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May 2, 2002

How Those Trick Ohlins Superbike Forks Work

From a press release:<BR><BR>New Front Fork Design Aids Champion In Superbike<BR><BR>When Troy Bayliss of Australia won the (2001) World Superbike Championship, he celebrated with his entire team. One key to their success was a new pressurized racing fork from Ohlins, a Swedish producer of shock absorbers. By using new technology and a sealed oil circuit, the company has succeeded in producing a front fork that withstands extremely high-frequency shocks, giving better traction and stability.<BR><BR>Ohlins' new pressurized front fork differs greatly from traditional forks. The oil in the fork is under constant pressure in a sealed system that effectively prevents frothing or cavitation, which very often happens in traditional fork designs during high frequencies. The new design results in a fork that can endure substantially higher frequencies without reduced shock-absorbing effect, while maintaining better contact between the front wheel and the track. The motorcycle thus has better road-holding characteristics, and the rider can make the most of the bike's capacity for speed and acceleration.<BR><BR>"The new front fork makes an outstanding difference in the way the motorcycle rides," according to Bayliss. "Our experience so far has been tremendous. The fork responds better to changes and the feedback I get from it is great. It's also easy to adjust to different types of track."<BR><BR>Yet another advantage of the sealed system in the fork is that oil does not degrade as quickly as in traditional designs. <BR><BR>"The oil is not as exposed and can be kept much cleaner with our new fork technology," says Mats Larsson, R&D Manager Racing Dept., at Ohlins Racing AB. "That considerably lengthens the life of the oil."<BR><BR>As yet, the new fork is only available for a few racing bikes, but Ohlins plans to apply their experience to the development of new shock absorbers for a broader market.<BR><BR>"These forks are for extreme conditions and applications, so it is hard to predict what a consumer model would look like," Mats Larsson, says. "But we might include parts of technology in a few of our new models."<BR><BR>Facts about Ohlins Racing AB:<BR>Ohlins Racing is leading the development of suspension products for the motorcycle, car, four-wheel and snowmobile market. Founded in 1976 by Kenth Ohlin and based in Sweden, the company sells its products throughout the World from offices in Stockholm and Hendersonville, NC, USA as well as a network of distributors in almost 30 countries. Since 1987, Ohlins Racing has been majority-owned by the Yamaha Motor Company. Over 95% of the company's turnover are accounted for by the export market, equally divided between original manufacturers and aftermarket sales. Ohlins concept is to offer high performance and top quality suspension products. The product range includes shock absorbers, front forks, steering dampers, front fork springs, mounting kits, special oils and greases. Close cooperation with racing teams has always been a very important part of Ohlins business. Shock absorbers from Ohlins have been dominating a number of classes in motorcycle and the car-racing scene for years. More than 80 World Championship titles have been captured with Ohlins suspension products.<BR>