50 Years of Motorcycle Suspension

In 2017 we have the rare opportunity to celebrate a combined 50 years of motorcycle suspension between Koni and Ikon. Starting in 1967, Koni B.V. in Holland, introduced a range of motorcycle shock absorbers which they made until early 2001 after which Proven Products Pty Ltd in Australia - who had been the Australian importer of Koni - signed an exclusive license agreement in late 2000 and began to make the range known as Ikon Suspension. Ikon has continued to expand and grow the range into 2017, 50 years on.

Although Koni and Proven Products/Ikon are not connected in any way today, the signed agreement between Koni and Proven Products allowed for the same designs from Koni to be used as a foundation for the new Ikon range. For that reason, the products of today and earlier years have an almost identical appearance and a level of interchangability.

Koni’s earliest catalogues and technical resources included the following statement; “after many years of experience in automotive shock absorbers, KONI started in 1967 with the production of motorcycle shock absorbers”. Koni went on to say; “from the beginning there was interest from motocrossers, road racers and normal drivers”. This has remained true over the years as the range was developed and changed over the last 50 years.

The Koni range started with a mix of specific applications and universal options for those with standard or custom motorcycles. Back in 1967 the shocks were made in what Koni called the 76 series. These shocks were adjustable, rebuildable and came with a range of linear springs. The 1970’s saw the additions of the lighter weight alloy bodied moto cross shocks which featured cooling fins and also the gas pressurised, non adjustable and non rebuildable 23 series. To compliment them was a range of linear and progressive rate springs. The progressively rated springs began to provide ride benefits not previously enjoyed. The introduction these springs was a significant change and the impact of which still echoes in today’s product.

As the 1970’s progressed a shift began away from twin shock rear suspension to Moto Cross and road bikes with single shock absorbers. Furthermore, some original equipment shock absorbers on twin shock models had started to include damping adjustability. This was an external adjustment which could be utilised while the shocks were on the motorcycle. In the early 1980’s Koni introduced the 7610 series which continued to use the range of progressive rate springs and added 4 position external rebound adjustment. This saw a reduction of the 76 range with a small range of shocks made especially for trials riding left and the discontinuation of the 23 series. From then on Koni’s focus was road bikes.

Later Koni introduced a limited range of mono shocks. These 3014 series shocks had aluminium bodies with externally adjustable rebound, screw thread pre-load and progressive rate springs. The focus primarily being the BMW’s of the 1980’s and early 1990s. This mostly remained the case except for a short run of a series knows as 2615 which included mono shock applications for some other Japanese bikes. By this time the motorcycle market place was dominated by mono shock bikes with only a few makes and models such as Harley Davidsion and Moto Guzzi having twin shocks.

The dawn of the Ikon brand in 2000-2001 saw the range limited to 7610 series shocks at first as the classic retro market emerged and a new lease of life for twin shock suspensions both as new models and in restoring bikes of yesteryear. The range began to grow and expand with the creation of a new line of modern style aluminium bodied shocks, the 7614 series. Some 76 series part numbers were introduced too. These additions allowed Ikon to address not just the road bike market but also what today is the vintage off road and moto cross market.

The next phase of suspension development for Ikon included adding a range of fork springs which was achieved quickly in collaboration with a mix of other European and Australian partners. An extensive range of upgraded progressive rate fork springs is now available and continues to grow.

Ikon could not ignore the mono shock market for long. Today the range of 3610 mono shocks exceed 100 applications and features rebuildability, 4 position rebound adjustment, progressive rate springs and screw thread pre-load. On some applications OEM remote pre-load adjusters can be retro fitted.

The final additions to the Ikon range have been a range of mono tube aluminium bodied shocks, 3214 series, for road and off road applications and a line of non-adjustable Basix shocks aimed at the budget conscious.

Ikon and its dealers around the world like to take as personal approach as possible to product selection and customisation whatever the riding need. Ikon encourages riders, racers and builders to interact with them to arrive at the best Ikon solution for any given need. Ikon Suspension now embarks on the next 50 years of motorcycle suspension with optimism and enthusiasm in a market that is as diverse as it has ever been. Ikon is always eager to rise to the challenge of riding in the 21st century with its two core statements; Bike on with Ikon and, Because your ride matters.

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