SKF has developed a motorcycle fork seal that utilises a specially formulated compound material to reduce sliding friction and stick-slip.
SKF has won a contract to supply ZF Sachs Italy with 140,000 oil and wiper seals each year for the forks of some of the world's top motorcycles. This agreement sees SKF strengthening its position still further in the market of fork sealing for high-performance bikes.
With extensive knowledge and experience in compound materials for automotive shock absorber applications, SKF developed a new material to meet the specific requirements of ZF Sachs. This compound enables the seals to provide long-lasting self-lubrication during operation. Perhaps most importantly, the seals eliminate stick-slip effects to enable exceptional oil retention and prevent contamination from dirt and dust. Furthermore, laboratory tests proved that the SKF seals could reduce friction by more than 20 per cent in comparison to competing products.
Dan Reed, President of SKF Sealing Solutions, says: "We worked closely with ZF Sachs Italy to develop these solutions for their new motorcycle front suspension applications and the project has been a true success. Our engineering knowledge in sealing materials and fast response times gives us the competitive edge needed to support our customers' needs and demands."
In addition, the use of the SKF seals is also enabling ZF Sachs and its customers, including many high-end motorcycle manufacturers, to add real value to their products in terms of end user satisfaction. As the rider is in direct connection with the front suspension system through the handlebar, the smoothness of the fork movement is highly perceptible. In particular, riders experienced improved smoothness that resulted in more accurate and comfortable riding during field tests with the SKF seals.
Piero Vicendone, Managing Director of ZF Sachs Italia SpA, comments: "SKF's capabilities to engineer customised high-quality products in such a fast, responsive way is truly impressive. Our co-operation with SKF has resulted in a significant increase in customer satisfaction throughout our range of applications."