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Cycle Pro, Race Inc. and early SE forks
markmc97225 posted a topic in Riding, Research & CollectingI love a good early days of BMX puzzle. A lot of confusion about early SE forks, and Cycle Pro forks. So, I decided to jump in and see what I could figure out. Lots of reading, lots of PMs with folks, lots of pictures. Heck, I've even bought multiple forks to be able to do side by side comparisons and take pics! But, I think I've pretty much got it sorted out. Maybe I'm wrong, but, I trust folks here won't be shy correcting me. First, we have to talk about Race Inc. Prior to manufacturing SE bikes, RI was making bikes, branded with either Race Inc. or Cycle Pro (and sure, FMF before). And, those bikes both had forks. Which forks? Well, we're only talking about the leading edge fork here, which ended up being the SE fork, so, we're dropping the straight leg out early. So, here's our first point. Race Inc. made forks early. Both RI and Cycle Pro branded. The first problem we see starts here, the only difference between them is the stickers. I own both of these forks, and this picture is an RI and an early CP fork side by side. My forks don't have stickers any more, but, the fork on the left is Cycle Pro, on the right is a Race Inc. fork. RI forks were not drilled, but, this one was drilled by a prior owner (you can tell), and did come off an RI complete, so, although there is a drill hole in it, it is an RI fork. Unfortunate, but, that's life. And research. Notice, they are identical in shoulder shape and dropouts. Starting in 1978, with SE and the JU-6 and BD-III, and later the PK Ripper and DB-IV, SE also branded the same fork with SE/BMX Innovations stickers. So, at this point, we now have one manufacturer, with one fork, yet, 3 different brandings. RI, CP, and BMXI. And now it gets even more confusing. Because it appears with RI taking over SE manufacturing, they quit making Cycle Pro stuff. You don't see the Foiler or Spoiler anymore! And, likely the RI made Cycle Pro fork went away. But, we have Cycle Pro forks appearing as late as 1982. Where did they come from? As early as January, 1979, we start to see Cycle Pro forks that are manufactured by Tange. So, it appears CP went off to Tange to manufacture a fork, in general, with the same overall specs as the RI made fork. Check out a Tange fork on the left vs. the RI made forks. Really close, but, a bit different. The shiny red fork is an NOS Tange made Cycle Pro fork, stacked up next to the other 2. Note the dropout is almost the same, and the shoulder is almost the same. Almost. But, look closely, they are distinct. I have documented 2 Tange made Cycle Pro forks, with 9A stamps, nothing earlier. And, I've seen that fork stamped as late as 2B - Feb. 1982. So, Tange made Cycle Pro forks from 1979 to 1982. I'd expect with the LG fork coming out in 81 (or so), the market for CP forks dried up. Could it get any more confusing? Well, of course. SE still needed a fork until the LG was out. So, how about we slap an SE/BMXI sticker on a Tange made Cycle Pro model? This is the same fork as the shiny red fork above. A Tange made model. The only difference, the sticker. So, to begin the wrap up, here's what we have: Race Inc made one fork model. It could be stickered with Race Inc., Cycle Pro, or, SE stickers. Tange made one fork model. It could be stickered with Cycle Pro or SE stickers. So, 2 manufacturers, 2 forks, 5 distinct "versions": RI RIs RI CPs RI SE's Tange CPs Tange SEs. And, now for the uber-detail oriented person. The Tange made fork had a 79 version, and an 80+ version. The 79 version had a "blob" weld, the 80+ had a nicer weld. And then, the early, early 79's were not drilled, and had no weep holes. The later 79's were drilled and had weep holes. All the Tange made, SE stickered forks I've seen are the 79, blob weld version. Here's a shot of the weld diffs. On the left is a 9A dated version, and the right, a 2B version. The red NOS version above is 0G dated. Any additional info appreciated. I know there were SE stickers on Tuff Forks, but, there isn't any confusion about that. I've also seen Cycle Pro S/L stickers on a set of early forks, don't know what's up with those. And I've seen the RI made forks with welds the full length of the DO, and split into 3 welds. No idea if that means anything. I believe the full weld is early, split weld later, but, additional info is always appreciated. More research on other fun topics to come later!