Reports out of Italy suggest that the Marzocchi brand may soon be no more, after parent company Tenneco made the decision to close the Italian firm’s Bologna factory in Zola Predosa.
The Italain outlets go on to say that motorcycle manufacturers that use Marzocchi as an OEM part have been notified that they will no longer be supplied with the suspension pieces, once the co Marzocchi’s stock of forks has been exhausted from supply.
This news would affect a bevy of brands, including BMW, Ducati, MV Agusta, TM, GasGas, Beta, and AJP.
The writing on the wall has been coming for some time for Marzocchi, as Tenneco initially wanted to close the plant in 2011, but instead through labor negotiations, laid off 50 of the company’s 170 employees.
Union efforts had been able to get Tenneco to hold-off on a decision regarding the closing of the factory until mid-2015, though it seems that time as finally come, and that decision has finally been made.
At issue is Tenneco’s desire to leave the suspension business altogether, which on the motorcycle side of things has become increasingly competitive over the years, with the advent of electronically adjustable suspension and now semi-active electronic suspension becoming the de facto standard.
Companies like Öhlins, Sachs, and to a lesser extent WP have saturated the OEM market in this regard, and likely Tenneco did not want to invest the money necessary to make Marzocchi competitive against these other more established brands.
This news would also mean Marzocchi’s departure from the mountain bike suspension arena as well, though we can only speculate on the reasons why in that market segment.
A&R has reached out to several manufacturers to see how this affects their motorcycle production and equipment standards. More new as we get it.