Review: 12 Months With the EXT Era Fork

Sep 24, 2021
by Matt Beer  
EXT Era fork


If you're drawn to boutique parts, then the premium Era fork from Extreme Shox (EXT) has undoubtably caught your eye already. We've had multiple testers shake down this fork for more than twelve months, giving us a well-rounded taste of what the Era is capable of and how it compares to other forks on the market.

The black lower casting and stanchions blend in with a lot of forks these days, but inside lies a stack of technologies that EXT gathered from their extensive racing heritage to differentiate the Era from the rest. EXT moved into the mountain bike suspension segment in 2014 with the Storia (and Arma) rear shock, which literally translates to "story" in Italian. The Italian suspension manufacturer didn't have five fancy acronyms or even a model name for the shocks in mind. It has always been their performance that sold, and a little over a year ago their foray into supporting both ends of the mountain bike began with the Era fork.


EXT Era Details

• Intended use: all-mountain/enduro
• Travel: 140, 150, 160, or 17 0mm
• Wheel size: 29"
• Stanchions: 36 mm
• Offset: 44 mm
• HS3 hybrid air spring system
• Adjustments: HSC, LSC, rebound, two positive air chambers
• Actual weight: 2270 grams (w/thru-axle)
• MSRP: €1480
• More info: extremeshox.com / extusa.bike
The fork's €1480 MSRP makes it almost $500 USD more expensive than a Fox 38 Factory Grip 2 or an Ohlins RXF 36 M.2, but it is packed with unique features and materials. The Era can accommodate up to a 2.5" wide tire and is optimized for 29" wheels with a short 44 mm offset, tapered steer tube, and 15 mm Boost front axle.

Our First Ride article drummed up an impressive statement as the most supple and "coil-like" fork we've tested. Well, that might be because there is a coil spring in there. In addition to the small breakaway coil there's a self-equalizing main air spring and a secondary air ramp-up chamber instead of volume spacers.

This long-term test also gave us the opportunity to explore the inner workings of the fork with Ben Arnott from Alba Distribution, EXT's official Canadian service center and distributor. If you like exploring suspension systems, you won't want to miss a full technical video explaining the technology inside the Era debuting soon.

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Chassis

2021 EXT Era fork

Following modern fork fashion, the 36 mm stanchions get the black anodized treatment with stealthy lowers with grey graphics. What sets this chassis apart from the herd is the crown steerer unit (CSU). EXT wanted to address the dreaded creaking crown syndrome that can develop as the press fit steer tube or stanchions start to flex in the crown ever so slightly. To achieve this, a larger diameter cup of sorts is first inserted into the crown. The steer tube is then pressed into that piece with a larger contact surface in hopes of avoiding that unbearable noise.

On the lower end of things, some eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the lower casting is shared with the X-Fusion Trace36. Although they appear the same on the surface, EXT developed their own bushings with a unique coating and lubricating oil for extremely buttery compliance. Towards the axle, you'll find a 180 mm post brake mount and the simple turn of an allen key fixes the wheel in place. Torque Cap hub recesses have been machined into the lowers for riders who are savvy enough to incorporate those additional parts to further stiffen up the steering.

The 170mm Era we tested had an axle-to-crown height of 590 mm, just north of the claimed 582 +/- 5 mm. A weight of 2,280 g slots the Era well above the Ohlins RXF 36 and about 100 g heavier than a Fox 36. Its mass puts the fork closer in line with the burlier enduro forks like the Fox 38 or RockShox ZEB with their larger 38 mm diameter stanchions. Does that extra heft equate to better performance, durability, and less creaking on the trail?

EXT Era fork
2021 EXT Era fork
The Pacific Northwest was the perfect testing ground for finding out if this fork's CSU creaked. Between the wet weather, huge square edge hits, and hard braking due to the grade of trails here, the Era was put through the wringer.

EXT Era fork
EXT Era fork



Spring

2021 EXT Era fork

If you've dreamed about the suppleness of a coil and the progression of an air spring, you'd be describing the left stanchion of the Era. Packed inside are three different springs. Off the top, there is a coil spring to break the stiction that air springs are shunned for. Quickly into the travel begins the first air spring for infinite adjustment and progression that a wound coil of steel can't provide. This main air spring self-equalizes the positive and negative springs via the Schraeder valve on the top of the left hand stanchion. Finally, the progression is further tuned by a secondary air valve instead of volume spacers. EXT denotes the main chamber with a "+" symbol and the ramp chamber with "++". The convenience of this system is the easy access and the infinite pressure adjustment, within the useable range of course.

The tricky part is balancing these numbers for your habits and trails. The closer the main air chamber pressure is to the ramp chamber, the more linear the fork will be. It sounds simple, but, for example, if you want a bit more grip or small bump compliance, you would lower the main chamber pressure. Doing so would make the fork more progressive and could cause a harsh feeling as you hit that progression curve near the end of the travel. I found it best to keep the numbers closer together - a little lower than the setup guide suggests.

Like other forks that use a dual air spring system, such as the Ohlins RXF 36 M.2, they can be a little sensitive to ambient temperature and as a little as 5 psi can feel like a different spring rate. The combination of the ramp chamber affects how the main chamber can feel further into the mid-stroke more than a regular volume spacer. Taking the time to do controlled experiments and understand how it will make your ride handle is crucial to getting the most out of the Era.

If you prefer a less damped ride that is supported more by spring force supplying a more lively feel then you will certainly enjoy this fork. There is ample mid-stroke support and tons of bottom out resistance. The HS3 spring does perform as stated, helping the fork to ride higher in its travel, more than a Fox 38 Grip 2, but similarly to an Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 or RockShox ZEB.

The HS3 spring can be very progressive. I set up the ++ chamber lower than the setup guide recommended for a more linear fork. Full bottom outs were still infrequent and easier to anticipate than the abrupt ramp of the higher pressure.

2021 EXT Era fork
The wrench flats are ultra low, so it's best to have a certified service center open things up. It also requires some special tools to do a full rebuild and a vacuum bleed is preferred.



Damper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As you would expect, EXT has a ton of experience on the hydraulic side of dampers. A heavily engineered circuit separates bump and rebound oil flow using a high volume cartridge with a 22 mm diameter piston. The 24 mm IFP reservoir piston runs on a chromed shaft to reduce friction, a theme across all sliding parts in this fork.

Similar to the air spring, the damper has a wide range of adjustability. There are high and low speed compression adjusters, as well as rebound control on the lower leg of the fork. The ERA user manual states that the number of clicks can differ from fork to fork, depending on the assembly. Our fork had nine clicks of high speed compression, twelve of low speed, and thirty of rebound.

That's a whole lot of rebound clicks, although the lightest spring pressures only correlate with having the rebound circuit open fourteen clicks, so I'm not sure I see the whole range being useful. Depending on the pressure, one or certainly two clicks make a noticeable difference. It still leaves room for heavier riders to run slower rebound, however, because compared to a Fox 38 Grip2 damper, the EXT recommended settings feel less damped.



Initial Setup

EXT Era fork
Three springs and three damper adjustments can be a tricky to set up. If you like an extremely progressive feel and can endure that force more often, then the recommended settings will work for you. This is best matched with slower speeds and more technical riding. Luckily, EXT's user manual steers riders in a close direction.

Ben from Alba Distribution brought us up to speed with the intricacies of the Era, how to get the best performance, and gave the fork a fresh rebuild, since our test was running past the regular service interval. He informed me that the fork was designed to ride higher in the travel or the dynamic sag range. For my 72 kg / 160 lb weight and riding style I was referred to air pressures one weight bracket up. Ben was on it and we started with 65 psi in the main chamber and 100 psi in the ramp chamber.

Over the next few weeks, I dialled in the pressures and for dry, summer conditions of 800m enduro style descents on the steep and rough North Vancouver mountains. For the higher forces during bike park laps, I increased both chambers a few psi and tweaked the damping slightly. I also increased the rear shock and tire pressure to balance things out.

I tested the fork on three different enduro bikes throughout the review period. The settings remained nearly identical, for the given types of trails, on all but one bike, which was much softer and more progressive. For this, I had to drop the + pressure to 65 psi so the fork ride height and characteristics matched the rear wheel.

Base Settings
+ chamber: 67 psi
++ chamber: 97 psi
Low speed compression: 8
High speed compression: 7
Rebound: 15
Bike Park Settings+ chamber: 70 psi
++ chamber: 100 psi
Low speed compression: 7
High speed compression: 6
Rebound: 13

*All adjustments were counted from the closed position.

These settings offered all the qualities I was looking for with the + chamber a touch over and the ++ a little under the pressures we began with. It resulted in a balance of small bump compliance, support, and bottom-out control without a wall of ramping, which came earlier in the stroke with the original settings.



Ride Impressions

EXT Era fork

Does the "air that feels like a coil" rumour live up to the hype? Simply put - yes. I have not ridden a fork that breaks free into the stroke with such little effort. It doesn't continue to dive through the travel, either. Generally, I prefer a reactive fork with less damping and a more linear spring feel to keep the front end high, which the Era already embodied. However, the complexity of a coil and two air springs proved to take time to learn how they worked together.

After getting acquainted with the Era on the first ride, the fork did oscillate a bit too easily for my liking, but it wasn't using all of the travel with the air settings for an 80 kg rider. It ramped abruptly on repeated square edge hits, particularly duffy bomb holes caused by braking. I can't say it felt harsh - inefficient would be a better word. I would have guessed it was a 150 or 160 mm travel fork, so the puzzling began.

I added a bit more rebound damping, increased the + chamber to 70 psi, and decreased the ++ chamber to 95 PSI. This calmed the rapid movement of the front wheel and weight being shifted front to back too quickly. But as predicted, this removed some small bump sensitivity and rode too high, causing some understeer. I also noticed how much more linear this made the fork feel, not just at the beginning, but throughout the full travel. At this point, I realized how touchy the spring pressure was to change and started to understand what effect the secondary chamber pressure had on the main spring.

From there, I dropped the + chamber to 67 psi and set the ++ chamber to 97 psi. We were getting somewhere. The fork stayed active and alive on small rocks that would sit in the bottom of berms or over small, greasy roots, when we were lucky enough to get a splash of rain through this summer drought. Occasionally, the fork would bottom out, but the more linear nature made it easier to predict when that would occur. Adding more high speed compression seemed to be the ticket when the going got really steep and chunky on the Shore, where speeds were lower than in the bike park. The combination of these pressures and compression damping made it simple to anticipate and brace for those impacts, adjust your body positioning accordingly. Basically, it slowed down the reaction time of the force being transmitted to the rider.

An unusual trait of the fork that I only noticed in very specific circumstances was what I can only describe as a "fluttering" of the coil spring. This occurred when hitting a large compression, landing on a steep grade with hard packed dirt mixed with braking bumps or embedded rocks, which are typically found in a bike park. When the fork has almost returned to full travel, I could feel the coil spring oscillate rapidly, picking up the small vibrations. It sounds like a good thing, but it felt unnerving - as if you had no front wheel at all. Maybe that's exactly what blissful suspension should feel like.

The damper does work incredibly well and I don't think the "flutter-fly effect" is something to worry about. Under braking, the fork stays upright without the use of heavy hydraulic action, which helps keep it supple and continue to provide traction. The control over the rebound and compression is a lighter feeling tune, but actually allows use of the high speed compression without the fork becoming overly brutal to hold on to. If you found your happy place with the main air chamber small bump compliance and ride height, but still needed a touch of control on large impacts, I found adding more high speed compression to be more calming and forgiving, rather than increasing the ramp pressure.

The secondary air chamber of the Era is a tough cookie to crack. The feedback can be overbearing on those square edge hits if you are following the setup guide exactly and I did start to experience some top out later in the test. EXT did admit there was a fix in order to relieve the secondary air chamber from topping out when unweighted. I never experienced this while the wheel was tracking the ground or during the slower rebound velocity from leaving the lip of a jump. It was only when I wanted to pick the bike up over trail obstacles or pull to double up a natural rhythm section did the fork exert a hard clunk when it returned to full travel.

A quick visit to Alba and Ben had this sorted in under thirty minutes. Back on the trail, I did still notice a slight bump while doing these same maneuvers, but the problem was drastically reduced. EXT recognizes this, and said only a small number of riders have noticed the top out. They are committed to finding a solution, but in the meantime offer an upgradable top out bumper retro-fit kit covered by the warranty for any rider experiencing this problem.

One problem we didn't run into was a creaking. EXT's CSU construction method never made a peep throughout the test and it was put through some sections of trail that would make a dual crown cringe. It does feel stouter than other 36 mm stanchion forks. For example, I have experienced some flex in the Ohlins RXF 36 M.2, which would sometimes vibrate fore and aft when the wheel would leave the ground under heavy braking on consecutive square edge hits. In fact, I was surprised that the Era only had 36 mm stanchions.



EXT Era fork
This fork has seen it all, from multi-day single track epics to the Whistler Bike Park, and a few heinously steep Sea to Sky secret stashes.

Serviceability

EXT has designed a majority of the sliding internal parts to be hard wearing, yet impressively low-friction by way of specially formulated coatings on the bushings. They advise owners to service the fork every fifty hours for maximum race performance or every one hundred hours for normal use. EXT is currently working on a detailed video to guide home mechanics through the lower leg service, but until then the maintenance must be completed by an authorized service center. Complete service includes new oil, seals, O-rings, wipers and rubber bottom out bumpers and kits will be available to purchase at dealers in the future.

Changing the travel is a standard affair of removing the lowers, then the air spring, and swapping a spacer from the main air spring to the negative, or vice-versa.

During the test, we ran the Era past the maintenance interval and residue began accumulating on the dust wipers. This is normal for any fork, but that didn't bother the sensitivity of the Era with its durable surfacing. Even after the rebuild, it was difficult to notice a difference. No stanchion wear was observed while disassembled and the bushings held an appropriate tight, but smooth tolerance level throughout our extensive testing period

We did manage to put a small nick in the non-drive side stanchion close to the seal. Although barely felt with a fingernail, it could explain why more residue accumulated on that side. However, I did get a chance to inspect another rider's Era fork after some extended use and found the air side dust wiper collected more grime as well. There wasn't enough evidence to prove fault in the seal. The nicked stanchion was user error and has definitely caused this problem on other forks tested in the past.

Aside from the top out dilemma, which was partially resolved, the Era proved to be a sturdy, reliable fork with high quality performance.




Pros

+ No creaking CSU or stanchions
+ Ability to fine tune spring and ramp chamber independently
+ Low breakaway force for unparalleled small bump performance

Cons

- Achieving the ideal setup requires extra time and experimentation
- Fork developed noticeable top out later in test period
- Fork needs to go to an authorized service center for rebuilds, at least for now.




Pinkbike's Take


bigquotesWho is the €1480 Era fork for and how did it stand up to twelve months of use, under three testers? That would boil down to a narrow rider demographic: someone who is tech savvy and in touch with feedback from their bike, appreciates boutique components, and isn't afraid to splash cash. The setup requires a time commitment and puzzling, but when you do find that sweet spot, there is some magic about. No fork is perfect, and like other artisan products some quirks may develop, like the top out, but I have to tip my hat to EXT for keeping that CSU creak-free throughout the test - job done.

You could easily lean towards more run-of-the-mill fork options, but the Era has a unique feel compared to any other fork. It rides high in its travel, offers support and control on the chunkiest trails, and will convert coil-only believers. Yes, a fork at this price level should be near perfection, but the performance is damn close.
Matt Beer



222 Comments

  • 224 0
 "No CSU creaking" is a pro now huh...
  • 55 2
 Gotta set the bar low for these multi thousand dollar products. Pretty soon creaking will be a pro to convince us that nooo it's supposed to sound like that silly!
  • 13 2
 My Storia had top out issues brand new out of the box, and just got worse as time went on. Short research found that its normal... now this fork did the same. EXT: suspension clacking around every time the wheels leave the ground is extremely annoying. Other than that the shock was mint.
  • 9 0
 @wheelsmith: Are you running any spring preload? I have had zero top out issues in well over a year of use, awesome shock. But I run ZERO preload and the rebound is right in the middle of adjustment.
Just say no to preload! Smile
  • 4 0
 @wheelsmith: I'd have checked the grub screw on the pre-load collar is fully clamped down and not loosening itself. Mine had this issue forever and couldn't figure out why but eventually realized the plastic screw had somehow shrunk over time allowing the collar to start twisting slightly under compression making annoying noises. I replaced it with a TI screw I had laying around and haven't had this issue since.
  • 16 3
 In a few years the "pro" list will include: stays attached to the bike like designed.
  • 12 0
 @stumphumper92: "Oh yah, when the CSU creaks, that's your service indicator noise, time to drop $200 on a service and we'll replace your service indicator (CSU)"
  • 2 1
 @wheelsmith: let the air out of the main air chamber, push the lowers all the way down, burp the lowers with a cable tie through the seals, no more top put and more plush forks.
  • 1 0
 Its a feature.
  • 3 5
 All the neg $$$$$ replies down voted to da bottom. Fork costs more than a bike if it was in stock.
  • 1 0
 @wheelsmith: My storia had pretty severe top out when I first got it too. It was so bad that it acted like a side hammer and could be felt hitting the pedals away from my feet slightly when the rear wheel left the ground. I sent it back and they replaced the top out bumper (as well as firming up the compression tune) and it is much better, although it still has a much more noticeable top out than any other shock in my garage.
The Storia is an odd shock, mine feels gross at low speed on smooth stuff, kinda like a second hand shock that needs a service. But once it’s up to speed on a chunky trail it is excellent. Maybe the shock I received is just an anomaly.
  • 4 0
 Next thing you know, "can make a PF BB interface an actual circle" will be a pro.
  • 2 0
 @riderseventy7: that could actually be an issue, maybe? I've been wondering why my the storia in my G1 has a neg spring... make the coil feel more like coil? Or is it the top out noise cancelling technology? Gross at low speed sums the whole thing pretty well. Walking speed awkward trials stuff is really horrible with it, allmost like "my 2009 rockhopper feels better" -horrible. But the way it behaves at speed is just unbelievable, havent tried other coils but CCDB doesnt come even close.
  • 2 0
 @toaster29: When I sent the shock back to Chris at EXT here in Aus, who provided exceptional service, I had him check it to see if he could find any explanation for the way the shock felt. Apart from the top out bumper needing to be replaced he said it was all good. He even sent a video of the shock being tested on the dyno and a pic of the results.
The Storia reminds me of people that say they wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning for less then $xxx, the Storia won’t wake up for anything less than xxkm/h.
I’m not too concerned about it, at the lower speeds where it feels gross I’m not really asking much in the way of performance, any shock would be able to handle those demands. But when I’m pushing things and hoping to eke out every bit of grip or hitting rough lines that would normally have me looking for a smoother option it really wakes up and delivers. A “racing shock”, as I’ve heard many describe it, is pretty fitting.
  • 1 0
 @wheelsmith: my shock too. It’s the spacer next to the bump stop. Put a dab of grease on the side next to the rebound and it’ll stay put.
  • 2 0
 @boozed: What are you talking about? It already is! After watching a few Hambini videos, QC went into my top three purchasing factors. Giant might be the most boring of the big 3, but their bikes are made in their own factories and seem to be consistently in spec. It’s a shame that this matters so much.
  • 1 0
 @bikebasher: thanks I switched to a Cane Creek double barrel air going to get my EXT serviced and I'll try that
  • 1 0
 @chwk: I will look into that thanks bro
  • 1 0
 @riderseventy7: thanks bud I'll try that
  • 1 0
 @riderseventy7: I received my Kavenz VHP160 from Chris @ EXT/Kavenz Australia just before lockdown. My Storia has been a dream shock, my ERA bushings where too tight and had to be rectified. I sent the forks back to Chris and he had them back to me ASAP working like a dream. It's the best suspension package I've ever used.
  • 126 25
 July 4, 2021: Matt Beer joins Pinkbike
September 24, 2021: 12 months on the EXT Era

*X-Files theme intensifies*
  • 53 6
 Myself and Brian Park also spent time on this fork - multiple riders used it over the course of the last year.
  • 10 0
 @mikekazimer: he did say this in the review
  • 36 31
 When you try and be cute, but fail because reading is beyond your capability.
"We've had multiple testers shake down this fork for more than twelve months, "

Based on all the likes, seems it's common with PB picture browsers.
  • 48 3
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: fun is banned
  • 46 1
 The silent majority of us are illiterate
  • 24 1
 Matt Beer, hold my fork!
  • 9 1
 @stainerdome: what did you say I cant read it??
  • 24 1
 @Kyleponga: he said we’re illiterate which is when a bunch of words in a row start with that same letter
  • 8 1
 @endurogan: dummy - that's onomatopoeia.
  • 2 25
flag TheOriginalTwoTone (Sep 24, 2021 at 11:32) (Below Threshold)
 @j-t-g: Oh that was an attempt at humor. Good one mate
  • 1 0
 @shredddr: Doubt that
  • 11 1
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: he did a better job of it than you
  • 2 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone:

It sounds like each rider rode it for 12 months plus…
  • 2 0
 I’m guessing Matt watched the Poochie episode of the Simpsons prior to starting which gave him the idea to negotiate “Matt Beer has access to a time machine” into his contract.
  • 4 0
 @feldybikes: Note: Matt Beer died on the way back to his home planet.
  • 43 3
 Suspension Syndicate set me up on one of these to demo, and TL;DR: it was so mind blowing that I, a cheap bastard who refuses to pay more than $500 for any fork up till now, bought one brand new when they (Suspension Syndicate) needed the fork back a few weeks later.

If you blindfolded people and had them guess if it was air or coil, even after trying a few air and coil shocks back to back, you'd guess it was a coil. its that smooth off the top. The first thing I noticed was the increase in grip. It is insane. The next thing you notice is that brake dive magically disappears, even on steep stuff, while still being super grippy.

I also noticed the same problems this reviewer did: "It ramped abruptly on repeated square edge hits, particularly duffy bomb holes caused by braking." My first ride on the fork was coming down Lithium in Jackson Hole (Wilson), and the top section gets steep, dusty, and full of bomb craters. I told the guys at Suspension Syndicate to "set it up stiff", since on other forks I usually have to over pressure to keep the fork from diving, and boy they set it up stiff. The guy I worked with said he set it up "like for an EWS rider". Despite being way too stiff, the smal bump sensitivity was still awesome. I reduced air pressure again and again, like the reviewer here, until I got to a happy place. What is really shocking is that as you drop the air pressure, the mid stroke support seems to remain, and despite going way lower in the main and bottom out chambers, brake dive never returned. Amazing.

I've been running the Storia too, and while thats a great rear shock, there are other great rear shocks. With this Era fork I feel like it has no peer. In the past I've complained about why we don't have more MRP Bartlett, or just a lighweight Boxxer for enduro riding, but with a fork like the Era I see no need.
  • 7 3
 I bought one and it’s hands down the best fork I’ve used. I have broken the little coil in it a couple of times which makes the top out happen. But even like that it still works amazingly well
  • 17 0
 That's why I never want to demo anything: it'll make me realize it's better and I want it. Way easier to be happy with one's current setup if one avoids demo and such. Ignorance of better parts/bikes is bliss.
  • 4 1
 @andrewfif: can confirm this fork feels very very good.
  • 2 0
 "...why we don't have more MRP Bartlett, or just a lighweight Boxxer for enduro riding"

There's that Formula dual crown on the way. Really keen to learn more about that actually.
  • 1 0
 @Will762: I saw that Formula fork. It really got my attention until I started riding this fork. Now I just don't see the benefit of dual crown when a single crown can perform so well (this fork)
  • 2 1
 Thanks for the feedback @hamncheez . @traillabs put me on one to test out 3 months ago. I haven't given it back! Being able to tune the mid-stroke has been great. I can make it feel like a fox in the middle, close to a RS, or like a EXT with massive support. You can't get that same control with tokens/volume reducers as they generally only affect the last 40% of the stroke. Small bump is just lovely and I think that coil really dissipates the rebound energy right at the top of the stroke, helping it stay glued. The greater traction has led to more confidence in the corners. That right there is worth the price of admission for me.
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: haha I know the feeling. When I only had my hardtail I refused to demo any FS bikes.
  • 47 4
 I dare Pinkbike to test a Fox for 12 months. I'll wait...
  • 95 3
 "things really started to come together after the 5th damper rebuild, 3rd steer tube and some custom tuning"
  • 3 0
 FWIW I've been riding a 38 since March 2020 (not exclusively but quite regularly) and it's been fine.
  • 43 0
 Cheaper than 38 in Europe LOL
  • 8 0
 It's $700AUD more expensive than a 36 here in Australia
  • 5 0
 @Blackers: I didnt know Australia amd Canada used the same flag, LOL!
  • 2 0
 don‘t know where PB gets that price, it‘s 1775€ here in austria… even more expensive than a 38.
  • 2 0
 @striveCF15: it’s without VAT
  • 19 1
 As forks have gotten bigger and weights keep going up, why not just run a coil fork? The endless pursuit of coil like feeling can be achieved with.... a coil fork. With a smidgeon of research and some hand maths, one can figure out the appropriate spring rate for their riding and be done with it. I've stepped up to Cane Creek Helm MK2 Coil fork and will never go back to an air fork as long as options still exist. Knowing it will always be supple off the top with out baby sitting air spring seals to keep it "optimal" is great. Mid stroke support, yep, harsh bottom outs, not on anything I'm riding and I'm a heavy guy. Options are nice don't get me wrong, but why beat around the bush recreating the wheel?
  • 9 2
 Because this offers the best of both worlds. EXT is very outspoken about weight reduction being a "nice to have" but second to flat out performance. The midbody support and resulting geometry preservation of the ERA is pretty unreal and possible because of the dual positive air chamber system.
  • 14 1
 The big disadvantage of coil fork is you need to swap the coil for your weight and often there are only a few spring rates available for forks, leaving many people stuck in-between spring rates. If you only sell 4 springs, lots of people are going to be on the wrong spring.

For example the stock spring on your Helm is listed as being for "160-200lb" riders. That's a huge range. I'm 165lb. I almost guarantee the stock spring would be too stiff and the next step down would be too soft. I'd be left with the bad choice are loosing small bump or riding a soft spring with a bunch of preload. I need something in-between.

This seems to be less of a problem for rear shocks because spring sizes are more standardized and there are many more rates available, including in 25lb increments after-market. Industry standards for spring sizes so we could get an equivalent spring choice for forks might help adoption.
  • 4 4
 I guess because its heavy. I've got a fox 38 performance elite that feels like absolute garbage no matter how much I tune it. Was considering getting a smashpot, but then I'd end up with an extremely heavy fork, and my bike is already too heavy with the dhx2.
  • 2 4
 Agreed. I converted my 36 to coil with a Smashpot. It’s just 250g heavier than the Era and arguably more reliable.
Well, the creaking CSU might still be an issue.. hope it holds.
  • 4 1
 what @dthomp325 said. So many riders are in between coil spring rates that without good incremental spring rate choices, they'd rather get an air fork and tune it for the right weight, trading away coil-like sensitivity and feel.

Low-pressure air + coil systems that use a base coil plus an air tuning option work well, but in the end aren't optimal either. (Having said that, I did love my old Marzocchi 55 RC3 Ti with that system)
  • 4 0
 @chrod: have you seen Vorsprung’s available coil spring rates? There’s no real in between left.
I agree on offerings like the Z1 with its 4 spring rates .. what a joke.
  • 2 1
 @Darwin66: Smashpotted a Marzocchi Z1 and absolutely love it. Not sure what is too heavy but I run a 35lb hardtail and don't regret the weight in my fork for a second. How much weight would it take for you to stay with "feels like garbage" v. plush, fun, and faster/more grip?
  • 1 0
 @theobviousfaker: Thanks for the tip! I hadn't seen Vorsprung's spring rates -- they address that problem!
www.vorsprungsuspension.com/products/vorsprung-smashpot-fork-coil-conversion-system
Looks like their 5 lb/in (0.9 kg/cm) spring rate increments map to 17.5 lb (8kg) rider weight increments. That's pretty good. Smile
  • 2 0
 @dthomp325: Exactly. I used the Helm all last year and mostly loved it, but at 160lbs the 45lb spring bottomed out too easily (and the 55lb spring was way too stiff). I ended up buying a 50lb spring from Ohlins that should fit, but replaced the fork with a Lyrik in the off-season so I haven’t even tried the new spring yet. The Lyrik is… pretty much better all around. I am looking forward to trying the Helm again with the “right” spring, probably on a new bike next year.
  • 1 0
 @theobviousfaker: there are also a couple of companies making springs for mtb forks. Shitloads of springrates and the choice to go with a progressive sprinf if you want to. Of course its easier and cheaper if the fork just comes with a shockpump and ordering a spring online is so complicated.
  • 2 0
 @theobviousfaker: That’s cool they offer 5lb increment springs, that would likely fix my issue, but it looks like you need the $350 “smashpot” conversion to use them. Quite a but more than a $25 shock pump you probably already have in your toolbox.
  • 3 0
 @notsosikmik: agreed. My mate has a helm coil and I have the ERA. Whilst the ERA is certainly a bitch to set up and tune ( ignore the factory guide settings- they can be way off ) the ERA can be set up to feel like a low spring rate Helm but never bottom out and provide significantly better mid stroke. It’s near impossible to compare the forks performance without riding it. Its not comparable to a F36 whatsoever. Its more like a f36 with luftcappe and a custom damper
  • 18 0
 It's funny that when the New Pike was released some years ago, all the tests loved that you could make it more progressive with tokens. Now the tests are focusing on being the more linear possible
  • 10 0
 It makes sense that a former DH pro who grew up spending a lot of time on coil setups leans this way versus a tester who is perhaps used to riding 120-140mm bikes when they jumped on the Pike. Either way you look at it, options are nice.
  • 8 1
 I have this fork (the Era). The fork has so much freaking mid stroke support that its actually very hard to bottom out. I personally don't think it needs the ramp up chamber at all. Or possibly reduce the mid stroke support so non-superman users actually need the ramp up chamber?

The point is that other forks benefit from using tokens, but this fork behaves as if tokens are already installed.
  • 5 0
 I prefer a linear setup on longer travel bikes because it has better "mid-stroke support" and sits higher in the travel. I also prefer a progressive setup on shorter travel bikes because it allows more small bump compliance without bottoming, and typically shorter travel rigs have a higher spring rate that provides "mid-stroke support" even with a progressive setup.
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: Very good points. I kinda think tokens came into being because people started using the same fork for everything from 120mm to 160mm applications, and it was a way to help tune the different needs of different travel settings.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: yeah, RS tuning guides all recommend fewer spacers for longer travel setups and more spacers for shorter travel setups.
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: that’s just based on compression ratios. You need more tokens with less travel to create relatively similar feel through the available travel.
  • 18 3
 If changing from 70 and 95psi to 67 and 97psi made a substantial difference in feel... then this is not the fork for me. Not saying it's a bad fork at all, just saying I'm probably not sensitive or patient enough to get it optimized.
  • 12 9
 Most shock pumps have lines at 10psi increments that are about 1mm apart. How the hell are you supposed to measure 67psi?
I know there are digital shock pumps, but I'm highly sceptical of their accuracy, even relative to themselves
  • 2 0
 Got Manitou with similar sensitivity, Topeak dig gauge is your best friend to set it up. I still setup my tires with good old squeeze tho
  • 30 0
 @IllestT: Digital>dial gauge any day if you want to be able to read the numbers accurately. The gauge itself doesnt have to be accurate, it just needs to be consistent. If 95 psi on your digital gauge is too high and 90 psi feels good, it doesn't matter if the actual pressure is 87 as long as you consistently use the same gauge.
  • 1 0
 @IllestT: digital ones may read to the 0.5 psi which is really helpful with something like a shock.

Even if you distrust the accuracy of a digital, it should be consistent with itself and that's all you need anyway. I use a Scott and it's very consistent with itself and I can adjust by 1 psi increments. I think the gauge is the same as the rockshox pump though.
  • 17 2
 no CSU creaking is a MUST not a PRO...
  • 3 0
 Its a feature.
  • 7 0
 I have a DSD Runt in my Lyrik instead of tokens, which looks similar to how the main and second chambers are set up. I really like it, much more low level adjustment than tokens so you can get better mid-end stroke and changing the high and low air pressures just a bit is pretty noticeable, it's cool if you really really want to dial it in. With ULF seals it breaks away great, has gets good support throughout, and is much lighter weight. However, in some instances I could see a heavier front end being beneficial, smashing! The EXT stuff really intrigues me, I really want to try a Storia. It's just getting hands on it and then parts and home service that I wonder about with EXT. I've got Rockshox home service and parts dialed. DVO is another I want to check out, love my Jade, want to try an Onyx.
  • 1 0
 I have a runt in my lyrik as well, and definitely think it's an improvement over a single air chamber.

The big issue with all suspension is proper setup. Most people, myself included, do not have their suspension well sorted. Even if I think my suspension is dialed, how would I know if I'm leaving performance on the table? I think something like a shockwiz should be fully integrated into every fork and shock.
  • 2 0
 @haen: yeah, I basically have my neighborhood trails that I setup my baseline for, then I'll increase or decrease based off that, ie: bike park, or high alpine, or desert riding, firmer > softer
  • 15 4
 Mezzer
  • 8 8
 Yep. Manitou suspension is the best around.
  • 7 2
 Manitou is that one brand that I would love to like, but I just can't anymore. Had pretty bad luck with almost every suspension item of theirs that I had on my bikes. Lots of flex, quickly wearing anodizing, bushing play, multiple failed dampers and just all around poor reliability. I was considering a Mezzer and a Mara Pro for my Norco Sight build, but after I read the initial reviews of the Mezzer that mentioned bushing play and failing seals once again, it was game over for Manitou in my books.
  • 4 1
 Would love to see the Mezzer compared to the Era. I have a riding buddy who has both and says the Mezzer is very close performance wise (and at almost half the price here in Canada). A lot of the details in the review hold true to the Mezzer too (performance and setup wise). Obviously I think EXT has gone an extra step in some areas to eek out a little more performance and having a Storia rear stock in a big fan of their products. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some time on an Era and report in the coming months and report back.
  • 11 1
 @BenTheSwabian: yeah that’s fair enough. The bushing problem was resolved. Fortunately, I don’t pay any attention to technical writing from most of the Pinkbike staff and feel that I made a great choice by going with the mezzer
  • 3 0
 @norcorider-13:

Blister gear review did this in their fork shootout.
  • 7 2
 Came into review hoping they’d mention that the secondary air spring is also in the Mezzer. But nope. Then saw the reference to EXT being non user serviceable…unlike Mezzer Then saw the simplistic reference to 38 mm stanchions as if that solely determined stiffness…Mezzer is as stiff as fox 38 but weighs significantly less. BTW who cares about the early run of bushings? That was easily fixed in mfg and is irrelevant now.
  • 3 3
 Mezzer doesn't have the small bump plushness the weekend warriors crave.
  • 6 1
 @JohanG: it absolutely does
  • 5 1
 @JohanG: It does if you set it up right
  • 10 0
 How does this pricepoint still come with a zip-tied mud guard?
  • 5 0
 Funny thing is, I have seen alot of the forks being sold used in Germany lately, while reviews are raving, it seems not everyone can get along withthe fork. Complaints about the Comression settings etc etc, people returning the demo forks etc.

I guess people do not want to invest the time to get the settings perfect???
  • 2 0
 My guess is that most users take the factory settings and then find it too harsh. The fork needs time and experimentation to set up depending on your terrain, weight, head angle, shock settings etc. some get it dialed quickly; some like me take 6 months to get it perfect. Bushings can also be tight. It needs to use full travel often or be stored upside down to remain plush
  • 1 0
 @professed: factory settings were definitely too harsh. Took me a couple months to get both the Era and Storia dialed in. As of now they fell amazing and perform like what I expect from the price tag.
  • 5 0
 "... some eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the lower casting is shared with the X-Fusion Slate. Although they appear the same on the surface, EXT developed their own bushings with a unique coating and lubricating oil for extremely buttery compliance."

I have neither fork, but if I owned a Slate I'd be checking my local EXT distributor to see if they have some of those bushes and oils available aftermarket, and it they can be simply dropped in to a Slate.
  • 8 4
 Using an online currency converter, €1488.00 works out to $2199..98 CDN , the puzzling part is, on Alba Dist. webpage, it's $2499.00CDN
My hat is off to those with pockets that deep, but it's simply not in the budget @ my houseFrown
  • 10 0
 Ok, so you the currency converter done at the time of typing, but they buy from Europe at a different time and different rate. Since Alba is a distribution center (and not a company subsidiary) you need to factor in shipping to North America, import duties and warehouse costs. That their price is higher than a simple currency converter shouldn't be surprising.
  • 14 1
 Its actually pretty much the same price as fox forks in europe.
  • 1 0
 Take your existing fork or a cheap used yari, get a damper tuning and the smashpot and you are good to go on a fuss free, sensitive, supportive fork durable with hydraulic bottomout. No need for the most expensive of the shelf fork. Hot a used 250 euro yari, 185 used MST Susoension cartridge and smashpot for 240 and tuning wipers for 30 euros.cannot complain about price and performance
  • 7 3
 "I was surprised that the Era only had 36 mm stanchions."

Again, I'm not convinced this isn't placebo effect. If there is a way to perform blind tests on these parts, the tests would be much more meaningful. In this huck to flat video, I see little difference in fore and aft flex between the 36 and 38 models. Having ridden both, I'm not convinced there are any notable benefits of stanchions larger than 35/36mm, and I understand there are various types of stress which are not demonstrated in the slowmo.
  • 6 0
 To your point the 35mm stanchioned Boxxer seems to be holding its own pretty damn well on the world cup circuit right now. Crown design (dual/single, steerer interface, etc.) looks to be more important that just throwing in fatter stanchions and calling it a day. EXT has actually addressed that by doing something different with ERA the crown design and having the race ride fully on the crown itself instead of right at the steerer junction.
  • 1 0
 I'd guess the space inside bigger stanchions is what theyre actually after. 2mm makes a huge difference when youre trying to shove so much tech inside a small tube.
  • 1 1
 @toaster29: "trying to shove so much tech inside a small tube."

Thats what she said
  • 4 0
 "+ Low breakaway force for unparalleled small bump performance"

A friend of mines had the complete opposite experience to this initally there was a massive amount of intial friction. She had a local ext rep look at the fork and he came away with the conclusion the bushing tolerances were far to tight. As a result the fork had to go back to have the bushings replaced.

Everything now is performing as it should but it should be pointed out even at this high end mistakes still get made just like the mainstream stuff
  • 7 0
 what ever floats your goat
  • 5 0
 There is an error in the article. There is no cup in the crown. The crown is all one piece machined aluminum and the straight steerer is pressed into it. That's all.
  • 3 0
 This fork sounds sick and I'd love to try one. It's going to be a pain in the ass to get it serviced though which is a deal killer for me at the moment. Being able to get same-day suspension service down the street is just too convenient.
  • 3 1
 I have been riding this fork for the last 3 months or so and holy shit its good. Definitely much more playing around with the + and ++ to get the ideal feeling in comparison to setting up a fox. I am a lighter guy at 145 riding weight. But I love how the era feels overall. One of those things of hard to describe till you've tried it.

I have let a good deal of riders that haven't ridden ext take it for a ride and they don't usually like it right out the gate. I usually get a it feels different until we make some changes then they are in love. As far as I can tell super good build quality as well.
  • 1 0
 What are you settings if I might ask?
  • 3 1
 Man, consumer level real telemetry is desperately needed. I have a Shockwiz, which wasn't cheap, but it made a noticeable difference to what I thought was my optimum setup. And that's an old Lyric and an old Pike. And SW just uses air pressure changes to sort of figure most stuff out. A real telemetry system with sliders and accelerometers is what a fork like this needs to get dialed.
  • 2 0
 I love how the creak has become a norm due to stupid designs, meanwhile Ohlins came in and made it one piece so you never have to deal with creaking. Yet, because that would cost them more money, all these manufacturers just ignore the simplicity of the solution and design forks that will eventually creak like all the others.
  • 6 1
 This thing is almost as heavy as a Z1 coil. Might as well just run a coil fork. Oh and by the way...COIL RULES!!
  • 3 0
 Authorized service center. Noooooope. I've got a blown DBInline sitting on my workbench. This is after it was sent to Cane Creek once for a factory rebuild.
  • 1 0
 This looks like an amazing fork. In ability for the user to remove the top cap without ruining it is a deal breaker. A suspension lover/tuner, needs to get into the air spring to relube between rebuilds: that is where substantial friction can creep in. The design and performance looks like a winner. Congratulations EXT! Great review Matt and Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 Man I’ve had this fork for a month and have had nothing but terrible compliance. Tons of feedback through the bars, feels like a fork that missed a few services. I’ve tried from going 10psi over recommenced, to 30psi lower and different + to ++ ratios, opening up compression all the way, letting all the air out and burping the seals, burping them before every ride etc, only made small improvements. What’s odd is that when cycling it through its travel just sitting there, there is absolutely no stiction, takes nothing to get it moving through it’s travel.
  • 1 0
 When I first saw that this came our just after I'd bought a Fox38 Factory, I was a bit saddened, noting how good ext gear is... and also that my 38 was unusually harsh (later found to be due to lack of lubrication oils being provided from the factory and the bushings being out of alignment- since remedied), I have since then converted it with a smashpot coil... and it has still cost less than the EXT (this includes my cost to have the lowers service and the alignment done - not covered by Fox).

The fork now feels amazing (almost as good as my old marzocchi 888's in plushness but with way more support).
  • 1 0
 In the current bike world where we need 2x $1k+ forks to continue riding creak free..... I went ahead and got a 36, a z1 coil, and a Grip2. I would say I ride quite aggressively, and the air fork had a low dynamic sag to feel supple. The coil fork (medium spring grip) felt really good, although a bit too firm (not harsh or crashy, ever tho), and it was very hard to use the last 15mm of travel. I swapped the damper to Grip2 with medium coil and the fork would bottom out in the driveway and very low ride height. I then installed the heavy spring, with the Grip2 and it's perfect. I generally bottom out 1-2 times per ride. Nothing terrible tho. MORAL OF THE STORY: I went from thinking I needed a soft coil with grip1, to needing the heavy spring with Grip2. I think this could be customized further with different oil in the damper. Just my $0.02 regarding limited marzocchi coil options. The fork is amazing now.
  • 1 0
 Great review @mattbeer! I have been running the ERA since May, agree with your findings and had a similiar initial setup struggle but have been loving the performance since sorting it out and for once I have a CSU that has taken a whole season of beatings without creaking. The grip is impressive and I found the harder I push this fork the better it performs.
  • 7 2
 looks... expensive
  • 4 0
 Cheaper than 38 in Europe
  • 1 0
 @kanasasa: nope, Era is more expensive, about 100€.
  • 2 0
 Just leaving a comment here that EXT is prohibiting to run the fork with 220mm rotors ... cause if I'm not wrong I can see one in the picture
  • 4 1
 More expensive and same weight as a coil fork. Why not just get a coil fork?
  • 4 2
 Its more of a 38/Zeb competitor, not a 36/lyrik competitor.

Also, the Marzzocchi Z1 (36) coil weighs a pound more than this EXT....
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: it weighs the same as my ohlins coil fork. 170mm 29. It's just a coil fork with extra steps
  • 4 1
 @makripper: the listed weight of the Ohlins RXF36 m.2 is 2400 grams, this is 2270 grams, but I'll give you the difference isn't that much. (the classic Marzocchi 350 NCR Ti 27.5, while not a 29er, was 2150 g RIP)

The benefit is ramp up adjustment, fine tuning of spring weight, etc. Swapping out $50 coils kinda sucks compared to just changing air pressure.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: mine's just barely over 2300. So close enough for me.

I don't have to swap out coils? And if I did I could resell to recoup the money pretty easily...

Plus more seals and more maintenance and way more tinkering to get it to feel like a coil. When a coil feels like a coil
  • 2 1
 @makripper: It "feels like a coil" off the top, but I think it has the potential to perform better than a coil, since you can dial in the ramp up.

Everytime my wife has a kid I gain 20 pounds while neither of us get any sleep, then the following summer I lose it. Thats enough to need to swap coils. Want to let your brother in law ride your bike? Swap the coil. Headed to a bike park with jump lines and braking bumps instead of steeps? Need to swap the coil. I'm exagerating a little, but I do think this setup is worth the added complexity if you're in the market for a $2,000 fork. Otherwise just pick up a used Lyrik for $500; those are set and forget and perform 80% as well.
  • 3 1
 @hamncheez: nope I have literally never had this problem. I used to tinker all the time and fine tune my air suspension. Now with my coil it's one click of low speed here and there. But it does everything I need it to without worrying about changing it to suit tracks because it just works amazing across the board.

I haven't changed the stock coil on my fork. It jumps crazy well, kills it in the rough sections and is overall the part of my bike I tune the least.

Another nice thing is it doesn't really need rebuilds as often as air. I just send it away for a full rebuild once a season just because.

You really should get an ohlins coil. They make it easier to go faster across the board.
  • 2 0
 @makripper: I've never ran ohlins stuff but my experience riding Avalanche carts in straight coil forks vs. hybrid air setups is the hybrid is crazy supportive and you can make it as progressive as you want. The straight coil is rad on small bumps and has good mid stroke support but the hybrid takes it up a notch. The two areas I noticed it the most are run outs of steep tech sections with g-outs or tight berms, the fork stays higher in it's travel and is super composed and predictable. The other is on jumps, incredibly poppy and less dive compared to either an air or coil fork, but still supple on the chattery stuff. I'm not sure how the EXT compares to an Avy set up but that's my 2 cents worth on the coil/air combo. I would like to try an Ohlins fork sometime though, they sound really good.
  • 3 0
 @shami: you should definitely try an ohlins. I don't get the dive you are mentioning. It's extremely supportive yet has great small bump. My fork provides enough pop and can still gas to flat as good as my previous boxxer world Cup did. It's pretty mind blowing.
It'll be hard to go to back to air because this thing just nails it.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: Right on, for what it's worth I never realized I had had much dive until I rode my current setup. I definitely felt it more on some air forks but when I got on the hybrid setup it was kind of an epiphany.
  • 1 0
 @shami: what do you have lyrik x avy?
  • 2 0
 @makripper: yes, lyric with avy cart with the coil and HSB valve. I end up only running about 30 psi in my air spring but it's pretty much set and forget as far as tuning since most of the damper tune is custom set up for rider by Avy.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: lol, in a world of carbon everything, and people dropping 8k on brand new bikes every year for the latest enduro,stumpy, yeti, etc, what’s a few $50 coil springs??
  • 2 0
 @shami: that sounds awesome! I'd like to give that a try for sure. But it's tough when you find something that just works so well for you. Itll take alot to get me away from ohlins at this point.
  • 2 2
 @robertg620: in a world of $8k bike every year, whats an $1800 fork?
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: thars substantial. Thats 25% the cost of an 8k bike. Is the value proposition there over the stock fork on an 8k bike? Does that fork make the riding 25% more enjoyable? For most. Probably not. Especially with the weight issue of the fork and annoying setup.
  • 2 1
 @shami:
I would suppose a smashpot setup (coil with adjustable shimable hbo) and a standard avy would be the best setup.
Then you really lose the two more air seals even if they only use little pressure in the hybrid avy setup
  • 2 0
 @bansaiman: Sorry, accidently neg propped you. That would be a sweet set up. There are couple of benefits of the hybrid you would miss out on; One, having fairly equal spring pressure on both sides of the fork, because the Avy coil is in the open bath damper side you have fairly balanced spring pressure on both sides, this reduces some stiction. Not sure how much compared to getting rid of a couple air seals. I do know that when my kids were smaller setting up their air forks with low pressure they felt much smoother so I think that lower air pressure does have a positive impact. The other is weight, because it uses a lighter coil there is a bit less added weight than full coil, this is probably a pretty marginal benefit but anything helps.
  • 1 1
 I really like my fork. But have had some service issue qc. Rebound knob put on wrong leg Got it back and rebound knob will spin all day stop counting at 70 clicks. But need to ride. The fork felt better with the wrong foot nut on the damper side.
  • 1 1
 @mattbeer Great review - I liked how indepth you went on all the technical details. As a reader, those details really add to the review in a way a "ride impressions" section never could. Yes obviously I want to know how it feels, but I also want to understand what is going on and why it feels the way it does. So thanks for that! Also the little intro vide was pretty neat too.

I spotted one little mistake though: The fork that the ERA shares its chassis with is the X-Fusion TRACE36.
  • 1 1
 It shares lower legs NOT the Chassis . . .
  • 2 0
 @BenTheSwabian Thank you! That's what I try to achieve with these types of in-depth reviews. I have corrected the typo too - cheers!
  • 2 0
 Best set up I’ve ever used is the Avalanche hybrid coil. Have it currently for both bikes and it’s incredible! Excited to try the Era next!!
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer would this be your single crown fork of choice - money no object? It would be interesting to get some comparisons against the other top single crown players @mikekazimer @brianpark (ditto for you guys)
  • 2 0
 “ I have not ridden a fork that breaks free into the stroke with such little effort.” Or a Smashpot.

My Era is good, but noticeably stickier than my 36 with a Smashpot.
  • 2 0
 That's the longest (12 month) and hardest test I ve seen on PB ( max like 6 month?) And yet this all new product from small brand delight... Congrats.
  • 4 2
 That Spire though. Just finding that frame dreamy right now. Spec Enduro beater?
  • 7 0
 Not according to this reviewer. During the enduro bike testing this year, he definitely opted to keep the Enduro as a race bike, despite testing the Spire. Smile
  • 4 1
 best fork ever. nice job @extremeshox !
  • 1 0
 Who's the ham-handed mechanic who figured out that you need a really good hex socket for this fork? The gouge on the cap is pretty sweet. Smile
  • 2 1
 Have been using this awesome fork for 12 monts already, BEST fork i/ve ever used ! beeing a heavy rider, i was impressed by its middle stroke and no brake dive! just great !
  • 1 0
 no creaking really shouldn't be a pro it should be a given. However, quite a few users have experienced creaking on this fork.
  • 1 0
 solution: separate negative air spring! Go all out on adjustability. I just pulled out my old Doppio fork and actually love setting the negative spring separately...
  • 3 2
 I have this paired with the EXT Storia V3 on an S works Levo and it blows anything else I've ridden away. The bike is grail level now.
  • 3 2
 Nice fork for sure but I stick to rock shox, less money, easy 50h service, no creaking csu, easy to setup, enough dials for mortals.
  • 2 0
 A yea it’s better than everything would have worked too
  • 3 3
 Con: achieving the right setup requires time and experimentation... Right, because nobody ever adjusts their fork after taking it out of the box.
  • 12 0
 You might be shocked but 90% of people riding out the door with brand new bike will never touch any of the settings on their fork. "Set it stiff, so it does not slow me down" and off they go. If after several years of neglect the fork almost seizes up they like it even more.
  • 2 0
 A lot of riders just stick to what they read in the setup guide. I suspect that real world suspension performance depends much more on the quality and ease of setup instructions than on actual suspension hardware.
  • 2 0
 Like 90% of riders can't correctly interpret a leverage curve or a force diagram. Most don't even know how high-speed and low-speed compression differ, what those terms mean exactly and how the differences translate to the on-trail feeling. Hell, most riders don't even set their sag correctly. Not trying to be an a*shole but that's just the way it is.
  • 2 2
 Most people think setting the fork to 30% sag is all that is required when sag is utterly meaningless.
  • 3 1
 How is this different than DVO ott?
  • 6 2
 I've owned both a DVO and currently this Era.

Mechanically, the DVO does the same thing the fox 40 does- it uses a coil (or rather two coils) as the negative spring, which pushes against the positive air chamber. The Era has a small spring on the bottom of the push rod, so they act in tandem with the main positive spring, and uses a normal air negative spring. Its like stacking two springs on top of each other, one coil and one air.

From a performance perspective, the Era dethrones the DVO forks as the most "coil like" or "most grip", but DVO puts up a great fight. Also I could never sort out my DVO- it would dive really badly under braking and steep chutes unless I ran way too much air pressure.
  • 2 0
 I do love me some DVO OTT. In this case, they also have the second air chamber to replace using tokens.
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: I guess my take similar-- My hands love the DVO compared to grip2 but the fox doesn't dive so much.
  • 2 0
 @Edgibson @ihatton929 I don't think DVO forks accept tokens, I believe they recommend putting oil in the main chamber to reduce the volume. I didn't try this, but it might have helped things with the fork dive.
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: interesting that you had to run too much air pressure in your DVO. I run a new Onyx D1 SC and had to run slightly less air pressure than recommended to get that perfect buttery feel. I didn't notice any diving though and I ride a lot of steeps here in Squamish. The Onyx feels better than my last 36 Grip 2 in every way. I'm a big fan. Was thinking about trying the EXT but the DVO is considerably less expensive for (what I heard) is similar performance.
  • 2 0
 @Marky771: I had the Diamond, not the Onyx, so maybe its a different tune. I also weigh 200 pounds, and like to ride front heavy.

I've said above, the Era is so good that after borrowing one for a few weeks I ponied up the cash and bought one new. I believe it has no peer.

That being said, I don't think its worth the price for 90% of non-racers. Its too much money.

My final word I'll leave: I PRed on a 10 min DH segment by 37 seconds when I switched to this fork

www.strava.com/activities/5737764551/segments/2858008114606455730
  • 3 1
 @hamncheez: I have heard the DVO is a fork for people that love tinkering, and people that own them seem to tinker with them to death trying to find an optimal setup.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: Yeah I've heard DVO has made small incremental improvements over the past few years and the tune on the Onyx is slightly different too. The new fork I have is incredible....Definitely worth another look if/when you move away form the EXT. DVO also offers a custom tune for around $150 more which is still way less than an EXT....All in all it's awesome to have more top notch options than Fox and RS....
  • 2 1
 @nickfranko: Tinkered with mine for 20 min after 1 ride and it was perfect....Read the same on a lot of forums too. Cant say the same about my Fox. Never found a tune as nice as my DVO even after a year...
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: I am a heavy guy, and with my DVO I ended up needing to basically turn the OTT all the way down. With it at recommended settings the fork felt great OTT but then just felt like you hit a wall once it came off that spring. I ended up with lower than recommended pressure and no OTT.
  • 3 0
 @Marky771: I have to agree that letting DVO custom tune your Onyx is a hard package to beat for the price. I LOVE mine. I'm sure the ext is better be a small margin but i wouldn't make the price jump.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: I mean, yeah, for the first 4 rides I’d tinker with my DVO, as anybody should. After that, same as any fork, minor experimentation here and there.
  • 1 0
 @Marky771:

And if you want more grip support and hbo you can upgrade even the onyx with a smashpot
  • 2 0
 Top out bumper is already available from EXT
  • 1 1
 The fork industry looks to be a lucrative endeavor, so I wonder why major motorcycle MFG's aren't more prominent in the game: Ohlins, Marzocchi, KYB et al?
  • 3 1
 They could make a better product but it wouldn’t sell, mtb is very image based. It would have to be made by kyb but rebadged as fox so people would buy it.
  • 2 0
 @robertg620: I'm familiar with KYB from the automotive world, and they're known to have good products.

If they ran a decent ad campaign and offered a good price, they'd sell. Esp if they handed them out to the major MTB review platforms.
  • 3 0
 @robertg620: Not any more than MX is. If KYB made competitively priced mtb suspension I would buy it today.
  • 1 0
 @flattoflat: sort of, no where near the level of buying based on suspension brand image in mx.I used to be a motorcycle salesperson, for the big 4 and ktm/husky. And briefly Sherco.people’s brand loyalty in mx is down to the overall motorcycle brand, not really the suspension brand. Most riders know coil or air fork, and that’s basically it. They know the adjustments, but don’t care if it’s kayaba,WP, or Showa.Then there’s the 10% that are super serious that know the specific brand and all, which I take it you are, and you would factor it in, but you are the serious minority. Then there’s the super small percent that do air to coil or swaps, or swap front ends from different model bikes($$$$$$).But darn near every mtb guy has a bike brand he likes, and every mtb guy usually says FoX Is tHe CoOleSt or rockshox.
  • 2 0
 Lucrative relative to what is the question - they can make as much or more doing what they are already good at. Less risk.
  • 2 0
 @flattoflat: secondly, you would buy it because you know them from a different discipline. A somewhat close, but still different discipline. If KYB made a killer fork, it could be like how suntour can make a killer high end fork, but no one buys it. Because it’s not known as the cool/good brand, although maybe suntour suffers from not only that, but bad brand image, as it’s spec’d on really low end, sometimes dept store bikes.
Maybe more accurately, look at DVO. They make killer suspension, and I have not ran into 1 person on the trails with a diamond d1. It is only me that has it. If kyb could land a huge upper end OEM manufacturer contract so they’d come on a Santa Cruz nomad or something, but they wouldn’t gamble like that. RS or fox it becomes.They dominate individual fork sales too, because of established mtb image. KYB’s amazing fork would collect dust compared to those, even if it was better.
  • 2 0
 @robertg620: Another thing regarding Fox and RS's dominance is that they offer lower grade components (fox has rhythm, performance, performance elite and factory grades) which allows bike manufacturers to use a tiered pricing structure and charge more for higher-spec.
  • 1 3
 Hi @mattbeer, I understand the behavior of the two chambers differently: The + chamber affects the overall slope of the progression curve while the ++ Chamber makes the initial to mid stroke steeper, but not the end stroke.
So for a linear feel you need more ++ and less + pressure. Having both at the same pressure will give you the classic one chamber progressive air spring.
  • 1 0
 Incorrect. Its The other way round
  • 1 0
 @kriesel EXT's user manual explains the two air chambers with graphs here:
www.extremeshox.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/20200806_FORK_USER_MANUAL_D1.pdf
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: And I read the manual as I described: ++ Gives you more midstroke support (and adds some end stroke too) + lifts the whole curve without modifying its shape.
Look at the ++ graph: It lifts the mid more than the end. And that means the curve is more linear.
  • 7 8
 Pretty sure the only people complaining about the price are those who have a "boss" at home and at work. Stay single. And quit creating more humans. The world will thank you. And so will your bike.
  • 2 0
 Or instead of being forever alone, find a cool girl who's also into mtb. Or even better, be a man and explain that you'll be spending your money because you simply want to.
  • 2 0
 Stop listening to the climate mafia
  • 1 0
 The flats on the air spring cap don't look very supportive... careful with the tools!
  • 1 0
 Excellent, in depth review, thank you Smile
  • 1 1
 Top out? That's not on at this price range, what is this, a rock shox MAG 20.
  • 1 0
 its not a inverted fork...
  • 5 7
 I’m surprised how many people invest shit ton of time in suspension tuning instead of riding?
I’m big fan of set the sag, set rebound and forget;
  • 4 3
 And you’d be setting the fork up wrong. People that spend time getting on the fork generally set it up well.
  • 2 1
 No video!? Damn
  • 4 5
 They got lucky on the CSU not creaking. Both the people I know riding ones are creaky.
  • 1 0
 Have they contacted EXT about it?
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