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Cycle Pro, Race Inc. and early SE forks


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#1
Mark Mc

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I 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.

CPandRIForks.JPG CPandRIForks2.JPG

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.
RI_BMXIsSM.jpg

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.

CP.CP.RI.DOs.JPG CP.CP.RI.Side.JPG CP.CP.RI.Shoulders.JPG

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.

RI_BMXIsSM.jpg TangeCycleProForkSM.jpg

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. ForkWeldCompare.JPG

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!

Edited by Mark Mc, 10 April 2011 - 07:30 PM.

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#2
Hobbes12

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Good Job MF!

#3
dtr

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Good Job MF!

just my 2 cents but the tange drop outs look larger in overall size, but the placement of the drop outs vary on all of the forks...and this is repeated on the original landing gear forks as talked about in other dicussions on this ..true or not true?
just my 2 cents.

#4
blikum

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What about the 26" CP's? Any info on those? I've seen the CP 26" forks with the BMXI decals and the CP decals both with a Tange stamp on the steertube. Cool info. Thanks.

#5
Mark Mc

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What about the 26" CP's? Any info on those? I've seen the CP 26" forks with the BMXI decals and the CP decals both with a Tange stamp on the steertube. Cool info. Thanks.


I hadn't considered 26", but, there is nothing unusual about either of those decals on Tange made forks - Tange forks could be SE or Cycle Pro badged. I edited in another photo above of the SE and CP Tange forks with OG stickers on them. That's really the whole point, it's just stickers setting these things apart. You either have an RI or Tange made fork, and then a Cycle Pro or SE sticker applied later.
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#6
Curt

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IMG_3587.jpg
IMG_3584.jpg

Early non drilled fork I have owned since new (circa 1978)

#7
S.Brothers

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So Mark, as you see it, what is the main confusion people face where these forks are concerned? Is it the point about who manufactured them - in other words they don't realize it's Race Inc and then Tange, and how that in turn relates to the private labeling for SE and Cycle Pro?

#8
Mark Mc

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Steve,

Good question. I think I'd probably sum it up as many folks don't seem to understand that there are 2 fork manufacturers marketing/selling the same fork, but, it's a slightly different fork. I read all over the place folks saying things like, "those are (or are not) Cycle Pros based on the Dropout". When the dropouts only tell you who made them, not what badge came on them.

It's really a 30+ year old story for me. I remember wanting Cycle Pro forks for my GJS. They were so cool, shiny, chrome, had those awesome welds, and were drilled for a front brake. The Race Inc. made version was what I had seen. When my Cycle Pros showed up, they were Tange made, blob welds, and, not even any stickers. So, it was a bit disappointing. But, they were chrome and Cycle Pros, so, I was still stoked. All these years later, I now have the time and resources to solve some of those odd little mysteries out.

There's a bit of a timeline in here too. I've read in places that the Cycle Pro fork was developed for SE. But, I think that's probably not accurate. They were developed pre-SE.
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#9
Brian Hays

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Well, couple of things.

QUOTE:
"They were so cool, shiny, chrome, had those awesome welds, and were drilled for a front brake. The Race Inc. made version was what I had seen. When my Cycle Pros showed up, they were Tange made, blob welds, and, not even any stickers."

Race Inc forks were never offered with a brake hole. Also, I know for certain that the 81-2 Cycle Pro forks were machine welded or something along that line because the welds are perfect and beautiful. The earlier CP forks that had the "seagull poop" welds were earlier. Sure they were Tange??

Also, it was the OM himself who said that he had helped desing the Tange TRX forks for SE but then Tange decided to offer them to everyone so he engineered the CP design forks....

Hmmmmm.
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#10
Mark Mc

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Well, couple of things.

QUOTE:
"They were so cool, shiny, chrome, had those awesome welds, and were drilled for a front brake. The Race Inc. made version was what I had seen. When my Cycle Pros showed up, they were Tange made, blob welds, and, not even any stickers."

Race Inc forks were never offered with a brake hole. Also, I know for certain that the 81-2 Cycle Pro forks were machine welded or something along that line because the welds are perfect and beautiful. The earlier CP forks that had the "seagull poop" welds were earlier. Sure they were Tange??

Also, it was the OM himself who said that he had helped desing the Tange TRX forks for SE but then Tange decided to offer them to everyone so he engineered the CP design forks....

Hmmmmm.


On Tange fork welds: Date stamps I have documented range from 9A to 2B. 9A-9L is a blob weld. 0B-2B is the nice "roll of dimes" weld. I have personally owned 9A forks (on my GJS), and 2B forks, so, models at both ends of the spectrum in addition to a 0G model. So, aside from one month, we know the 79 model fork is the blob weld, and 80+ is the nice weld.

FWIW, all the Tange made, SE stickered forks I have seen are the 79 weld model.

As for Race Inc forks not being drilled, that's certainly true of Race Inc forks that are branded Race Inc. But, RI also made CP badged forks. I have pictures of OG stickered, RI model Cycle Pro forks, with drill holes, and have seen more than I have pictures of on eBay and the like. In fact, more often drilled than not. Curt's above is the rare exception. That matches up with my memory of the RI Cycle Pros being drilled.

As for Scot's story, ummm. Leaving Race Inc. out of it, the earliest Tange TRX fork I've seen is 0B, where Tange Cycle Pros go back to 9A, and RI made forks before that. I know I've never seen any TRX with any 9X date. Don't know what to say, except the data doesn't support the statement. Not trying to ruffle feathers. That's actually one of the things that got me looking into this - the forks I owned didn't match up to the timeline story. Certainly open to accepting more info here. I try to be pretty thorough with my info before I push it out. But, there's a point where you have to push it, and absorb the new data folks will share.
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#11
Brian Hays

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agreed
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#12
volcano

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#13
4130only

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The earliest Cycle Pro forks i own, i've only seen these in a 1978 Minicycle bmxaction magazine product review.
These are NOS.jan 3 bmx jmc s.e 013.JPG

#14
z-man99

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Race Inc forks?
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#15
Mark Mc

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Yep. The shoulder width and dropouts are the Race Inc made version.

Now, in all fairness, since early Cycle Pros were not drilled, they could be Cycle Pros. But, since this style fork was Branded as Race Inc from 77-84, it's most likely, since it's not drilled, Race Inc.
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#16
z-man99

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I was sure they were Race inc then I remembered that I have an nos Cycle Pro Decal. My new decal compared with the remnants on the fork:
Posted Image

I'm sure others have already figured this out but for me it was first hand evidence that the same exact fork was labeled Cycle Pro and Race inc, and probably SE Innovations, too.

#17
SHADESSEAN

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original pencil drawing dated 10/1979, 26" :nah.I.mean:

#18
K8TOE

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I was sure they were Race inc then I remembered that I have an nos Cycle Pro Decal. My new decal compared with the remnants on the fork:
Posted Image

I'm sure others have already figured this out but for me it was first hand evidence that the same exact fork was labeled Cycle Pro and Race inc, and probably SE Innovations, too.

I would love to get those Cycle Pro stickers from you! I just recently redipped my forks which are a 9L stamped on them and redipped my CyC Ames Stormer as well. Desperate need of decals! Any suggestions? I want to finish it so i can post some pictures. Any help would be great! Thanks

#19
volcano

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#20
S.Brothers

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