Factory Tour: Athena - Dirt Rider Magazine

In 1973, Gianni Mancassola founded Athena to build engine components such as OEM cylinders, aftermarket overbore cylinders and gasket kits for motorcycles and cars. The company may be founded and headquartered in Italy, but the name comes from Greek mythology. Why? Because when Mr. Mancassola opened shop he intended to take over the industry. To let everyone know he meant business he named his venture after the mythological goddess of war.Athena has indeed flourished. It now has factories in Italy, Spain, Brazil, India and in the U.S. to better get its products straight to its customers, whether that be bike manufacturers, car builders or racers looking for a displacement boost to go along with that next rebuild.The main facility still stands in Alonte, Italy, not far from the original building where the company got started. The company acquired GET, an electronics company dedicated to squeezing more from engine components, as well as acquiring data on just how many ponies are being released by different engine tunes (and rider/driver input).Athena opened most of its doors to our camera, so we could give you a peek into what goes into what goes into your bike's motor.www.athena-ad.com

This huge spool collects waste metal after metal gaskets have been punched out of stainless steel. That, or they're creating the next generation of Slinky.
Here is stainless steel gasket creation at various stages of punching. The various phases are all done in one cycle.
This is the tool Athena built to punch those metal gaskets. The thing is about the size of a car trunk...if we're talking about a car from the 1970s!
This is a smooth-finish machine. It vibrates the metal pieces in ceramic stones to smooth any burrs or casting to a perfect edge. This machine is mostly used for stamped gaskets.
Laser cutting is employed on small batches of multi-layered gaskets for a precise, clean cut. But more importantly, sparks fly when this thing gets to work.
This machine applies silicone to fiber gaskets. These are the types of gaskets you'd find in your bike's intake where heat and extremely high pressure aren't concerns, and where the silicone isn't torqued under high loads.
Athena's foundry is off-site but close by. Here a cylinder is born from liquid metal, just like the Terminator T1000. Think of that next time you need to get charged up for a tough moto.
Nobody said making power wasn't going to get messy. The spraying fluid lubricates and cools as the cylinder is bored.
This machine holds a series of acid baths to apply Athena's Motor-Nicksil (a nickel-carbide silicon) to cylinders.
This bad boy is the honing machine. It does more than just clean-up holes, it has to keep precise roughness, cross-hatching patterns, and tolerances to each bore's specification.
This is the honing machine in action.
An Athena worker laps a cylinder sleeve. That tall blue device is a cylinder sleeve gauge. It measures the cylinder's inside diameter for precise sleeve/cylinder joining.
A few steps from Athena's main facility is the GET facility where electronic products are created and programmed. I found these guys working on settings to make the 2010 RM-Z250 easier to start.
Let's face it, motocross and off-road bikes are getting more and more electronically advanced. GET is poised to stay ahead of the performance curve with its cutting-edge facility.
When they want to program really fierce power into a bike's electronics the techs wear rock 'n' roll shirts. Who's ready to try the "Jimmy Page and Robert Plant" ignition curve?