First Look: EXT's Vaia Inverted DH Fork & Updated Coil Shocks

Apr 19, 2024 at 13:56
by Mike Kazimer  
Ext Vaia fork

Upside down forks seem to be having something of a resurgence – Push launched their single crown option earlier this year, Cane Creek just came out with a USD gravel fork, and now EXT are joining in, with a new dual crown downhill fork called the Vaia (it's named after an intense windstorm that hit Italy in 2018 ). The air sprung fork will be available with 170 – 200mm of travel, and is expected to launch in September.

There's a new damper cartridge and an air spring, with features that will eventually make their way into EXT's right-side-up offerings. The right leg has externally adjustable rebound, and high- and low-speed compression damping, and both legs have vent valve buttons integrated into the top cap.

Vaia Fork Details

• Air sprung, three chamber system
• Travel: 170 - 200mm
• 38.5mm stanchion diameter
• Adjustments: high-speed compression, Low-speed compression, rebound
• Compatible with 15 and 20mm hubs
• Price: TBD
extremeshox.com

The air spring uses a similar three chamber system to what's found on the Era fork, with two Schrader valves on the bottom of the leg to adjust the pressure in the + and ++ chamber. That first chamber is responsible for the amount of force required to compress the fork through its entire stroke. As the fork compresses, once a certain pressure is reached the piston that separates the two chambers begins to move and the ++ chamber takes over, handling the mid-stroke support and amount of bottom out resistance.

The Vaia uses a thru-axle with hexagonal ends, and will be compatible with both 15mm and 20mm hubs. The final details haven't been announced, but the fork is said to weight around 3 kg and will be priced in the neighborhood of $2,000.

Ext Vaia fork
Compression adjustments, plus a vent valve.
Ext Varia fork
Titanium bolts are used throughout.

Ext Vaia fork
Ext Vaia fork


Ext Vaia fork

Along with the new Vaia, EXT had version 4.0 of the Storia and Arma on display. The Storia V4 now has externally adjustable hydraulic bottom out resistance, a new steel shaft with a DLC coating, and a bladder-style IFP that allowed EXT to reduce the size of the piggyback and improving frame clearance.

The shock also has a new anti-topout system, a one way valve that adds compression to the last two millimeters of shock extension, preventing that annoying top out 'clunk' that can occur on some coil shocks. With one spring included, the Storia will retail for $1,200 when it officially launches in May.





Author Info:
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Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,739 articles

97 Comments
  • 59 1
 Yep not in my price point sadly but I could see it working great in the front of someone’s s-works kenevo
  • 9 29
flag Dustfarter (Apr 19, 2024 at 15:02) (Below Threshold)
 Not wrong Smile

Of Surron. I've tried them on that and it felt amazing.
  • 12 0
 Is Manitou just handing oit their proprietary techs and patents? first the reverse arch and now the hexlock?
  • 4 0
 @gearbo-x:

Reverse arch patent expired a year or two ago. I imagine we'll start seeing more of it over the next couple years.

I also had the same thought about Hexlock though. Maybe EXT is licensing it?
  • 6 3
 It’s a 150 more than the 40 and boxxer lol.
  • 2 0
 @gearbo-x: Patent probably expired.
  • 5 0
 @ocnlogan: Looks like the Hexlock patent expired in 2021. Kinda cool, it came right up on google: patents.google.com/patent/US6412803B1/en
  • 1 0
 @gearbo-x: maybe they made a trade for the hydraulic bottom out technology.
  • 3 0
 @gearbo-x:
And lets not forget the Inverted Dorado and the Mezzer's IRT.
Apparently, a lot of big brains at Manitou getting copied
  • 1 0
 @roxtar: >Mezzer's IRT

This was never patented IIRC. There have been other companies repeatedly over the years that have used dual and triple air springs.
  • 2 0
 @GTscoob: I didn't mean these were all stolen patents. My point was that these are all tech breakthroughs that Manitou has been the primary users of and others have, shall we say, come around to?
  • 21 1
 I like the paint job on that dorado.
  • 1 0
 not even close, kid
  • 17 1
 Target audience - everyone that bought a cascade long travel link and ext coil for their gen3 levo...
  • 26 2
 DH-build eebs are the way
  • 14 0
 Smart to make the dual crown go down to 170 and also allow 15mm axles. It would fit nicely on a lot of enduro bikes.
  • 14 15
 15mm axle on a usd fork isn't a good idea though. The axle is the only thing synchronising the fork.
  • 3 3
 @Dougal-SC: Intend us working pretty darn well for me…
  • 4 1
 @v57z3F0q: they're a super light trail fork. This is supposed to be a full dh fork. The loads are different.
  • 1 0
 @Dougal-SC: ahh, right. Thank makes sense. That new EXT can take 15mm or 20mm, so that should be interesting!
  • 8 0
 15mm was never a good idea to begin with. Should have stuck to 20mm for everything north of a 140mm bike.
  • 1 7
flag lightone (Apr 20, 2024 at 23:49) (Below Threshold)
 @zyoungson: bigger diameter axle does not increase stiffness significantly (in most cases of forks) while it increase fork rake and weight.
  • 1 0
 @lightone: Clamping on the axle is more significant e.g. 4 bolts stiffer than screw on axle.
  • 10 0
 After riding a smashpot zeb for the past year I don't think I could go back to air. Please come out with a coil version.
  • 1 3
 coil is trash for faster riders on 150mm+ forks.
Coil is advantageous for slower-mid paced riders on 170mm and under forks.

daddy chill
  • 7 0
 Well, EXT suspension products are not cheap. That‘s a fact. But here in Europe they are in the same price range as Fox.
For example, I paid less for my Storia shock with custom tuning for my riding style / bike kinematic together with two light weight springs compared to an ordinary DHX 2 without a single spring. Just saying…
  • 2 0
 I keep saying the same thing to peeps around here. All they see is the 400€ bare dhx2 shock with a stock tune from the online retailers. A costum tune, spring(s), mounting hardware, and multiple times shipping add up. May be not to the 900€ I paid for my arma V3, but the difference is negligible.
  • 1 0
 EXT USA has yall covered
  • 7 0
 No Mention of MANITOU when stating it has a hexagonal end axle (hexlock)
And those bleeder valves look a lot like the DORADO TSR valves
  • 6 0
 Looks sweet. On a suspension topic...Whatever happened with BOS suspension? I see they have a website but haven't heard and news or reviews in a long time.
  • 2 0
 Great question. They popped on the scene with YT and had a ton of warranty issues and then vanished
  • 26 0
 I think the real question is what happened to ZZYZX
  • 2 0
 New models last year, think they are 39mm stantions for the forks, 200mm for the double-crown, 190mm for the single crown, not very pleasant colors. Think they introduced a new gen of their shocks as well…
  • 11 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I think they're stuck on I-15 somewhere between Vegas and LA.
  • 5 0
 Afaik you can still order product from them. It´s just that nobody does.
Seems to be a french thing. They tend to create product, sometimes even great product, and then for some reason refuse to sell said product or provide any support or spare parts for some reason. At least outside of france. Guess they´re ok with selling only a few units inside the country. Still very odd.
  • 2 0
 They don't seem to be sending stuff out for review any more. Still around and now have all the spare parts you'll ever need available (at a steep cost though). I have their previous 37mm Idyle FCV and I love it. The new stuff is interesting and I'd love to give it a go but with literally zero information or review on them any where online its hard to consider spending that much on what could be a complete lemon.
  • 1 0
 I’ve ordered one of their new forks, the Idylle 39. Feels great, but then again on a previous bike I had an Idylle 37, also felt great. I know there were some issues for some people, but I’ve had 4 BOS forks now and 1 shock. They all have felt amazing and I had no reliability issues. When ordering the Idylle 39 though, it was a special order from JTech, they dont seem to available off the shelf. I guess that’s probably different in France
  • 1 0
 @jeremyk: How do you find it compares to the old fork? The only issue I had with mine was on small fast bumps like braking bumps it would be as if the compression would spike. Has that been fixed / improved?
  • 2 0
 @spicysparkes: Just curious, did your fork happen to have that inertia valve system that I recall them showing in some press releases? They made a big deal about it at the time, and I thought it pretty bold that they'd essentially be putting a BRAIN valve in a DH fork, when even Specialized hasn't used inertia valves on anything beyond 5" of travel. I could certainly see that having a problem with small fast bumps.
  • 1 0
 @thekaiser: It does have the FCV intertia valve feature, good catch. I read that Avy recommends removing it when he does cartridge revalves so I might seen if my local suspension shop can dick around with it next service.
  • 8 0
 38.5mm stanchion diameter. That feels... like deliberate one-upsmanship.
  • 1 0
 The Fox 40 begs to differ.
  • 6 0
 Half-upmanship
  • 1 1
 makes sense, actually. The dorado is 37mm..so, 1.5mm more would add a decent bit of support that a 2mm would *possibly* create too much stiffness.

EXT on clock, baby!
  • 8 1
 All it is going to take is one company to nail the execution of an usd fork and we will all be riding them in a few years.
  • 1 0
 youre lookin at it
  • 3 2
 So its got the Intend Infinity steerer tube, Manitou Dorado hex axle and the Formula Nero R adjustable triple chamber air spring. Those bushing better be perfect from the factory though cause I doubt any 38.5mm burnishing tools exist.
  • 9 1
 Kris Porter and Mojo Rising utilized that style steer tube long before intend did with the offset crowns. In fact, the Syndicate was using them at world champs 2019.
  • 6 0
 @jomacba: And further back, Maverick was doing that on their DUC dual crown in the early aughts.
  • 1 0
 Which intend have now done away with and have a taper steerer on the new model.
  • 1 0
 @konastab01: They also have only been using regular stems with the new infinity and it doesn't look like there are direct mount holes from the photos I've seen. I'd be wanting a pretty good explanation for that.
  • 1 0
 @spicysparkes: I'm going to go all out and say that they are going for the DH/enduro market and the DH only market isnt really a huge seller for em now.

They only have 15mm axle too now and the travel is max 190 from memory
  • 1 0
 Impressive they got the weight of the fork to 3 kg with alloy tubes and 38.5 stanchions. Would be curious to try it - my only complaint on my Dorado pro is the fork loves to twist in the crowns. I suspect alloy tubes wouldn’t have the same issue by allowing for a higher torque spec.
  • 1 0
 I had the dorado expert and had the same issue
  • 2 0
 Out of curiosity, have you tried applying carbon paste to the tube/crown interfaces? It seems counterintuitive that a greasy substance would help, but it has cured several slipping carbon seatposts, and a bar, that I couldn't otherwise fix without going beyond the torque specs. Although I can imagine it might not be as helpful with the very precise fit that forks tend to have, vs. the looser fit of the applications where its commonly used.
  • 1 0
 @thekaiser: I did try that and it still didn't cure it. That said, I was running an aftermarket dorop crown which may have contributed to the issue
  • 1 0
 @willum81: Is it the rulezman 47mm offset drop crown? Cause I am also running it and was curious if it was a contributing factor as I never rode it with the stock crown.
  • 1 0
 @notsosikmik: yes it was. And same - I also never rode it with stock crown
  • 2 0
 An Italian Dorado (golden)... or a golden Italian... maybe an Italian Goldmember.
  • 2 0
 Why not get the Aria to work first before releasing other products that probably need many updates to work as intended.
  • 2 0
 What’s up with the aria?
  • 1 0
 @haen: Three different shocks, all the same Stuck Down problem. EXT seems to work on a solution though.
  • 2 0
 I guess the v4 storia replaces the estoria now it also has a steel shaft.
  • 2 0
 No coil option for the upside down fork?
  • 3 0
 they can probably make the air more expensive
  • 1 0
 @trippleacht: with all the available space in a dual crown for a big negative chamber and a dual positive chamber, I suspect that the spring on this will be really good.
  • 2 0
 Damn.... OnlyForks shut up and take my money.
  • 1 0
 Two questions: What offset is the Inverted fork? Will the Storia V4 upgrades be backwards compatible with Storia V3?
  • 2 0
 hopeful it's 42mm offset.
  • 2 0
 @TokenCanfieldGuy: 42-44mm I'm down with. Happy to see drop crowns so this fork appears to be thought out.
  • 2 1
 Of course it releases the same week I get my V3 in the mail
  • 3 1
 1st world problems…
  • 1 0
 I’ll take that V3 off your hands if you don’t want it
  • 1 0
 Same here cannot fault my era and my stories was perfect.
  • 1 0
 Will there be an upgrade kit for the v3 arma?
I can feel mine top out
  • 1 0
 One hundred million dollars!
  • 1 0
 If its anything like the shock, it'll be fantastic.
  • 1 1
 Should have named it the Stallion instead.
  • 1 0
 boutique dorado??
  • 1 1
 Nope, cause a dorado is the same price point lol
  • 1 0
 @bendrew: You can get Dorado pros for around 1300 (in Europe at least). I guess his comment works ^^
  • 1 0
 Sexy
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