Ok this thread is a work in progress. Im using a few sources for now. Catalogs, Bike Tests and some input from owners. This will be edited as errors are found and new information arises.
Early Auburn. 1988-1993
First generation Auburn’s all had the distinctive 2 piece design. How you can spot the old Auburn’s from the newer ones, is where the top tube bends. Original Auburn design the top tube bends down before the seat post tube. This design means the bike is from 1988-1993. Bikes made in 1993 that bend after the seat tube are NOT 1993 builds but rather the 1994 model. The August 1993 issue of BMX Plus! has a full page ad showing the CR20 and RX models. Still having the old bend before the seat post tube.
First generation Auburn’s ONLY came with a “Tri-Link” back end made from 4130. So 1988-1989 only had one choice, the Tri-Link. In 1990 the “Works-Link” aluminum back end became available. You can also tell 88-90 models by the down tube decal if original. Auburn font was the original bold square font.
In 1991 the font became elongated and italicized.
It also appears to me that the original model was simply the CR 20R. When they added the Aluminum Works Link it appears that they used to CR20 S for 4130 Tri=Link back ends and the CR 20 R and RX had the aluminum Works Link back ends.
It is not clear but it appears that all the early bikes sported a 19.5 inch top tube. It wasn’t until the RX bike was launched, in late 1990 as a 1991 model, that a longer top tube of 20.5 became available. The November 1990 issue of Snap shows a full page Auburn ad for the CR20 and CR20RX.
Some say the RX measures 21″. The September 1994 issue of BMX PLus! has a head to head shootout of the Auburn CR20 RX. It claims the top tube is 21″. My Auburn built in May of 1994 measures 20.5″ The 1996 Auburn catalog lists the top tube of the RX model at 20.5″. It is my belief that the 21″ measurements are simply wrong. More reasearch into this will be done to be certain.
Mid School Auburn. 1994-1996
In 1994 they no longer had the top tube bend before the seat tube.
Early 1994 Auburn CR20 EX had a 1′ threaded fork. Mid year they began using a 1 1/8′ threadless fork. In 95 ONLY the RX had the 1 1/8″. But in 1996 all the pro models used it.
1995 model year was the first time you could get a anodized Works Link.
In 1996 the Auburn’s began using canti mounted brakes (aka V brakes). 1996 was also the first time you could get a chrome front end.
It appears Auburn folded in 1997. Some prototypes were released in in the 2000′s. It is unclear if they made any production runs after 1996.