Before we dive too far down the rabbit hole of ride impressions, let’s spend a little time going over what makes EXT and the Storia unique. It’s a lot, by the way, so this section might be a bit wordy.
First let’s talk about the hydraulic bottom-out control (HBC), since I’ve mentioned twice already. Here it goes: Air sprung shocks resist bottom-outs because air springs are naturally progressive. As the the shock is compressed, the spring rate increases. Near the end of the stroke, the spring rate is high enough to take a serious edge off bottom-outs. Coil springs don’t have that same thing going on for them because they’re naturally linear. A coil shock doesn’t get harder and harder to compress at the end of its travel. As a result, most coil-sprung shocks use a big bumper on the external piston to physically restrict the piston from reaching bottom-out.
Seem’s pretty primitive, right? It is. The first issue is that those rubber bumpers effectively make it so the shock, and therefore your bike, doesn’t get full travel. Secondly, it’s a spring.
Springs store energy and then return it with equal force. You know, like a pogo stick. Dampers dissipate energy. They calm it down. So, like, what would you prefer to have at the very end of your shock stroke? You’re probably that deep into it because you’re going really fast or shit is hitting the fan. I don’t know about you, but, I’d rather have a damper dissipating energy than a spring returning it.
HBC is a position-sensitive damping circuit that automatically increases compression damping for the last 15 percent of the shock stroke. Basically, it adds progression, but on the damper instead of the spring. The result is a bottomless feel, more available shock travel, better ground tracking, and increased traction and control. In short, HBC is rad.