Thursday, March 1, 2007 12.00am
By Fin Paton
The new Z1 RC2 ETA is a tough 150mm freeride fork. Unlike the original Z1, it comes with a 20mm bolt-through axle for stiffness and International Standard (IS) disc mounts only. Durability is always good with Marzocchi, but with around half a pint of oil inside, the weight reflects this. At 2.6kg it's nearly half a kilo heavier than its nearest rivals.
The 150mm of travel can be shortened using the ETA (External Travel Adjustment) system, which uses oil in the left leg cartridge to hold the fork down in its travel. However, this is only good for climbing as the fork loses all its performance with ETA engaged.
Air Assist lets you stiffen up the ride, but there are no softer springs available for smaller riders. And instead of bonding the steerer, crown and stanchion legs together, the parts are bolted (like they used to be) so you can replace them relatively cheaply.
The Z1s felt most at home on a burly steel hardtail; the weight made lighter bikes nose heavy. They held up well, but having only one spring with an Air Assist (in the other leg) makes what should be a lively coil fork feel a little less supple. However, this is compensated for by its point and shoot stiffness. For this money we'd expect some form of compression damping control, though.
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