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I'm curious to know what exactly the cause of creak is. So far as I understand, it's corrosion. It's an interference fit between similar metals, so how are things getting in there? Flex? Poor tolerances? Some combination? I'm really interested in what EXT has to say (and to see if their fork performance matches theory).
Forks are probably the 2nd most expensive components on bikes to the frame and a csu with service on its own is probably the 3rd (unless you have carbon wheels or king hubs). On my bike the fork is the most expensive part. Agreed that brands have maybe gone too far.
Edit: it's incredible what a difference "blueprinting" can do for performance. Matching individual parts to optimize limits and fits of the assembly. (I.e. if a pivot bore is on the wide end of the tolerance, mating it to similarly wide links and hardware reduces friction and wear). It sounds like this is what ohlins does, which I imagine is part of their success. Too bad it's so labour intensive. Some companies have automated qa/QC to automate this process as you can widen tolerance windows to reduce scrap rates, often providing net cost savings.
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