Benji has had a Marzocchi Bomber Air plumbed into his RocketMAX for the past week or so. Here’s how he feels about it. Yes, the piggyback reservoir is supposed to look like that.
- Price: £529
- Sizes: Metric: 190×45, 210×50, 210×52.5, 210×55, 230×57.5, 230×60, 230×65 (tested), 250×75 / Trunnion: 185×52.5, 185×55, 205×60, 205×62.5, 225×75
- From: Silverfish UK
Three things I loved
- Positive and clicky dials
- Consistent and predictable
Three things I’d change
- £529 is okay but still not cheap
- Some may want more than the all-or-nothing low-speed compression
- A pale-grey O-ring would look cool 🙂
Let’s get the kinky piggyback out of the way first. The reasoning behind the angled reservoir is apparently to “give a better fit in more frames and easy access to the compression adjuster”.
At first I couldn’t really get my head around how an angled piggyback gave any extra clearance compared to a regular one. Then I remembered brands like Santa Cruz and their shock tunnel bikes. As well making it easier to get the shock installed/removed from such frame designs, the way the rebound dial, the air valve and the compression dial end up being positioned really will make it easier to access such adjusters.
Essentially it means the air valve and the rebound dial are more toward the top-middle of the shock once mounted, whilst also having the tail end of the reservoir tucked inwards too.
So yes, for the majority of bike frames the angled piggyback doesn’t really offer any benefit. I could make a small claim that the compression dial is a bit easier to reach and adjust on-the-fly, but that’s pretty tenuous really. But it doesn’t do any harm. Apart from the amount of people who will no doubt ask WTF is going on with your ‘bent’ piggyback!
The advantage of piggyback shocks are primarily about consistency. More oil in the system is good for both big hits and/or lengthy descents. Living in the UK, I don’t really do genuinely long descents, so I can’t really yet claim anything about the shock’s behaviour on sustained downhills.
But I’ve hit more than my fair share of big hits in the past week of testing and can confirm that the shock has been perfectly calm and capable.
As with the more affordable Marzocchi Bomber forks, the compression dial is a ‘sweep’ style ie. not clicky indexed.
Partly due to the lack of indexing – but also partly due to me and the bike the shock was installed on (a new Cotic RocketMAX Gen 4) – I’ve ended up using the compression dial as a climb/tarmac switch. I’ve tended just to run it fully open with the occasionally full-turn of compression when spinning along tarmac or going up smooth climbs.
For the sake of interest, I did set the dial on-the-fly to be around mid-way through the adjustment range (the whole range is just a half turn of the dial from minimum to maximum). And while it did reduce bob, I also found it introduced a bit of a knocky meniscus-y sensation. The shock felt fine (for me and my bike) with the compression dial fully turned on. No knocky, choppy feel. Just a nicely firm supportive feel that makes the dynamic ride height a touch higher.
The ‘stops’ of the compression sweep dial are adjustable to a narrower window but I haven’t messed with those yet (mainly as I think it’s perfectly fine as it is).
You can also tune the end stroke with the volume spacers if you feel the need to up the progression for bottom out duties and such. The volume spacers are available in 0.1 cubic inch increments.
For the few rides I’ve had on the shock so far I’ve simply used the shock fully open or fully firm with compression damping, and twiddled the rebound to deal with any undue bobbing.
The key word there is “simply”. I’m pretty sure the principal USP of anything with Marzocchi written on it (as opposed to anything with parent company Fox written on it) is heavily geared towards riders who just want to get on with their riding.
They want simple set-up. Preferably set and forget. And they want it to be durable (AKA ignorable). And they don’t want to have to break out any tools to adjust damping stuff. They also arguably don’t want loads of adjustments AKA the ability to accidentally end up with a poorly set-up shock.
Durability-wise, I’ll let you know how I get on after a few months.
Performance-wise, the Marzocchi Bomber Air has been great. I can’t say as I’ve noticed any difference compared to the Fox Float X that this shock replaced. It doesn’t feel like I’ve stepped down a level. Or am missing some aspect of feel or absorption.
It doesn’t feel like an air shock from a few years ago (back before negative air chambers got bigger). It’s supple enough around sag. Doesn’t fly through the rest of the post-sag travel only to hit a jarring wall of progression. It’s as linear/regular feeling as any air shock I’ve experienced.
The rebound range appears to be either slightly broader on the Bomber Air or positioned slightly more towards the lighter/active end of the damping spectrum; I’m running somewhere around the middle of the rebound range on the Bomber Air, as opposed to almost open on the Float X.
Possibly this may mean the Marzocchi Bomber Air has a less sophisticated compression damping circuit and needs a bit more rebound to counteract pedal bob or pitching/wallowing on sat-down dips and stuff.
Or it may not. Back to back testing required. Which is what I’ll be doing in the future.
A word about construction. Basically, everything is really positive in use. The rebound dial is easy to locate and you can feel the clicks even whilst riding along. The sweep dial is similarly useable and turn-able on/off. You don’t have to stop and hold your ear near the shock to double-check for noise-confirmation of your clicks etc. Even whilst riding along, it’s simple to quickly reach for the adjuster you want, do want you to do, and get back to riding.
So far, so good, so Bomber. Simple to set-up. Simple to adjust what you need to, even on-the-fly. Consisten and predictable feeling. If you or your bike doesn’t want/need all of the adjustments of a hyper-modern techno shock, then there’s a lot to be said for getting a Marzocchi Bomber Air.
While you’re here…
|Product:||Bomber Air shock|
|Tested:||by Benji for 1 week|
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