Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ka$shima or no Ka$shima

When I purchased my 2014 Trek Fuel EX7 two and a half years ago, it was my jump back into mountain biking after a 10+ year hiatus.  The Fuel came with both fork and shock Fox suspension with the standard anodizing.  Coming from a Cannondale Super V 1000 that had a spring for suspension this was a huge step up in technology.  Over the next year as I began to ride harder I became distressed at the constant excessive sucking sound on rebound that came from the fork.  The fork was pulled and sent back to Fox.  When it returned with no issues found but still made the sucking noise on the rebound I started thinking about making the jump to Rockshok.  The problem I had was spending $500+ on a new suspension fork and not being able to test drive it. After thinking about the purchase for a while I found that Fox offered a Kashima coated stanchion upgrade for my fork for $255.  Do I spend $500 on a fork that I have no idea how it will handle or spend roughly half and upgrade what I have and be stuck with the suction sound but have better response to bumps?   I decided to go the Kashima coat stanchion upgrade.  I had my LBS perform the install and when I got my bike back there was a significant difference in the responsiveness of the fork and the sucking sound was all but gone.  There is just a slight sucking sound now, which is to be expected with the oils flowing through the valves, but again significantly quieter.  This experience helped me decide to upgrade the shock to a Kashima version Fox shock.  I installed the shock along with a RWC needle bearing upgrade to replace the TPU bushing on the lower part of the shock. ( I adjusted the pressure for sag while sitting on the bike and the next day took the bike out for a ride.  The bike takes small and big hits buttery smooth and is so nice to ride now that it is much quieter.  I love when my bikes run smooth and quiet.

Now you may be asking why the $ in the title?  A Kashima coat fork/shock will add $200-$400 to the price tag.  This is one of the reasons you don’t see many bikes come stock with the Kashima coated suspension.  The Kashima coat is also Fox’s answer to increasing the longevity of their components.  It is safe to say that Fox bike suspension is more susceptible to wear than some of their competitors and their answer is the Kashima Coat.  It is very durable and significantly slicker than standard anodizing which gives it that butter smooth feel.  I have been hearing in the grape vine that we might be seeing Fox suspension come in black anodizing next year.  I have not heard what the change is meant for and will be interesting to see if anything else has changed.

So to Kashima or not to Kashima?  This question seems to be up there with Coke or Pepsi?  In my scenario, it was one of the best upgrades I made to my bike and have no problems recommending it to others.  Incase you are wondering, I am a Coke guy ;)

Ride on!



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