PressCamp 2013: From XC to DH, Marzocchi Lighten Up & Update Dampers
Stop thinking about Marzocchi like a gravity oriented brand. Marzocchi is focused on pure performance, no matter the intended use. In Bologna we can go big also when we ride a Marathon or an XC race.
That mindset, in the words of Marzocchi 320 platform Project Leader Lissa Bassi, captures Marzocchi’s goal for their updated 2014 line: lighter weights without compromising handling or performance on rough terrain. From the 3.66lb 320 LCR 29er fork to the 6.18lb 380 C2R2 Titanium 26in/650b downhill fork, Marzocchi look to have rebounded from a number of supplier issues to present a polished range of forks and shocks. Hit the drop to find out more!
The big news at the Italian company is temporary shift from long-time manufacturing partner Suntour to Hodaka as they work to bring their own manufacturing facility on line for the 2015 model year. Supply and personnel issues nearly torpedoed the brand here in the States over the past couple of years and they are happy to be back on the scene with some exciting product for 2014.
Damper-wise, Marzocchi have cross-bred open bath and closed cartridge concepts with their Dynamic Bleed Cartridge. Rather than choose one or another, the DBC design actually draws lubrication/damping fluid from a small bath at the bottom of the fork as needed, expelling any excess from the the top of the cartridge as it expands. In effect, the cartridge is bleeding itself on the fly, improving overall lubrication while reducing fluid weight. It’s an interesting idea that we’re excited to experience on the trail.
On the 10th anniversary of the legendary 888 downhill fork, Marzocchi are presenting its spiritual successor: the 380 C2R2 Titanium. For their downhill flagship, the brand has pulled out all of the stops, making use of externally-tapered 38mm nickel-plated stanchions, externally-adjustable high and low speed compression and rebound damping, a hollow lower crown, an externally adjustable titanium main spring, titanium negative spring and hardware, and SKF seals. The fork’s lowers are designed to accept both 26in and 650b wheels and make use of a lightweight Taperwall thru axle and replaceable pinch bolt anchors.
For the suspension tweakers out there, the 380 C2R2’s shim stack is accessible from the top of the fork without disassembly, encouraging personalized suspension tuning (even between laps if you have a clean portable workspace). An optional tapered steerer brings things up to date without precluding the use of adjustable headsets. In person, all of the intricately machined adjusters appear well made, thought out, and worthy of the price tag. The entire package comes to 2,795g (6.16lb) and will retail in the neighborhood of $1,700.
Replacing the racy Corsa platform for 2014, Marzocchi have introduced the 32mm 320 series. Shown above is the range-topping 320 LCR Carbon, complete with external lockout as well as compression and rebound adjustments. The one-piece carbon crown/steerer assembly shaves weight while adding stiffness to the entire package. As with the 380, nickel plating reduces stiction while actually allowing for thinner stanchion walls.
The cross-country race fork is available for 29ers only and can be internally adjusted between 80mm, 100mm, and 120mm of travel. The 1,660g claimed weight is with an uncut steerer tube- only the tallest riders are likely to come in above 3.6lb once the fork is trimmed. Retail pricing is expected to be close to $1,000.
Looking to spend a bit less? The 320 LR has external lockout and rebound adjustments, Gold Race stanchion plating, and an alloy crown-steerer assembly. The 4.07lb/1,850g weight is downright reasonable at the $400 asking price. Between the two sits the standard 320 LCR. By swapping the 320 LCR Carbon’s crown-steerer assembly for aluminum and removing the remote lockout, weight increases to 3.86lb/1,750g and the price drops to $700.