While the once-mighty Marzocchi may now bolster FOX’s affordable product lineup, it seems nobody has told the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil. With a bargain price and insane performance, it’s the hidden gem in FOX/Marzocchi’s lineup.

Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil | 2.61 kg | € 840 | Manufacturer’s website

There are arguably two types of rider when it comes to suspension setup. There are those who spend time getting their suspension set up perfectly, who check and recheck settings to make sure they are just so before rolling into the trails. And there are those who just drop straight in. If you’re in the second camp, you will love the Marzocchi Z1 Coil fork. The Marzocchi Z1 was iconic in the 1990’s, the crème de la crème, and while some retro fans may roll their eyes at Marzocchi’s entry-level FOX positioning, that would be a mistake. The new Z1 Coil is an excellent fork. The heavy, 2.61 kg, distinctive 36 mm chassis is a rework of FOX’s 36 Rhythm forks. Made predominantly from 6000 series aluminium, the fork is available in 150, 160, 170 mm travel lengths in 29” and 160, 170 and 180 mm in 27.5”. Offsets available are 44 and 51 mm in 29” and 37 and 44 mm in 27.5”. Only four different coil spring weights are available for riders from 54– 113 kg. The fork uses a simple QR thru-axle which may not be the cleanest but is by far the most convenient option. Travel is internally adjustable using clip-on spacers that sit on the bottom of the spring shaft. It does require removing the spring internals but is not a huge job for someone used to opening a fork to service it.

Coil forks have always championed sensitivity and plushness and the Marzocchi is no exception. While it may be considered entry-level, the FOX GRIP damper used inside the fork is partly the reason the fork is so plush. The GRIP damper uses a sealed cartridge combined with a spring-backed, independent floating piston. The beauty of the GRIP damper is that it can ingest excess damping and lubricating oil, then purge it through specially designed ports at the top of the damper to maintain consistent damping. This recirculation means that damper seals can be looser with less friction, increasing performance. The GRIP damper is very simple, with just a single sweep dial that adjusts high-and low-speed compression damping and rebound control. On the spring side, there is a preload cap allowing small adjustments to the sag once the correct spring rate has been selected, though it has no significant impact on the mid-to-end-stroke.

The Marzocchi Bomber Z1 has a legendary heritage and is now the hidden jewel in the affordably positioned lineup.
The GRIP damper was born to be put into the Marzocchi Z1 coil fork, working in perfect harmony with the coil spring.

Setup of the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil

Drop in the correct spring, dial in a little compression adjustment and go ride. It’s as simple as that. Well almost. We found the spring rates available from Marzocchi are a little on the light side – if you are between two springs on the weight chart we would certainly recommend sizing up to the firmer rate, especially given how plush the fork is. At 80 kg we felt best on the green spring for riders from 82–95 kg. The GRIP damper, with it’s lower friction internals feels very lightly damped on the trail, blowing through its travel when the compression is run fully open and lacking support in the mid-stroke. However, run the sweep compression adjuster around halfway through its adjustment range and you hit a sweet spot where the fork turns into an animal, performing at a level that defies the modest price tag.

The Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil on the trail

On the trail, the Marzocchi is a revelation. If you think coil forks are too linear, you should try the Z1. Trapped air volume in the fork helps to buffer the end of the travel and the fork holds up really well when thumping through big hits. Small bump sensitivity is off the charts. Through high-speed chatter and root and rock gardens, the Z1 coil hugs the ground like a bloodhound on the scent, soaking up even the smallest imperfection in the trail. It’s best suited to riders looking for grip rather than huge air time, as the coil feel can suck up some energy on jump faces. Breakaway stiction is phenomenally low and the fork responds to everything. After long shuttle runs we found that our hands and arms were fresher than with some of the air forks and grip in sketchy sections was predictable and impressive. The damper is also very predictable. Run with a half-turn of the compression dial, it rarely spikes or kicks back unexpectedly, eating through the roughest tracks with stoic dependability. It was only on trails that had a lot of full-compression hits that heavier testers at the limit of the spring rate felt the forks to be a little too linear, diving too eagerly. There’s no avoiding the fact that it’s a heavy fork too, adding over 600g over the RockShox Lyrik. Nonetheless, for those who want a simple setup, it’s a total bargain

After long shuttle runs we found that our hands and arms were fresher than with some of the air forks and grip in sketchy sections was predictable and impressive.

The Marzocchi Bomber Z1 works great with the FOX GRIP damper. Run about halfway, the compression damping gives great support.

How does the Marzocchi Z1 compare to the other forks?

We think that the simple GRIP damper has found its true calling in the Marzocchi Z1 coil, simple to set up and very low in breakaway stiction. Small bump sensitivity is off the scale, smoothing out the trail without hesitation or stuttering. It’s the most sensitive fork on the test when it comes to grip and small bumps and compared to the MRP Ribbon Coil, is far more supportive and predictable when charging hard. On natural rocky and rooty trails, it’s an animal. However, it is much heavier than the other forks in this test and adds considerable weight to the bike.


If you are looking for minimal setup time, maximum grip and minimal maintenance, without caring about weight, then you can stop reading now. The Marzocchi Bomber Z1 is the fork for you and will also save you a lump of cash. However, it is very heavy and adds a considerable amount of weight to the bike. If you fall comfortably in the middle of a spring rate, it’s likely that the Z1 will deliver exceptional performance out of the box.


  • small bump performance and sensitivity very high
  • more progressive than expected


  • heavy
  • performance will depend on spring rate suitability

For more information, check out the Manufacturer’s website. If you want to learn more about mountain bike forks and see how the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil stacks up against the competition, check out our 2021 suspension fork group test!

All forks on test: DVO Onyx SC D1 | FOX 36 2021 Grip2 Factory | FOX 38 2021 Grip2 Factory | Manitou Mezzer PRO | Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil | MRP Ribbon Coil | Öhlins RXF36 M2 Air | RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 2021 | RockShox ZEB Ultimate

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Words: Photos: Finlay Anderson