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Suspension

EXT Storia Shock

It goes up and it goes down. It relies partly on the suspension kinematic and we rely on it to deliver us to the bottom of the hill with as much grip and support as possible. The ‘it’ we are we talking about is a mountainbike shock absorber, an integral part of a full suspension bike and yet one that is presented to us in so many guises.

Compression damping, rebound damping, in both high and low speed, lock out, low friction coatings – these are the bread and butter of the modern shock. The type of oil, assembly of shims, main pistons and valve pistons all impact on the nature of the damper. The build quality affects reliability and performance. But at its heart it’s the philosophy of the designer that gives the rear damper its feel, its dynamic ride characteristic and gets you access you into the soul of a suspension boffin.

 

The EXT Storia is quite unlike any other damper, not massively but certainly enough to make us take notice when we visited the company three years ago on the outskirts of Vicenza near Verona. What we experienced was a truly hand made Italian damper, it’s designer Franco Fratton working into the dark hours to put together a custom shock absorber for our test bikes. These are relatively low number products.

Now we are not saying its massively better than other dampers, just different, and we like this. What we like most of all is the grip, the incredible sensitivity that the Storia allows when tracking through root and off camber. In those situations it rates very, very highly. In some ways it’s pretty unnerving to ride the Storia, as muscle memory insists damping should have a certain feel. The Storia feels closer to the RE:Aktiv damping featured on Trek bikes. We like that too, particularly in the wet.

Yes these are dampers that are better hunting down grip than popping jumps, something many products from other brands are good at. But you find very few that truly offer a performance advantage in purer grounds. The EXT is certainly one.

Should you get the chance, track an EXT down for a testride, it’ll be memorable. If you get a chance visit their website the chances are these guys are too busy up to their necks in WRC than updating the bike side of their pages. But they ARE there, they ARE boutique, so just be patient. Its worth it.

From £710 €799
www.extremshox.com

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Selected for Dirt 100 2017

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