Marzocchi Bomber Air
Marzocchi made its name back in the mid-90's for their burly forks that helped launch the freeride era. Since then, the brand was purchased by the Fox/Race Face group and continues to carve its name in the world outside of race tape and timing systems. Coil suspension is what made Marzocchi famous in that genre, but the addition of the Bomber Air shock has been a welcomed addition to the lineup for riders seeking more progression.
Bomber Air Details
• Low-speed compression - 180-degree dial
• Rebound - 13 clicks
• Weight: 504 grams
• Price: $479 USD
This straightforward air sprung damper comes in at $479, nearly half the cost, and half the size, as the larger, more complicated shocks in our group test. With only rebound and compression adjusters, does that mean that the Bomber Air is any lesser than the big dogs? Setup
Set it and forget it - the Marzocchi Bomber Air is the rotisserie oven of air shocks, at least on our Nomad test sled. Aside from altering the air pressure and rebound to match the spring rate, there was little fussing with the Bomber.
Finding the 30% sag mark was deterred by the position of the shock in the Nomad, though. The shock body is arranged on the rear half of the shock and hides the O-ring sag indicator inside the frame's tunnel, like the DVO Topaz X. 200 psi was the first spring rate I set off with and rotated the rebound dial out 4 clicks from closed. The LSC sweep adjuster was left open during those runs but I was seeking a slightly lower ride height.
I found more stability by moving to 195 PSI and unwinding the rebound two more clicks. The smaller air can size of the Marzocchi provided plenty of progression so adding volume spacers wasn't necessary.Climbing
No climb switch, no problem. These days, most popular trail and enduro bikes, like the Nomad, have enough anti-squat or the force that resists compressing the suspension during pedalling, so firming up the shock with a LSC adjuster can hamper the climbing traction on trail. That's a different story when you're on a smooth road and steep hill though, so is that sweeping compression adjuster on the Bomber Air at all useful?
There's still a noticeable change in how much the shock compresses when pedalling, although for a bike of this size, it's not a make or break factor. Compared to the DVO, the sweep adjuster can be turned with less effort, however, the lack of indexing does mean you'll have to remember how far through the 180-degree rotation you prefer while descending.Descending
Similar to the Ohlins, the manual compression adjuster isn't reserved just for climbing. When I sought more support after lowering pressure in the shock, I found closing the sweep adjuster added a moderate platform - perfect for jump trails that require you to push into the bike.
Marzocchi sent over the Bomber Air with the smallest volume spacer installed - 0.1 cubic inches. Combined with the small air can, this equated to a progressive, but not overly "rampy" spring rate. The smooth breakaway force did lead to mellow mid-stroke which is where that sweep adjuster can come in handy.
Whether it's the simplicity of having fewer clickers to worry about, or that there's less to "get wrong", there's no denying that Marzocchi have made the most of the price point rear shock.
Performance to cost ratio had us pondering, "Why bother spending more?"+
Ultra smooth breakaway
Non-indexed compression adjuster means you'll have to remember exactly where you prefer to clock the dial-
Smaller air can may not be as tuneable as other larger volume shocks, depending on the frame's kinematics
Stay tuned for more Shock Week content, including a roundtable discussion of all the air shocks we tested.