April 27, 2009
Last September, Marzocchi was bought by Tenneco, a large US automotive component company (with 21,000 employees and billions of dollars of turnover).
After looking long and hard at its product lines, past successes and present, let’s say ‘mediocre’ reputation, the new 2010 line is a deliberate step back to concentrate on the things that made the company one of the top suspension manufacturers in the world.
Long time Marzocchi fans will already know what’s going to come next. Yep, coil springs and open bath damping cartridge systems. They were what made the classic orange Z1 such a popular fork after all. Fork technology has moved on since then, though, and just reissuing the Z1 wouldn’t work. Marzocchi has therefore put some work into bringing everything up to date while keeping things simple and still recognisably Marzocchi. To this end the coil springs that they’re using are high quality, titanium springs with fewer winds for weights that aren’t far off their air forks.
Starting off with the Marzocchi 44 RC3 Ti
It weighs 1880g with a regular steerer (they will also be doing tapered 1.5in steerers) including the QR15 axle, using a titanium positive spring with air assist to tune the compression curve of the 140mm travel (using spacers, you can run it as 100, 120 or 140mm) along with an elastomer bottom out cone to stop any nasty bottom-out clanking. There is also a small steel coil negative spring to help keep the fork supple on the small stuff as well as stopping any top-out clunking too. The upper tubes are 32mm nickel alloy for strength and slipperiness
The Marzocchi 44 will have a 15mm axle with a similar action to Marzocchi’s 20mm QR. Interestingly, it weighs less than their original 100mm Z1 Bomber.
There will also be what they’re calling the ’44 Micro Ti’ – This will have an air spring (where the whole stanchion is the air chamber, not just a cartridge) with Ti negative spring, a three position lockout and a target weigh of 1840g (4lbs). It’ll have either a QR or 15mm QR. It’ll be available in 120/140mm travel.
The 2010 Marzocchi 55 will have similar internals (titanium coil, steel negative spring, air assist and elastomer bumper) but with 35mm stanchions and it will offer 160mm of travel with a newly designed 20mm QR axle with captive end-nut.
29er fans can rejoice as Marzocchi haven’t ignored you either and will make a 100/120 or140mm travel 29er fork with specific crown and stanchions to give a decent ride for such a long travel big wheel fork. To aid this it’ll have a 15mm QR axle and the claimed weight for the top model is sub-2000g.
There’s a great new Dirt Jump fork too. It came about after one of their engineers made a bet that he could make the Marzocchi crown even stiffer by turning it upside-down. He did, and he won the bet. The new fork is 30% stiffer and 20% lighter. It has 100mm of travel (with an 80mm option) and we reckon it looks smart with its kooky crown.
While it may only be of interest to a few hundred of you, the Marzocchi 888 downhill fork needs some looking at. Marzocchi has managed to trim an astounding 600g off the weight of it! It now comes in just under 3kg. It has been completely redesigned too to be far closer to the forks that the Marzocchi factory riders get to use. The weight reduction has been possible by tapering the unused upper stanchion sections and again using a titanium coil spring. The fork is tunable to the extreme and features and easily removable shim stack unit. This allows riders to either tune their own shim stack (if they know what they’re on about) or to buy replacement shim stacks with pre-determined values – or to keep a couple in the toolbox to suit either racing or freeride.
In all, the 2010 Marzocchi range looks very impressive. And with a very positive feeling behind the company, we reckon the forks look likely to be as good as they promise. Production forks should be out late summer, be we hope to get a sample ride in beforehand and we’ll let you know what we think.