Marzocchi Z1 fork review£749.00

The Italian's brand latest component takes the rough with the smooth

BikeRadar score4.5/5

In 1997, the original Z1 put Marzocchi on the map, with its dual coil springs and open-bath adjustable damping earning it an enviable reputation for reliability and suppleness. Diehard Marzocchi fans will be disappointed that the rebooted version is basically a Fox 36 Rhythm in disguise. But on the trail, this is actually no bad thing.

It uses Fox’s supple EVOL (extra volume) air spring, similar to the one you’d get in a top-end 36 fork, along with the simpler GRIP damper. Like Fox's OEM (complete bike only) Rhythm forks, the upper tubes are made of lower-grade aluminium than an aftermarket 36. As a result, the Z1 is around 200g heavier than a 36 Factory, at 2,266g.

It uses Fox’s supple EVOL (extra volume) air spring
It uses Fox’s supple EVOL (extra volume) air spring

The GRIP damper’s compression adjustment dial is continuous (there are no distinct clicks) and locks out the fork when wound fully clockwise. It’s not quite as sensitive over small bumps as Fox’s pricier FIT4 damper or the Charger 2 cartridge found in RockShox’s Lyrik, even when fully open, and doesn’t offer quite as much support when hitting things really hard. 

The air spring doesn't feel quite as smooth at the very start of the stroke as Fox's pricier forks either, as it doesn't have as much negative spring volume. The upside is a forgiving feel on bigger bumps, which it swallows up readily as oil swooshes audibly inside the damper.

The fork has a forgiving feel on bigger bumps
The fork has a forgiving feel on bigger bumps

Crucially, there’s no harsh spiking feeling over hard impacts like you get on RockShox’s similarly priced (£689) Yari RC (though I’ve yet to test the 2019 version of that fork). That makes the Z1 a compelling option for the cash. Just like the original, the new Z1 will suit those who prioritise a forgiving feel over counting grams. 

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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