Bike on with Ikon©
The Ikon Suspension Story
Ikon Suspension's parent company, Proven Products, is an Australian owned company established in 1962 in Sydney, Australia which specialises in providing shock absorbers and springs to wholesale, retail, and trade customers worldwide for cars, 4wds, motorcycles, trucks, buses, motorsport, and a variety of special applications.
Proven was established by Peter Antill and Lance Lowe as a part of what was then Peter Antill Motors. The new part of the business was set up purely to exclusively import, distribute and service Koni shock absorbers. Until 1967 it was still known as Peter Antill Motors. Prior to the Koni shock absorber importing business Peter Antill Motors had been involved in importing the first Volvo cars into Australia. This had ended when Volvo Australia was established.
Typically the business was being run as it is today by people who have long established interests in the motor industry. Peter was a well known rally driver of the 1950’s. Peter also had a trucking business, Antill Ranger. Lance had been involved the automotive industry most his working life growing up in pre-WW2 Melbourne, Bonnie Doon and Benalla in Victoria becoming a motor mechanic before the war and car and motorcycle salesman and, motorcycle racer after the war. Later he also be-came a successful motoring journalist with work appearing in leading publications of the day up to 1978 and having a 15 minute ABC radio programme - Overdrive - at 9:00am Sunday mornings for several years where motor cars and motorcycles were reported on. Occasionally the odd aircraft or boat would show up for variety.
Peter never worked in the business with the day to day running being left to Lance and Naomi Lowe. As the business grew other staff were added and another shock absorber business was acquired (3 Jays). 3 Jays were involved with selling Spax, Monroe, Girling and Armstrong shock ab-sobers. During the 1970’s Proven was selling many brands of shock absorber, a shock absorber supermarket in a way. Only some of the brands from that time still exist today.
Initially the business was started in the Guildford home of the Lowe family. The present managing director, Geoff Lowe, inevitably grew up around cars, motorcycles and Koni shock absorbers. Geoff ultimately began to work in the business in the late 1970’s. Geoff studied business and mechanical subjects also undergoing specialised training at the Koni factory starting in the early 1980’s. Today he and his wife Louise run the business.
In the early days shock absorbers as they were imported were stored in the Guildford house and its garage. Eventually an extension was made to the house to become a more workable office area and accommodate the staff now needed. An opportunity arose to purchase a double shop front on Guildford road and this was done. Customer reception and offices were established in the shop areas while stock was stored in the rooms of what had been the accommodation areas behind the 2 shop fronts. The garage at the rear served as the workshop where Koni shock absorbers were developed, repaired and modified. The business moved from there a few years later in 1973 to 35-37 Cann Street Guildford. This premises had been a Smiths jeans factory and now was converted into offices, warehouse and workshop. This building served well until Koni decided to close it’s production of motorcycle shock absorbers (which it began in 1967) in 2000. This decision lead to a special licence agreement being struck between Proven and Koni allowing proven to make the motorcycle shocks under its own name for the worldwide market. In many ways this lead to the need to reinvent Proven who like many other players in the market had been an importer, distributor, servicer, applications developer and motorsport suspension tuner into all that and a manufacturer.
Becoming a manufacturer presented a whole new series of challenges and opportunities which Geoff and Louise decided was well worth taking on. This was aided in no small part by the experience they have in the shock absorber business as well as a particular liking for motorcycles, some-thing Geoff has been riding and enjoying since childhood. Component suppliers were located in Australia and overseas to provide various parts needed to make shock absorbers. By mid 2001 the first Ikon shock absorbers as they would become known were taking shape. Proven had long been selling goods and services in Australia and has a diverse national customer base. The Ikon division would bring a further change in that the world was now the market place and customers had to be found around the world.
The Ikon range consists of a growing variety of shock absorbers and springs for rear suspensions and fork springs for the front end. There are also a selection of tools used for shock absorber tuning, servicing and spring changing available. Typical of the approach to all products in the Proven range being aware of personal needs at times is a key to the marketing culture. The world of motorcycling underscores this on a daily basis. As a result Ikon are often involved in making special shock and spring combinations to suit a variety of individual needs. These range from the customising of a bike to create a certain look, the load needs of differing rider sizes (height and weight) and so on. This all fits into the Ikon motto “Bike On With Ikon”.
Proven Products head office and shock absorber factory is now located in Albury, which is a rural industrial city located on the main highway between Sydney and Melbourne, these cities being Australia's largest two. Known for its automotive, metals engineering as well as agricultural focus Albury provides an ideal location for specialised suspension development and production.
Over all Proven Products and Ikon Suspension is more than just a warehouse, and more than just a factory. We have considerable experience, gained from our many years of specialising in suspension. Our factory not only has facilities and equipment for R & D, manufacture and testing those products we commonly sell but also the servicing shock absorbers of many different designs and capacities. Customising products to the needs of each individual is something we eagerly specialise in as part of our service.