Jump to content
IT'S LIVE! Full Review 2019 Honda CRF450L!!! Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  

Suspension Coatings -What’s the Real Deal?


Stillwell Performance

You have probably cruised the pits at a National and saw the trick looking fork legs on your favorite factory rider’s bike. You might have thought they were just another “unobtanium” part that the factory spent thousands on in their quest for a #1 plate.

But you might be surprised to find out just how effective these coatings are-and how affordable they have become.

A bit of history-when coatings were first used by the factory teams, they were almost exclusively Titanium Nitride (Ti), a very hard ceramic material that is applied to the metal surfaces of the fork tubes and shock shaft via a physical vapor deposition process. This material covered the surface in a very thin film and was effective at reducing the friction created by the fork/shock moving through the suspension stroke.

The downside to this particular process was that it was very brittle, and could crack and flake off if subjected to bending or stress.

Enter DLC, or Diamond Like Carbon. This material is applied in a similar way as Titanium Nitrite, but because of it’s makeup it flexes when subjected to stress, like pounding through the rocks or when your buddy T-bones your front wheel.

DLC has a wear factor that is 300 times (!) less than steel and 10 times less that Ti. This makes it ideal for the tough environment dirt bikes face.

Having the coating applied is a straightforward process. You will need to disassemble the fork tubes and remove the fork axle lugs. Some brands have small set screws in the fork lug that need to be backed off for removal. All forks have the tube loctited to the lug, and the lug will need to be heated to remove.

The shock shaft requires disassembly from the bottom clevis. As with the fork lug, the clevis is loctited to the shaft and needs to be heated prior to removal. Once the shaft is removed, you will need to pull the rebound assembly from the shaft.

If this process sounds too complicated, contact a reputable suspension tuner to perform the work. Make sure to ask questions about the tuners experience with this procedure, as there are delicate o-rings in the fork lugs and shock shaft. Too much heat applied at the wrong time can cause big problems. Also, valving and tuning with DLC is different than standard forks/shocks. Check to see what experience the tuner has.

When DLC coatings are combined with the right spring rates and valving, you end up with world-class suspension.

It is important to note that valving & tuning can be different when using coatings. The reduction in friction results in parts that move easier, and faster. Changes in valving must take this into consideration. In general, rebound is faster with coatings as the spring force encounters less resistance. In some cases, we have even altered spring rates to take advantage of the smooth, “works” like feeling DLC gives the bike.

We have significant experience with DLC and tuning for maximum performance. Give us a call at the shop with your questions, we will be happy to talk about your specifics.

Thanks, and keep it pinned!

Alan Stillwell

Stillwell Performance

Sign in to follow this  


User Feedback

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



Guest
This is now closed for further comments

  • Similar Content

    • By jake gu
      Today we’re going to be talking a little bit about automotive suspensions and how they work to smoothen the ride of your car. There are mainly three purposes of the automotive suspension system. First, they support the  weight of the vehicle. Second, they maintain accurate tire contact with the ground. And third, they absorb any shock that you get through the road when you hit a bump.
      Most modern vehicles come with an independent front suspension. Which means if one wheel hits a bump it does not disturb the other wheel. Nowadays, people use Coil Spring to support the majority of weight in the car. As it has a really good characteristics for absorbing any bumps as you go up and down on the road.
      However Springs aren’t very good at dissipating that energy. In fact that’s why you have the shock absorber. Which is there to smoothen out the ride and make sure the tire maintains contact with the road.
      In modern passenger vehicles the two most popular suspensions are McPherson strut and double wishbone style of suspension. The main advantage of the McPherson strut suspension is that it’s really cheap and simple that’s why a lot of manufacturers are moving towards this design. The double wishbone design allows the wheel to stay perpendicular to the body as it navigates a corner or as it goes over a bump. And that maintains good tire contact patch no matter where the wheel is situated. Another advantage of this design is that it can be made adjustable where you can control the position of upper control arms ball Joints.
      Click to Know More About Ball Joints and other Suspension Components
    • By jbranford
      I was hoping someone could share the stock shim stacks for the forks on a kxf250 2012. The rebound valve nut fell off!
    • By Goon Rides
      Hey guys, I recently sold my 2001 YZ 125, and bought multiple YZ's... a 1998, a 2001, and a 2002. I rode all 3 and I know for a fact the 1998 YZ is the most quick. When you throttle it, it will go. The 2001 YZ 125 is average. Lastly, the 2002 is really fast (fastest YZ 125 I've ever ridden), but has no compression. It's weird that it has no compression, yet it's the fastest. I'm not sure what the PO's did with the carb or piston on the 1998 and 2002. I am selling the 1998 and the 2001, but keeping the 2002 YZ 125 since it has the updated plastics and stuff. Anyways, the suspension on the bikes are all garbage, and since I'm selling two, I don't want to fix it. But for my bike, how can I fix it? It is extremely bouncy, and when I go over a small hole, I literately jump 1 foot out of my seat and land really hard. If I harden the shocks, it will have no rebound and will also throw me off. What should I do? Also, shouldn't I set it up to my weight? Do I set the sag or does it need to get set up by a company like Pro Circuit? I would probably leave the front forks the way it is, unless it's required. Let me know, thanks.
    • By Bryan Bosch
      World's #1 selling Yamaha lowering link with a grease zerk! YamaLink guarantees every YZ WR and TTR lowering link bearing will last longer than you own the bike or we'll replace them for FREE.
×