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.
NOTE: I currently have a newer post-Fox acquisition of the 320LR on my bike and it’s even better. Slightly longer travel — good stuff!
Check Your Fork Rake/Offset
Be sure you know your frame’s geometry before you buy: Your local bike shop will be able to help.
One of the most-important bits to know will be the rake – aka offset – of your current fork.
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.
One Caveat About Boost Spacing
It appears that the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 is only available in Boost spacing. For me, that’s a bit of a bummer since my front wheel is old-fashioned non-Boost spacing.
Be sure that your front wheel is compatible before you buy. You can also connect with the geniuses at Problem Solvers to get a kit to convert an older non-Boost wheel to boost. And yes, the Problem Solvers people are awesome — they have solved many a pain-in-the-butt issue for cyclists.
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