KASHIMA COATING – IS IT REALLY BETTER?
Bikes are our fantastic adventure machines powered by our legs and lungs as we pedal them across the planet on paved or dirt roads and trails over mountain tops, through gorgeous valleys, across vast plains, or up and down breathtaking canyons and rugged gorges. As it is with most dedicated cyclists, whether considering road, mountain, or gravel riders, we love and covet our wonder bikes. We enjoy our freedom machines so much so we are willing to spend thousands of our hard earned dollars to bling and spiff them up with the latest and greatest gear we have read about and studied online via our most trusted sources of news and updates on specific gear we enjoy owning and using to get the most from what we enjoy which is cycling.
IS IT ALL WORTH IT?
Data we can all easily access and research online regarding the effectiveness of certain gear is at our fingertips today. Try finding “KASHIMA” in Encyclopedia Britannica! Through curious and steadfast searching of the internet you will find link after link effectively proving anything you want to believe. Indeed, you can convince yourself of anything if you read enough about a certain topic. But, is it or will it actually be true? And, if it is true, how can it be proven to be so? If one graph says the data proves a rider can feel absolute differences in, let’s say…FOX Performance versus FOX Factory with Kashima Coat, is it true? Do we possess the ability to outright and automatically know and can we feel a certain smoothness, plushness, and frictionless stroke of a suspension fork’s travel? Is it discernable enough to justify paying for the difference in the more expensive Kashima Coat versus FOX’s Performance series or forks with their hard anodized black surface.
Here at Cycle Limited, as is with our customers, we care about our Kashima Coat and how smooth, or unblemished our stanchions are as that affects the overall retained value of our used bikes. Can badly gouged and scratched fork stanchions and rear shock shafts be repaired to function as they did when they were new? Yes and no: it depends on the depth of the scratch or gouge.
The proven science and data to back it up from Miyaki Co. of Japan, also touted by FOX in press releases over the years: “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.”
“Four times tougher” than FOX’s “non-Kashima” standard, hard-anodized (black surface) Performance line of suspension components is a big deal and is more than noteworthy. This begs the all important question to ask: “Is it better and can you feel a difference?” If so, you are better than me and are much more attuned to this perception than I am and many of the folks with which I discuss such matters! More power to you!! Now, don’t misconstrue my intent: I do gladly appreciate less stiction as well as a harder, smoother surface for my mountain bike fork seals and their upper legs to slide on whilst suspending me on my bike when pedaling over rocky, rooty, rugged terrain on my bike!
If I closed my eyes and rode both different versions of stanchions or shock shafts, I would not feel any noticeable difference between a properly tuned modern Kashima, or non-Kashima, suspension fork or rear shock on a current mountain bike. It could be that my built-in autopilot controller in my brainstem doesn’t activate my hydrodynamic slip detector…but I digress. Lubricating molybdenum disulfide is astoundingly incredible with its electrical induction properties and filling the billions or micro-pores on the surfaces of hard-anodized aluminum tubes or stanchions. That’s what I read online and heard in a few videos I watched, anyway. It looks cool! It is fancy and certainly brings the bling factor out when otherwise hidden and compared to FOX Performance black hard-anodized stanchions.
KUAT Racks has incorporated Kashima Coat to their new 2022 Piston Pro X hitch-mounted rack. Some high-end motorsports parts are adorned in the flashy gold Kashima Coat – and it does look really nice. The hard-anodizing and dying process performed by Japan’s Miyaki Company does stand out as the top performance suspension coating used by FOX, which is now included in their new 2022 FOX 32 TC (taper cast) 40mm and 50mm suspension forks. FOX’s new 32 TC Gravel Performance Elite has the less expensive, yet still very smooth hard-anodized black coating, is also available. I wonder who will absolutely and without question be able to feel the difference between these new gravel forks from FOX on those gravel washboards while riding dirt roads like there is no tomorrow?
“BETTER LUBRICATION AND CORROSION RESISTANCE”
Why are Kashima coated stanchions chipping and flaking off the aluminum fork tubes in the first place? Is this due to improper preparation or quality control during manufacturing? Or, does Mother Nature, in fact, obliterate at her own will? Corrosion is a powerful thing and just as rust never sleeps, galvanic corrosion is a tireless little beast! Regardless, all parts wear out and especially on older used bikes that haven’t been well cared for. If your Kashima is peeling, chipping, or flaking, replace your stanchions or upgrade to a new fork since your current fork has likely been ridden beyond its ability to perform as it did when it was new. Or, bust out the tiny files and nail polish if you know precisely how to repair your flaking, or chipped, Kashima Coat.
I, for one, have shelled out big bucks for Kashima Coat on my fork stanchions and shock shafts and, likely, will again in the coming future. I’m a sucker for FOX suspension, although I also own and ride a proprietary RockShox Pike RCT3 Why? The data has proven that less friction is better than Teflon, tungsten disulfide, and graphite. Don’t believe me? Google it!