Kaprun victory was also Marzocchi's first World Cup win
Here’s Rob Warner winning his and great Britain’s and Marzocchi’s first ever World Cup Downhill race back in 1996 on a wild looking Kaprun track.
Fast forward to 2mis 22secs to see Warner in action.
For mountain bikers under 40 years old it’s hard to appreciate what suspension forks were like before the Marzocchi Z1 came along in September 1996.
Basically, before the Z1 suspension forks didn’t really work. or if they did, they didn’t work for very long before needing a full strip down and repair. And even then they only gave out around 60mm of travel. 60mm of travel that was delivered so flexily that your rim brake pads touched the rims as you wrestled the bike around the trail.
It was a classic case of XC/road cycling hang-ups over saving weight. We were so obsessed with not adding weight to our bikes that we ended up riding components that didn’t actually work.
Having said that, weight saving was even factored in with the Bomber Z1. Well, slightly. The Z1 you see being raced by Warner in the video above actually had steel stanchions. Production forks switched to alloy stanchions.
Inside the Z1 wasn’t an air spring. Or elastomers. It had two coils sitting in open bath cartridges. On top were preload and rebound dials.
Anyway, when the Z1 came along is was like putting a motocross fork on your bike. Indeed, the Z1 drew heavily on Marzocchi’s Magnum motocross fork. The Z1 had a jaw-dropping 100mm of travel. 100mm! Imagine a company coming out now with a trail riding fork with 200mm or something. That’s what a sea-change the Z1 was.
And its sheer size was startling. It had a wide stance, so wide in fact that the top caps would foul a lot of bike’s down tubes. Looking back now its 30mm stanchions sound dinky and its 3.9lb weight sound impressive. It’s 473mm length also sounds impressively modest for a 100m travel fork.
Although the Z1 looked big it also looked… cool.
Whoever decided to paint it ‘Tangerine Dream’ orange was a genius too.