This is what I know after talking with Rich Hutchins during Christmas 2008:
How it started, 1979 till mid 1982:
Late '70s, Rich Jr. and Keith Hutchins where racing motocross every weekend and there dad, Richard Hutchins was setting up a parts sale of motorcycle parts at the races. Later in the racing season they would start racing bicycles during intermission between moto's and every kid was getting involved in it to the point the track owners where building bicycle tracks in the infield. At the time Rich was riding a Robinson. By this time Richard was running a mail order business from the house selling motorcycle parts mainly and started into bicycles (1979).
Christmas of 1979, Richard Hutchins took the drawings of the frame that his son Rich had made to a local metal shop. Richard let them build the first Hutch frame as a Christmas present for his son Rich.
The first frame did have the rear loop design but not the same as the later production frames.
After Rich showed up at the races with the first Hutch everybody wanted one and it started from there. That's where Richard found Profile to start building the frames and forks for them.
August 1980, some Hutch factory riders rode the first Hutch prototype frames. (Before the Hutch Factory Riders rode different bike brands like JMC, PK Ripper,…). Short after the Hutch frame sets were available for the public (fall 1980?).
Note: Vintage BMX 2006 by Bill Curtin: The first Hutch frames were released in June of 1981. Hal and I raced in State College, PA at an ABA national the weekend of May 9-10, 1981. I stood next to Hal as he spoke with Rich Hutchins about buying a frame set. Hal was told to try in a few weeks as they were close to being released. We went home and Hal had our local bikeshop contact Hutch. He received a frameset in early June.
First advertisement for the new Hutch frames was published in BMX Action April 1981.
The first frames and forks were made by Profile till around mid 82.
The frames came with a fork that had straight blade fork legs with dropouts directly beneath them.
First design was the fork with straight blade fork legs with dropouts directly beneath them.
Hutch did not use it for very long, change tab design to change handling of the bike.
Rich Farside complained about this and so did Rich Hutchins.
After came the fork with leading edge dropouts.
Both designs were from Hutch.
First leading edge dropouts had a front slot.
Rich Hutchins does remember having a problem with a particular run with tabs (dropouts) cracking. It is possible it was the first design.
Hutch was always changing as they went along. Suttle changes are hard to remember and they don't know when they changed to the second design leading edge dropouts.
Profile was the first to build Hutch frames for Hutch. The ones with drilled brake plates.There are two types of drilled brake plates. The first ones witch were made by Profile were the ones Hutch had problems with braking witch that problem did not show up until later as frame got older. So the later ones were thicker drilled brake plates.
At the end of 1981, Hutch moved into there first where house (Alco Place facility in south Baltimore, Halethorpe), and started building in house but also still used Profile to keep up with demand till mid 82.
There was no record kept on witch ones came from where.
Mid 1982 till 1984:
After moving to the Alco Place facility in south Baltimore, Halethorpe, it aloud Hutch to bring just about everything in house.
MCS was making other things for Hutch including pedal parts, stems, seat clamps and other small parts. With the new factory Hutch slowly brought things in house.
Bill Grove was Hutch answer to this, he was very good at production and knowing the equipment we needed to grow.
At this point first thing Bill did was design all of Hutch weld gigs would be exact so there was no way they would be different and computerized tubing cutters and benders so everything was exact.
Brought in any of the round things that we had in house like seat clamps, hubs, and the chain ring discs.
Also doubled our welding staff from about 30 welders to 55 welders and brought everything in during the day to keep any eye on quality control. Bill pretty much became my dads right hand man to run the factory and help with design of any new proto type work came along.
Proto type stuff was always the word of the public. Richard always listen to what our riders wanted and he would build it. In the beginning that is what I would do if some one had an idea I would work with them to give them what they wanted just the basic stuff the more complicated things Bill Grove was the man. It is hard to put a time line on some of changes because Hutch was always making changes in production as Hutch went along most changes were not recorded when they changed. Hutch just always listen to the public and if it was something small the change was made.
Rich Jr. thinks this is what made Hutch so popular because they did listen too every one every letter that came in to them. Every letter Richard would read if he thought it was worth looking into it would get handed to Rich Jr. to look further into it.
From mid 1982 till around the end of 1983/ early 1984 Thruster made frames for Hutch. Thruster was building for Hutch at there specs. Left over stuff from Profile came to the Alco Place facility in south Baltimore, Halethorpel, for Hutch to finish up.
Thruster did help Hutch when Hutch could not keep up.
Thruster did weld frames for Hutch and they did help Hutch after loosing Profile. Thruster did a lot for Hutch. They picked up the slack Hutch could not keep up or where going through a change. That was another reason for bring Bill in to get control of all of this things. Hutch was growing so fast that it was extremely hard for Richard Hutchins to keep a handle on. The no. frames Thruster did for Hutch is unknown.
It is possible one reason tried to get everything in house hard to keep control of our product when someone else was building it for us.
After that we did our own tubing cuts and bends but Thruster was doing our stamped pieces, Hutch did not have the tooling to do this.
Early 1984 Hutch brought most of there stuff in-house. Not everything but most by this time. Hutch was also using MCS and there prices where better then Thruster on making our stamped pieces.
Around early 1984 time frame Hutch moved to the next location, Benson ave.
Rich thinks Hutch still used Thruster then, they did not just cut them off all at once either though we weened them off till a point.
Some questions I asked to Profile Racing Inc. (April 2007):
The questions are answered by Jim Alley, who was the founder of Profile Racing. Thanks to Christian Henrich who forwarded my questions to Jim!
1: When did Profile start making frames for Hutch?
1981 Probably in the Winter/springtime of 1981. We only made frames for them for a year or two, before they went to Thruster. They ended up owing Thruster a lot of money that almost bankrupted Thruster. In fact, Thruster went out of business not too long after the business relationship with Hutch soured. When all of Thruster's tubing and fixtures were sold, we purchased a great deal of it. We still have the frame jigs and enough tubing to build quite a few Hutch/Thruster frames, if we wanted to bad enough. We have no plans to do so at this time, so don't ask, however.
2: What kind of fork did the firsdt Hutch frames come with?
They came with two different Profile Forks. One had straightblade fork legs with dropouts directly beneath them, and the other had a fork with leading edge dropouts.
3. Were the first Hutch frames just the same like Profile frames except the brakebridge and no extra tube in the front?
Yes, the Hutch frames shared the same geometry and everything except the cross brace and the drilled brake bridge.
4: How long did Profile make frames for Hutch?
Just about a year.
5: Did profile only made the drilled brakebridge frames, or also with blanck brakebridges and the later stamped HUTCH (both sides or one side stamped)?
We made the first Hutch frames, that only had the drilled brake bridge.
6: What models did Profile made for Hutch and in what years?
Pro, Pro XL, and the Jr.
Note: I think he forgot the Mini!
7: Do you know when Profile made frames for Hutch that there were other companies (Thruster, MCS) at the same time producing Hutch frames?
We were their original manufacturer, but we never made frames while other companies were also making frames for them.
Some info about Hutch by Profile Racing
In celebration of Profile Racing's 50th anniversary, owner and founder, Jim Alley, invites us into the company's original Florida location where some sections of this dark and dusty industrial cave have been sealed off since 2004.
Over time, this building (appropriately named "The Dungeon" by employees) has become a time capsule; a host to historical artifacts capturing Profile's legacy in both the automotive and bicycle industry.
Join us on this multi-episode series as we press record and let Jim imbue his wealth of knowledge on conjured pieces of the past.
This is From the Dungeon.