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Hateley's Lightweight Cycles

Posted: Tuesday 02nd June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

Jack Hateley set up in business in 1942 as a cycle retailer at 458 Stafford Road, Oxley, Wolverhampton. This was during WWII so he must have been working in a war-related industry or else declared unfit for military service. In 1942 and for the next few years it would have been just about impossible to obtain frame-building materials so it was not until 1945 that he started to build lightweight frames.

This was at a time when the British cycling world was divided into two opposing camps, the National Cyclists Union, ‘The Union’ (mainly concerned with time-trialling and some track events) and the British League of Racing Cyclists, ‘The League’ (championing massed-start open road racing plus some track events). It could fairly be said that there was an outright hatred of each other with the threat of disqualification should a Union man be seen having anything to do with the League. The founder of the League was Percy Stallard a top rank rider and frame builder, also from Wolverhampton, so it is no surprise that Jack Hately was firmly in the League camp as his advertising confirms. No mention of time-trial frames or road/path machines.

Hateley's "King of the Mountains" H/1 frame - 1950

An entry in Wolverhampton Heritage and History Website lists five lightweight frames produced by Hateley’s Lightweight Cycles as:

Continental Praha – a road racing machine. Reynolds 531 DB tubing and fretted Super Champion lugs. 27″ (700) San Georgia sprint rims on Gnutti or Solite hubs. The machine is shown with Osgear rear changer and ‘rod’ double changer at front.

Warszawa – for the clubman, with cheaper accessories and mudguards

Pavorit – a track machine. Reynolds 531 DB tubing and classic track equipment with sprints and single fixed gear of course.  Brooks Narrow or Sprinter saddle and Williams C34 chainset

Wroglaw – Massed start or long distace race machine built with Reynolds 531 DB tubing and equipped with Simplex 4 or – speed changer with double front changer

He also listed the Atlanta for the young clubman.

(The unusual names used above may be related to the fact that Joe Spragg, riding for Hateley, competed in the Warsaw – Prague Race in 1950. Percy Stallard also had a model called the Zacopane named after Geoff Clarke’s Katowice to Zacopane stage win in Poland))

As well as lightweights Jack also produced the Hateley Modic which was a folding open-framed machine not unlike the later Raleigh 20 ‘shopper’ cycle.  However, one imagines that his main love was the lightweights as by 1947 he was sponsoring his own racing team in events run under the banner of the British League of Racing Cyclists. No doubt his riders would have been Independents racing against many of the larger professional teams.  In spite of this they performed well in 1949 but as the years passed the professional teams got larger and tended to swamp a lot of League events.

We have a 1950 Jack Hateley catalogue available under Catalogues and in it he lists the wins of his road racing team in 1949 as:

1st – Birmingham Premier RR
1st – Tour of the Chase
1st – King of the Mountains in Tour of the East Midlands
1st – King of the Mountains in the Brighton to Glasgow Race (Joint holder) Joe Spragg Hateley Cycles
Joe Spragg finished 10th overall in the 1947 Brighton to Glasgow
1st – National Hill Climb
1st – Stafford Hill Climb (Course record)

In 1950 Joe Spragg was included in the GB team to compete in the  Warsaw – Prague Race but the team were not really ready for this event and only one member of the team finished.

In the 1950 catalogue – see frame shown above – he describes his King of the Mountains frame listed as The Maestro cycle frame.
He only lists this one frame but there could be other catalogues for the same year. The King of the Mountains machine is available in 21″, 22″, 23″ and 24″, for 26″ or 27″ wheels. Frames available in 74/71 or 73/71 degree head/seat angles. Bottom bracket 10½” with 27″ wheels or to order. Braze-ons: cable eyes for gear and rear brake, pump pegs 18″ (unless stated otherwise) on down tube. Lamp bracket if requred.

In the 1951 (Saturday June 9th) London to Holyhead race – 267 miles –  Hateley Cycles entered a team of four riders:
Reg Ashwin, Arthur Cook, Bob Drinkwater and Dick Lewis – they rode in black and white kit. Bob Drinkwater finished in 9th place.

Jack died in 1983 so no more frames were built, but his daughter Maureen continued to run the shop for some time.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Tuesday 02nd June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

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