Interesting news today on the business front of the powersports industry, as Tenneco Inc. announced its intention to purchase Öhlins Racing A.B. for $160 million.
The move would see Tenneco own a majority stake in Öhlins, while a minority position in the company would remain with founder and namesake Kenth Öhlin.
The move is an interesting one since Tenneco has been in the suspension business before, owning the Marzocchi suspension brand.
One of the best streetfighters that money can buy is set to get even better for next year, as the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory is tipped to get semi-active suspension from Öhlins for 2019.
The announcement is expected to occur at the INTERMOT show next week in Germany, according to the sleuths at GPone.
If true, the move is a strong update from Aprilia, as it helps the Italian brand keep the Tuono V4 1100 at the pointy end of the spectrum, especially from its closest competitor, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R.
It has been a busy month since our inaugural edition of “What We’re Reading” column, so there is plenty to catch-up on reading-wise. Again, our reading list spans stories that go between the motorcycle industry and also non-endemic media outlets.
This edition focuses heavily on the racing world, and in it we get a glimpse into the world of the MotoGP Championship, from the riders’ perspective. We also see what’s happening in the automotive industry, as well as the media landscape as a whole.
Many of our stories can be brought back to the motorcycle industry, as our industry faces analogous problems to other sectors. Of course, some of the pieces made our list simply because I thought they were interesting and thought-provoking.
Part clearinghouse for stories that we will never get our full attention, and part book club for our loyal readers who are doing their best to survive the work day, say hello to the next installment of the “What We’re Reading” column series.
The Kawasaki Z900 is Team Green’s hot bike for the 2018 model year, as the platform is powering the new Kawasaki Z900RS and Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe motorcycles. Owners of the original Z900 should take note though, as Kawasaki has issued a recall on the machine, which affects 2,383 units.
The recall stems from an issue with the rear shock, where the tie-rod frame mounting holes can become elongated if the rear shock bottoms out. Since this can adversely affect how the rear shock subsequently functions, a recall has been issued.
At the beginning of this month, Ducati posted a promo video for its new Panigale V4 superbike. The video shows the new machine testing in a wind tunnel, touting the tagline that the motorcycle was “shaped by the wind.”
Surely this access to a high-speed wind tunnel for development purposes is the byproduct and one of the benefits of Ducati being part of the Volkswagen Group.
Though, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has all but made wind tunnels obsolete, making such things more of a show of engineering, and thus marketing. We digress.
What is of note though in this video, however, beyond the interesting glimpses of Ducati’s physical fluidic analysis, is that it is a glimpse at one of the Panigale V4’s very early designs.
Water-cooled BMW R1200GS owners will soon be getting a call from their local dealership, as the popular adventure-touring machine is getting a worldwide service bulletin that affects models made between November 2013 and June 2017.
The service bulletin concerns the fixed fork tubes on the BMW R1200GS and BMW R1200 GS Adventure models, which can suffer damage from high stress incidents (going over an obstacle, riding through a pothole, etc), and subsequently fail.
By our math, this service bulletin affects over 150,000 motorcycles, making it a massive global undertaking for the German motorcycle brand, for its flagship model.
BMW Motorrad is recalling a combined 21 units of its 2017 BMW S1000R and 2016-2017 BMW S1000RR motorcycles because of a rear suspension bolt that may become loose. According to BMW’s NHTSA filings, more specifically the recall affects one S1000R unit and twenty S1000RR units.
The bolt is part of what BMW calls the rear suspension deflection lever, and when it loosens it may adversely affect the handling of the motorcycle.
Kawasaki’s pocket-sized motorcycle, the Kawasaki Z125 Pro, is getting a recall for a faulty shock absorber, which according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), may leak oil and lose functionality.
Since the loss of oil from the shock absorber can change the handling characteristics of the motorcycle, which in turn could lead to a crash, Kawasaki is recalling 1,282 units of the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
Attention KTM 1290 Super Adventure owners, KTM North America is recalling 1,238 units of the adventure-touring machine for a faulty rear shock.
According to a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rear shock on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure may leak oil from the rebound damping plug, which could result in a loss of shock function.
Since the loss of function from the rear shock can affect the handling of the motorcycle, which could result in a crash, a recall was issued with NHTSA.
Suspension brand Marzocchi has been saved from liquidation, as Tenneco is set to sell the Italian company to VRM – an Italian automotive company from the Bologna province of Zola Predosa.
Last year, Marzocchi seemed destined for the chopping block, as Tenneco seemed set on shutting down the business, and its 70 employees, rather than selling the company.
However with intervention from the local government in Bologna, and its strong labor unions, Marzocchi has been seemingly saved before the new year.
It seems any efforts to save Marzocchi have been squashed, as the suspension company’s owners, Tenneco Inc., intend to cease Marzocchi’s world operations and transfer its motorcycle and bicycle business for clients to new providers.
The news not only affects a number of motorcycle manufacturers, but also 127 employees at Marzocchi’s Bologna-based factory, and another 11 employees in North America and Taiwan.
Tenneco announced its intent to shutdown Marzocchi back in July, though the news has been slow to permeate the motorcycle industry.