Wednesday, 24 April 2013

2014 Marzocchi 380 C2R2 fork and Moto

Marzocchi recently presented their new downhill fork and shock at the Sea Otter Classic, here is an introduction by Marzocchi's Simone Bassi via

380 C2R2
The “380” is Marzocchi’s all new flagship downhill model and brings together 2 years of racing development to produce Mazocchi’s modest advanced racing suspension fork to date.

The hart of the 380 is the new semi-closed C2R2 Dynamic Bleed Cartridge, this is a high-end evolution of the already market proven CR damper which is in turn derived from Marzocchi’s motorcross technology. 

note: tape was just to cover the oil 'ejection' port, so it didn't squirt anybody!
The cartridge features a one-way seal at the base to allow oil to enter and a flow hole at the top to expel any excess, keeping the cartridge always at the optimum oil level. At the top of the oil chamber is a compensator piston that works against a small coil spring, when the internal pressure becomes too high, the oil compresses the compensator piston exposing the flow hole and the excess oil is expelled. This design keeps the oil flowing through the fork to help lubrication (like an open bath design) and keeps the air outside the cartridge for more precise damping control and to eliminate cavitation (like a closed).

Damping is controlled via a new three stage compression circuit with separately adjustable high and low speed compression and high and low speed rebound adjusters. The compression group can be removed from the cartridge with the cartridge and fork still installed to the bike, making track-side damping modifications a possibility.

Stanchions are 38mm internally tapered with Nickel plating. The Nickel plating actually strengthens the alloy stanchions by 30% enabling the stanchions to be made lighter for the same given strength.
The new lower crown is machined hollow saving 40g over the existing 888 crown.

crown is cut-away to show the hollow cavity 
New lowers have been designed to be both 26” and 650b compatible and feature a new flattened arch to increase stiffness and save weight. The axle pinch bolts now use a replaceable alloy insert to prevent damage to the lower leg by over tightening.  The axle itself is now internally tapered (saving 30g) and features a key way on one end meaning you only need one tool undo it.

Travel: 200mm
Weight: 2850g/ 6.28lbs
Damping: C2R2 Dynamic Bleed Cartridge
Adjustment: High and low speed compression, high and low speed rebound , pre-load
Spring: Titanium coil, K5.5
Stanchions: 38mm nickel plated, internally butted.
Steerer: Tapered or 1”1/8 AH
Axle: 20mm taperwall

Moto 380 C2R rear shock
The goal for the Moto shock was to produce one of the lightest and most adjustable long travel coil shocks on the market. 
Weighing in at just 369g (241 x 77mm, no spring or reducers) the Moto uses a unique one piece alloy 14mm shaft and head, not only does this eliminate the weak spot (in all shocks) it saves weight also. Damping is controlled via separate high and low speed compression adjusters with the complete compression group designed to be easily removable for tuning.

The moto also features externally adjustable low speed rebound damping with the possibility to internally adjust the high speed rebound circuit.

Size: 267 x 89mm, 241 x 76mm, 222 x 70mm.
Weight: 369g (241 x 77mm no spring or hard ware)
Adjustment: External high and low speed compression, low speed rebound + high speed rebound via shim setting, pre-load.

Availability September 2013

Friday, 19 April 2013

55RC3 long term

I have been using the 55RC3 Ti fork now for a few years and I thought I would share my experience of using this product on a long term basis.

My fork is a 2011 160mm 'purple' edition, before this model I had the 2010 version and the only reason for the upgrade was because I could!

I first tested the RC3 at the Marzocchi 2010 press launch in Lake Garda, June 2009. I had the fork fitted to a Corsair, bike was brilliant, the downhills were just crazy...

Marzocchi press launch, Lake Garda 200
After the Garda 'experience' I got hold of a purple 55 for myself, fitted it to a Labyrinth demo frame and headed of on a bike trip to the Pass Portes and Les duex Aples (2010). The performance of the fork just blew me away, previously I had the 55ATA (not so good...) and a Z1RC2 (wish I kept this one). Set up wise I was using a very low speed compression bias. Alpine riding is all about the front end, your always pointing down, all of your weight is on the fork, your braking and there are rocks everywhere.  Low speed damping keeps the fork propped up and ready for the next obstacle, and in the Alpes the next obstacle will be soon!

Pass Portes 2010 - Les Gets
In Chatel we hooked up with a Marzocchi pal, who showed us a trick to up the performance further still. Read here for the foam ring trick.

The following years (2011) cycling trip was to Suisse Normande, the style of riding here is more enduro with a good mix of climbing as well as descents. The fork stayed in the Alpine set up and ate everything I could throw at it. Not only is the 55 a capable DH fork but you can all-day XC on it also....

next stop is the bottom of the gorge! 

2012 road trip was back to the Pass Portes, the 55RC3 is the default for this type of environment. 

Pass Portes 2012 - Les Gets
2012 and all our riding group are now running on RC3's.... Four of them are even purple!
55 team Suisse Normande 2012
Marzocchi's concept of open oil bath, coil spring and downhill damper is inspired, all of these forks are running and feeling box fresh, even after some serious abuse all without a single service. I cant think of many products that offer this type reliability and consistent high level of performance? Of course this concept was now new, you can trace it back to the 1997 Z1 bomber....

My current 55 is now 2 1/2 years old and I am thinking about swapping out to the 2013 model, the newer model gets the V2 piston and EVO valve out of the 888. My sponsored guys that are using it are reporting that the performance has been upped again! Or maybe I could just use the one I got for another year... including a gravity enduro race and another French trip... 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The legend: 1997 Marzocchi Z1 Bomber

The 1997 Z1 changed the way we rode bikes, and for me personally was the most influential piece of bicycle kit I ever bought.
1996 style, proflex and Z1...
Pre-Bomber forks were skinny, in-active or just plain unreliable. Marzocchi's previous model fork was called the DH3, which in function terms was brilliant once you fitted the optional coil spring kit. I remember at the time you used these or Judy DH's, but the Judy's sealed plastic cartridge used to explode as soon as you looked at them so the DH3 got the nod, but with just 3" travel and skinny legs the Z1 was a big step forward.
Z1 vs DH3
The fork was for the model year 1997, so that’s on sale time of September 1996 - to summer 97. Pre-production models featured STEEL stanchions and were very heavy and were given to a select few to race on, including Rob Warner.
Z1 prototype
check out Rob Warner in Kaprun, 1996, Britain's and Marzocchi's first world up win on the Bomber Z1

The production fork featured twin formula standard disc mounts and an optional canti support (pictured). The pre-load adjusters were round and the cartridge tops, plugs and adjusters were quite tall which could sometimes foul the downtube of the frame they were fitted to. For 1998 this model became the Z1 Alloy and featured new low-profile top caps and adjusters for better frame clearance.
2007 Z1 Bomber
Reviews of the time were extremely positive, winning many magazine awards and fans along the way.
What mountain bike test
MBUK award now lives on the wall of the gents...
Z1 poster still on our office wall!
Internal wise the Z1 featured twin adjustable rebound open bath cartridges, twin coil springs with adjustable pre-load. It may sound over built by today's standards but these were built for hard use and built to last with many forks still being used today.
exploded diagram
Here is the full catalogue specification in Marzocchi's own words.

1997 Z1

Moto X cartridge serves as the Bombers hart n’ soul. This ‘open bath’ hydraulic cartridge directly descends from our famed Magnum moto fork. The revolution is the most reliable & sophisticated cartridge ever designed and here’s why;

Internal oil pressure is eliminated which makes seal failures a thing of the past.
All alloy CNC cartridge assembly.
Infinitely adjustable “speed sensitive valving”.
CNC alloy pre-load adjuster.
Seal-less ‘no blow’ cartridge design.
Large oil volume for quality damping performance.
Open Bath Design
Cartridge sits in a bath of oil keeping it cool & eliminating damping fade.
Oil keeps the fork feeling buttery smooth & stiction free.
Oil circulates from the cartridge leg into the leg via a high-pressure valve.
Coil Springs
15mm pre-load adjustment.
Non – temperature sensitive.
Extremely durable long life.
Superior sensitivity & hyper-speed reactivness.
Lightweight open wound design.
3 spring rates available (soft, medium, hard).
Easily interchangeable.


Weight: 3.9lbs
Travel: 100mm/ 4”
Function: coil & hydraulic design. Dampers: dual open bath cartridges control compression & rebound fully adjustable. Springs: coil spring, open wind, 15mm pre-load, 3 available.
Steer tube: Easton EA70 alloy.
Stanchions: 30mm Easton alloy, hard anodized.
Crown: Forged T-6 alloy, CNC machined & polished.
Arch: Forged T-6 alloy, CNC machined, removable brake hanger.
Sliders: Marzocchi cast alloy.
Length: 473mm/ 18.6”
Colour: Tangerine dream orange.
                               catalogue page