WATSONVILLE, CA (BRAIN)—Fox Racing Shox has made an exclusive arrangement with the Miyaki Company of Japan to use its Kashima Coat for mountain bike suspension components. Kashima Coat will make its consumer debut in Fox Racing Shox’s 2011 model year aftermarket fork line.
Fox Racing Shox marketing manager Elayna Caldwell said the agreement gives Fox the exclusive ability to market mountain bike suspension products using Miyaki Kashima Coat branding. Caldwell said Fox does not currently use Kashima Coat for its motocross or ATV products, and if it did, it would not be an exclusive agreement as it is commonly used in those markets in suspension components and clutch and valve train assemblies because of its low-friction and ultra-wear resistance properties.
In the Kashima Coat process, lubricating molybdenum disulfide is deposited, via electrical induction, into the billions of micropores on the surface of hard-anodized aluminum.
Throughout last season, select Fox-sponsored athletes tested and raced on the international mountain bike racing circuit on suspension treated with Kashima Coating. The distinctive gold-colored, Kashima coated stanchions maintained better lubrication characteristics, and the aluminum components treated with Kashima Coat attained a level of hardness and abrasion resistance four times tougher than standard hard-anodized aluminum.
“Before we started using Kashima Coat, we’d been testing and racing on electroless nickel coated upper tubes during the past two seasons,” said Mark Fitzsimmons, FOX Racing Shox mountain bike race manager. “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 added durability, the significant decrease in friction provided a tangible increase in suspension performance. Athletes who tested and raced with Kashima coated Fox suspension, including 2008 Downhill World Champion Gee Atherton, reported an improved overall consistency and feel.
Caldwell said although it has applications for rear shocks as well, Fox will only introduce the coating on its forks for 2011. Fox will release the specifics on which forks will receive the treatment to media at Sea Otter.