a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego, ca USA
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2010
Strengths: Great travel, very smooth over the big stuff. When set up properly they never bottom off large drops or jumps.
Weaknesses: Can be sticky the first hit on a ride and over small stuff.
It is a pain to compress them for climbing and they won't stay down for more than 20min.
Hard to figure out how to set up. Read the reviews below for set up info. They will save your life!
It is a great 130mm fork if you can pick one up for cheap. I have only had to air them up once in about a year. I ride everything from fire roads to moderate downhills. They really shine on the big stuff i.e. jumps and drops. Very predictable and smooth.
I gave them 4 chilis because having to make sure you set the damper +1 click and compress them before riding is a pain.
Favorite Trail: The kind that you are thankful to be alive at the end
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: Ebay!!!
Similar Products Used: Gosh random stuff
Bike Setup: I got me a hand built trek fuel with lots of good parts. No I am not going to name everything I have on it because 1. They do not apply to this review 2. My manhood does not revolve around the parts on my bike
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 27, 2007
Strengths: Marzochi reliability & strength.
Works real good.Add air & go.It's light & steers stiff without flex.Lighter than a coil fork,but not as plush.I tried this fork for mountaincross & trail.It works excellent for that on a mountaincross frame like the Morewood NdizaST. I went up to a 170mm 66RC for freeride on a Bullit but wanted to review the Z1FR.SL since i rode it a 5x. Like i said,just add air & go.It's reliable.
Strengths: Well, I've been beating this fork for 3 years now and it just keeps going strong. With the right oil and right air pressure, it is fantastic...light, plush, hard to bottom out, stiff. ETA is a good feature, but I forget to use it most of the time.
Weaknesses: Oil leaks into negative air chamber and robs you of travel, seals may blow in cold weather (abrupt temp change- like from your warm basement to 15 degree weather), low oil level and too thin oil from factory, loud clank if you bottom it out
I did not like this fork at first. The manual is so ridiculously vague, you can probably throw it out and be better off. Slightly better info on website but not much. So I started tinkering and, over time, found the following: Replace the stock oil with a good 10 WT. Fill it up to top, then compress the fork fully to push out excess oil. Then cork it up and its as full as it is going to get. This gives great damping and ETA. The factory almost never puts enough oil in it and it is very thin. Measure travel regularly- if less than 5", bleed the air/oil out of the neg chamber and reset air pressure (hold rag over when doing this or will paint ceiling). Eventually, you will have to do this less and less. I have not added any oil to the left leg, and I'm not going to, as it just winds up in the neg air chamber (factory supposedly "fixed" this once, but didn't last long). I like this fork alot now.
Similar Products Used: Lots...Spyder R, Manitou SX, Black Elite, Manitou Magnum
Bike Setup: Giant AC-Air
a Weekend Warrior
from Boise, Idaho USA
Date Reviewed: September 27, 2004
Strengths: Excellent stiffness, good large bump comtrol, ECC works wonders for uphill. Simple, easy to maintain.
Weaknesses: tall, hard to get neg. air spring just right
Killer large bump eating travel, doesn't like washboards too much, easy to maintain. just pop out seals, clean, lube, rock on! Good for larger riders, I ride 20 to 60 miles per week. ECC works well, albeit not much travel when locked down. I'm 6'2, 230, big rider, not so much a jumper, but it doesn't complain if I do. After one year it's still really smooth, once the correct air pressure is maintained.
Bike Setup: Kona Bear (lots of replaced parts, I'm big)
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2004
Strengths: Very stiff, accurate steering. ECC does the trick for long climbs. Very nice travel quality that can be dialed in with air pressure.
Weaknesses: Kind of heavy and tall.
For the price I paid, this fork is really good. I almost got a Fox instead, but after watching all my friends have problems with bushings and seals, I went with what I have experience using. The fork can be a bit of a pain to tune, but it's not so bad. I try to use three times the positive pressure in the negative chamber. I at first experienced some harsh top-out, but using lower pressures fixed this without adversely affecting the ride.
The fork is a bit heavy for aggresive XC and can make the bike feel a bit more marshmallowy. That's OK with me, but something you should think about if you're considering this fork. The increase in steering accuracy over 30mm forks is amazing though, and well worth it if you don't mind the change in geometry.
Tuning the fork couldn't be simpler. Just add air. And what is with people saying you need an allen wrench to do this? There's a removable plug in the ECC knob that you can add air through. There's absolutely no need to remove the knob on mine (yes, it is a 2003, and perhaps mine is different in some way.)
Overall, I really like this fork. It's a vast improvment over Marzocchi's air forks of yore. I don't weigh a lot, so the air tuning is great for me. Technical stuff just becomes easier overnight when this fork is tuned right. The ECC will get you there in style if the climb is relatively smooth. If you like very aggressive trail riding this fork is for you. I think if the fork didn't chopper my bike so much I'd give it a full 5 chilis. A truly outstanding value at the closeout price.
Similar Products Used: Manitou Black Elite, Marz. X-Fly 100
Bike Setup: Enduro with a few upgrades.
a Cross Country Rider
from Honolulu, Hawaii
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2004
Strengths: No need to buy springs, durability and solid feel
Weaknesses: Damper could be more adjustable, needs more tire clearance
Here is how i just set mine up and it works GREAT! I weight 210# and use 10 weight oil with a 45mm oil height (side with negative pressure will need to be approximated as level goes up while you push that side damper in, when you take your fork apart for oil change you will know what I mean). Thinking possibly using a 50mm oil height. Positive pressure is 40 PSI with a negative pressure of 120 PSI. I tried some oil levels listed in the forums, but this works better for me. Hope this info is helpful to people as I spent a fair amount of time finding this out. Product weaknesses is the damping is limited to the ECC5 and my 2.4 Fire FR just barely fits (I had to redish my wheel slightly to prevent rubbing) and am going with a 2.3 or 2.35 for my next tire.
Similar Products Used: Quadra 21R, Judy FSX, Judy SL, X-vert, SX-Ti, Z1, X-fly, Black elite (and maybe a few more over all the time I've been riding). All owned and used!
Bike Setup: '02 Giant AC, Fox vanilla RC in the rear, Free ride style setup
Date Reviewed: April 19, 2004
Strengths: very adjustable!! Feels very solid.......Marzocchi tech dept. (Tracy)
Overall a great fork. I had a fe problems at the start. (Leaking air)The guys at Marzocchi were great. They took the time to make it right. I am totaly satisfied with Marzocchi. Its nice to know they stand behind their products.
a Cross Country Rider
from Manchester, UK
Date Reviewed: March 27, 2004
Strengths: Infinitely tunable
Weaknesses: Disc hose routing on the '04 model (I've had to zip tie my disc hose to the plastic hose clamp and it doesn't route well with a Marzocchi fender in place either).
These forks are lighter than the Z1 Freeride coil fork they replaced, the performance as you would expect is not quite as good as a coil fork, but it comes damn close and the weight saving more than makes up for the difference in ride feel.
To be honest I prefer the ECC5 adjustability over ETA and frequently cycle amongst the five settings when out riding. I have seen a few sets that have been sent with the ECC adjuster incorrectly fitted so you can't get all five positions, but reseating it is a 30 second job with just a 2.5mm allen key.
This allen key is an essential tool as you need it to add pressure to the ECC side of the fork. Having to remove the top cap out in the field is asking for trouble, especially given the chance of losing bits. That said these forks hold air, so once you've got the setup right for your weight AND riding style, then the shock pump stays buried in your 'pack.
Stiffness is impressive. I think the '04 ones with 32mm legs are actually stiffer than my '02 QR20's. I just wish Marzocchi would do a SL QR20! I've also had problems with sticky air valves on both my Freeride SLs and Marathon SLs, but this is usually cured by reinflating, still it's a little bit annoying.
Spend time getting them set up properly and you won't be disappointed. Marzocchi build quality and sealing is legendary. With a good maintenance regime, these forks will provide years of faithful service - even in British winters :o)
Similar Products Used: ZI Freeride QR20, Marathon SL, MX Pro ETA, SID 100s, Manitou X Verts, Duke SLs...
Bike Setup: '98 FSR Elite, with full BETD backend (linkage plate, replacement seat & chain stays, needle bearing kit), Tim Flooks tuned Vanilla R with "North Shore" damping (more at http://www.rothar.com/FSR.htm)
a Cross Country Rider
from Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: March 17, 2004
Strengths: Adjustability, Stiff, Eats up everything, while Feeling bottoless on large drops, beautiful to look at, ecc5
Weaknesses: A little heavy, no technical info on how to service and take the fork apart. Need an allen wrench to add air to right + chamber
If you don't mind spending a few minutes to adjust the air pressure, this is the best fork you can own. There is no other fork that lets you climb like a short travel fork and go downhill like 5 inch fork. Mine has worked flawleesly. This fork has saved be several times. Set up is very easy and much less complicated than the new 2004 minute air shocks by manitou and fox. I weigh 195 lbs. Just put 35-40 psi in the the two positive chambers (takes about 2 minutes...would be faster if you didn't need an allen wrench to take of right valve cover) and 120 psi in the neg chamber (takes less than 1 minute). Remember - most pumps read a pressure that is 5 - 10 psi lower than what is in the shock...if your pump says 40 psi you may have 50 psi in the shock. Many people don't realize, because it's hidden in the manual, that the negative spring not only affects the plushness of the fork but also increases the compression dampening of the fork (increase neg air pressure and your rebound increases as well as your small bump sensitivity increasing as well. My ecc is a God-send, making it climb like a billy goat and go downhill like butter (and with the neg spring set properly there are 5 or at least 4 distinct positions..position 2 and 3 act the same).
Weaknesses: horrible damping, bottoms out all the time, not terribly stiff, though not bad for a std QR axle, poor adjustability, etc...
do not get this fork. get a manitou firefly (less than half a pound extra weight). if you can afford it, get a 2004 with spv - they are incredible! worth the extra $$$.
even better, if you were smart enough to get a frame with 1.5" headtube, get the breakout or breakout plus with spv - unbelievable!
everyone who's given this good reviews has obviously not tried the coil shocks. the air damping is awful. unless you crank the preload it will bottom out on anything over 3-4 feet, and then you're left with no small bump sensitivity. the rebound adjustment is quite useless. ecc-5 works ok sometimes, but its random.
had one of the best mechanics on the north shore look at it. he shares my new opinion of air shocks for freeride application. he threw some more oil in, so now its slighter less harsh when it bottoms and i can drop the preload for a more comfy ride, but it still sucks. however, now the ecc locks down at click 3 instead of click 5 (ie. i have almost no control over rebound).
ok, i'm 200 pounds. maybe you could get away with this fork if you're much lighter so you can run lower preload, but this thing is still a huge pain in the ass to tune (see all reviews below). you can't control pressure within a couple psi realistically, even with a good shock pump.
my advice: get a manitou. if you're like me and wanted a regular QR dropout so you could use your weenie xc front wheel, get a new wheel, cuz you'll bust it anyway. get a proper 20mm thru-axle. they're so much stiffer. the 04 firefly is sick!
2 chili's is called "fair". 3 is "good". i can't call this fork "good". sorry.
Similar Products Used: manitou breakout, firefly, r/s psylo, marz mxr
Bike Setup: heckler, light freeride setup
Date Reviewed: March 12, 2004
Strengths: Stiffness, beauty, lockout.
Weaknesses: Difficult to dial in (depends on if its an XC day, an urban assault day, or downhilling). I wish it came with a 2004 Calendar.
450$ w/the chris king headset seems like a good price. This fork is much stiffer, smoother and more adjustable than the 2003 Black comp I just got off of. Strength is way up there as I nosed-in-to-endo on a 5 foot to pavement drop w/no issues to the fork. Like all the other notes, I'm still trying to dial in the pressures. Looking back, the only other fork I should have considered was the Fox Talas. But for 300$ more and no headset, there wasn't a real decision here.
Similar Products Used: Z2, Float 100 RLC, Black comp 120
Bike Setup: G-spot, Z1 SL, XT, avid mechanicals with some thomson and titec bits thrown in
a Cross Country Rider
from Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2004
Strengths: Rolls over just about everything. ECC, even though it should have multiple settings for extension. stiffness. Looks. I did not have much trouble setting the air pressures. Find the right sag and use the rebound adjustment to compensate for the touchy negative air pressure.
Weaknesses: drop out to crown length is considerably longer that Fox's 125mm forks. adapter needed to add air. BAD MANUAL. It is the same manual as my MX Comp w/eta. Heavy. Noisy oil/air sounds.
On my first ride down a rooty, bumpy trail I came around a corner and two guys coming up gave me big grins. I realized that I had been screeming in joy at the new bump eater I had found. This fork rocks. The plush ride totally makes up for the changed head angle. The ECC makes up for the head angle on the climbs and still leaves me with more than an inch of travel in most cases. If you don't wish to pick a line on this fork (cross country) you don't have to. If you find it cheap, buy it.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox judy, Marzocchi MX comp w/eta
Bike Setup: I-Drive 1.0
a Weekend Warrior
from La Mirada
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2004
Strengths: Looks good, I can set it up for my 250# weight, ECC works well for climbing.
Weaknesses: Negative air leaked 50# a week from day one and now went out completely, I'm bummed. The bike will go to supergo tomorrow and I hope they can fix the problem there and not have to ship the fork off for repair. Hard to get the set-up right.
I bought this fork to replace the stock Psylo that sucked for a guy my size. I have had good experience with Marzocchi in the past but this really suckes to have problems with a fork that is not even 3 months old. I still have not got the set-up dialed and I'm already taking it in for repair. Until the negative air cartridge went out I was liking it pretty well it is a huge improvement over the Psylo.
Similar Products Used: Marzocchi Z4 air, Rock Shox Psylo XC, Rock Shox Pilot SL
Bike Setup: '03 Trek Liquid 20+
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2004
Strengths: Looks, adjustability, stiff, plush, did I say looks?
Weaknesses: Poor manual and instructions. They just plain out suck. The sensitivity of the fork makes me wish I had a pump with 1lb increments.
These shocks fit my Foes very nicely. The titanium is like a light gray and the black lettering looks cool. Now for the real stuff. The stanchions are pretty stout and hold up well. I can't say enough about the smoothness of this fork. It is definitely one of the best lightweight, long travel forks out there.
Now for the adjustment part. This is what I do to set it up. Give it a try if you get fed up with the manual.
I weigh 165 lbs. When you are sitting on the bike, the left side of the fork has 2 valves and the middle one is -. The outside one is the +. The right side of the fork only has one valve, which is +. You need to turn the ECC all the way clockwise to see this valve. Let out all the air from all + and - chambers and keep the ECC all the way clockwise. Now pump about 20lbs into the + chambers on both left and right sides. Now, turn the ECC all the way counterclockwise. (The shock should rise all the way up.) Turn the ECC back all the way CW. Pump up the + chambers to 25lbs. Now pump up the - chamber to 100lbs. Turn the ECC valve all the way CCW. Check the plushness. What do you think? I hope that helps some folks.