EXT are a company with a wealth of know-how when it comes to suspension. Their suspension can be found on rally cars, among others. The brand is still relatively unknown on the mountain bike scene, but that might all change with the new EXT STORIA LOK V3.
We’ve long tried distancing ourselves from coil shocks on our bikes, replacing them with much lighter and more adjustable air shocks. However, if you look at the starting lineup of any enduro race including the EWS, you’ll see this trend is well and truly over. Every second race bike now features a coil shock. Does this mean that every bike would be better off with a coil instead of air-sprung shock? Usually, coil shocks are very linear, rushing through their travel too easily if used on bikes designed with the progression of air shocks in mind. EXT claim to have solved this problem with their € 950 STORIO LOK V2. The coil spring itself is as linear as any but thanks to EXT’s Hydraulic Bottom-out Control (HBC), the last 15% of the shock’s stroke ramps up progressively. Therefore, the STORIA LOK V3 can also be used on bikes with a relatively linear leverage ratio. On top of that, the HBC allows EXT to use a much smaller bottom-out bumper, so the shock can actually use its full stroke length.
Christoph tested the STORIA LOK V3 on the RAAW Madonna using custom settings recommended to him by EXT. Felix, on the other hand, rode the STORIA LOK V3 for several months on a NICOLAI G1 with the standard settings specified for that bike. The initial setup was quick and easy thanks with the appropriate coil weight installed. However, to make initial adjustments on the trail, you’ll have to carry an uncommonly large 12 mm spanner in backpack or pocket to adjust the high-speed compression, which is a bit annoying. The low-speed compression can be adjusted with 4 mm hex key and doesn’t pose any difficulties and only the rebound offers tool-free adjustment.
Once you’ve dialled your setup, the STORIA LOK V3 delivers a convincing performance on the trail with a very defined ride feel. It offers the plush feeling that coil shocks are renowned for but stays higher in it’s travel with more support through berms and hard compressions. Thanks to its progressive curve, it feels very poppy as you ping off obstacles, making it just as easy to catch air as we’ve become accustomed to with air shocks. The only annoying thing we found was the rattling of the plastic discs next to the bottom-out bumper – we eventually glued them together and that took care of the problem.
There’s a lever to firm-up the shock for the climbs. Depending on your preference, EXT can customise the effect of the climb switch from a fully locked-out hardtail feeling to more versatile platform damping. During testing, we did encounter one problem when air became trapped in the damper, rendering the climb switch useless. However, EXT was easily able to fix the problem after we sent them the shock and we had no further issues.
If you’re looking for an upgrade for your air-sprung bike, the EXT STORIA LOK V3 is an excellent coil shock that also works well with linear leverage ratios thanks to its Hydraulic Bottom-out Control. The shock feels plush yet defined and to top it off, EXT can customise the shock to suit your preferences. High-end componentry such as this has its price though and at € 950 this shock certainly isn’t cheap.
- good progression despite being a coil shock
- buttery smooth
- custom tuning available
- small coil weight increments
- makes sucking noises and rattles
- 12 mm spanner needed to adjust the high-speed compression
- the first shock we received was defective
Tester Christoph und Felix
Duration 5 months
Price € 950
Weight 752 g (205 mm trunnion mount with 500 lbs coil)
More Info extremeshox.com
Words: Christoph Bayer, Felix Stix Photos: Christoph Bayer