My stoptech trophies just came in. Can't wait to put them on.
My company makes aluminum flashlights with hard anodizing so I know all about it's characteristics. The aluminum oxide (anodized) finish is actually very resilient ceramic-like coating that is much harder than the aluminum allow beneath it. It's very resistant to wear and actually conducts heat better than raw aluminum alloy. It's not a paint or coating but a layer of aluminum oxided. This actually forms naturally - think of it as "aluminum rust" but never flakes off. When occurring naturally it's clear - so you normally don't notice it and would never think that the aluminum is "rusting." The annodization process is just a way to make that ceramic-like surface thicker. Unfortunately hard annodizing may stain easily from oils and grease.
my two cents