Rockshox released Ti-Nitride coating for their Boxxer platform. After a season of testing on the NORBA and World Cup circuits, the coating is made available to the public in 2002. It was a huge improvement over the previous stanchion treatment, proving to be more slippery-er, leading to higher performance and more wins under the likes of Rockwell, Pascal, Minnaar, and other old dogs. However, the treatment was expensive and soft, making it extremely susceptible to scratches and ultimately impractical for the mass market. In 2003, Rockshox reverted to the old stanchion coating.
Rockshox develops “Slipper Silver” for their team athletes, notably Sam Hill and Bryn Atkinson of Ironhorse Madcatz. The product is made available on the 2005 Boxxer World Cup, but is plagued by super-fast wear. It is removed from the line up the following year, and team stanchions remain relatively standard for the 2006 and 2007 seasons**.
Fox also experiments with a silver stanchion coating, which is different from Rockshox formula. Like the Rockshox silver stanchion, the Fox treatment was extremely slippery, and also suffered from super fast wear patterns. Stanchions are replaced multiple times throughout the year. The stanchions are ridden to victory by Sam Blenkinsop in Schladming and by Gee Atherton at the World Championships in Val di Sole. The product was never made public, and was discontinued on team bikes after 2009.
P.S. terrible number plate job in the picture of Blenki.
Rockshox develops the DLC coating, which stands for something. Seriously, I have no idea what it stands for. Maybe “Dual le Coating,” because I think it originated from SRAM’s European HQ. That would make sense. Anyway, the coating is extremely slippery and notable for it’s porous surface which allows semi-bath oil to actually soak into the surface of the stanchion. This led to an oil-slick like appearance, and lots of wins. Greg Minnaar wins some World Cups on the Blackbox coat, and Sam Hill comes back from injury to win the Championships in Mt. Sainte Anne aboard the rolling oil spill stanchions.
Between the two of them, Fox and Rockshox spent almost a decade experimenting with different stanchion coatings. The culmination of their competition is Kashima Coat, the slipperiest, most durable and most heat-resistant stanchion coating to date. Originally only available to the public as an aftermarket product, it was so popular that it is now OEM spec. It is now the standard against which all others are judged.
This steady progression came to a screeching halt when some genius in England thought he was the smartest person in the world. This random guy from pinkbike decided to take a brand new Kashima Fox 40, take off the stock stanchions, and get an old set of stanchions that he had laying around anodized black. Not a special, super durable or super slippery coating, mind you, we’re talking generic ano, like the kind you find on a handlebar or set of cranks, “Cuz it looks totally awesome, bro.”
1. Looks like a Marzocchi
2. Shitty ano=faster stanchion wear
3. Faster stanchion wear=faster bushing wear
4. Faster bushing wear=time to replace bushings, which is impossible on a modern downhill fork, meaning…
5. These stanchions eat fork lowers. Good thing you’ve got those extra white ones laying around. Don’t forget to pick up a couple extra sets of lowers at around $350 each. And that’s after you’ve dropped “200 pounds” (whatever that means) on anodizing the stanchions black in the first place. That’s right, this asshole spent money, a lot of it, to make his bike worse.
(In honor of this idiot being from England, I’m going to try some British slang here)
1. You suck (real Americans don’t know any British slang)
Way to go dude, you just got bumped down several spots on the kill list. Not because we don’t hate you, just because we’re confident that your common sense and intuition will make you long dead by the time the robot apocalypse begins. You’ll probably accidentally remove yourself from the gene pool experimenting with other things, like creating a bath-tub specific toaster oven.
*the facts in this article are not authoritative. They are my best recollection from when I was 12 years old, based on no formal research except for reading MBA cover to cover before I knew the internet existed. If I missed anything or if you have issues with anything I said, post them in the comments, or better yet, kill yourself.
**That’s right, I didn’t mention Marzocchi’s various stanchion coatings. Any company that tries to pass off this sort of product as a good idea or an innovation has unearned their right to be mentioned in this discussion of actual mountain bike technology.