Specialist bearings and training workshop for Triumph

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Schaeffler UK is supplying specialist precision bearings and maintenance-free engine components to Triumph to help the company cut engine weight, friction, emissions and fuel consumption on its motorcycles. In addition, Schaeffler has provided a training workshop at Triumph's headquarters.

Specialist bearings and training workshop for TriumphFifteen design engineers from British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph recently attended a training workshop at its headquarters in Hinckley, Leicestershire, organised by UK bearings specialist Schaeffler (UK) Limited. The objective was to learn more about Schaeffler's comprehensive range of bearings and engine components for motorcycles and how these could help Triumph reduce friction, improve fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions on its next-generation motorcycle engines.

Schaeffler currently supplies around 31 per cent of all bearings on Triumph motorcycles and is constantly looking for ways to get involved earlier in Triumph's design process.

Peter Allen, an account manager at Schaeffler UK, who attended the workshop, comments: "We flew in our motorcycle expert from Germany and the workshop was very well received. It was the first time Triumph engineers had attended a workshop organised by Schaeffler, and Triumph has since invited Schaeffler to look at some new engine design projects, which involve bearings, tappets and other critical engine components."

As far back as 1949, Schaeffler had developed its first cage-guided needle roller bearing for high-speed shafts. Today the company continues to supply a variety of engine components and bearing systems for automotive applications, including: bearings for crankshafts and camshafts; hydraulic and mechanical chain tensioners; finger followers and bucket-type tappets in valve trains; and bearings for clutches, gearboxes, ABS control systems, propshafts, steering, suspension, drive shafts and output shafts.


Schaeffler's low-friction, high-precision FAG ball bearings (with optional integrated seal) and cylindrical roller bearings are helping motorcycle manufacturers keep noise levels and fuel consumption to a minimum. INA needle roller and cage assemblies guided on the outside diameter (crank pin cages) can be used for the connecting rod bearing supports. The dry-running characteristics are significantly improved by the use of coatings.

Piston pin ('little end') bearings keep the radial internal clearance as small as possible. INA needle roller and cage assemblies guided on the inside diameter (piston pin cages) have proved to be excellent in wear-resistant designs with extreme temperatures.

Belt Drive

Mechanical and hydraulic chain tensioners with tensioner blades and chain guides can be used to dampen the vibrations from the timing chain. This can reduce noise levels on motorcycles and increases operating life.

The camshaft can run at low friction in maintenance-free needle roller bearings or ball bearings.

In the valve train, rocker arms, finger followers and end pivot rocker arms or bucket type tappets with mechanical or hydraulic valve lash adjustment elements can ensure optimal valve performance on the engine.


For drive shafts and output shafts, motorcycle manufacturers can use FAG ball bearings with optimised load ratings and INA space-saving drawn cup cylindrical roller bearings.

Schaeffler can also supply low-noise, high-speed gear bearing supports with lightweight, split plastic cages, which increase the life of the transmission system as they minimise the risk of false brinelling.


Durable release bearings with formed rings can provide high load carrying capacity in a small design space such as in a motorcycle engine.


Low-friction FAG ball bearings and INA needle roller bearings make gear shifting much easier on motorcycles. In contrast to steel-steel or steel-aluminium bearings, these rolling bearings offer consistent, low radial internal clearance for the shift drum, as well as wear-free operation.

Chassis and Steering

Safety factors are critical on the chassis and steering system and so Schaeffler can provide ball bearings with integrated seals that are lubricated for life and offer good shock resistance and smooth operation. Their low-wear and low-friction characteristics also contribute to fuel savings. Sealed needle roller bearings are also used for special swing arm designs.

Sealed, adjustable tapered roller bearings, angular-contact ball bearings or angular needle roller bearings can be used to support axial and radial loads in the steering head. Schaeffler's ELGES plain bearings or spherical plain bearings can be used for forks and suspension struts.


INA deep drawn bearings can be used as bearing supports in the universal joints. These transmit power through the drive shaft. 'Staked retention' is an efficient method developed by Schaeffler that enables the universal joints to be mounted axially without clearance. This means excellent symmetry and a reduction in vibration and engine noise.


If a motorcycle wheel locks, an INA sensor ring can be used to trigger the ABS control system. High pitch accuracy requires manufacturing precision and the coatings on the ring protect the component from corrosion during the operating life.


Schaeffler can also provide motorcycle manufacturers with a number of bearings for other motorcycle parts, including lightweight, small drawn cup needle roller bearings with open ends for starter motors and durable needle roller bearings or ball bearings for oil pumps.

For more information on Schaeffler bearings or for a copy of the Bearing Supports and System Solutions for Motorcycles brochure, please visit

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