Competition improves the breed they say. Wise words, but at Öhlins, competition created the breed. Ohlins are a company that has been clearly focused since day one, with a singular purpose: To win races. From Kenth Öhlins’ first simple design back in 1976, through to the computer designed and tested masterpieces that we now create, every Öhlins unit is designed to give you total control, even on the very edge of the performance envelope. As the engineers say ‘The ground gives better traction than air.’ so every Öhlins design has one clear remit: to keep the car, bike, ATV or snowmobile maximizing traction, cornering speed and control! That is how you win races.
Ohlins enjoy two-way communication with all of the teams they support. Kenth Öhlin made a clear decision many years ago, that we would never give any product away free to teams in sponsorship. Not one thing. So, every team that you see winning on Öhlins is doing so through choice, not obligation. The fact that so many teams choose to decline free product to pay for ours perhaps tells you what you need to know about the quality and ability of Öhlins race suspension products.
Over 200 World Titles have been achieved on Öhlins suspension, and thousands of podiums. Every discipline from Touring cars, through to the Indy 500. From the WRC through to World Superbikes. In every instance the factory works closely with the team’s technical division in a two-way flow of information that allows us both to analyze data and evaluate performance. This is then poured back into the design and creation of new products as well as the continual improvement of existing lines. Winning races has taught a lot, and these lessons are directly transferred into our aftermarket programmes where the real enthusiasts can benefit from the very best in forks, steering dampers or suspension.
Motorsport means so much to Ohlins. There are over 30 employees solely dedicated to high-end racing support and service. This team regularly briefs the designers on their results ‘in the field’ to ensure that every Öhlins customer, whether they’re a Factory Le Mans team or a single, discerning enthusiast gets the very best performance from their machine.
Ohlins test everything – and then test again. But data can only tell you so much. At Öhlins, it has always been as much about ‘feel’ as it has been about the numbers. If it feels ‘right’ to the driver or rider, then that is even more important than the dry statistics. We’re drivers too, and once you have driven on the product, you will feel the difference.