Marzocchi’s 350CR is a 160mm-travel, 27.5in enduro/all-mountain fork designed to rival the performance of the RockShox Pike and Fox 36 — but at a cheaper price.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Marzocchi 350CR suspension fork

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Stiff, sturdy chassis
  • Super-plush and sensitive

Cons:

  • No O-ring to set the sag
  • Volume tuning could be more elegant

Product:

Marzocchi 350CR suspension fork review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£569.95

Marzocchi usually champions a 20mm axle on its beefier forks, but the 350CR uses a 15mm version paired with a hybrid damper cartridge and air spring, presumably to keep weight low.
Despite its efforts, the 350CR is still almost 250g heavier (albeit £150 cheaper) than the RockShox Pike. On the plus side, the huge arch bridging the two lowers makes the chassis flex-free and the quick-release design works well, being swift to fasten with a solid hold.
Internally, the low-pressure Dynamic Bleed damper allows oil to flow out of the cartridge if pressure builds up, and back in again through a one-way valve. The aim is to keep the stanchions well lubricated while preventing air from interfering with damping consistency.

Gold-annodised and Teflon-coated

Gold-annodised and Teflon-coated

The 35mm stanchions themselves get Marzocchi’s ‘Gold Race’ hard-anodised Teflon coating for extra smoothness. External dials include a low-speed compression adjuster to control stability, and a crudely indexed rebound dial with a strange lever shape. Annoyingly, Marzocchi doesn’t supply the fork with a rubber O-ring on the stanchion to help set sag and assess fork ride height.
While Fox and Rockshox give you the option to tune the progression with plastic volume spacers, your only option with the 350CR is to remove the Schrader valve core and add a small amount of oil to reduce the spring volume and increase ramp-up. It’s effective, but hardly elegant.

“We had no complaints with damping consistency on long runs, and the excellent chassis rigidity meant we could really push hard with confidence”

Run stock, the 350CR rides a little deep in the travel during aggressive descending; winding in the compression dial to try and cure it just makes the ride a tad harsh and choppy off the top. Adding oil as suggested above, was a satisfactory solution, addressing the sensation of the front dipping too much and upsetting chassis stability on really steep tracks. We had no complaints with damping consistency on long runs, and the excellent chassis rigidity meant we could really push hard with confidence.
Marzocchi has a well-earned reputation for super-plush forks, and the 350CR is no exception, the sensitivity improving dramatically as it beds in. However, while the small-bump performance and grip levels are good, it didn’t quite match the Pike in back-to-back testing — there is an extra dimension of response and control with the Pike’s Charger damper.

Verdict

With its super-stiff chassis, the 350CR is well-suited to heavy riders looking for a solid, reliable, 160mm fork. The price and performance are commendable; two years ago, we’d probably have been raving about this fork. In today’s market, though, it isn’t class-leading, with slightly less damping control and noticeable extra heft compared to the Pike. The price difference helps sweeten the deal, but it’s not enough to tempt us away from the current top-tier enduro forks.

Details

Weight :2,090 g
Wheel size:27.5in
Contact :windwave.co.uk
  • canuck477

    I have this fork and it Blows away the Fox Talas 34 that I had on the bike, and at half the price. It is also far better than the Pike on my friends bike, but that could be due to his set up.

  • Bristecom

    You should do a test on the NCR, which is their top level fork. I would love to see a comparison of the NCR vs Deville vs Pike vs Fox 36!