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EB15: Extreme Shox Arma DH and Storia enduro shocks storm the trail with a low pressure system

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Extreme Shocks Storia enduro mountain bike shock

The shocks you’re seeing here aren’t entirely new, they’ve been on the market for a few years, but it’s the first time we’ve seen them. And there are a few new features for 2015/16. After diving into the tech, they’re worth a good hard look the next time you’re considering upgrading your rear shock.

Extreme Racing Shox are made in Italy of alloy, chromoly steel and titanium with ultra fine tolerances. The beautifully polished exterior is only the icing on the cake. Inside are special sealing systems that take advantage of their extremely low pressure nitrogen chamber that backs up the damping fluid. The result is a super smooth shock that reacts almost immediately to the slightest input forces, giving you better traction and more predictable performance across the entire range.

The damping technology is unlike anything you’ll find on other bicycle suspension components, borrowed almost perfectly from the company’s F1 experience. Put it altogether and you’ve got an extremely high end shock that’s customized for you and your bike, is lightweight, and isn’t much more expensive than what’s already on top level bikes…

Extreme Shocks Arma downhill coil mountain bike shock

Two models are available, the Arma for downhill bikes, and the Storia for enduro and trail bikes. Each one is tuned specifically for you, your riding style and your bike, taking wheel size, leverage ratio and suspension design into consideration. After filling in a questionnaire, the brand tunes the damping characteristics and spring weight just for you, then sends it along with two different coils to ensure you’ve got exactly what you need.

The shocks have been on the market for a few years with three external adjustments on each: Rebound, plus high and low speed compression. Now, they’ve added a hydraulic bottom out adjustment to the Arma, and a lockout lever to the Storia. The black dial just above the piggy back reservoir on the Arma shown above is the hydraulic bottom out dial and gives you control over the compression rate at the very end of the stroke.

Assisting that is a minimal 6mm bottom out damper, which they say is less than half the height of most other brands’ bumpers, letting you use virtually all of the travel before it saves the day.

Extreme Shocks Storia enduro mountain bike shock

The Storia adds a lockout lever in the same spot, useful for longer climbs or sprints.

Extreme Shocks Storia enduro mountain bike shock

The compression adjustments sit just below it, with the inner dial giving you 11 clicks of low speed adjustment and outer 16 clicks of high speed. At the base of the shock, near the lower eyelet, is a 10-click rebound adjustment.

Extreme-Shocks-Arma-DH-mountain-bike-shock10

The original designs are without the additional HBO or lockout controls.

Extreme-Shocks-Arma-DH-mountain-bike-shock11

But, they do provide external nitrogen charge valves. Best bet is to leave that adjustment to the pros, though, unless you have a clean room and a nitrogen charging station.

It’s the nitrogen charge, though, that’s one of the special features of these shocks. Where most brands run up to 300psi behind the IFP, Extreme Shocks runs just 30-35psi. The IFP, or Internal Floating Piston, is what separates the nitrogen charge from the hydraulic damping fluid. The higher the charge, the tighter the piston’s seal must be, which means higher friction. The pressure is there to push back against the fluid and help move it through the rebound circuit,  but higher pressure means it takes more force to start moving it as the shock begins to compress. By using a very low pressure system, the seal can be lighter and the shock can start moving more easily. Result: better small bump compliance.

 

Another big difference? They use F1-inspired spool valves inside rather than the traditional damping controls like shims. Those require no seals or shims and extremely low hysteresis. Translation: Extremely low inertia to overcome and less internal friction. Add in a proprietary low friction nickel plating and Energize seal on the shaft and you end up with very quick movement over the smallest bumps.

Spend the time to get your external controls set correctly and they say it’ll let you run more precise tire pressures. And they do recommend making plenty of practice runs to get all those variables right, even so far as testing different pressures for the different tires you’d run in different weather and trail conditions. You know, kinda like the pros do. Combine it all and you should end up with insane traction in any condition and on any terrain.

The last bit of sizzle for the shocks is the weight: The body weight of the Arma is 450g (241x76mm) and the Storia is 430g (222x69mm). Add in their custom lightweight steel springs and package weights go to about 600-620g. Springs are available in 25lb increments with a wide range to suit any weight rider and bike.

ExtremeShox.com

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satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
7 years ago

pretty cool. too bad they aren’t in the US

MM
MM
7 years ago

Very interesting. Wonder why nobody else is using spool valves? Also, the article wasn’t clear, are trailside air adjustments an option with this shock, or does the nitrogen system obviate any trailside tinkering aside from the LSC, HSC, and rebound?

wuffles
wuffles
7 years ago

MM- Spool valves aren’t used normally in bike suspension because of serious $$$. They take a lot of high-precision machining. F1 and high performance motosport use them because $20k for a shock is chump change to them (not imply this is $20k, but pricey at 655 EUR).

Bean
Bean
7 years ago

What caught my eye on this article is they are able to use 30-35 psi with the IFP. That in itself is a game changer as far as reducing friction. This may be due in part to using the spool values which do not cause cavitation as easy as shim values. While the article does not mention it, the reason traditional shocks use 300+ psi is to help prevent cavitation (vacuum) during damping.

Andrew Brennan
7 years ago

Just a correction. The N2 charge is there to prevent cavitation at the main piston during the compression stroke (not rebound). MM- spool valves are very expensive to make. Changing the gas pressure trial side with change your overall spring rate, but lower is generally better due to the reduced seal friction.

CK
CK
7 years ago

Is that correct that the shaft is nickel plated on the Storia V2???

SB
SB
7 years ago

Nice looking bits. But as far as the write-up goes, there’s no reason to perpetuate the myth that you need an ebola-ready CDC “clean room” to rebuild a shock. Try not to get too many steel filings in it, and you’ll be fine.

Paul rhodes
Paul rhodes
7 years ago

Been running an ARMA Shock in my M9 for a few months now and these shocks are worth every penny, so smooth and small bump sensitivity is that good I run 5psi more in the rear tyre helps stop dents in the rims, and also to give a little feedback through the bike. Now they are coming out with a climb switch on the storia looks like I’ll be getting one for the trail bike. If you can afford one, get one, you won’t regret it people’s.

tooFATtoRIDE
tooFATtoRIDE
7 years ago

Wuffles, where did you find the price? Is it for the new and updated shock? Also, I wonder what is their spring lb range. For instance, 11-6 shock is not available for heavier riders as their spring range ends at 550lb.

tooFATtoRIDE
tooFATtoRIDE
7 years ago

Well, I asked about prices and availability and this is what I got in return:

“the shocks Arma HBC (Downhill) and Storia Lok (Enduro) will be available from mid January 2016 and the price is 725,00€ + VAT, price include 2 Super Alloy Spring”

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