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Hetchins Magnum Opus - 1950

Posted: Wednesday 19th August 2020

Owned By: Hugo Vanneck

FrameHetchins Magnum Opus 1950 frame number 503658: 24½" seat tube, 23" top tube, chainstays 17"
WheelsFiamme sprints with 'moped-like' 14 gauge straight spokes, the result of a misunderstanding with my wheel builder. In the middles are 3-piece LF Campag hubs, kept clean with hub brushes from a local bicycle shop. For rubber I am presently using Veloflex Arenbergs
ChainsetStronglight 49D cranks with a single 46T TA cyclo-cross ring.
PedalsLyotard 460
Gears1953 Campag Gran Sport. Campagnolo down tube lever mounted on the bars with a guide on the down tube boss. I wonder if the bosses are original or if they were brazed on when the paint was applied. If so, I wish they hadn't. The left hand boss sits ugly and unused.
BrakesGB Hindiminium
Stem/BarsH.R. Morris, lugged steel with built-in brake levers, made for his daughter's machine, obtained from AVT, and a ChaterLea headclip, supplied with the frame. Handlebar grips are Shockstop repros obtained from Hilary Stone.
Saddle2012 Brooks Flyer, which replaced a 1970s Professional following a 60 mile ride and then 3 days of soreness. With upright bars a saddle with springs is good. The 1949 Brooks Champion B15 Standard that came with the frame was literally a pain in the arse. The Campag Record 2-bolt seatpost came with the frame, too, which is fortunate as to me its infinite adjustability makes it the best seatpost ever.
Extra detailsNorth Street Carradice double-flap Camper, also from AVT, supported by a Bantel rack. Mudguards are Bluemels Lightweights, the bell is a 1970s Regina with a beautiful tone.

I bought this as a frameset on ebay from Alexander von Tutschek and now feel I couldn’t have done better. The frame is a delight to look at and ride (almost every day) and the seller has been both kind and helpful since the purchase.

The frame is interesting. It’s one of seventeen 1st generation MOs known to still exist and at 24½” probably the biggest. But more interesting to me is that the crossbar is off-straight by about 1mm at the centre and that it must have left the factory like that as everything else is properly aligned and the machine rides perfectly straight. Built up, the curve is unnoticeable to the eye but I know and I like it a lot. The lug work is simply beautiful and must have taken ages of filing to get the edges so thinned and smooth. They are a delight to run your fingers over.

The paint isn’t original and is now about 20 years old. It was a good job and is in very good condition with just a little lifting around the seat post bolt, the dropouts and around the front brake mounting hole. Strangely, the down tube transfer was applied off centre and is incomplete, lacking the pointed parts above and below the Hs. Perhaps they had trouble when applying it.

Since acquiring the frame it has worn a variety of components and the build is still in transition. Presently, it is equipped thus:

Thanks for reading

Posted: Wednesday 19th August 2020

Owned By: Hugo Vanneck

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