Well, I agree, the title I selected is not entirely accurate. EXT is not ready to disrupt the mountain bike suspension – it already is. The boutique Italian suspension maker who can see its tumpers all over the elite motorsport racing world has been slowly shaking things up for us bike nerds for years now. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to ride goods, you know exactly why the small manufacturer holds meetings with the world’s largest, most influential mountain bike companies to discuss OE spec deals. These days everyone calls EXT. A few years ago, no one had heard of the EXT, and now it can be hard to find a product manager who has not started testing bikes with their tampers.
EXT’s Air-Spring Era Fork was released a year and a half ago, indicating that they could be doubled in the mountain bike world and become a real threat to the big players in the top build. Just like when I first drove the Storia V1 Shock in 2014, the era felt like I had never ridden it before. Its ability to feel silk and support at the same time (sacred grail of suspension feeling) is simply incomparable. No joke, I feel like I manage my Era fork terrain better than the bigger, Hankin forks on my 2022 Husqvarna dirt bike.
They make good things, and this is what I mean.
Although coil-spring shocks are a ton more marketable than they were a few years ago, you really can’t splash until you deliver an air shock. I remember talking to Franco Fraton, EXT’s technical director in 2014, when he invited me to see his company’s growing mountain bike operation outside of Vicenza, Italy, and said something about that effect. Create a fork and wind shock, you can disrupt the market. But it is easier said than done. Others have tried and failed to enter the market, which is often dominated by two brands, so I had a reasonable doubt that Franco and his team could actually succeed where many have failed.
But the team learned everything they could about the mountain bike market, began to adapt their current product to suit the needs of the riders, and immediately began working on producing a fork and air shock. And not only do they release the best versions of the Fox or RockShox suspension, they introduce first-market technologies developed over forty years in on- and off-road racing, and produce and test with the highest possible quality.
Now, here at Sea Otter 2022, EXT shows the Aira wind shock closest to its product. Now, I’m not even talking about it before the products come out. I really hate spy shot culture. But, Aria is no longer a rumor or an early role model. Get this thing. It may not be until later this year, but it is real. And I’m so excited to have it now.
Area, based on e-story, with the same damper architecture and features. It features the same high-speed and low-speed compression and rebound circuits, as well as a non-permanent lockout, adjustable hydraulic bottom-out control and all the other rod items you can not see. Of course Feel. Also, it germinates in the air instead of steel. However, the EXT was not satisfied with filling its coil shocks “simply” with air, they wanted to create a scalable better air vent, so they took the dual positive air concept they had developed for the Era fork and converted it to very small air. Spring in the area. This allows the volume spacers to adjust to a large-scale slope, avoiding shock to confuse. I absolutely love this feature in the era, but I think it would be even more awesome for the shock, where many riders would not confuse their air spring curve because it was so painful. Strictly speaking, it is generally very easy, but the shock pump is very easy to use.
In addition, the EXT’s two positive air chambers are more than just an alternative to volume spacers. Volume spacers reduce the size of a room, so they affect the feel of the entire travel range. When you add volume spacers to the Fox 36, you can only reduce the air pressure as the fork is hard to get out from below. The bottom is hard because you can make the surface smooth. The structure of the EXT is basically two springs — one for the upper part of the trip, the middle and the final stroke. So, you can adjust one without affecting the entire travel range. This control allows my era to feel incredibly smooth for small and medium-sized conversations.
If the area’s air spring does anything like that, it will be truly unique if it offers the same level of damping control that the coils provide. I can not wait until I get one, later this year. Stay tuned for review whenever we have time.