes identifying them not so easy by sight alone. Here's a basic rundown of how to figure out which one you have. You will need to measure the top tube from the center of the head tube to the center of the seat tube.
Don't know the top tube length of this one. This bike was available in chrome. It was essentially a cheap version of the Pro Racer. This frame and fork were steel instead of chromoly. It came with nearly all generic parts. It was available in 20", 16" and 12" versions. This one can be spotted from the other racing frames by the rear end. The rear dropouts have small triangular cut outs in them. It may also have a tube for a brake bridge instead of the flat plate but I'm not sure. This was a late 80's model bike that was built in Taiwan and sold complete.
18 1/4 inches
19 inches? Some people have reported that they are actually 19.5 inches.
The version manufactured under the name Hutchins is likely the same length. It probably won't have a Hutch logo on the brake bridge though. The Hutchins version may have thicker dropouts but I'm not sure.
19 inches? (see Pro Racer). This was a complete bike with all top of the line parts. The frame was identical to the Pro Racer except of course the sticker kit said Pro Star.
LIL' HOLE SHOT
17 inches. This should be obvious what it is if you have it. It's a mini.
CRUISER (Pro 24, XL24)
It's a cruiser. You'll know it if you see it. The Hutchins Cruiser is probably the same though it doesn't have the logo pressed into the brake bridge.
18 1/4 inches
? Probably 19 or 19.5 inches.
? Probably 19 or 19.5 inches.
? Probably 19 or 19.5 inches. This bike is easy to spot because it doesn't have the Hutch logo pressed into the
brake bridge. Hutch was called Hutchins at this time. This bike also has extremely thick dropouts and an oversized top tube. Also, on both the Judge and the Judge 2 (and maybe the Hollywood? not sure) the top tube is not even with the seat stays where it welds to the seat tube. On these bikes it's slightly higher. The main differences between the original Judge and the Hollywood is that the original Judge has thicker dropouts and different geometry. I know the Judge bikes are slightly oval where the top tube meets the seat tube. It appears the Judge 2 frame was only made in 1990. The 91 catalog doesn't have it listed.
examples of the original Judge and the Judge 2
THE TRICK STAR
When freestyle started up Hutch released a new bike called the Trick Star. Of course the first freestyle bike ever made was the Haro Freestyler (AKA Master) which was, at first, made by Torker for Haro. If I'm not mistaken, the second freestyle bike on the scene was from GT and the third was from Hutch (the Trick Star). From what I hear Hutch had the Trick Star in development before GT had started on a freestyle bike. The Trick Star is probably one of the most popular freestyle frames ever made. When most people think of what the biggest freestyle bikes ever were they likely think of the Haro Master and the Trick Star.
The Trick Star was an awesome flatland frame and many loved it on the half-pipe as well. Of course street riding is pretty much the rage these days and being as that Trick Stars are somewhat of a collector's item now and people who like them wouldn't want to grind them down a ledge, Hutch frames aren't ridden much anymore. I know of flatlanders who still use them but nobody else really. And as cool as the frame is there are frames today that are made specifically for flatland which pretty much renders the Trick Star obsolete. However, this is the only "old school" freestyle bike I still see people using on occasion. I haven't ran into any flatlanders anywhere still riding old GT frames or whatever else but I've still seen guys here and there using a Trick Star frame. Like I said, arguably the most popular freestyle frame ever invented. Hutch could have soared to popularity on this frame alone. Unfortunately, they never really managed to make another freestyle bike that was as good as this one. Their other successes were in the racing area.
The first Trick Stars had regular forks (no fork pegs) and a sticker kit that just said HUTCH. Changes were made as time went on. The sticker kit was changed so that the downtube said Trick Star. The forks had standing platforms added. Due to being broken off easily these were quickly replaced with welded on round pegs. The fork pegs were lengthened a little later on too.
examples of the original forks made specifically for theTrick Star and the later pegged versions
The Trick Star was discontinued sometime before 1988. Originally they were American made but later on many were done in Japan and Taiwan. Differences between place of origin is described in a section below.
Regarding the gold Trick Star: At some point Hutch made a Trick Star covered in 24K gold. Woody Itson had one. This was probably intended as a gift for team members though I'm sure you could have bought one if you had the cash.
All Trick Star frames were 100% 4130 chromoly.
THE JUMP OVERSEAS
Eventually, the strain of competing against companies like Haro and GT combined with Hutch's financial losses forced them to move production overseas. The catch here was that GT and Haro had been building stuff in Taiwan yet managed to save face in America and still sell bikes. When Hutch built their frames in Taiwan they pretty much signed their death certificate. Nobody wanted a Taiwan Hutch and for a good reason. Most of them were pretty bad. The Trick Star of course continued to sell but sometime around 87 / 88 Hutch discontinued it. I still don't know who built the Taiwan frames but the forks were made by Akisu. They were pretty bad too. They bent out fairly easily. I think the main reason Haro was able to pull of selling Taiwan bikes was that whoever was welding those Masters and Sports was doing a pretty good job. They looked great. They held up pretty good too other than the design flaw of the seat tube gusset (the infamous Torker crack). This really isn't a bad mark on their workmanship. It was just a design flaw. Had Hutch secured the same Taiwanese welders for their frames maybe they would have sold better.
I remember seeing Hutch bikes in Western Auto stores around 1989. I'm not sure what the logic was behind what they were doing at that point. Maybe they were making a serious effort to be a mass market 'department store' bike. I hear the company was in pretty bad financial shape so maybe they really were trying to compete against Huffy. Maybe they figured anyone going out to buy a cheap bike would be willing to spend a few bucks more for one that said Hutch instead of the Huffy. Among the low tier Hutch bikes, honestly, there really wasn't much of a difference between the two.
THE TRICK STAR 2 / TRICK STYLER
In 88 Hutch made a new bike called the Trick Star 2 which had the twin top tube design and 990 mounts. The bike was supposedly primarily designed for vert riding. It worked fine as a flatland bike as well. The 88 version had small chainstay platforms like the original Trick Star that were at an angle. The 89 and later versions did not have these. This particular frame was not without it's problems. First off flatlanders didn't like the fact that the 990 mounts were on the bottom of the chainstays instead of on top. Being on the bottom puts your brake in the way of being able to do certain tricks. Second, the bike had a serious design flaw which has left many people calling it the most fragile freestyle bike ever built. Hutch decided to do the loop tail a little differently on this frame and consequently the idea they used was a bad one. The rear end always cracked by the dropouts. Had Hutch done the rear end just like they did their other bikes then there likely wouldn't have been a problem. Kudos to Hutch for seemingly solving "the Torker crack" problem on their twin top tube bike. The Trick Star 2 had two seat tube gussets, one acting as a frame standing platform and one welded a little lower. Whether or not that really solved the stress crack problem that plagued other twin top tube frames I can't say for sure but I still haven't seen a Trick Star 2 cracked there. Unfortunately the rear end design ruined everything anyway so it doesn't really matter.
Hutch made a different version of the Trick Star 2 called the Trick Styler. The Trick Styler came as a complete bike only and had 24K gold in the stickers and on many of the parts as well. A pretty nice looking bike. No Trick Stylers ever had chainstay platforms. In 88 the Trick Styler had a sticker that said 4130 on the loop tail. The 89 and later models didn't have this sticker. They instead had stickers on the seat tube that said 4130 Chromoly - 24 Carat Gold.
All Trick Star 2 and Trick Styler frames were 100% 4130 chromoly and made in Taiwan.
(By the way, for those who don't know what I'm talking about when I refer to "the Torker crack" it was just a term we used to describe the problem twin top tube bikes had in which the welds around the seat tube gusset would crack from stress. Torkers always cracked there. Being as Bob Haro made his first bike after the Torker frame design all Haro frames broke there too.)
THE "ENTRY LEVEL" BIKES
Hutch also started a whole new line of lower priced bikes to be sold complete. Most were for freestyle. The freestyle bikes were the Jet, the Exel and the Wind Styler. The Jet was hi-tensile steel and came with parts like Lee Chi brakes, Cheng Shin tires, Hutch double crossbar handlebars (probably steel instead of chromoly but I'm not sure), plastic blue and white Wellgo pedals, white nylon mags and a bunch of generic stuff.
The Exel was chromoly. It came with Hutch double crossbar handlebars, Hutch Hi-Caliber 48's with Joytech hubs, Hutch Hi-Caliber seat, plastic Hutch Hi-Caliber pedals, Hutch CD and an ACS rotor and stem among other things.
The Wind Styler was chromoly and came with Hutch Hi-Caliber 48's with Joytech hubs, Hutch freestyle tires, metal Hutch Hi-Caliber pedals, Hutch CD, Hutch double crossbar handlebars, Hutch freestyle stem, Hutch Hi-Caliber headset, Hutch Hi-Caliber seat, Hutch Hi-Caliber seat post clamp, Hutch laid-back seat post, Hutch Hi-Caliber FZ-2001 brakes and an Odyssey Gyro among other stuff. Some parts may have changed as each new model was released over the few years that these bikes existed. In 88 the Wind Styler came with a choice of 3 different sticker kits. In 89 the Wind Styler sticker kit went back to the old logo with the western letters and stars. The Wind Styler originally came out in 84 as Hutch's bargain answer to the Trick Star. Originally Wind Stylers had forks like the Trick Star with welded on pegs but later on they changed it to forks with screw in peg holes. Other than the Wind Styler, I think the other bikes originally came out in 87. I'm pretty sure the last year any of these were available was either 89 or 90. You may see some Wind Stylers with "USA" stickers on them (I've seen one that way myself) but it's highly likely none of these frames were ever actually assembled in the USA. More than likely all Wind Stylers were done overseas but maybe stickered or painted in the USA, hence the USA sticker. Many other companies at that time did things similar to that such as the GT and Dyno bikes for instance.
They also made the XR-1 and the Pro Street. The XR-1 was a racing bike. It is described above in the racing bike section. The Pro Street was considered a cheap all purpose bike (racing or freestyle). From 88 on the parts on the Pro Street were basically the same as the Jet except that it came with wheel discs and no rotor. The frame and fork (88 and later versions) were exactly the same as the Jet but with a different paint job. Both the XR-1 and Pro Street were hi-tensile steel.
How do you tell all these bikes apart from one another without a sticker kit? The Jet only came in the neon blue/grey paint scheme and the brake bridge is tubular rather than the usual flat plate with the Hutch logo on it. The Pro Street is the same but had a different paint scheme. In 88 it was a two tone blue paint job. I don't know about the other years though it appears the Pro Street was available as early as 87 and at that time was chrome with the flat brake bridge and pressed in logo. The 88 Pro Street is identical to the Jet in the following ways. They both have built in seat post clamps. They have two welded on tabs for a chain guard. The rear dropouts have small triangular cut outs in them. Both the Jet and Pro Street (88 and later) had fatter forks that also had a flat bottom instead of the angled type usually seen on other Hutch forks. The XR-1 looks similar to a Pro Racer but has small triangular cut outs in the rear dropouts. It may have a tube for a rear brake bridge instead of the flat plate with the Hutch logo. The Exel has L shaped rear dropouts that make a standing platform similar in a way to Haro. The Wind Styler has welded on chainstay platforms that look sort of like a half circle. It also has an odd top tube platform design. Instead of the seat stays curving around to the top tube they just come right up next to it, which is kind of difficult to actually stand on and sort of defeated the purpose of having a platform in the first place.
While it would be easy to dismiss these bikes as no good you have to take into account that they weren't really intended for serious riders. These were made for beginners and for that they served their purpose just fine.
THE "SUPER" BIKES
In the late 80's Hutch also made a few bikes designed specifically for serious speed. The HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) was designed by the famous Dan Hanebrink and was built with looks similar to a motorcycle. It had a 12-speed derailleur with a click shift and fairings. It was incredibly fast. This bike was only available in white.
In 89 they also did a lower priced version of this bike and called it the FZ-1. I'm unsure of the parts for this one and I don't know what it was made of either. You can tell the difference between the FZ-1 and the HPV easily. It will be obvious which is which once you see pictures of the HPV.
Also they made a bike for downhill gravity racing called the GPV (Gravity Powered Vehicle). Get on a steep enough hill, let gravity take it's course and hold on for life. This bike had no crank of course and could reach speeds that were dangerous. There were small pegs for your feet similar to the way a motorcycle is. If you want to fly down a hill and scare the hell out of yourself then here's the bike for you.
And there was also a Grand Prix racing bike called GP-1.
THE TRAIL STAR
Something not commonly known is that Hutch also made a mountain bike called the Trail Star. I don't know much about it yet but I'll add information and pictures as I get them. From what I know so far it was available only in the candy apple red paint color and the frame somewhat resembled a "10-Speed" style of design rather than the look most mountain bikes have today. It was also made in Japan.
As far as we know this is the story. Again, this may not exactly be 100% accurate.
What killed Hutch? Simple. Hutch had been slowly dying for years due to money problems. Combine that with having to compete against companies as big as GT and Haro. Why was Hutch having money problems and how could a company that sold so many products go under? There were several reasons actually. Mr. Hutchins' propensity for extravagance was one thing. It seemed he spent more on advertisements, did more advertising, paid the highest prices for the racers and freestylers etc. Somewhere in the middle of it all he made a lot of money but If you made a million dollars and it cost you a million and a half then you are a broke rich man. The pursuit of trying (and succeeding) to make the Hutch name so big caught up. He used to rent town cars and nice rides for himself and his riders to ride in while they were racing at nationals. Just to be going in style! I probably sound like I'm slamming Hutch or Mr. Hutchins himself. That's not the attitude I wish to present. This is Hutch were talking about, the coolest bike company that ever existed. It's just that it appears the company had made some monetary decisions that ended up hurting the bottom line. In hindsight I'm sure these things are probably obvious. Getting a factory sponsorship from Hutch had to have been a blast though. The riders seemed like they were living like rock stars or something. I'm sure it was one hell of a party while it lasted. Now combine all that with the fact that in the late 80's the BMX market in general hit a big slump. BMX bikes just weren't really selling anymore. The craze (particularly freestyle) had reached it's pitch and was now coming back down. Lots of companies, Hutch included, surely felt the pinch. Perhaps the way to go should have been to keep production in America but focus on being a small company and only make frames they absolutely knew they could sell such as the racing frames and the Trick Star all the while evolving the designs to take advantage of emerging technology in BMX. The whole idea of going for 'gimmicky' type bikes like the HPV and mass market bikes like the Exel should have been avoided. Hutch should have focused on doing what they did best. But that's just my opinion. I think the reason Hutch did stuff like the HPV was that they were attempting to attract a new market to make up for the lost BMX sales. Other companies did the same thing. We saw GT and Haro coming out with mountain bikes for example. It seems all the major companies were scrambling to find ways to keep bringing in money since at that time there just wasn't much money in making "kids" bikes. It seems to me though that there was always a demand for the Trick Star frame well after Hutch quit making it. Perhaps it wasn't profitable to build those frames anymore? It seems maybe they were hoping the Trick Star 2 would fill the demand? As you'll see in the interview below, Jeff also mentions a new bike simply referred to as a Hutch Freestyler. Maybe that was what they were going to go with instead of the Trick Star but I still have never seen one and when he mentioned it to me it was the first time I had ever heard of it.
Rumor has it the final nail in the coffin came when Hutch designed a new Aluminum racing frame. It was extremely light. (The frame weighed 1lb 9 oz.) However it didn't hold up well. A kid was seriously hurt on one when the frame broke. Hutch was sued. The frame was recalled. Again, this is frequently referred to as a rumor. I am unsure as to the complete authenticity of this.
The company was sold to a man named Bill Bellis.
Bellis took over and brought production back to America. He was no stranger to BMX. He owned several bicycle distributors in the 80's including Louisville Cycle and Columbus Cycle and not only was he the money man behind Hutch he was the co-owner of CW / Revcore with Roger Worsham. Revcore of course was the racing company that manufactured extreme high quality American made frames. The quality of a Revcore is astounding and they went out of their way to make sure they were strong as well as light. Around the time Hutch was turned over to Bellis, Roger Worsham wanted out of the bike business and sold his half of CW / Revcore to Bellis under the condition that he stay on in some capacity, like a manager. So he was now the owner of CW / Revcore and Hutch. He moved Hutch from Maryland to Kentucky. The plan was to sell off the remaining Hutch inventory while building new stuff and getting team members to ride and promote the product.
The following quote is from the racer Jeff Donnell who was sponsored by Revcore and then rode for Hutch.
"The sponsorship deal is sort of a long, complicated story... there's a part owner of Revcore - Richard Bellis, and he also bought Hutch when they got into their financial troubles. So Bellis still has a warehouse full of fixtures, bikes, products - everything that wasn't sold. So, he wanted to start getting rid of all that stuff and wanted a pro to wear their uniform and promote their product. I was going to stay amateur and still ride for Revcore, but Roger (Worsham) knew I was getting burned out on trophies. He called me up and asked if I wanted to turn pro and ride for Hutch and I said yeah. They're not only getting rid of the stuff they got, but they'll start making new Hutch frames with the fixtures. The name now is also going to be Hutchins, but Big Daddy Hot Rockin' Gold has nothing to do with it."
THE NAME CHANGE
Hutch had been fighting a lawsuit brought against them by Hutch Sports USA (makers of stuff like football helmets). According to new information this lawsuit was actually settled for about $250. Apparently part of the agreement must have been that Hutch Bikes change their name. This name change to "Hutchins" appeared to have taken place sometime between 88 - 89. I have seen Hutch ads for 89 model freestyle bikes with the company name as Hutchins Bicycle Designs and the company address in Kentucky instead of Maryland. The bikes themselves were still called "Hutch" at this time. Soon the bikes themselves said Hutchins instead.
THE HUTCHINS BIKES
The new Hutchins frames were the Judge 2, Pro Racer, Pro Cruiser and a new freestyle bike. Some XL versions were made as well. The Judge 2 of course was a new version of the popular Tim Judge Hutch frame from back in the early 80's. I don't know what the freestyle frame was called. I don't think it was a Trick Star but I'm not certain. I saw an ad for a company called Derby Towne Cycles who sold only Revcore and Hutch stuff (the ad is in the picture gallery). It said they had new American made Hutchins frames. One was listed only as "USA made freestyle frame". I don't know what it was called or what it looked like. I contacted Hutch around 90 and asked if there would be a new Trick Star. The reply was that there would be a new Trick Star in 91 and it would be American made. I saw some mail order companies advertising that they were going to have Trick Stars again. When I contacted one about the price they said that Hutchins had changed their mind and were going to focus on racing frames instead. Whether or not this is true I don't know. Like I said, Hutch definitely told me that they were building a new Trick Star.
What kind of sticker kits did these bikes have? At first they had the same Hutch stickers as the old racing bikes had but that was quickly changed. Some of the different styles were ones that looked just like the old Hutch downtube sticker except that it said Hutchins instead of Hutch. Another style was an elongated H with stars trailing behind it. One head tube decal was just a large western H with a star behind it and another design was a large western H with the words Hutchins Performance Products written all around it in the same font as the late eighties logo.
What differences exist between the Hutch and the Hutchins bikes? One example would be the dropouts. Hutchins dropouts are all thick. The dropouts on the Judge 2 look like they are even thicker than the others possibly. Hutchins bikes likely will not have any logo pressed into the brake bridge. Some don't appear to have serial numbers either. Some of the last batch of Hutchins frames had a different looking dropout on the fork. Most were done like the original Hutch dropouts but some were shaped a little different and had no hole.
In the first picture are both Hutchins forks side by side.
In the second picture the Hutchins fork on the left is the later style
The Hutchins fork on the right is the original style.
(photos: Chris Reimer)
IN THE END
If you ever find one of the few Hutchins frames I suggest you get it. They are very nice. The name may have slightly changed but it's still Hutch and it was American made again. Unfortunately though, Hutchins / CW / Revcore just couldn't keep up and ended up going out of business. I don't know the exact date Hutch closed down but it was probably sometime around 1992.
In the end some people might look back at Hutch and claim the company was a failure. No way. When you build a bike company that has as strong of a history as Hutch has, a company that greatly contributed to the sport of BMX / Freestyle, one that built some of the coolest and most incredible products around, one that had many of the most famous and talented riders the sport has ever seen, that can only be looked upon as a shining success. Hutch may no longer be with us but many who look back on the history of this sport are going to see this company as one of the leaders. No doubt about it.
I mean come on...what other bike company ever inspired such a notoriously fanatical following? : )
As for Richard Hutchins and what he's doing these days...the last known information was that for awhile after Hutch he was into muscle cars and classic cars. That's about all I can find on him.
BILL BELLIS (no photo)
What about Mr. Bellis? According to Jeff Haney, "He his doing what all of us dream of when we get to that age. Traveling, living, and doing whatever the day brings. He is a very wealthy man and loves to talk about the good old days."
The Hutch name has been purchased by John DeBruin and new parts, and eventually frames, are in the works.
Some of the people who ran the Hutch teams over the years. I have no idea how many there actually
were. These are the only two I know of so far.
RICHARD HUTCHINS (son)
*Here's an odd piece of trivia for you. I hear that in 1986 both Hutch and CW made some skateboards.
*Right after Haro began drastically scaling back their team sometime around 1990 I remember hearing a rumor that Dennis McCoy was about to be picked up by Hutch. I don't know if it was real or not but that probably would have been a good move on Hutch's part to grab someone as big as him. Then again, perhaps Hutch was in no financial shape to be sponsoring someone as popular as McCoy was. Of course, as we all know, Dennis was soon snatched up by Mongoose who made a new frame for him called the Hooligan. If you remember, the Hooligan had a top tube frame standing platform that slightly resembled a Trick Star. I'm sure the frame was made with his input so perhaps the design was a nod to the Trick Star. Again this was just a rumor going around at the time. It may not have been true.
FIGURING OUT WHERE YOUR HUTCH WAS MADE
Here's what everyone wants to know and sometimes this isn't easy to figure out. I can tell you right now that I have never found anyone who could make sense of Hutch's serial numbering system. There doesn't appear to be any pattern to it. There are, however, a few ways to tell where your frame probably came from.
SERIAL NUMBERS IN REGARD TO PLACES OF ORIGIN:
American made frames will have a serial number on the inside of one of the rear dropouts. There will be a serial number ONLY with no symbols next to it.
If your Hutch frame doesn't even have a serial number on it at all then it is one of the first ones. They had no serial numbers originally. Of course this would also mean the frame was American made.
Foreign made frames usually have the serial number underneath the bottom bracket. On some foreign frames (notably the Trick Star) the serial number is in the same place as the American frames except that there is a small logo next to it that looks kind of like a baseball. Below are examples of serial numbers. I'll post more examples as I get them.
A picture of the serial number from a Taiwan Wind Styler
click for larger graphic
A picture of the serial number from a Taiwan Wind Styler
click for larger graphic
(photo: Jason Schmidt)
A picture of the serial number from a Taiwan Pro Racer
This particular Pro Racer serial number looks a little botched up.
All the Taiwan frames I've personally seen had perfectly lined up serial numbers.
click for larger graphic
(photo: Scott Fair)
Pictures of the serial numbers from foreign made Trick Stars
click for larger graphics
(photos: left: Bill Lazdowski - right: Nate)
A picture of the serial number from an American made Trick Star
click for larger graphic
(photo: Bill Lazdowski)
I can't give you any info on Japanese made frames because I still haven't seen one so I don't know what differences, if any, there are between these and the others.
Regarding Hutchins frames, I can't really say. If you have a Hutchins frame and can help out please let me know. Where is the serial number on yours located? Can you take a picture and send it to me? I do know that some Hutchins frames have no serial number. That's about all I can tell you.
OTHER WAYS TO SPOT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A TAIWAN AND AN AMERICAN FRAME:
If it has fork ends that are "spot welded" instead of welded all the way around then it was done in Taiwan. Really, the welding itself may give it away. You can usually tell the difference between an American Hutch and it's Taiwan version by the welding quality though many Taiwan Trick Stars look quite nice.
If the forks say AKISU on one of the dropouts then it's Taiwan made.
If your frame is a Trick Star and it still has the original sticker kit on it and the down tube says "Hutch" instead of "Trick Star" then it was made in America not Taiwan. The first Trick Stars didn't say "Trick Star" on the down tube. That came a little later. If your down tube says "Trick Star" that doesn't mean it was made in Taiwan. American frames had that sticker kit too just not the first ones.
Around the time that Trick Star production moved to Taiwan Hutch had the fork pegs lengthened a little bit. If your Trick Star forks have slightly longer pegs then it's likely made in Taiwan.
Some people claim that the top tube frame standing platform on the Trick Star is also a giveaway about where it was made. Supposedly on American frames the platforms extend past their supports and on Taiwanese frames the platforms stop right at the supports.
If the Hutch logo is pressed into the frame anywhere then check to see what logo it is. If it's the old style western looking logo then it's probably American (but not necessarily) . If it's the newer futuristic looking logo then it's definitely Taiwanese. As far as sticker kits go, the new logo versus the old logo isn't always a foolproof way to tell them apart. Some Taiwan made racing frames as well as Taiwan made Wind Stylers and Trick Stars had sticker kits with the old logo instead of the new one.
If you have a really early Hutch frame you'll notice the Hutch logo on the brake bridge is made with lots of small holes instead of being pressed into it.
If your Trick Star has square fork pegs instead of the round ones then it's American. The first Trick Stars came with regular forks but soon came with the square type fork pegs. These were quickly replaced with the round ones. Needless to say if you have the forks with the original pegs then you have some pretty rare forks.
The following bikes were only made overseas:
Trick Star 2
As for the Wind Styler:
The original Wind Styler appears to be American made but production must have quickly moved to Taiwan.
I've seen Wind Stylers with "Made In The USA" stickers on the seat tube. My friend had one. It was a sticker though so it's possible that someone just put it on there. I haven't yet been able to 100% confirm that the Wind Styler was originally made in America.
This, of course, may be incomplete at the moment. You could let me know of any I have missed.
manufactured as "Hutch"
Cruiser (Pro24, XL24)
Lil' Hole Shot
XR-1 (20", 16" and 12")
an aluminum frame
Trick Star 2
Jet (20", 16")
Pro Street (Considered a bike for racing or freestyle. It came with pegs and wheel discs but no rotor.)
HPV (human powered vehicle)
FZ-1 (lower priced version of the HPV)
GPV (gravity powered vehicle)
GP-1 (grand prix)
Trail Star a mountain bike
manufactured as "Hutchins"
Pro XL 20"
Pro Cruiser 24"
Judge 2 XL
? Supposedly one was made but I have no idea what it was
THE INTERVIEW WITH JEFF HANEY
Last year a very good friend of mine contacted me and told me that he had actually located the remaining inventory of Hutch. Knowing that I was an avid BMX, and especially Hutch, collector he gave me the number and who to contact which was Bill Bellis. Bill was a pleasure to talk with. He was a very good business man and had a superb memory, which was awesome as I was all ears to hear his "tales from the inside" of what really happened to this great company.
Explain exactly what it was you bought from Bill Bellis and when that occurred.
Originally I had agreed to buy the remaining inventory, tooling and rights to all three names of Revcore, CW, and Hutch. When I got there, the inventory was just kind of tucked away in corners and the loft of a huge barn. There was quite a bit there and it took 4 of us around 3 hours to load it all into a huge Ryder truck. Although I did buy the inventory the deal did not work out as originally planned as there was basically zero tooling and the Hutch name had been legally changed to Hutchins which I was not interested in buying. Personally if I was going to purchase the rights it was going to be to Hutch. We actually had the lawyer scheduled to sign the rights to all three companies over but I declined them after I knew that Hutch now was Hutchins and we just adjusted the purchase price accordingly.
Does Bill Bellis still own the Hutch name?
As of today Bill still owns the rights to all three companies CW, Revcore and Hutchins.
If I don't ask you this then people are going to ask me why I didn't ask you this...Do you know if anyone has any plans to build a new Trick Star frame?
As far as any plans to build Hutch bikes again there is no plan in the works. The company is totally dead as of today but who knows what tomorrow may bring. The only drawback would be the name itself as it would have to go under Hutchins instead of Hutch.
Explain for everyone what it is you plan to do with the Hutch stuff you have.
As for the inventory most of it I put away in my personal collection but there are some extra parts and accessories that I am willing to sell or trade just to buy other BMX things with. But all of the prototypes and things like that I have tucked away and will be put into my basement which I am turning into a 70's and 80's BMX shop with display cases and wall to wall NOS BMX items. I am also working on a web site and should be finished with it sometime this summer.
When did it start? Who started it? I believe his name was Richard Hutchins. Is this true?
As for how and when the company started I don't have an exact date but Richard Hutchins actually was just a bike shop owner in Maryland and around 1979 to 1980 he put his ideas in motion and went from bike shop to manufacturer seemingly overnight. A pretty impressive feat considering the riders he accumulated and the quality of product he put out in such a short time.
How old was he when he started the company?
I don't know how old Richard Hutchins was when he started the company. According to most of my photos of him he looks in his early 40s when he started Hutch. I am not for sure though.
Why did Hutch move production to Taiwan? Everyone I knew really complained about this.
It was the simple fact that they were financially in the red and Taiwan manufacturers were able to produce their products at a much cheaper cost.
Were Hutch frames, at one time, really made in the Thruster bike factory in America?
The first Hutch frames were actually made by Speed Unlimited which produced Thruster. Rich farmed this work out with them for the frame, fork and bars etc. The twist is that Profile was involved with designing the Hutch bike. This is why if you hold a Hutch next to a Profile they are almost mirror images of each other all the way down to the forks. Hutch stayed with Profile on their first cranks also. They were the same as the first production Profile box cranks except they were flat with a Hutch sticker on them instead of the oval cut in the middle of the crank arm where the Profile sticker went. Hutch later introduced their own cranks which were named Aerospeeds. Speed Unlimited was also starting to pile up a lot of good Hutch bikes that had minor chrome flaws. Rich was extremely particular with the chrome on a Hutch as it was basically what he marketed his bikes with. This is where colored Hutch frames came in. They told Rich that they had to do something as there were tons of good bikes with minor flaws so they decided to paint them instead of scrapping them. So if your Hutch is scratched somewhere and you can see some show chrome shinning through there is a good chance it is an early Hutch "chrome flaw " bike.
Once and for all let's settle this...were any Trick Star frames (not the Trick Star 2) made overseas? If so where and what years did this occur?
Yes they did produce some of them in Taiwan. To my knowledge this happened sometime around 1986. Even though it would have been sent from the factory in Baltimore and probably came in a made in the USA Baltimore box most of the later Trick Stars were made in Taiwan and shipped to the Baltimore factory. Although at a quick look they look pretty much the same, the USA made Trick Star is superior in quality, tubing, welds, and chrome. The USA Trick Star is also a lot more scarce! The very first Trick Stars had no pegs on the forks and actually had just a normal Hutch downtube sticker. Hutch then changed the design of the fork and added the Trick Star sticker kit. These bikes had the short 1 inch pegs on the forks. Almost all American Trick Stars have 1 inch pegs. The longer pegged forks were made in Taiwan and you can also identify your frame easily by looking at the serial number. If it has a small baseball logo next to it then it is a Taiwan made frame. If not you have a USA frame. Again this information is on the Trick Star not the Trick Star II.
When did Hutch introduce the Trick Star and what was the last year they made it?
It was around late 1983 early 1984 when it was marketed for retailers but as for when it ended it was around 87 and I have no idea when the American made frames stopped.
Why did they stop making it?
As for why they quit making it, they actually liked the design of the "new " Trick Star II and Hutch freestyler, which looked a little like the Trick Star and I guess I even liked it when it was new and that was probably just because it was new but now that the "new" is worn off there definitely is no comparison to the original Trick Star!
Is there a way to tell when a Hutch frame was made by looking at the serial number? If so how?
Unlike most bikes that have the year in them Hutch generally has its own numbering system. I myself haven't studied it a lot but all of the ones that I have seen just have a coinciding number without a date or year actually stamped in it. They may have a code that a number represents.
Why did Hutch sell to Bellis in the first place? I have heard it was regarding legal problems due to a broken prototype frame. Is that true? If so what kind of frame was this and what happened?
I really don't think he wanted to purchase it but he had money in the company and when it went up he got the inventory to make up for his loss as an investor and I really don't know when this happened though. As for the Hutch prototype frame that broke it was a Hutch aluminum frame and fork. Although they didn't make many Hutch did make a few. They had just started to market them and a young kid was hurt badly on one. The frame broke for no reason and to my knowledge amazingly Hutch did not have any liability insurance. They were sued for quite a sum and for a company that was already in the red this just simply put them over. All of the aluminum Hutch bikes were then recalled and destroyed. They were only produced for around 4 months and were absolutely beautiful! I do have a few and they are absolutely the lightest frame and fork combo I have ever felt! The frame dials in at an unbelievable 1lb 9 oz!
I have heard that Hutch Sporting Goods (makers of football helmets etc.) threatened to sue Bellis if he used the Hutch name on any new frames he might make and so he ended up changing the name to Hutchins. Is that true? If so why on earth would the other Hutch company wait so long to start complaining about the name? Sheesh!
I too feel like you on the lawsuit. As for the long delay on the lawsuit over the name rights to "Hutch", it was tied up in court for some time as Hutch bikes had been operating so long under that name that Hutch Sporting Goods had quite a time getting it changed but they did prevail after years of fighting for it.
Did Bellis make any new Hutch freestyle frames? I saw an ad for Derby Town Cycles that claimed to have a new American made Hutch freestyle frame but it didn't say which one it was.
As for Bill Bellis making any new frames, I don't believe any of them were his ideas when he took over. Even though Hutch did come out with some new bikes they were still designed, etc by most of the guys that were with the old Hutch designers. Interestingly enough, Bill actually told me that Richard Hutchins did a lot of the actual designs on stickers, bikes, products, etc. He actually had his own drafting table that he did it all from and Bill told me that he was a brilliant designer! I agree! I have a lot of his old ideas and things that never made it to production and some of them were awesome!
Why did Hutch / CW / Revcore go out of business?
Hutch and Revcore both stopped making bikes due to financial trouble. Hard to believe because both companies had great quality bikes at one time but just couldn't get out of the red.
Do you like peanut butter and jelly? 'Cause boy I sure do!
Personally I love peanut butter and jelly.
What's your riding history? You ever raced or done any freestyle stuff (vert, flatland, street)?
Racing was what I loved! I started racing in 1979 and raced for about 2 years. Took some time off and got back into it pretty hard in 1985. Raced for Sport Cycle's National Team out of Riverdale Ga. until 1988.
Regarding Revcore, what came first CW or Revcore? Was one bought by the other or were they essentially the same company? I heard that CW was first and that CW created Revcore to make high quality racing frames (which they certainly did!).
CW came before Revcore and was started around 1979. CW pretty much just became Revcore. Sort of just a "fresh up". As a matter of fact there were some stickers on some of the bikes that actually read Revcore CW on the same sticker.
I had heard that Bellis was the co-owner of CW/Revcore and later bought the whole thing from Roger Worsham. Is it true?
To my knowledge you are right on Bill Bellis buying from Roger. Bill was mainly the money man in most of the bike companies. (those he was involved with)
For the love of God, who is Big Daddy Hot Rockin' Gold?
I still personally don't know. It has to have some connection with the CW / Revcore bike that was produced called a bone daddy. They are both too weird of names!
Has anyone on the face of the planet ever actually managed to crack a Revcore frame?
I must admit that I have never seen a cracked Revcore. Charles Townsend maybe can point one out but I definitely can't.
Who's decision was it to sell Hutch bikes at Western Auto? Why? I saw Hutch bikes right next to Western Auto's Freedom bikes. It was a terrible thing I tell ya'.
I have no idea why Hutch resulted to Western Auto. All I can figure is a last attempt to get rid of all the bikes that were left over. The company definitely knew it was drowning and getting stuck with thousands of bikes was not on the list! I guess they figured that whatever they could sell at cheap prices was better than not selling.
(MESSAGE FROM THE INTERVIEWER! ....a little info for everyone....Western Auto is now called Advance Auto Parts. So when you see one of those stores you'll now know that at one time they were selling Hutch bikes f
What is the founder of Hutch doing these days?
As for Rich he now is involved with old Muscle cars and classic cars.
What's Bill Bellis doing these days?
As for Bill Bellis he his doing what all of us dream of when we get to that age. Traveling, living, and doing whatever the day brings. He is a very wealthy man and loves to talk about the good old days. Of course what I paid him for the inventory he could go on vacation for a year! I enjoy talking to him no doubt.
I have heard that Hutch made some 24 carat gold Trick Stars. One is apparently owned by Woody Itson. Is that true? How many were made?
I do not know how many gold Trick Stars were made but you could buy them. They were outrageous in price but were available for those who had a deep wallet. I do not know an exact production but they definitely were made.
What caused Hutch's financial problems in the first place if it wasn't the prototype frame thing?
I asked Bill how could a company that sold so many products could go under. He said that Richard just tried to push he name Hutch out of this world. It was like he spent more on advertisements, did more advertising, paid the highest prices for the riders and freestylers etc. Somewhere in the middle of it all he made a lot of money but like Bill said If you made a million dollars and it cost you a million in a half then you are a broke rich man. The pursuit of trying to make the Hutch name so big just all caught up. He told me that he used to rent town cars and nice rides for himself and his riders to ride in while they were racing at nationals. Just to be going in style!
I sent you a picture. What Hutch is this? When were these made? It's from an ad for Vans shoes and has Rick Allison riding the bike. Is it even a Hutch or did someone just slap Hutch stickers on it?
I have some photos of that frame in some of the prototype files but the frame is just raw finished in my pictures. The rear tubes piercing the seat tube was actually used on the Hutch HPV. I will check and see if the frame was ever put into actual production.
You mentioned that Hutch tried to patent the loop tail design. What's the story with that?
Yes. Hutch did try around 1986 to actually patent the loop tail design, sending statements to the US patent office saying it was the benchmark of their bikes and what their bikes were recognized by. The pursued it pretty hard but came up empty. It would have been interesting if they could have pulled it off!
What's the story behind the Hutch Aerospeed cranks?
As for the Aerospeed cranks and why there are none, it's simple. There was hardly any to start with. They were produced in small machinist shops and were basically hand made one at a time. Production was almost nothing and it really put them in a bind. There are many advertisements in magazines like Wes BMX, which was a big distributor of Hutch, and they were advertising their Pro Star and team Trick Stars with your choice of Redline flights or Profiles instead of the Hutch cranks and this was in 1986 when they were practically new! I also talked with a major overseas distributor that was a huge Hutch supplier and they told me that they ordered 40 sets and received 6 sets and never received any more! They are by far the most scarce cranks set that you can find but by far the most awesome!
And that's it. I apologize for not having more info about Hutch as far as racing goes but I never was a racer so my knowledge is a little more limited in that department. Other than the Trick Star racing is where Hutch really made a name for themselves and throughout their early years they had some of the best racers around on their team. I will add to this as I get any more info.
Hutch BMX old school freestyle Trick Star Trickstar Pro Racer XL24 Trickstyler Street XR1 Jet Expert Junior Lil Hole Shot Hi Performance Exel Wind Styler Windstyler Richard Hutchins Bill Bellis Revcore CW Mike Dominguez Charles Townsend Jose Yanez Steve Veltman Brad Moore Donovan Ritter Toby Henderson Luna Todd Lyons Anderson Hollywood Miranda Jeff Donnell Digger Kalsow Monte Gray Tim Judge Eric Carter Rick Moliterno Woody Itson Lee Reynolds Chris Potts Brit Adude Martin Aparijo Buff