Massive drops through clouds of desert dust dictate the equipment standards. For high-performance bicycle shock absorbers there is just no room for failing seals.
Extreme cyclists ride their bikes off vertical rock faces, do cartwheels while flying through the air and perform tricks while careering down craggy rocks. The bikes’ shock absorbers protect the riders as they take unimaginable risks on the most difficult of terrains, allowing them to land safely. Within the shock absorbers, the sealing system is the most critical component. Seal failure is not an option.
Trelleborg supplies sealing systems to HB Performance, a leading manufacturer of front forks and shock absorbers for high-performance cycles under the Manitou brand.
“A precision application such as this requires precision seals,” says Kevin Lai, General Manager of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions in Taiwan. “It’s not just one seal but a complex combination of sealing profiles and materials that ensures that the required friction and damping is achieved along with leak tightness.”
Trelleborg is one of the few sealing companies in Taiwan to offer the advanced Finite Element Analysis (FEA) necessary to calculate the different pressures within the shock absorber application.
“Taiwanese companies are very innovative and want their products to go rapidly to market,” says Lai. “FEA is a key tool in facilitating this, as it helps to significantly reduce development time. There is really no other way to easily measure the pressures created in a component such as a shock absorber.”
“By changing seal profiles and compounds, we balance the system to meet the customer’s requirements and optimize component performance,” Lai explains.
Kendrew Sua, General Manager of HB Performance Asia, comments: “HB Performance evaluated many sealing suppliers and found that Trelleborg Sealing Solutions was the right sealing supplier to work with.
“Trelleborg is superior in logistics, quality and products,” he continues. “It does an excellent engineering job, like its FEA service. HB Performance is looking forward to a long term partnership.”
Trelleborg’s work with HB Performance is now continuous.
“The cycle market has become a bit like the motor industry,” say Lai. “The top cycle manufacturers now bring out new models each year, trying to better the performance of previous models every time. That means we’re constantly working with the engineering department of HB Performance to fine-tune the sealing system of its front forks.”