How one motorbike transformed millions of bicycles
There’s a famous English saying: ‘from tiny acorns, mighty oak trees grow’. And thanks to one SKF employee, that can certainly be applied to our innovations for two-wheeled vehicles.
The story began in 2008 when one of our experts in Italy wanted to solve the noise and vibration issues he was experiencing whilst riding his motorbike. Just two years later, not only had he developed SKF fork seals for solving his issues, but he’d already started to branch out into MTBs, too.
A chance meeting with an MTB suspension specialist at the EICMA show in 2009, combined with a common relationship with the distribution partner InnTeck, led to the specialist SKF team taking their motorbike innovation into the bicycle sector.
As the team explains: “It didn’t take the suspension specialist team long to convince us to enter the MTB market. I knew we had the expertise and addressing the seal requirements of MTB manufacturers and aftermarkets with a distributor of InnTeck’s calibre and international reach onboard seemed like a good idea. Within just one year of that initial EICMA meeting, we had established our MTB seals project.”
Just over a decade on, and that initial enthusiasm has led to more than 22.5 million SKF seals being sold for cycling since supplies commenced in March 2011. Why? Because our MTB fork seal kit has been developed to provide low friction during operation and maximum ground contact to deliver the ultimate in riding feeling.
Not only are our fork seals relied upon by amateur riders, but they’re trusted by the professionals, too. More than 70% of championship cyclists now use SKF seals in their competition races, and at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, both the men’s and women’s cross-country MTB events were won on bikes equipped with SKF seals.
And all that because of one vibration problem on one man’s motorbike.