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.

Ohlins CES electronic damping circuit provides continuous automatic suspension control and could be coming to mountain bikes

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.


  1. Because racing is the pinnacle of suspension research? I’d wager over 90% of Ohlins customers don’t race. Why continue to do what you’ve always done? Why not try something new?

    • Can you name another format where suspension dynamics can tested to extremes, in a real world environment, by trained personnel that can provide direct and accurate feedback on performance? Can you think of another format where this testing is supported by trained mechanics that can make tuning changes and again, get accurate feedback from riders that know what they are talking about?
      This is in addition to the general high equipment use rates of racing teams, which allows for very good data on longevity, reliability and maintenance needs.

  2. So, the previous owner of a suspension company that did poorly, is now buying a new company, and we’re supposed to have high hopes? Ohlins being sold, so soon after several recalls, doesn’t look good.

    • Ohlins is far far far bigger than its interests in MTB. Marzocchi, outside of MTB had a sportbike/superbike fork. Not even a whole line. Pretty sure they’ll be fine. The bigger question is whether Tenneco sees the value in a subsidiary spending R&D and marketing money on the tiny-ass high end MTB suspension market.

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