February 17, 2010
“FOX Racing Shox to Utilize a Slick Technology in its 2011 Mountain Bike Suspension Fork Product Line, Kashima Coat”
“Exclusive to FOX Racing Shox’s mountain bike products, the gold-colored Kashima Coat developed by the Miyaki Company of Japan offers superior durability, hardness, and less friction.”
And so says the press release. But what does it mean? Well, Fox is going to be coating its fork stanchions with a new, tough but slippery coating. The advantages of this will be to cut stiction and to protect the stanchion surface from wear. Gee Atherton and other Fox sponsored riders have been using them for a while and seem to like them.
Back to the press release:
“The Kashima Coat technology has been used for years across the motorcycle and automotive industries in suspension components and clutch and valve train assemblies because of its low-friction and ultra-wear resistance properties.
In the revolutionary Kashima Coat process, lubricating molybdenum disulfide is deposited, via electrical induction, into the billions of micropores on the surface of hard-anodized aluminum. With its debut on the international mountain bike racing circuit, the distinctive gold colored, Kashima coated stanchions maintain better lubrication characteristics, and the lightweight aluminum components treated with Kashima Coat attain a level of hardness and abrasion resistance four times tougher than standard hard-anodized aluminum.
Race Tested — Numerous Wins Tell the Tale
Throughout the 2009 mountain bike racing season, FOX Racing Shox utilized select sponsored athletes to test and race on suspension treated with Kashima Coating. “Before we started using Kashima Coat, we’d been testing and racing on electroless nickel coated upper tubes during the past two seasons,” explained FOX Racing Shox Mountain Bike Race Manager, Mark Fitzsimmons. “Although the friction properties were decent, the nickel’s durability was not. The Kashima parts we raced on maintained the low friction requirements we were after and exhibited excellent durability — a very rare combination to find at the World Cup level with its wet and muddy conditions.”
Beyond the obvious benefit of added durability, the significant decrease in friction proved to provide a tangible increase in suspension performance. Athletes who tested and raced with Kashima coated FOX Racing Shox suspension reported an improved overall consistency and feel with Kashima Coat.
“When you are racing on the World Cup level, a huge percentage of races can be won or lost in the preparation of the bike — the seemingly small details that take the bike from good to excellent,” said 2008 Downhill World Champion, Gee Atherton. “The Kashima coating made the forks so much more reactive to the small hits that I would normally feel on rough terrain. When the forks were skittering over tiny bumps they could soak up the impact much more quickly, without giving me so much feedback through the bars. That’s a huge advantage on long courses.”
FOX Racing Shox sponsored athletes collected quite a few victories aboard Kashima Coat treated suspension, including both men’s and women’s British National Downhill Championships, four World Cup wins, and a World Championship victory with Yeti/Fox rider Jared Graves in 4X. The combination of incredibly favorable tangible data and the desire by its world-class riders to be equipped with Kashima coated suspension has led FOX Racing Shox to an exclusive partnership with Miyaki for Kashima Coat.
“We’re a race-driven company,” said FOX Racing Shox Executive VP, Mario Galasso. “We are constantly looking for performance advantages that may lead to race victories. Kashima Coat is, without a doubt, one of those advantages. Since we also pride ourselves on racing exactly what we sell, we’re proud to offer this new performance advantage to our customers, through Kashima Coat.”