EXT Era V2.1 Fork

EXT Era V2.1 Fork

Travel Options: 140, 150, 160, and 170 mm

Wheel Sizes: 29’’

Available Offset: 44 mm

Stanchions: 36 mm

Blister’s Measured Weight (170 mm, uncut steerer tube): 2,369 g

MSRP: €1,480 / $1,650

David Golay reviews the EXT Era V2.1 for Blister
Era V2.1


We liked the original EXT Era quite a bit when we reviewed it a few years ago, but EXT has been tweaking and refining the fork ever since, and just launched a new iteration that they’re calling V2.1. While the new fork shares most of its features and overall design with the versions that preceded it, there have been a lot of internal tweaks over the years that have added up to some big changes in on-trail performance.

The Design

The high-level design and features of the Era V2.1 are mostly the same as the original version that we reviewed a few years back — it’s still offered only for 29’’ wheels and with 44 mm of offset; the travel is still adjustable internally, between 140 and 170 mm, in 10 mm increments, via spacers; the damper design carries over, with the same adjustable high- and low-speed compression, plus rebound; and the HS3 spring with its dual-positive chamber design, plus a small coil spring for initial small-bump sensitivity remains as well. For a complete rundown on all that, check out the “Design” section of our review of the original Era. So what has changed? Before we get to V2.1, it would probably help to start with what changed from V1 to V2:

The biggest change in the Era V2 was the introduction of new lowers with a floating axle design, in place of the non-floating design in the original. The new axle layout is very similar to that used by Fox in their 36 and 38, Öhlins across their single crown fork range, and others, with an axle that threads into the non-drive-side dropout and is clamped with a pinch bolt at the drive-side one. A step on the axle butts up against the hub end cap to secure the wheel without pinching or spreading the fork legs for improved alignment and reduced friction. The axle is still a 110 x 15 mm Boost size, with dropouts machined for Torque Cap hubs, though you can still use standard Boost ones as well.

David Golay reviews the EXT Era V2.1 for Blister
EXT Era V2 — Dropout

The Era V2 also received updated bushings with added dimples to help trap oil on the sliding surfaces, and a “backup channel” on the lower bushings — essentially a groove that gives the bath oil an improved pathway to the upper bushing and seals to keep those lubricated as well. The air spring also received some tweaks, with the “++” chamber (the secondary positive ramp-up one; again, check out our review of the Era V1 for a more complete rundown) getting a new topout bumper to reduce noise and a clunking sensation that some riders had complained about, and improved bottom-out bumpers as well.

And that brings us to V2.1. The main changes here are in the spring, and while the overall layout hasn’t changed, EXT has made some adjustments to the relative volumes of the various chambers, making the negative and main positive (i.e., “+”) ones bigger, with the size of the ++ one being reduced accordingly to make room.

The idea here is to increase small-bump sensitivity for improved traction and comfort while making the fork a little bit less progressive overall, with a less aggressive ramp-up deeper in the travel. The dual-positive spring design does make the Era’s spring highly tunable, but EXT decided to aim for a slightly less progressive, less aggressive baseline to make setup easier for folks who wanted a little more plushness and comfort than they could get out of the very supportive earlier iterations.

EXT has also introduced new lower bushings on the Era V2.1, with a new sliding surface material that they say is smoother and can be manufactured to tighter tolerances for reduced friction. All of the updates in the V2.1 fork can be retrofitted to earlier generations (both V1 and V2); reach out to your local EXT service center if you’re interested in updating an older fork.

David Golay reviews the EXT Era V2.1 for Blister
EXT Era V2.1

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) We found the original Era to be exceptionally supportive and composed, but also notably progressive with a lot of end-of-stroke ramp-up when we tested it a few years ago. How much have the air spring revisions in the V2.1 changed that?

(2) The Era V1 was already notably low friction and smooth sliding, so has EXT really managed to make noticeable improvements on that front?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The tweaks that EXT has made to the Era V2.1 sound promising on paper, but we’re very curious to see how they pan out on the trail, and whether the claimed improvements in sensitivity and plushness come at the expense of any of the outstanding support and composure that made the original Era stand out. We’ve got an Era V2.1 in for testing and have started spending time on it, so we’ll have answers soon. Stay tuned for a full review to come.

Flash Review

Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Era V2.1 for our initial on-trail impressions. Become a Blister Member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on a ton of great gear, and personalized gear recommendations from us.

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