Mar­zoc­chi Bomber 58 fork £1,069

Mountain Biking UK - - WRECKED & RATED -

Fox’s 2015 ac­qui­si­tion of Mar­zoc­chi was mo­ti­vated partly by an am­bi­tion to cre­ate a more value-con­scious range of forks. The re­sults are the res­ur­rected Bomber Z1 for en­duro and the 58 for down­hill. For 2019, these re­place Fox’s 36 Per­for­mance and 40 Per­for­mance Elite forks for af­ter­mar­ket sales.

The ar­chi­tec­ture of the 58 is al­most iden­ti­cal to a Fox 40. Its 40mm stan­chions slide into low­ers that look the same, save for a sig­na­ture M-shaped brace and no air bleed sys­tem on the back. The left leg con­tains iden­ti­cal in­ter­nals too, in the form of Fox’s ‘EVOL’ (ex­tra vol­ume) air spring. It’s the vol­ume of the neg­a­tive spring that’s been in­creased, which con­trib­utes to a sup­ple feel at the start of the stroke. To re­sist bot­tom-out, vol­ume spac­ers can be added. The Bomber 58 comes fit­ted with four clip-to­gether 10cc spac­ers, but there’s space for seven.

It’s the right leg where things dif­fer, with a ‘FIT GRIP’ damper in place of the ‘FIT4’ ver­sion in Fox’s 2018 range and the new ‘FIT GRIP2’ damper in the 2019 40 Fac­tory. FIT GRIP is still a closed sys­tem, like FIT4, which stops oil and air mix­ing as the fork goes through its travel. Any closed sys­tem must com­pen­sate for ever-chang­ing oil vol­umes, and this fork does that by us­ing an IFP (in­ter­nal float­ing pis­ton) con­trolled by a spring, rather than the blad­der ar­range­ment of FIT4, with looser seals to re­duce fric­tion. Any oil that creeps past them is purged. There are ex­ter­nal di­als for low-speed com­pres­sion (eight clicks) and re­bound (22 clicks) ad­just­ment, while high-speed damp­ing can be cus­tomised in­ter­nally.

We rode the 58 back-to-back with the 40 Per­for­mance Elite and no­ticed no dif­fer­ence, with the same char­ac­ter­is­tic trail-dead­en­ing feel and su­perb bump ab­sorp­tion and track­ing. The Bomber’s over­sized chas­sis and 20x110mm axle with four clamp bolts keep things stiff and ac­cu­rate, and the tun­able bot­tom-out con­trol en­sures a smooth ramp-up when you push hard into big­ger hits. The 58 weighs just 80g more than the 40 too, at 2,750g (650b). Ex­perts look­ing to fine tune ride feel may pre­fer the 2019 40 Fac­tory with its in­de­pen­dent, ex­ter­nally-ad­justable high and low-speed re­bound and com­pres­sion cir­cuits and im­proved valve sys­tems. But for most, the 58’s com­bi­na­tion of air pres­sure, pro­gres­sion and com­pres­sion ad­just­ment will al­low an un­com­pro­mised, has­sle-free set-up. Ed www.sil­ver­

Mar­zoc­chi’s suc­cess­ful come­back un­der Fox own­er­ship con­tin­ues with a down­hill fork that’s hard to fault


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