While they may better known for their brakes, Italy's Formula have been quietly developing an impressive line of suspension forks over the last few years. When Aston tested their 35 single crown fork last year he described it as "one of the best forks out there in terms of suppleness." No small feat for a small, family business entering the ring with the 400lb gorillas that are Fox and Rockshox, not to mention the more established niche performance options like Ohlins, DVO and Bos. As a company, Formula has a long and storied history in the downhill world, so it should come as little surprise to most that a downhill fork was always on their mind. In the second half of last year, it finally arrived: the Nero. While Pinkbike hasn't yet had the chance to put the fork through its paces for a full review, there is one thing about this fork that makes it stand out from its competition - it is handmade in Italy. A quick look at MSRPs will tell you that despite this, the Nero retails for several hundred Euros/Dollars/Pounds less than the Fox 40, the current benchmark for DH race performance. We went to Formula's headquarter's in Prato, Italy to find out more about how this intriguing fork is made.
The first step uses a single-axis CNC machine to create the initial shape of the crown from the block of metal - the process is the same for both upper and lower crowns, they just run slightly different programmes to create the different shapes.