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Classic Lightweights UK
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Hetchins Spyder (Swallow) - 1970

Owned by Patricia Killiard


Swallow 4 

I acquired this lovely track frame almost by accident when it arrived with another frame I was considering buying.  It was as new and still has its original custom paint job. The previous, and only, owner was a teenager who used it for track and roller racing and soon grew out of it.  The bike had been built up as an out and out track machine with ultra-close clearance using 700c sprints.   Having decided that I wanted to ride it on the road I knew I would have to use 26" wheels to get brakes to fit so I had to work around this.   It would be nice to have the option of using sprints but there are no period brakes with short enough reach as sprints with tubs nearly scrape the fork crown and seat stay bridge.

The headlugs on this frame are Spyder having an extra 'curl' on the front of the head lugs (http://www.hetchins.org/501spy-01.htm). The Spyder has a rather elaborate bottom bracket lug whereas the lug on mine is quite plain. This frame is 1970 and this was the year that the Spyder was introduced so it may have been a transitional model between the Swallow and the Spyder.

Soon we were deciding which machines to take to L'Eroica and considered Italian but someone pointed out that there would be hundreds of these already so we decided to take a pair of Hetchins as an example of UK machines.   Having already toured on "le strade bianche" of Tuscany I knew that a good range of gears and good brakes would be a priority so we rigged up a Suntour gear with rear facing hanger. The machine is now seen back in single-speed mode.


Frame Hetchins 20” Swallow track frame no. H 10239 (1970). Top Tube 20½”; finished blue red  gold and white
Wheels 26” Dunlop alloy 'Lightweight' HP rims on Airlite large-flange.  Spokes 15/17 or
26" Conloy Asp rims on large-flange Airlite hubs with 15/17g spokes tied and soldered
Chainset Chater-Lea 2-arm fluted cranks with 42 tooth Chater ring
Pedals Lyotard quill with Christophe clips and straps
Gears Single-speed 18T
Brakes Universal side pull and levers
Stem/Bars R O Harrison 8cm custom steel with 'trimmed' South of France bars
Headset Campagnolo
Saddle Brooks B17 Swallow

Swallow 6
Detail showing side of Spyder head lugs and Bonum style fork crown
Swallow 7
Detail showing R O Harrison steel lapped stem with 'ROH' engraving inside 'Star of David'

Swallow 8
Above: Detail showing the seat cluster with wrap-round seat stays and decorative work on seat stay bridge,
 also the unusual original paint job and 531 transfer on rear of seat tube

Swallow 5
Cut-down South of France bars on the R O Harrison custom-made stem