EXT Arma HBC v3 Vs. Avalanche Woodie- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    EXT Arma HBC v3 Vs. Avalanche Woodie

    Hey guys,
    would love and greatly appreciate any and all input.
    The title speaks for itself in the question I am asking.
    This is for going on a full DH racing rig. I have much experience with Avy and there open bath cartridges as well as there new coil hybrids for the forks. Best and most supple set up I have ever felt in my life... itís insane! Iím beyond words for it.

    As for the back, always just run a DHX2 for the rear. An 11.6 for the trail bike. The 11.6 definitely gives me a sour taste for the DHX2 and how it performs. Definitely want to get the best out there whatever it may be to try and match the front. So it comes down to the two I have most heard as being the top dogs in pure performance and feel.
    EXT Arma HBC V3 Vs. Avalanche Woodie

    anyone have any experience with either or both and can give some insight? Anything and all is appreciated and thank you!

  2. #2
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    Not sure if its worthy of consideration, but when i built up my trailbike last spring, I was debating between having Craig do the shock, or Steve at Vorsprung.

    Decided on having Craig do the shock as he was also doing the fork cartridge, and I was thinking balance may be better with the same tuner doing both ends.
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  3. #3
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    Having just gotten back from a mtb vacation in WA where I took the "big bike", it still blows me away how far and beyond the Avy stuff is. When your bumps are not just 3" roots and rocks, but multi-foot steps going down root-chutes, the suspension just keeps up and lets you rip it. It also makes me think there may be something wrong with how other tuners are assessing the needed tunes, I'm going to give the others a few more chances, but back to the Avy stuff, I'd probably go Woodie based on experiences (had a Chubbie and DHS at one point). That "extreme" shock looks promising, but Craig seems to be full-in the MTB game with lots of support, parts, etc. Maybe would try the other guys if I was in Yurp, but I'd be worried that they wouldn't continue MTB support at some point. They already say they won't re-size shocks for new frames. It's not always possible to do this, but they say they flat out won't.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Just based on my recent experience with Avalanche, I'd probably use him over anybody else. I'd be curious on his thoughts between the Woddie and a modified Bomber CR/Van RC.

    Purchased new, they would like be similar in price once the Bomber was fully optioned out and a good light weight spring added. But you could save some money buying a lightly used/takeoff Bomber/Van...

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    Good thought on the balance aspect. Didnít really consider that until you said it but it does very much simplify things in terms of one tuner helping with the whole bike. He gets to know you and what works and can get it all dialed in. Also it helps with maintenance all going to just one man for both products.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Having just gotten back from a mtb vacation in WA where I took the "big bike", it still blows me away how far and beyond the Avy stuff is. When your bumps are not just 3" roots and rocks, but multi-foot steps going down root-chutes, the suspension just keeps up and lets you rip it. It also makes me think there may be something wrong with how other tuners are assessing the needed tunes, I'm going to give the others a few more chances, but back to the Avy stuff, I'd probably go Woodie based on experiences (had a Chubbie and DHS at one point). That "extreme" shock looks promising, but Craig seems to be full-in the MTB game with lots of support, parts, etc. Maybe would try the other guys if I was in Yurp, but I'd be worried that they wouldn't continue MTB support at some point. They already say they won't re-size shocks for new frames. It's not always possible to do this, but they say they flat out won't.
    What other tuners and products have you tried?
    The ext shock does look and sound very promising! Good news is maintenance wise that the EXT distributor and tuner for NA is only 3 hours from my house so that only makes my decisions even tougher.
    I can see how the resizing part becomes a consideration but not too much a concern for me. More just purely looking for performance. I do know from running his fork set ups that his stuff is absolutely top notch though!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mykel View Post
    Not sure if its worthy of consideration, but when i built up my trailbike last spring, I was debating between having Craig do the shock, or Steve at Vorsprung.

    Decided on having Craig do the shock as he was also doing the fork cartridge, and I was thinking balance may be better with the same tuner doing both ends.
    Good thought on the balance aspect. Didnít really consider that until you said it but it does very much simplify things in terms of one tuner helping with the whole bike. He gets to know you and what works and can get it all dialed in. Also it helps with maintenance all going to just one man for both products.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike156 View Post
    Just based on my recent experience with Avalanche, I'd probably use him over anybody else. I'd be curious on his thoughts between the Woddie and a modified Bomber CR/Van RC.

    Purchased new, they would like be similar in price once the Bomber was fully optioned out and a good light weight spring added. But you could save some money buying a lightly used/takeoff Bomber/Van...
    Craigís stuff definitely is top notch!
    I think he would probably suggest his shock vs a Bomber CR as the woodie is his shock built exactly how he wants. The internals more resemble a moto shock and everything in it such as the main piston size etc are slightly larger for better flow and performance.
    I know that beyond his shock though that he very very highly recommends the Avy mod and tuned Bomber CR.

  9. #9
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    If you're in the US, all options are there for you because shipping stuff around is easy. Me being in Canada, not so simple even though I'm close to the border and can drive there easily...still a pain though:

    -An Avalanche DHS/Woodie over the Fox RC/Marz damper: Well, the Avalanche shocks are big and indestructible. Getting light weight springs is tougher and more expensive unless you find one for the RS Vivid or Super Deluxe. MRP makes SL springs that should work too. Tuning a Fox RC or Marz shock is Craig's favourite since it uses a big piston and the tuning capabilities are better compared to the DHX2...etc. FYI, the PUSH 11-6 basic chassis is based on the Fox RC. If you need a rebuild, only Craig can deal with it. Whereas with an Avalanche tuned Fox/Marz shock, a local guy could probably do it. But shipping your shock to Craig during the off season is no biggie if you're in the US.

    -Resizing shocks: Even though some guys say they'll reconfigure their shocks, it's not so simple. It can get expensive as hell because you could be re-buying half the shock worth of parts.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMP11 View Post
    What other tuners and products have you tried?
    The ext shock does look and sound very promising! Good news is maintenance wise that the EXT distributor and tuner for NA is only 3 hours from my house so that only makes my decisions even tougher.
    I can see how the resizing part becomes a consideration but not too much a concern for me. More just purely looking for performance. I do know from running his fork set ups that his stuff is absolutely top notch though!
    Since I'm giving them some more chances, I'm not going to elaborate on the others at this time.

    Having the EXT distributor close sounds nice, but looking at all the craziness that people have had to go through with BOS products, that wouldn't fill me with confidence. It's another plus in their favor, but again, will they still be here in a few years, 5 years, etc? I agree that resizing usually isn't a big concern, it can be nice if you are moving from frame to frame, these custom tuned shocks are so much better than OEM that it's not funny, yet every year the big OEM manufacturers try to convince us how their new product is that much better, it gets comical at some point, as they tend to have huge damping/valving flaws that limit performance...year after year. So the custom stuff tends to be the stuff you want to keep and move to another frame. But again, not a huge deal, as it can still be quite expensive even when you can resize it, because you are essentially changing everything but some of the body for a different bike/leverage/stroke.

    It's also fun to try something new or that few people get the chance to try...
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Since I'm giving them some more chances, I'm not going to elaborate on the others at this time.

    Having the EXT distributor close sounds nice, but looking at all the craziness that people have had to go through with BOS products, that wouldn't fill me with confidence. It's another plus in their favor, but again, will they still be here in a few years, 5 years, etc? I agree that resizing usually isn't a big concern, it can be nice if you are moving from frame to frame, these custom tuned shocks are so much better than OEM that it's not funny, yet every year the big OEM manufacturers try to convince us how their new product is that much better, it gets comical at some point, as they tend to have huge damping/valving flaws that limit performance...year after year. So the custom stuff tends to be the stuff you want to keep and move to another frame. But again, not a huge deal, as it can still be quite expensive even when you can resize it, because you are essentially changing everything but some of the body for a different bike/leverage/stroke.

    It's also fun to try something new or that few people get the chance to try...
    Fair enough and totally understandable.

    You make all great points. There focus is also majorly in the car/rally world so will they always have interest in the mtb game? who knows.. it is a tough choice between the two but everything I keep hearing and reading is starting to just continuously point towards Craig and the Avy Woodie.
    After taking to many suspension tuners and everything, it really does become apparent how much crap OEM tries to sell you with every year. Its crazy how flawed some of the newest suspension is but they sell you on the placebo effect thinking that you get to do all this fancy tuning from home or on the go just twisting knobs but in reality there is much more effective work that can be done internally and most of the time the cheaper "less tunable" suspension bits are actually more highly tunable and more effective with larger main piston, room for mid valve etc..

    I do not know about ext but it does sound promising. As for Avy however, I know what his work is like already and I know that something he custom built from the ground up to his standards will be absolute top notch. I appreciate the good points of conversation and the chatting. Its helping me start to lean one direction.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMP11 View Post
    Craigís stuff definitely is top notch!
    I think he would probably suggest his shock vs a Bomber CR as the woodie is his shock built exactly how he wants. The internals more resemble a moto shock and everything in it such as the main piston size etc are slightly larger for better flow and performance.
    I know that beyond his shock though that he very very highly recommends the Avy mod and tuned Bomber CR.
    Yeah, he seems the type to tell you though if a cheaper solution might still get you 95% of the performance. He's never tried to upsell me on anything anyway. He did however say, "yeah, it's been about 3 weeks since you got the fork, I figured I'd hear from you about getting something else for the back too." His products kind of sell themselves and I can't wait to send off my rear shock now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike156 View Post
    Yeah, he seems the type to tell you though if a cheaper solution might still get you 95% of the performance. He's never tried to upsell me on anything anyway. He did however say, "yeah, it's been about 3 weeks since you got the fork, I figured I'd hear from you about getting something else for the back too." His products kind of sell themselves and I can't wait to send off my rear shock now.
    Very true as well, he has never tried to shove a product down your throat or sell you the most expensive Product just to make money. In fact every time I have spoken to him he has tried to sell me on a Bomber CR because it is in fact CHEAPER than my DXH2 and highly more tuneable.
    He leaves little comments here and there that show his confidence in his products and rightfully so! I think when it comes to his his own personally built higher end stuff it kinda sells itself. He just mentions here and there that there are things he wishes he could change about products and what he is after he has done with his own stuff. Also I think he leaves it to once you try something from him, youíll want more product from him.
    Iím sure sending it out will be a game changer for you! Pumped for you

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