Saturday, March 21, 2020

Is The Un-Dark Component Era Returning?

Zipp now offers Service course level parts in silver ano.
Silver anodized parts used to be "normal". Back when I first got into working at bicycle shops, only mountain bikes used black on components and that was frowned upon as being "uncouth" by many roadies and even by some mountain bikers themselves. Heck, silver and black were often seen as "boring" while, you know "ultraviolet stems, cranks and every other bit.....well THAT was where it was at!

Then the 90's came to a close and silver stuff was relegated to road bikes, while black overtook the look of mountain bikes. By the mid-00's, even road bikes with silver bits were rare. It was black anodization or nothing. At least it seemed that way. There were a few islands in the darkness though.

There were companies like Velo Orange and Rivendell Bicycle Works holding down the old guard silver components parts, amongst some other smaller brands. But for the most part, no- you were getting blackened everything! No silver for you! But then things started to turn. Slowly, but surely, silver started popping up. Ritchey Design brought out a line of "Classic" bits, which I jumped on to outfit my Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross" rig. Later Salsa Cycles announced that the Cowbell and Cowchipper were available in silver. And now we see roadie stalwarts Zipp offering silver bits. It makes me wonder, "Are we turning a page and going back to silver anodized componentry?"

The ol' Orange Crush rig with silver anodized Ritchey stem, seatpost, and a rare silver non-series Shimano crankset. 
Of course, wheels have been available in silver for a while, mostly thanks to Velocity USA who do a polished silver look or silver ano on their rims, and they offer silver hubs as well. Some other companies are doing silver hubs, but there are not many rim choices, really. But, it's getting to the point again where a guy or gal can switch for some bright-work instead of the same ol' boring dark matter all over their bicycles.

All this mining of silver ano makes me wonder if we aren't on the cusp of a change. I hope that we are going to see silver make a big comeback. And if we are, can we have that pearly, glowing anodization they used to put on old Campy parts, Sugino cranks, and first generation XTR? Because THAT was silver ano done right!

A guy can wish........


Cory said...

I LOVE silver and polished "pop" on bikes. 2 of my bikes are all frames/forks, black XT hubs, black rims, black stems/bars etc. The best I can do without rebuilding is colored bar tape and white lettering on things like my rims, brake levers etc. They are really kind of blah. Now that I think about it my Fargo has silver spokes but my Soma has black spokes. I even went so far as to remove my boost crank set with a cinch chain ring and put a 4 bolt crank set on just to have 4 polished chain ring bolts (in all fairness I wanted to go bigger on my chain ring and I had several 4 bolt rings on the wall so...but still hows that for anal?). Sometimes I think of having my frames powder coated just to get some color but haven't been able to pull the plug yet.....Missing my old Panasonic. That bike had lots of shine!

Skidmark said...

That silver aluminum anodizing seemed very corrosion resistant as well. Like the 26.4mm Cinelli quill stems.

Barturtle said...

Ultegra DI2 in silver would be awesome.