The Bomber: low on frills, high on thrills
Not just a fork for old Bomber fans. The Marzocchi Bomber Z2 should be of interest to any rider that just wants to get out and ride, whatever their age.
We reviewed the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 earlier this year and, while it was a decent enough fork (scoring 8/10), it felt like it was something of a missed opportunity. It was too clearly a cut-price dumbed-down version of a Fox 36 (Marzocchi’s new owners) with a poorly designed axle clamp. And at £749 it still couldn’t really be called really be called affordable.
If only Marzocchi had come out with the Bomber Z2 first. Now THIS is a fork that makes sense. It’s capable, stiff, offers good service interval times and a genuinely pleasing price tag. In other words, it’s very Marzocchi.
It’s not pretending to be a fork for serial suspension tweakers or gram counters. It’s ‘just’ a fork for regular weekend warrior trail riders to slap into the front end of their mountain bikes and hit the trails without really having to give much of second thought to their fork’s set up or maintenance regime. More MTB products should be like this. Unashamedly aimed at the Average Joe.
Now then, this isn’t to mean that its performance is in any way mediocre. It totally is not. The lack of adjustment bell and whistles means that this fork is almost impossible to set up badly, unlike all of those £1,000 techno-forks out there. Set it up how the manual tells you to and go ride your bike. Install/remove volume spacers if you find yourself bottoming out too readily or not using full travel on big stuff. Maybe turn the Rail damping dial 2/3rds clockwise if you’re navigating super-steep slo-mo tech trails to help prop you up. Or… just leave it alone. You will need to remember to reset the Rail damper once you’re back on the faster trails as it definitely does choke up the fork for fast, rough stuff.
The Rail damping adjuster is plastic and has no indexing. Boo-hoo. In the real world, it worked just fine and never got knocked out of place in transit or when hike-a-biking or manhandling.
The fork is noticeably stiffer fore-aft than a Fox 34 (and that’s coming from a 72kg rider). The fork takes mid- and big sized hits truly excellently. No spiking, binding or unpredictable deflection. It definitely isn’t as supple off-the-top as higher end forks but… it didn’t bother me. I have soft fat rubber tyres on wide rims for that. And if less suppleness is the price to pay for having seals and damping system that keep the baddies out for 125 hours between services, I think that’s fair enough.
I’d actually rather have a Bomber Z2 than a more expensive Fox 34 due to its stiffer construction and the knock-on effect this lack of flex has on the fork’s predictability and consistency. Under braking or hard cornering, the Z2 leaves other 34 and 35mm stanchion forks found wanting. Sure, this is principally due to thicker wall 6000 alloy stanchions tubing but… it works. Heavier yes. But stiffer. And cheaper.
Downsides? It does look as cheap as it is. But after a while I kinda embraced the budget vibe. This is cheap stuff that works really, really well. I smile every time I look at this fork. It’s a proper Bomber.