EXT STORIA V2/V3 DAMPER - COMPONENT TEST
Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Upgrading has to be one of the best things riders enjoy doing after buying the bike in the first place. With a variety of things that you can change for performance improvements or looks, the dampers have to be high on this list. There really is so much to choose from now, do you go air or coil? Do you go for a big name brand or seek out that product that perfroms better than the rest? One company that I have been very lucky to deal with over the years is EXT. The Storia and Arma rear dampers have to be some of the most interesting products in the game today. Chris Porter at Mojo Rising was kind enough to sort me out a test on a few different units recently, with amazing results. And with the new Storia V3 now hitting the shelf’s, it is most definitetly an exciting time.
The Difference Between the V2 and V3 Explained...
Words by Chirs Porter of MOJO Rising
The main piston and compression piston architecture are the same. So most of the already excellent damping that people love hasn't really been touched!
That big piston with big ports means that EXT use a stack of shims rather than 1 or 2 shims covering small ports as in most MTB stuff…. That means that the damping can be configured to be progressive, really soft at the initial touch and firmer at higher speed. It also means the shocks can be configured to very fine tolerances for individuals or individual bikes, because changing one shim in a one shim stack is massive change, changing one shim in a multi shim tapered stack can focus the change towards low speed (base shims close to piston), mid speed (middle of the stack) or high speed (top of the tapered stack).
That part of the shock is all the same! just use a 4mm allen key for LSC instead of the lever...
But now there is a hydraulic bottom out stop to get rid of the last excuse not to ditch the air shock! An air shock creates an exponential rising rate as the air volume reduces towards bottom out. This has been used as a design feature by bicycle designers to avoid harsh bottom out! But! It can leave a feeling that there is a big hollow in the middle of the shock travel and also give a feeling that you are riding 'on the volume spacers'. These are things that a coil shock does much better, holds up more in the mid-stroke and feels more linear towards the bottom out. But, the usual way of avoiding that hard bottom out is to use a physical bump stop which simply limits travel and stores some energy. The new Hydraulic Bottom out Control (HBC) takes the energy out of the end stroke all together and leaves a predictable unaffected rebound stroke. In this way the bump stop becomes very thin and the shock travel is all useable with a great coil support and bottomless feeling at the end of the stroke.
The three bikes that have had the EXT treatment are a Specilized Enduro 29, Norco Range 29 and Pivot Firebird. This unit was also fitted to an Antidote Darkmatter previously too. This said, you can see there has been plenty of time on the damper to get a real feel towards the performance and value on offer. With some stiff competition from brands like Ohlins and Push when looking at high end aftermarket units, the EXT seems to beat them to the mark. With a full demo available via Mojo Rising, a custom tune on each shock to suit the rider and bike, the service is almost as good as the performance.
After taking the three bikes out on some back to back runs, swapping between the standard air units that came on the bikes, it was clear what the benefits were. More grip, better progression through the shock curve and that un-forgettable coil shock supplety. After just a few turns all the bikes felt more in control and had the ability to push even harder to find that limit. The Storia also has a climb switch for all the riders out there that feel the need to lock out up the hills.
What about weight you may ask? You may think...coil shock? heavy? steel spring? will weight be an issue here? But you are so wrong. The complete unit weights just 620 grams compared to the 515 grams of the Fox Float X2, both shocks 200x57.
This may not be a cheap upgrade, but man on man it’s a good one. With the suspension on a bike being one of the most important things to get right, why not make it even better? I was so happy with the new V3 unit. So much so, I have just spent my own cash on one for both mine and Alex’s bikes. They are the real deal.
For Prices or a test ride, follow the link below.
Photos and Words - Ieuan Williams