The original Marzocchi Bomber Z1 was legendary. In 1997 its use of coil springs and open-bath, highly adjustable damping in both legs outperformed its spindly, elastomer-damped rivals like lightbulbs outperformed candles.
Yes, it was heavy — too heavy for many po-faced traditionalists — but its suppleness, steering stiffness and reliability won Marzocchi an enviable reputation and almost cult-following, which the brand enjoyed for years.
But after some tumultuous times, Marzocchi was bought by Fox in 2016. Since then, there’s been little news about how the two brands would collaborate and fit together in the competitive suspension marketplace.
The lowers are all Marzocchi, but the upper tubes are the same as you’ll find on Fox’s Rhythm forks Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
Now though, Marzocchi has a brand-new fork. It’s called the Bomber Z1.
So, is Marzocchi set to revolutionise the suspension world like it did over 20 years ago? Not exactly. Not just yet anyway.
The new Bomber Z1 sports the classic M-shaped arch and flamboyant red lowers that gave Marzocchi forks of old their distinctive look. There’s a new quick-release axle design too. But the upper crown-steerer assembly is the same as you’d find on a Fox 36 Rhythm fork. (The Rhythm is Fox’s more budget-focussed OEM only fork, which uses slightly heavier upper tubes made from 6000-series alloy, while the forks available to the aftermarket use 7000-series alloy which allows for lighter tubes).
The air spring top cap and compression adjuster have a chunky Marzocchi feel to them, but they control Fox internals Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
It also contains essentially the same EVOL air-spring you’d get in a Fox 36, and the FIT GRIP damper you’d get in a Fox Performance series fork.
That’s no bad thing, though, as Fox’s EVOL spring and GRIP damper are among the best performers for their price point out there, but Marzocchi fans should be aware that the lowers and dials are about the only Marzocchi originals.
The Bomber Z1 will be available with 15x110mm Boost axles only, and travel options will range from 130–170mm in 29in/27.5in+ and 150–180mm in 27.5in.
Marzocchi’s tool-free QR axle is quite different to Fox’s design Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
Travel can be changed in 10mm increments (by swapping the spring shaft). Our 160mm x 29in sample weighs 2,266g. That’s around 200g heavier than the equivalent Fox 36 or RockShox Lyrik.
The Bomber Z1 will cost £749 / $699 / €899 / $1,149 AUS. That’s considerably cheaper than Fox’s FIT4 36 forks, but a little more than a RockShox Yari.