Europe in general, and Italy in particular, have long been internationally regarded as a 'hot-bed' of motorcycle suspension design and engineering excellence.
The race pedigree of its suspension manufacturers needs little boosting, and the market leading suspension technologies that the demands of the track have had on the handling solutions developed there have been market defining.
One of the leading Italian manufacturers is Bitubo. Founded in 1963, the company's core expertise was vibration dampening of all kinds - from systems for oceanic platforms and naval engines, right through to the precise micro applications and sensitivities required for markets such as seismic dampers and even artificial limbs.
In 1975 the company entered the motorcycle market with a now iconic design of a pair of shock absorbers connected by two compensating rubber tubes - hence 'BiTubo' ... geddit?
By the late 1970s the company was starting to win world championships, since then having racked-up literally dozens of Italian and international race successes.
In 1992 the company introduced a first patented product, steering dampers with a Nitrogen compensating coaxial chamber; a year later it introduced its "big piston" system, the world's first front fork with a separate chamber; then 1998 saw the launch of what was considered to be the revolutionary Mono 4 Regolazoni rear shock - a concept that Bitubo says is still a suspension technology benchmark.
Since then, Bitubo has patented an innovative 'FPS' hydraulic system for fork cartridges (said to be the first with hydraulic spring preload) and two years ago introduced what is said to have been the first semi-active electroereological system for suspension (ER) and its first adaptive suspension (DS) system.
These days, their range includes more than 400 models available for super bikes, touring bikes and scooters, and in November 2013 Managing Director Gianni Mardollo unveiled their entry into the Harley-Davidson aftermarket and cruiser twin rear shocks market. The range includes replacement and upgrade fitments for XL 883 and 1200 Sportsters, V-Rods, tourers, Softails and Dynas.
Available with or without chrome covers, and in a choice of spring colors, the line was picked up very quickly by German distributor W&W Cycles and includes upside down as well as conventional compression shocks.
Highly adjustable with tuned and matched internal hydraulics and linear or progressive springs according to the vehicle application, Bitubo say their shock absorbers are easily serviced with parts kits available for each fitment.