top of page

Be the HERO with Daylight's New Fork

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

We caught a glimpse. A glimpse of the newest product to come out of Southern California's own Daylight Cycles workshop. Known for their geometry and paint ready for the nearest art show, the new HERO Thunderbolt is ready to bring the Daylight touch to the fork lineup.

Is there any special meaning behind the name?

As some in the BMX world know, our other business has been in the design and branding world, where we have been involved in a lot of naming projects for some pretty large corporations (including the naming of PULL). This is just to explain that selecting a name for us is maybe a bit more of a process.

That process usually starts academically, and the initial results are usually a bit mechanical. The names make sense and convey meaning, but finding something that is easy to say, presents letterforms with great design potential, and is immediately memorable — all while evoking a positive feeling — that’s tough. Especially finding a simple name and a URL that’s available in your industry — was miraculously available and is ours now. It’s an exercise you hope leads to inspiration. Just as Daylight was too ordinary for some when we first tested it, Hero may also seem too familiar, too easy. Within the BMX race world, however, we believe we can make it our own as we’ve done with Daylight — aided by a very compelling graphic identity that we hope will become synonymous with great design and superior manufacturing.

Perhaps the best way to convey its meaning is this brief brand message —

BMX racing takes courage. No matter your age, when you load into that starting gate you've got to be ready for battle. Win or not it’s what makes a hero, and it’s what we’re made of — American built bike parts designed and engineered with laser precision and superhuman strength to let the HERO inside take flight.

Still in the prototype/testing phases, when did this project first begin?

We first started thinking about the Hero parts project prior to the pandemic when we were designing a 29” Daylight cruiser — the Mondo — and wanted a 29” tapered fork to pair with it. There still is nothing like this on the market, and we were simply unwilling to build the frame and put some spindly chromoly fork with a straight steer tube on it. Covid and the ensuing supply chain issues resulted in us doing everything we could to keep up demand for our 20” and 24” race bikes, so the idea of a fork project had to go on hold, as did the 29” Mondo. Over the past 18 months, however, we have restructured our fabrication process and increased our output capabilities so we started thinking again about the Mondo and aluminum tapered fork. The beauty of building with aluminum in the US means that we could move quickly and easily expand the line to include 20”, 24”, 26”, and 29” sizes. This would take a long time and an impractical (for the market size) amount of money to make all of these sizes out of carbon in Asia.

What makes this Fork stand out in the BMX Racing market? Give us the specs. Material, diameter, weight, we want it all!

Answering these together —

The HERO fork, with its machined and welded aesthetic, simply looks amazing. Just from a product design perspective, we think the sleek lines and silhouette of the fork are far more appealing than the chunky designs of all those carbon copies out there. It screams race! That’s because, like our Daylight race frames, it’s also 6061-T6 aluminum.

To date, we think there has only been one other tapered alloy fork made specifically for BMX racing. Ours is made in the USA — again, great for ensuring precise build quality and flexibility to meet production demand. We will be building these in small batches every month as opposed to large runs produced once or twice a year overseas.

Yes, The Hero Thunderbolt will likely weigh a couple of ounces more than the lightest carbon-legged fork — we think about 24 ounces finished — because aluminum is denser than carbon. But that also means it’s more resilient — especially from side impacts. Also, in the case of most carbon forks, they are really just carbon legs bonded/glued to a crown/steerer and dropouts — and there’s a lot more aluminum inside the carbon layup at the collection points (where the carbon meets the aluminum) that you can’t see. By contrast, our Hero forks are laser cut/machined and welded together — not glued. The one-piece steer tube/crown begins as a 3-pound/ 9’ long bar of solid aluminum that is 100% milled to size and spec. The legs are custom extruded and bent tubes, thin-wall, and large diameter tubing for strength while saving weight — which again can be cut to various lengths.

The copes (where the tube is fitted to the crown and dropouts) are laser cut — meaning this entire fork is essentially machined with virtually zero gaps between the welded elements. The dropout design is also forward-thinking. A less expensive 90-degree dropout would offer less weld/bonding area than our dramatically angled design. The greater the weld area, the greater the strength. The result will be a ride that, while easily comparable to the stiffness and responsiveness of carbon will — like our frame and because of the inherent ductility of aluminum — provide what we feel is a smoother ride characteristic.

Finish — We obviously designed this fork to look great with our Daylight frame but also to look great with any frame. But being Daylight, that also means, in addition to black powder-coat for a less costly option for stock, the Hero Thunderbolt can be beautifully custom finished from our almost unlimited spectrum of ceramic colors. We’re even offering two different graphic looks— “Humble” for a subtle tone-on-tine graphic or “Proud” for a bold, high-contrast style. There will most likely be package pricing for a matching ceramic-painted frame and fork set.

Will there be variations in the future? Tapered and not / Through axle and not

Initially, we are focused on Pro fork sizes for 1”-1/8” tapered head tube — 20” thru 29”, all for 20mm thru-axles (although 10mm adapters can be used), but we will definitely be designing a junior/expert version of the Thunderbolt soon.

Who will be testing the new forks?

The Hero Thunderbolt will be tested in the lab and on the track. We’ve our own cyclic meter that, attached to the axle, will push and pull the fork 12mm in each direction repeatedly for days — that’s forcing about an inch of flex through the fork for thousands of cycles to test for strength and integrity of the design/build. The forces we’ll be applying will far exceed standard bicycle fork requirements. For now, we will be sending the first prototypes to Tucson, where factory team riders/training partners Amakye Andersen and Robbie Spanyard will be the first to put the new fork through whatever they can throw at it — on the track and at the jumps. It’s particularly helpful that Robbie is both an accomplished lifelong racer as well as a machinist and engineer currently working for Raytheon. Next, we will expand the testing to other team ams and elites. If all goes according to plan, we hope to release the new Hero Thunderbolt fork for sale to the public sometime this fall. Finally, be on the lookout for our US-built Hero Photon Stem and Hero Kelvin Crank Set next in the pipeline.

1,756 views0 comments


bottom of page