In a surprise announcement, Tenneco, Inc., has reached an agreement to purchase a majority share in Ohlins Racing AB. According to the press release, Ohlins will become a subsidiary of Tenneco.
Ohlins was started in 1976 by Kenth Ohlin with a now legendary motocross shock, and the brand remains heavily immersed in two-wheeled motorsports. Tenneco is the former owner of Marzocchi, which sold to Fox in 2015.
Our contact at Ohlins’ US headquarters told us “…everything will carry on as it has been. Racing is still our company’s main focus, and Tenneco will not be interfering in that. They see a lot of value from the R&D side of racing, which is reassuring to hear. From the (mountain bike) side, it will just mean more resources and large scale manufacturing knowledge that we can use.”
Which sounds encouraging, as does the lack of plans for their HQ. For now, there are no plans to move or change their North American headquarters located near Asheville, NC.
As for products, that’s where speculation comes into play. Tenneco is one of the world’s largest OEM manufacturers of suspension parts and technology. And Öhlins has some interesting tech, like a Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CES) that requires no external ECU to function…all of the electronics are packaged inside the damper. For mountain bikers, that could mean automatic mode selection or damping control without needing a big power supply or external control box. Tenneco is the official licensed manufacturer for CES, soooo…
Tenneco’s Dual Mode Damper could also be interesting, allowing suspension mode switches with a small electronic button rather than a cable- or hydraulic-actuated lever. Fox has their iCTD and Live Valve, so this could be Ohlins’ way to level the playing field.