Marzocchi Marathon SL 2003 Front Shocks

4.21/5 (68 Reviews)
MSRP : $549.00


Product Description

- 85mm or 105mm Travel
- Open Bath Cartridge
- Dual-Positive Air Chambers
- Negative Air Chamber
- NEW! Cryofit Boltless ’M’ Crown
- NEW! 1-Piece Mg MonoLite Sliders
- NEW! [ECC 5] 5-Position Damping Control
- 30mm Aluminum Stanchions


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Reviews 1 - 15 (68 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Guillaume a Cross Country Rider from Montréal

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2006

Strengths:    It is a lightweight fork. Plushness is good and it can easily be tuned and the maintenance is not that bad. ridding it give me confidence and it makes my rides faster and gives a better handling

Weaknesses:    None since those three months

Bottom Line:   
I really like this fork and never faced any problem. I do not have any leakage (oil, air). Also, even if some say it is kinda long finding the right settings, it just shows how fine can the tuning be. I am also an heavy rider at 195 avg. I really like stiffness, but wanted to be able to use the neg air feature. I am a level two mechanics and I wanted to share with others my trick to set it right (if you like it stiff with long travel):

You take off all the neg air. After, you set the positive air pressure to the stiffness you like. When it's done, you raise the negative pressure until the travel is reduced. Then, you use your pump to realease the extra air until you get your full travel back. To get the best performance with it, I run at 57-62 and 100-120. I saw some people with 0 neg pressure, you can, but you are not using the features you paid for.

A really good fork, maybe the best in its category.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   bromont

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   a friend

Similar Products Used:   SID 100, minute 2, Duke u-turn, Marin, RST, MAG 21 and other old stuff.

Bike Setup:   GT zaskar all XT and TI components.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Marc a Cross Country Rider from Houston, TX, USA

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2005

Strengths:    Savvy Marketing

Weaknesses:    Inability to perform intended function as advertised.

Bottom Line:   
Left leg disasembled itself on the 5th ride. I had high expectations for this fork, and had talked it up to all my friends. This fork made me look like a punk. Damn thing gave me a lubricant facial to remember her by as well.

I want my f$#&'n money back.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bluff Creek Ranch "Warda"

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   Online

Bike Setup:   Hardtail

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Daniel Parker a Cross Country Rider from Waco Texas United States of America

Date Reviewed: December 7, 2004

Strengths:    Very sturdy and adjustable good for cross country racing and maraton racing.

Weaknesses:    Rebound and Compression adjustment have to use a special little tool.

Bottom Line:   
Good cross country fork it's light and strong go for all users.Bomb proof hints the name "Bomber". Looking at replacing it for an 05 Marathon SL.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   speed run

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shox Race Titanuim

Bike Setup:   Bianchi Super Grizzly XTR all around wheels too.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by William Patterson a Cross Country Rider from N.Ireland

Date Reviewed: November 21, 2004

Strengths:    Well manufactured with good design criteria and attention to detail. Extememly tuneable and stiff with impressive tracking abilities.

Weaknesses:    Bushes are excellent but require time to bed-in.
The manual isn't sufficiently informative.


Bottom Line:   
An impressive set of forks which perform exceptionally well. My forks have no leakage problems, are very smooth and responsive and track superbly. They are very reliable and consistent in performance and the ECC 5 allows me any amount of tuneable variations to meet every sort of terrain.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   Manitou. Rockshox. Fox. Pace. RST.

Bike Setup:   Specialized FSR M4 with full XT.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JG a Cross Country Rider from Ohio U.S

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2004

Strengths:    Very well designed with strong but light construction and a plethora of available settings from fast rebound to lock out. Low level of air leakages, much better that the SIDs. Great tracking in a point and go way. Solid braking

Weaknesses:    Slow to break in and the manual sucks.

Bottom Line:   
Top line forks for all the reasons I have given in the product strengths window.
Cheaper than some home based (US) products and the forks rock.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Pete Ross a Weekend Warrior from Scotland

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2004

Strengths:    Very well engineered to give sooth and consistent performance. A quite light suspension fork. Very good seals and very adjustable even with a lock down for climbing. A real quality product.

Weaknesses:    The saels are quite stiff at first and take a while to free. The instruction manual is helpfull but not enough. The positive pressure recommendations are far too high.

Bottom Line:   
I feel that this Marathon is probably the best cross country fork and light free-ride fork on the market today. Excellent seals, or maybe I am incredibly lucky, but I hardly even think about topping up the air levels. Super ECC cartridge which gives the most amazing adjustability on the fly. Rigid and great tracking.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Glentress

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Products by Manitou, Fox, Rockshox and RST.

Bike Setup:   Specialized FSR etc.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Damian a Cross Country Rider from Levittown NY

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2004

Strengths:    I took this thing for its virgin ride today, man what a difference. It opened new lines on my regular trails that I would have never dreamed to attack with my old manitou. This fork will absorb anything you throw at it, just point the tire where you want to go and floor it.

Weaknesses:    nothing whatsoever, I would have paid double for it, I can't wait till it is fully broken in.

Bottom Line:   
No other choice when it comes to forks this baby is incredible

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Stillwell/ Greenbelt

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Manitou sx, RockSucks Judy, and Sid.

Bike Setup:   Klein Attitude Comp XT everything, Avid BBs 203mm with Avid 7 series levers,and full metal jackets. Sun RhynoLites

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jo Dowsin from SoCal

Date Reviewed: September 19, 2004

Strengths:    well put together set of forks, good seals, stiff and strong, very adjustable, can cope with almost anything.

Weaknesses:    Give it time to settle in. The seals have got a lot of friction at first and need time to loosen up. The instructions are non too good you need to put less pressure in the + & - than in the book.

Bottom Line:   
These forks will deliver the goods once they have had time to loosen up. Just about the best pair of forks that I have ever ridden in 16 years of Mountain biking. Just great adjustability and the ECC 5 cartridge lets you take that even further. They give real confidence and I ride so much faster than I did with my SIDs. Tried Fox....very good ...very expensive. Could not see my way to paying Fox prices when I can get this kind of performance for a lot less and with top reliability.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dean Steffenburg a Downhiller from Munich

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2004

Strengths:    Well made and good design with a very efficient set of positive and negative air chambers. Structural strength ensures no flexing on hard hits or under heavy braking. ECC control allows to tune the forks even more than adjusting the air pressures and can be adjusted on the cycle. Multiple rebound adjustments to lock out.

Weaknesses:    Time must be given for the forks to become smooth because of the strenght of the banjo seals. Marzocchi recommend using Silicone grease on the stanchions to help. Air pressure adjustments must be precise but the manual is no help with the negative doppio pressure settings.

Bottom Line:   
A superior Fork that has been well engineered to provide an exceptional level of performance for hard crosscountry riding. Very adjustable and also very reliable and it will steer very well even thru hard and complex courses.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Manitou, Magura, Rockshox, Girvin and RST.

Bike Setup:   Cannondale Jekyll Shimano XT transmission and disc brakes.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Wade McCormick a Cross Country Rider from San Marcos,CA, U.S.A.

Date Reviewed: August 24, 2004

Strengths:    Price for last years model. No leakage I can tell. Quality travel. Beefy build.

Weaknesses:    Poor owners manual. Difficult to adjust. Ecc should automatically disengage when big hit encountered. Bit on the heavy side. Not flex free.

Bottom Line:   
The Marzocchi SL is a good value, especially if you can get a prior year model, identical to current model. Once set up, adjustments stay true. Little or no leakage. Not a perfect fork, but go's straight allmost allways. Very cool looking. Im 220x6'4", It is the best XC fork I've used in 15 years as MTB rider.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $340.00

Purchased At:   Supergo

Similar Products Used:   Manitou Mars

Bike Setup:   2003 KHS Team ST. XTR, Eggbeaters, Crossmax, Easton M/Lite, Syncros post, Ritchy Pro stem, Flite SLR, Mosquito 2.35, very light bike (23.5 lbs.)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ted a Weekend Warrior from SoCal

Date Reviewed: August 18, 2004

Strengths:    Stiff and Strong. Light for it's strength. Tracks great over pretty much anything. Real smooth. ECC cartridge is excellent.

Weaknesses:    A bit expensive, but cheaper than the Fox equivalent. Takes a while to get the seals to bed in. Takes time to get the right pressures dialed in for your riding style.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great Fork. It has given me no trouble. It is super smooth once you get it run-in and it has the stiffness to track even the roughest downhill trails. The ECC cartridge is sooo usefull you can change the damping on the trail and also lock-out the fork totally. Great at climbing, great at descending. The fork keeps the pressure and I check it every month. It takes a bit of time to dial in the right levels for your riding style but once done this fork rocks!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   LBS


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kervin a Cross Country Rider from Virginia

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2004

Strengths:    Smooth, responsive, very reliable, function.

Weaknesses:    Color – White fork and Virginia clay are a bad combo

Bottom Line:   
This fork is great. I was looking for an “S” model, but I’m really happy that I got the SL. It seems to work well all the time. I’ve never used the lockout cause I climb in the saddle. The guy I got the fork from had “corrected” the owners manual and he weighs just a little less than me, so set-up was a breeze. Of all the fork companies I’ve gotten forks from, the Marzocchi’s always work best on the trail. Maybe it’s because they have a motorcycle back ground. I do think about getting one of those new FOX forks with “terra logic”, but I don’t think it will work better on the trail.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Big Levels, GWNF

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Ebay baby!

Similar Products Used:   First gen Trek crap, Manitou 1,2 &3, Rock shox mag 21 and Judy, Marzocchi XC51 and Atom 80, Manitou Black 100

Bike Setup:   Salsa hardtail, XT, Sram, Avid discs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bill Williams a Cross Country Rider from Bath U.K

Date Reviewed: August 7, 2004

Strengths:    Stiff, well made, tracks well, little deflection, little tip flutter under hard braking.

Weaknesses:    Takes quite a while for the seals to bed in.

Bottom Line:   
These have proved so far to be exceptional forks. They have not leaked air or oil and have surpassed my expectations for what is a high end fork. I suspect that the poor instruction manual has lead to a plethora of experimentation, which in itself is no bad thing except that it could cause greater pressures being installed in certain chambers than they may have been designed for. And of course there is no indication as to maximum pressures. Personally I have adjusted my pressures gradually and as I have said am very pleased with these forks. I have had no indication of any cracking at the dropouts nor have I experienced any such thing on the numerous Marzocchi forks which I have and do own. I am a little confused as to how this could occur on a 2003 fork which someone has had for over 3 years. And as to the competition I rather suspect that for me the closest contender is probably Fox. However The Marathon is as good as any Fox I have tried, it's lighter than most of the Fox range and is considerably less expensive. The cost of Fox forks in the U.K can only be described as startlingly expensive.
I conclusion, my view is that the Marathon SL is recommendable.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Coed-y-Brenin

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $460.00

Purchased At:   cycle1st.com

Similar Products Used:   Fox, Manitou, Rockshox extensive list of models.

Bike Setup:   Specialized Enduro. Full XTR apart from Hope Hubs, Hope Discs on Mavic X717 disc rims and Easton finishing kit.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tom Wiard a Cross Country Rider from Montrose co usa

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2004

Strengths:    predictable/weight/tunable/

Weaknesses:    owners manual

Bottom Line:   
I was worried by all of the comments below -but if you think about it there are two positive air chambers and so there is one on each leg and the outer schrader valve on the edge of each leg adjusts the positive chamber for that leg-there is one negative chamber that is adjusted by the one center schrader valve- the owners manual and the recomendations below seem to give a good start to adjusting.
I weigh 165 and about 35 lbs in the positive chambers and 120 in the ngative seems to work. This fork rocks! consistancy and springy rebound make this fork superior to my duke for anything but smooth single track. The old fork seemed to not rebound well so there was a bottomless sinking feeling on big hits. This fork absorbs the shock but than rebounds in a predictable way.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Monarch crest

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Over the edge/Fruita co

Similar Products Used:   98 judy xc/2002 duke 100

Bike Setup:   over the edge full suspension(made by Titus like a racer x set up for 100 mm travel 4-bar) xt/race face turbine LP cranks /king headset/thompson/eston/bontrager mustangs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by steven foley a Weekend Warrior from Tujunga, CA. USA

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2004

Strengths:    When this fork is working properly it is awsome. This fork absorbs everything in its path and I do not feel a thing. It is very responsive on cornering as well.

Weaknesses:    I have had this fork for about 6 months and the oil seals blew twice and a seal in the negative chamber went bad causing the chamber to fill with oil.

Bottom Line:   
This fork is awsome. Even though I have had some problems with the fork ( I must have bought that one in a thousand fork with a few minor defects.) this is still the best fork I have ever riden. Marzocchi's customer service is second to none. They are taking great care of me and they are ironing out any further problems with the fork.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   rainbow trail, continental divide trail, colorado trail

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $399.00

Purchased At:   supergo

Similar Products Used:   01 judy, 02 judy, 02 psylo, 03 black elite

Bike Setup:   weyless frame, full xt, thompson stem/seatpost, race face cranks

Reviews 1 - 15 (68 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


2004 Marzocchi Marathon SL vs a new mid-level fork

I have a 2004 Gary Fisher Sugar 292 with a Marzocchi Marathon SL fork. I'm trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to keep servicing this fork or is it time to just replace it. From what I can tell, this fork was near top of the line back in 2004. I was thinking about replacing it with some ... Read More »

Marzocchi Marathon SL "Bomber" 29er 2004 - worth it to rebuild for $120+?

I was "given" a used Marzocchi Marathon SL "Bomber" 29er 2004 front shock fork that is completely compressed and non-functional (*along with another expensive part that I bought). Is it worth it to rebuild these 9 year old forks for $120 or more? The only shop that I know of rebuilding these are " ... Read More »

Noob Old Shock Marathon SL ?

Did a lot of search and was able to get most of my questions answered but one. Adjusting the travel. Instructions say to put 200 PSI in the Neg port and compress the fork to change the length of travel from 100 to 80 or what ever. How do you do the reverse, 80 - 100? Or is it a one time adjustme ... Read More »

Marzocchi Marathon SL isn't holding pressure...what to do?

I have a 2003 Marzocchi Marathon SL fork that uses air for both the positive and negative pressures. Last time I aired it up was a few months ago and I took it out on a ride last week and it had lost most of the air pressure making it extremely easy to bottom out and making it's suspension benifits ... Read More »

'06 Marzocchi Marathon SL - Lockout damaged?

I've got an '06 Marz Marathon SL installed on my bike - today on the way back from the trail, while I was on the road, I locked out the fork so I could stand up and mash my way up an asphalt hill. However - when I stood up to pedal, I noticed the fork was acting like the TST wasn't even set to lo ... Read More »

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