The original and the best made a welcome return after the company’s buy-out by Fox Racing Shox and you can read Ben’s Marzocchi Bomber Z1 review here.
If you wanted grip in the early 2000s, then you would have an Italian fork bolted to the front of your bike. After a hiatus, the Bombers are back and you can see what Ben made of them in his Marzocchi Bomber Z1 review.
Photos by Dave Price.
- Available in 130-170mm travel for 29” or 150-180mm travel for 27.5”
- 180mm 27.5” tested
- Black or Red (180mm only)
- 36mm stanchions
- Boost axle
- GRIP damper with Float EVOL air spring
- £749.00 RRP
As far as iconic products go, the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 is right up there. Dating back to 1997 when it raised the suspension performance bar with its twin coil design and burly build, can the new incarnation live up to its name?
The first change is that Marzocchi is now a part of Fox Racing Shox which can only be a good thing as they are one of the market leaders in MTB suspension development. At £749, the Bomber Z1 sits below the top tier Fox 36 line of forks, but still uses the GRIP damper and the shares many other features from Fox forks.
To save money compared to a Fox 36, the Bomber has 36mm stanchions constructed from 6000-series aluminium rather than the 7000-series found on the Fox forks. This keeps the fork strong and stiff, but means that it is around 150-200 grams heavier than a 36 depending on the exact model.
Unlike the original, this fork is air sprung. As usual it is adjusted via a Schraeder valve on top of the left fork leg. It also has rebound adjustment and a dial that adjusts both low and high speed compression at the same time. You can also adjust the air volume via volume spacers like in most other air forks.
The Bomber Z1 is unashamedly a tough, hard-hitting fork aimed at people who want high performance at a good price and who are not so fussed about weight and loads of adjustment.
I fitted the 180mm travel 27.5” model to my 2019 Commencal Clash, replacing the Rock Shox Lyrik that came fitted to it. I took it for a local spin on some chilled out XC trails to get a basic setup dialled and on these straight forward and fun trails you would struggle to tell the difference between the Bomber and the Lyrik it replaced.
Once set up the Z1 got taken to some proper terrain more fitting of its travel and intended use. It felt as stiff and direct as any offering from Rock Shox or Fox and was very supple without any breaking in period. In most trail situations you would struggle to tell it apart from a Lyrik or a 36 Factory. It is only when things get very chattery or super rough that the more expensive options show their class and superiority over the more budget Bomber Z1.
As you would expect the Z1 loves big hits and hucks and there is no hint of spikes where some forks get overwhelmed. It takes these hits like a champ, staying composed and helping to give you confidence to send it hard.
You can increase its suppleness over off camber roots and high frequency bumps by winding out the compression dial completely but as this also reduces low speed compression it reduces mid-stroke support somewhat. You almost have to choose between suppleness and support depending on whether you are hitting bike park laps or wet and slimy woodland singletrack.
The only thing that lets this fork down is the quick release lever which is like a horrible old Rock Shox lever where you use the main lever against a recess in the axle. It does not have much purchase and is really fiddly to use. A simple bolt through axle would be much better in my opinion.
What do we think?
Overall this is a great option that sits on its own in an increasingly crowded fork market. It is more composed than a Rock Shox Yari or Fox 34, and less sophisticated than the Lyrik or 36 Factory with a price that reflects its position.
- Highly tuneable
- Stiff chassis
- Excellent support on big hits
- As good as a 36 or Lyrik in most situations
Could do better:
- Fiddly axle would be better with a straight bolt through
- High and low speed compression not individually adjustable