With a lighter chassis that can take both 26in and 650b wheels, nickel coated stanchions and a new hybrid damping system, Marzocchi’s latest downhill fork is a big step forward for the Italian brand. The coil-sprung 380 C2R2 Ti marks their return to a hotly contested marketplace where the big players from across the Atlantic have been making strides towards increased support, traction and lighter weight construction, leaving Marzocchi somewhat in their shadow – until now.
At the heart of the fork lies the new Dynamic Bleed Cartridge. This takes elements from Marzocchi’s usual open bath design but incorporates a sealed cartridge to prevent the oil and air mixing and improve consistency. The car park test revealed a fork that felt a lot like previous Marzocchis, with an endless, buttery-smooth feeling through the first part of the travel, which led us to wonder if there’d be enough support further into the stroke. This concern was quickly dismissed when we hit the rutted and braking-bump riddled descents of Morzine, France.
With external high- and low-speed compression, rebound and preload adjustment via a series of clearly indexed CNC machined dials, getting the 380 dialled in is relatively simple, though patience and a rough understanding of damping certainly helps. We were able to easily tune the fork to match a desired ride feel or handle changes in terrain.
The coated stanchions slide effortlessly through the bespoke seals and extended bushes and down into the lubricating oil below, delivering that effortless Marzocchi feel, and the new DBC damping works flawlessly, preventing diving, allowing the fork to make effective use of its 200mm (7.9in) of travel and helping the front tyre fight for every ounce of available grip.
The tapered two-piece axle is faffier than other designs but, along with the moto inspired crowns, large magnesium lowers and stout 38mm stanchions, adds to exceptional overall stiffness. Ti springs ensure it weighs just 60g more (2.86kg) than a 26in specific, air sprung Fox 40 Float.
Unlike on some other forks, you don’t have to swap the lower crown to switch between wheel sizes (the offset is geared for 650b but worked fine with the 26in wheels we tested it with), and though different rider weights require different springs, two are included and Windwave (UK distributors) will provide the correct weight free of charge. All this adds up to the 380 being one of the lightest and most tunable coil forks out there.