Follow us :

Visit: IPONE , motorcycle oil made in France


If you think that IPONE is this small Japanese brand specializing in 2-stroke oil, it's time to update your motorcycle culture... And that's good, because I went there to talk to you with full knowledge of one of the main players in motorcycle lubricants!

It's a stone's throw from Marseille, and not on the island of the rising sun, that I have an appointment this morning. IPONE , the manufacturer of lubricants dedicated to motorcycles, has been established there since its beginnings, a little over thirty years ago. Founded in 1985 by Christian Roberty, a well-known jack-of-all-trades in the small world of motorcycles, the brand in a certain way wishes to ride with this Japanese name on the wave of success which carried Japanese motorcycle manufacturers at the time. . And it works ! The brand quickly made a breakthrough with 2-strokes, 50 cm³ and off-road in the lead. Do you remember that strawberry smell that the little neighbor's scooter left in its wake? You owe this unforgettable fragrance to IPONE . The range has long expanded, and covers all the needs of motorcyclists, whatever their preferred area: sporty, off-road, road, big twins, 2-stroke or 4-stroke...

Drums of Ipone oil awaiting delivery

Drums of Ipone oil awaiting delivery

Yamaha's BOOST shot

One of the storage tanks

One of the storage tanks

The brand is growing quickly, as Frédéric Olivier, its friendly director, explains to me. A growth that it owes in particular to the partnership it has established with Yamaha. By becoming the official lubricant of the tuning fork brand from 2003, it gained exceptional visibility. But that was before Yamalube, Yamaha's own brand of oil, was born... In any case, IPONE is now known, well beyond the borders of France, since its Products are exported to no less than fifty countries, which represent half of its outlets. Since we tell you that France has its commercial successes in motorcycles! Moreover, if we look at the pure statistics, we realize that the big oil groups only occupy small places in this market.

Passion, again and again

I ask Frédéric Olivier what differentiates IPONE from its competitors. He explains to me that it is undoubtedly the passion: “ IPONE has a lot of motorcycle riders, a passion that we sometimes share directly with IPONE customers on events like the Trèfle Lozérien (Frédéric is an enduro enthusiast, Editor’s note ). As far as I am concerned, I believe that our real mission is not to sell motorcycle oil, it is rather to get people practicing. And since we are the first users of our products, we are constantly seeking to optimize them so that they meet the use that motorcyclists will make of them. » You have undoubtedly already noticed, among the pros too, the passion for motorcycling is one of the main motivations for getting up in the morning, and at IPONE , we are no exception to the rule!

The pipe network serves the different filling zones

The pipe network serves the different filling zones

On site, it's full!

The automated filling line

The automated filling line

Let's get down to business. I'm Ariel Walker, Operations Manager, leading me around the site to take a look at the facilities. All packaging operations are carried out on site: the oils, stored in tanks lined up outside the building, circulate in an impressive network of duly labeled pipes, which take them to the packaging areas. On the one hand, the filling of the famous sheet metal drums bearing the IPONE logo dedicated to professionals, rather basic – a valve, an operator who fills up. On the other, an elaborate chain of “bottling” oils intended for motorcyclists who themselves level up their beloved machine. Here, everything is automated: filling, sealing, labeling. A well-oiled machine! (sorry, I couldn't resist) The four, two and one liter cans (for extra or 2-strokes) are then packaged, and stored if they are not directly shipped.

Engine oil, IPONE ’s core business

And what about manufacturing? Ariel explains to me that the formulas are developed hand in hand with the chemist, so that the products exceed the standards in force in the field (API and Jaso – I will come back to this in a future article!) A result that is all the more difficult to achieve that the performance of the oil must be stable over time, which is not an easy task. When, after numerous back and forths, the product is deemed satisfactory by both parties, internal tests begin. It is in this context that, for example, the final formula of the 100% synthetic Katana with Ester was chosen: the soft box effect appealed to the company's bikers and the various testers (individuals and professionals) to whom the brand appealed regularly before its marketing! In short, we are far from “generic” lubricants on which all that remains is to affix the label.

The packaging area, the heart of the factory

The renewal of the IPONE range

In order to achieve higher standards, the 140 oil references were reviewed last year. . It all starts with good documentation. If you pay attention to IPONE labels, you will see that readability takes precedence over marketing visuals. The manufacturer's goal: that you know at a glance what use and standard your oil meets. This last point is in fact the only valid comparison criterion between competing products. However, certain new products have a very perceptible impact on the pilot experience, like the Katana mentioned above, which softens the gear selection. When oil takes an active part in the pleasure of riding!

Advertising for CARELINE by IPONE featuring Tom Pagès

Advertising for CARELINE by IPONE featuring Tom Pagès

Products developed and tested in-house

But the latest novelty is the “CARELINE”, the line of motorcycle maintenance products, the new version of which has just appeared on our pages. Contents and containers have been reviewed to improve efficiency and ease of use. All IPONE bikers were involved in the development tests. Ariel takes as an example the new chain spray, a flagship product in this niche: it took numerous tests to develop a grease offering better resistance over time ( IPONE announces 800 km!) and for this, after tests on a home-made bench, it had to be rolled. But the work also concerned the search for a spray wide enough to apply the lubricant well to the links and simultaneously precise enough not to need to hide the rim with cardboard, thanks to the new innovative and practical diffuser... I have was able to test the result, and I objectively testify, I did not cover the meeting room table with chain grease! Mission accomplished 😉

Johann Zarco, IPONE muse who shines again this year in Moto2

Johann Zarco, IPONE muse who shines again this year in Moto2

Partnerships, a source of product improvement

Frédéric Olivier, Director of IPONE : “Our real mission is not to sell motorcycle oil, it is rather to get people practicing”

Frédéric Olivier, Director of IPONE : “Our real mission is not to sell motorcycle oil, it is rather to get people practicing”

The internal team is not the only one to express its impressions on lubricants and associated products. Other experts in their own way bring their experience back to the brand: the mechanics of the drivers, teams and other events they sponsor, like the mechanics of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. These technicians who also work on GP have a lot of perspective and a very good feeling about what can be improved on the products supplied by IPONE . In other words, the oil you fill your crankcase with would not be the same without MotoGP ! Juliette, involved in these partnerships, explains to me that there are many of them doing the same: for example the Team Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team of Dylan Ferrandis in MXGP, the AJO team of Johann Zarco (also sponsored by Furygan ), the Team 2B by Greg Aranda… Without forgetting all the individuals supported by the brand.

IPONE , success made simple

Who would have thought it: it's difficult to do more "local" than IPONE when it comes to maintaining your motorcycle - even the cans and labels come from the region. And yet, thanks to the quality of its products and the investment of its team, the brand shines on an international scale. This great success deserves all the more tribute as the company has managed to maintain a human dimension, and simplicity is always essential. In short, a biker box at its most beautiful!

Share this article

Loic

Editor and tester for Motoblouz , I am an unconditional fan of roads with bends. For me, the motorcycle is a means of escape as well as a means of transport.

2 comments

Add yours
    • Loic April 21, 2016 at 5:14 p.m. Answer

      Hello Jean-Marc,

      Ipone uses a local chemist to make its oils – but I don't know who, and I suppose it's a trade secret. The specifications for each oil are developed by Ipone , which has in-house technical experts. The advantage of subcontracting manufacturing is that it allows you to find the best formulas and the best high-tech processes, without having to amortize a heavy installation over time, which limits innovation.

      Hope to have answered your question!
      Loic

Add a new comment