The Period is the end result, an air-sprung fork (a coil version is in the functions) that employs EXT’s HS3 hybrid air spring. There are 140, 150, 160, and 170mm selections, all for 29” wheels.
My 170mm exam fork weighed in at 2270 grams, together with the through-axle. Not remarkably, large-close Italian suspension just isn’t low-priced – the Era retails for €1480.
• Supposed use: all-mountain / enduro
• Vacation: 140, 150, 160, or 170mm
• Wheel sizing: 29″
• Stanchions: 36mm
• Offset: 44mm
• HS3 hybrid air spring system
• Changes: HSC, LSC, rebound, two constructive air chambers
• Real excess weight: 2270 grams (w/thru-axle)
• MSRP: €1480
• Extra info: extremeshox.com
HS3 Air Spring
Inside the Era’s remaining leg reside two beneficial air spring chambers, a adverse chamber, and a modest coil spring to make the fork even far more supple. For the reason that the coil spring has a lot less friction to triumph over than the air spring prior to it starts off going, it will help guarantee that the initial portion of the fork’s travel is very responsive. DT Swiss use a identical strategy in their F535 A single fork, although the damper and air spring layouts of the two forks are really various.
The Era’s positive chambers are stuffed by way of two Shrader valves on the top rated of the fork marked + and ++. Individually, I think that labeling them as A & B or 1 & 2 would have been a small significantly less bewildering, but possibly that is just me. The + chamber is the much larger of the two, and is responsible for the quantity of pressure demanded to compress the fork as a result of its total stroke.
As the fork compresses, when a selected pressure is arrived at the piston that separates the two chambers commences to go and the ++ chamber normally takes around, handling the mid-stroke assist and amount of bottom out resistance.
Obtaining the fork established up requires inflating the greater strain ++ chamber initially, and then the + chamber. The force that is in the ++ chamber desires to be larger than what is actually in the + chamber in order for all the things to function correctly.
On the damper facet, the Era has externally adjustable rebound and large- and lower-pace compression damping. The specific number of clicks varies a little bit owing to assembly tolerances, but my exam fork has a full of 12 clicks of LSC and 10 clicks of HSC.
The cartridge takes advantage of a spring-backed inner floating piston to cope with the oil displacement that occurs throughout compression, and employs a piston that actions 22mm in diameter. EXT went with a greater piston diameter and a bigger volume of oil in buy to assist sustain consistency on lengthy, sustained operates.
EXT worked closely with Mojo Growing to develop a crown that satisfied their stiffness goals. The end result is manufactured from solid 7050 T6 aluminum and utilizes a shape that will increase the amount of overlap among the crown and the steerer tube. Extra overlap need to boost stiffness, as nicely as minimize the probability of the fork producing the dreaded ‘creaky crown syndrome’.
The Era’s bushing design and construction were being originally produced by EXT for use on Planet Rally Championship vehicles. They also designed their own oil, and worked with RacingBros to establish the fork’s wiper seal.
The quest to build a supremely smooth working fork failed to stop there, while EXT also use a proprietary cartridge coating and a finishing course of action on the fork’s metal chromed shafts to assure there isn’t really any unwelcome stiction.
I am usually not one particular to gush, but after 6 strong rides on the Era I am comfy saying that I have never ridden a fork that felt this excellent correct out of the box. I’ve even switched bikes with a pair of driving companions mid-journey so they could encounter what I was sensation, and in both of those cases the general consensus was “that’s ridiculous.”
Indeed, the “air that feels like a coil” claim has been made various times just before, but in this situation EXT have arrive unbelievably near to mimicking the extremely-delicate, plush come to feel of a coil fork, with the capacity to tune the finish stroke ramp up to prevent harsh bottom outs.
I’m at present running 65 psi in the + chamber and 100 psi in the ++ chamber on the 170mm version, which is a minimal bit above what EXT endorses for my 160 lb bodyweight. Conditions have been dry and rapid currently – I could see dropping the principal air chamber force for even much more traction, but as it is you will find been an remarkable total of grip.
It really is the simplicity that the fork initiates its vacation that truly stands out. Even whilst climbing, the aspect of the trip wherever fork efficiency tends to choose a backseat, the Era’s potential to effortlessly clean out chunkier sections of path is recognizable. Suggestion the trail the other way and the Period genuinely shines – square-edged hits just disappear, all without the need of working with up far too substantially travel.
It truly is a exceptional feeling, and it took me a small bit to get accustomed to the truly feel of the Era. At initially I imagined I may possibly need to operate significantly less than the advised 15-20% sag, due to the fact it failed to appear to be probable to have such a supple starting stroke without bottoming out off the smallest fall or sitting down as well deep in the travel. It turns out that was not the case at all – there was enough assistance for pushing into corners and working with compressions, all although reserving adequate vacation for the actually major hits.
So much I’ve only experienced just one harsh bottom out, which transpired when a huck-to-flat turned to a huck-to-uphill in other text, not an unexpected result. Given that then, I have included 5 psi to the ++ chamber and haven’t had any far more end-stroke incidents.
How extensive will the EXT’s elegant smoothness past? Will that crown structure maintain creaking at bay? I will be continuing to place time in on the Era in excess of the coming months – seem for a observe-up report at the time I rack up adequate miles. As it is, the Era is a remarkable debut from the Italian suspension experts.
Studio photos: Alex Luise
Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.