If you need a solid but relatively affordable mountain bike fork, you should be excited about the Marzocchi Bomber Z2. The original Z2 that came out in the late 90s was a huge step forward with its coil springs and open oil bath system.
The reborn Bomber Z2 has travel options ranging from 100 to 150 millimeters and a price of $499. But none of that matters if it doesn't work well. And trust me, it will.
Why I'd bet on the Marzocchi Bomber Z2
A few years ago, I built a cool titanium hardtail. It's a weird one with a singlespeed belt drive. So I had to be weird with the fork, too. I found a sweet deal on a Marzocchi 320 LR fork. That one leans a bit more cross-country in nature than the new Bomber Z-2.
But it was considerably better than the XFusion I used on a previous hardtail. It never bottoms out as harshly, it doesn't hiss when compressed, it steers just slightly better (possibly because of its thru-axle). It held up beautifully during my first six-hour singlespeed race.
From what I understand, the new Marzocchi forks are built by Fox. That's another point in its favor (though some people insist that Fox doesn’t make ’em like they used to).
Users on the MTBR forum also praise the 320 LR, which is a good sign for the Bomber Z2.
Wait for the Release Date
If you're putting a bike together, it would be worth waiting for this fork. My experience with Marzocchi 320 LR gives me confidence that you'll have a great fork for a good price. You'll be able to choose between 27.5 and 29er versions, too.
You'll also be able to get different fork rake options, so be sure you know your frame's geometry before you buy: Your local bike shop will be able to help. If you're a DIY type ordering online, you either know this or should at least ask a salesperson before you click "BUY."
What Other Options?
If you have about $500 to spend on a fork? What else can you get?
The Rock Shox Reba is always a competent option, especially if you prefer to stick with the bigger brands. If you're more adventurous, you have other possibilities: The SR Suntour Epixcon (sometimes known as an Axon ... Suntour confuses me!) and the XFusion Slide are both easily available new in the price range. I haven't ridden the Epixcon or Axon, so I can't say much about them. You might also be able to dig up a Manitou Mattoc.
My X-Fusion Slide 29 is a good fork, but I like the Marzocchi 320 better. Again, my bet is on the Bomber Z2 to be a hit.
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