Having a Marzocchi fork on the front of your steed is a sure-fire way of knowing you have a fork that can deal with anything the trail throws at it, and the new 888 RC3 WC is no different.
Using new 38mm nickel coated stanchions, the fork has a wider and sturdier stance than ever before and uses huge forged magnesium lower legs. Like Fox, Marzocchi have decided to use an integral cable mount for the front brake - but instead of the one-bolt design that Fox use, there is a simple plate with two Allen bolts to secure. It is a little fiddly with the twin bolt set-up, but is secure and looks tidy. A new post mount adorns the lower legs, along with a bolt-through axle.
A single titanium spring operates in the right leg, on top of which sits a nice chunky preload adjuster that's simple to use. The other leg contains the RC3 cartridge - which has speed sensitive high and low compression damping, adjusted by the dial on the bottom of the fork leg. The dial on the top takes care of rebound damping, and the knurled ring under this adjusts the air volume, which has the same ramping up effect as raising the oil level. Our forks weighed slightly over the claimed weight of 3.17kg (6.98lbs) at 3.18kg (7.02lbs), but this still puts the fork very competitively in the race fork category - Fox 40s weigh 3.12kg (6.88lbs) and Rockshox Boxxer WCs, slightly less at 2.99kg (6.60lbs). Bear in mind that the Rockshox is an Air unit, and the Fox is a minimal race fork - the Marzocchi has the trademark 'everything proof' build that people have come to love from Marzocchi.
We've heard of some early sample problems with loose bushings on some Marzocchi's, but these 888s are slick straight from the off. In fact they're getting slicker the more we use them...
It took us a while to get them set up just right as there's a lot of adjustment. We allowed the bushings to loosen slightly before going back to set-up and found we just needed a tad more compression. In use they feel lively - stiffer than last year's fork and more controlled. It's a very plush fork and the ride could only be that of a Marzocchi. It may not be the lightest, but it will roll through anything, laugh in the face of drops and loves to be abused.