For years, the name Marzocchi was synonymous with freeriding – think Wade Simmons hucking over a jacked-up pickup truck, or Richie Schley riding a super-steep rock face in Whistler. But those memories are nearly 15 years old now, and in more recent years Marzocchi's presence in the sport diminished. Rumors swirled about the company's demise, and then, in 2016, Fox Racing Shox announced they had acquired certain assets from Marzocchi's mountain bike product lines.
Things were pretty quiet for the last two season, but that's about to change. Backed by Fox, Marzocchi is ramping it up again, entering the market with two new forks that are meant to re-establish their reputation for plush, durable, and bombproof suspension: the single crown Z1 and the dual crown 58.
Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Details
• EVOL air spring
• GRIP Sweep damper with adjustable rebound and LSC
• 15 x 110mm spacing
• 27.5" or 29" options
• Colors: gloss red, matte black
• Travel: 130-170mm (29"), 150-180mm (27.5")
• Price: $699 USD
The air-sprung Z1 is aimed at riders looking for a long-travel single crown fork that's simple to set up, and that can take a beating out on the trail. Travel options range from 150-180mm in 10mm increments for 27.5” wheels, and from 130-170mm for 29” wheels, also in 10mm increments. The gloss red finish is eye-catching, but there's also a more subdued matte black option.
The Z1 has externally adjustable rebound and low-speed compression damping via Fox's GRIP damper. Previously, that damper was only found in forks that came on complete bikes – it was aimed at OEMs, and wasn't available as an aftermarket option. The GRIP damper uses a spring-backed internal floating piston to compensate for the oil as the fork is compressed, a design that's common in the motorcycle world.
The GRIP damper's spring-backed IFP.
As it turned out, that simple-but-effective damper received glowing reviews
, which is why this year you'll find a modified version of it, called GRIP2, in Fox's highest end 36 and 40 forks. The GRIP damper found in the Z1 doesn't offer quite as many external adjustments as GRIP2, but the overall concept remains the same. Rebound is adjusted via a dial hidden under the black cap on the right leg, and the oversized gold dial at the top adjusts the compression.
The Z1's 36mm chassis is constructed from 6000-series aluminum, which does add a little weight, but also helps to reduce the final cost. Our 170mm test fork weighed in at 2,210-grams, or around 150-grams more than a 2019 Fox 36. Ride Impressions
I have fond memories of riding Marzocchi forks over the years, dating all the way back to a red Z2 Atom Bomb I had 1998, so I'll admit that seeing that M logo on the cardboard box that the new Z1 arrived in sent me on a trip down memory lane. Flashback finished, I mounted up the 170mm Z1 to the front of a Nukeproof Mega 290, adjusted the air pressure (the fork came with one volume spacer already installed), and hit the trails.
There aren't any detents on the low-speed compression dial, so if you're extra-picky you may need to make a little indicator with a paint pen on the crown to mark the sweet spot. That dial provides a wide range of adjustment; the fork is extremely plush in the open position, and it's virtually locked out in the firmest setting. I settled on positioning it about 1/8 of the way through its range – that gave me the support I was looking for while still retaining plenty of buttery suppleness.
With a price tag of roughly $300 USD less than the top-of-the-line options from Fox and RockShox, the Z1 may be positioned as more of a budget fork, but its performance out on the trail certainly doesn't reflect that. It's smooth, silent, and remains composed in even the chunkiest, most chopped up sections of trail – there's not much more you could ask for. In fact, I'm having trouble remembering the last time I had a fork feel this good right out of the box, no matter the price.
It's still early on in the test period – I only have a handful of rides in on the Z1 so far – but my first impressions are very positive. I'll be trying to find the limits of its performance and assessing its durability in the coming months – keep an eye out for a long-term review later this year. Marzocchi Bomber 58
Marzocchi also has a new dual crown fork on the way, the 58. The 58 has 40mm stanchions, and it uses 20 x 110 non-Boost spacing at the dropouts. That will be welcome news for riders in the market for a new fork who don't want to deal with the hassle of finding adaptors to make their wheels fit Boost 110 spacing.
Like the Z1, the 58 is air-sprung, uses a GRIP damper, and has externally adjustable rebound and low-speed compression damping. For now, the 58 will be available with 203mm of travel for 27.5” wheels in either a gloss red or matte black. MSRP: $999 USD
• 203mm travel
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• 20 x 110 (non-Boost) spacing
• New 40mm chassis with Marzocchi specific lower casting
• FIT GRIP damper with compression and rebound adjustment
• EVOL air spring
• Gloss red or matte black graphics
• MSRP: $999 USD