a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2010
Strengths: performance ,tune&ride and forget , 20mm QR axle , stiff , looks good , light
Weaknesses: Takes some time to dial in
Not recommened for garage service
It's a great reliable fork for the agressive XC/allmnt user - takes everything from long tech climbs to drops and small gap jumps and light DH runs.
Beacuse it's air you can dial it perfectly though it takes some time. I dodn't use the ATA nor the TST - ride 6in all the way , set progressivly.
I ride all types of trails and it a perfect all around fork, tough enough for fr/dh, yet will take you up w/o lift.
Fotr the price - you wont get better.
I havent' serviced mine for 2 years - just general cleaning and let the air out out of season.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 15, 2009
Strengths: Super stiff, super plush, TST 5 is amazing and simple to opperate, graphics are awesome, build quality is exceptional coming from Italy and not Taiwan. ATA is great and the 120mm to 160mm is great.
Weaknesses: Air tables suck! Totally incorrect and the 20mm needs to be a QR!
Great fork for cross country, all mountain, drops, railing berms, riding black diamond sectons, super smooth almost like a coil over. Super adjustable (but) to all of you out there this fork needs to be serviced from the get go and yeah that sucks but if it is going to perform well just do it now and ride for the next 2 years without a service. The fork weighs around 4.9lbs and so far it is bomb proof. I borrowed this fork from my brother and used it for a month and wow it is the best all mountain fork on the planet (under $500) when the prices drop the following year. Fox does not do this so when someone pays $950 for a Float 36 RC 2 and has issues ouch that is alot of money to spend on something that has issues. For $950 I could buy an All Mountain SL 120-160 for $500 and a Mavic Crossline wheelset to boot. Would be nice if Fox did this without charging full retail for their products! Ah well they will learn this in due time.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Revelation 130mm Dual Air, Marzocchi Z1 FR SL 130 ECC 04'
Bike Setup: 2008 Yeti 575 w RP23!
a Cross Country Rider
from Washington, DC
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2009
Strengths: ATA Travel Adjustment, TST5 Damper with full lock-out, weight
Weaknesses: ATA Travel adjustment is slow, early runs were horrible.
I bought an AM SL1 a couple of years back, when they first hit the market and it was selling for about $700. I was building a SC Nomad and needed a 160mm shock. At the time it was the only fully adjustable, 160mm travel air sprung, Single Crown shock, besides the Fox TALAS 36. The Fox TALAS was (and remains) over $1000 and had a ton of reliability issues.
I initially hated this fork, because like others, I had a lot of problems getting it dialed-in. Marz's pressure charts are freaking ridiculous. On top of that, I have found that required pressures vary from shock to shock, or cartridge to cartridge. For example, I ran the shock at 50/80 - after getting it serviced, I had to drop pressures to 20/50 to get similiar performance. After 3 failures of the shock, it has now been operating flawlessly for over a year.
1) This is a great performing shock that is comparable to the Fox TALAS 36 at about 1/3 the price. Once you get it dialed in, it performs like a coil shock. The negative air chamber keeps you from getting lauched over the bars with good progressive resistance.
2) Travel Adjustment (ATA): You can wind down the travel for climbs, then jack it back out for bombing downhill. It make it possible to ride your AM bike at a ski slope or on a flat XC loop = truly All Mountain.
3) The TST damper is really solid. It's easy to use and has enough range that you can go from wide open for DH to fully locked out for extended, standing climbs.
1) The main air cartridge is prone to leaks. The symptom of this is that the shock gets progressively stiffer over a long ride. This is because the cartridge is loosing air into the stantion. Over 3 seasons, it has had to be sent back to Marz twice; it would have been 3, but the third time around they sent me a swap out cartridge. After the 3rd cartridge, it has run for over a year with no maintenance. I'm guessing that Marz worked through the reliability issues.
2) While the travel adjustment is nice, it's slow. Unlike the TALAS and the RS Lyrik, which both adjust with a flick of a switch, the SL1 has to be wound down. it takes like 16 turns of the wrist to go from top to bottom. You will find yourself spending alot of time winding it up and down.
3) It takes a bit of work to get dialed in. The pressure reccomendations from Marz are way off. i run the ATA cartidge at 20/50 and the reccomended pressures are 70/100
4) It is a discontinued product. Never a good thing from a support standpoint.
For Value: You can't go wrong at $400 at WheelWorld.com! I'm thinking about buying one for a spare
Overall: It's a really good shock if you are willing to work through the bugs. Don't buy this if you only own one bike. I have a few, so having one out for maintenance.
Similar Products Used: Fox TALAS 36, RockShox Lyrik
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Nomad1, Marz. AM SL1 fork, Race Face Atlas cranks, Mavic wheels, King hubs & headset, Thomson stem and post.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bend, OR, USA
Date Reviewed: April 12, 2009
Strengths: Super stiff, super plush(better than my coil pike), nice graphics, TST 5 (exceptional), 120mm to 160mm travel, no flex what so ever and I weigh 230lbs, love the white!!
Weaknesses: Marzocchi has produced a horrible reputation for poor quality since 2007 and this has crushed their sales and they need to pull out of Taiwan and make only quality forks NOT MZ Comps...........crap. I have a 2003 Z1 FR SL 130mm fork and it has been fabulous along with the MXPRO 120mm super reliable. Taiwan has killed their reputation and their quality.
From what I have heard of this fork it has received bad reviews and the pressure tables are all messed up so my advice is have the fork serviced right away even though you really should not. Fox and Rock Shox right out the box are ready to rock and roll however Marzocchi forks need to be serviced right away. They will perform right away and put a grin on your face once serviced. I know that paying right after getting the fork is unacceptable, I know, I know but again the fork rocks after that. I weigh around 230 lbs and the (negative) is set at 120psi and the (positive) around 100 psi the opposite to Fox and Rock Shox!!
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Pike Race (05), Marzocchi Z1 FR SL 130mm(04)!!
Bike Setup: (08)XL Yeti 575 (orange) w/RP23, (07)All Mountain SL 120/160, Chris King headset, Thomson Elite Stem, Pro Taper bar, Avid Disc brakes, Hope Pro 2 hubs w/Mavic 719 rims, Continental Vertical Pro tires, Sram X9 gearing, Stylo Gxp 3.3 crankset, egg beater pedals etc.
a Weekend Warrior
from united kingdom
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2008
Strengths: super smoooth,silky yet solid feel.plus the weight
Weaknesses: none yet
Ive actually got sl2's, 20 mm version, which i think was an oe version of sl1's which dropped tst micro for tst2.thank god.I had tst micro on a set of 55's which didnt work.These forks are a joy after riding 55's, a so-called improvement to the all mountain catagory.55's are heavy, feel like they're made in a chinese tap factory and cannot be ridden all day over all terrain.these can.if there is a problem with sl1's reliability then get a set of the sl2's, because mine feel lovely.check out ebay.the sl2 20mm tends to be grey.
NOTE:I,m not talking about the aftermarket ones with TAS and RV.Basically sl1's (ata etc)withoout tst micro.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bend, OR
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2008
Strengths: Very stiff fork, nice 20mm TA, reasonable weight, very smooth when working
I purchaed this fork, as it had what I was looking for: reasonable weight, and wind-down travel from 160mm to 120mm. I would have been on an Air Lyrik U-turn if it existed, but that fork only comes in Coil U-turn, and the Pike is too short. TALAS 36 didn't have the essentially infinite adjustment. So, I ended up with an AM SL1 from Marzocchi.
Great fork, for around 15 hours. Then, it went bad. Damping sucked, and the fork lost travel, just like everyone else's. The ATA unit had failed. Called Marzocchi (in August of 2007) and explained the problem (the fork had been out nearly a year) and told them what was happening. I was a bit angry, as this fork had reported problems for many months, and before I purchased it, I called them to make sure that, yes, those early production problems had been solved. When I called them back after my fork became dead, they acted like I was the first person ever to have needed warranty on this fork! Terrible service, and I was without a fork for 2 months. When I had a problem with a Fox, they had it back to me in 2 weeks. Picked up a different fork, and sold this one on Ebay as soon I got it back, losing a couple hundred $ in the process. Probably my last Marzocchi product....
Strengths: Super squishy, lightweight and unbelievably adjustable. It's got that bottomless Marzocchi feel.
Weaknesses: 10mm "dead zone" at the top of your sag setting. Takes a few big pushes to warm up. Initial stiction is pretty intense at the beginning of a ride.
I was very hesitant to buy this fork after reading some of the less than favorable reviews below. But it seems as though I've lucked-out. If there is in fact a major difference between the quick release version and the regular thru axle, than the latter is definitely a huge improvement. After fine tuning the fork, which can be tough due to all the options, I'm really loving this bad boy. The ATA travel option is especially nice when climbing and can turn an all mountain rig into something appropriate for XC. The terrain-specific damping selector also works well; though I almost never use the last two, more rigid settings. The only really weird think about this fork is a dead feeling right at the top of where you set your sag. Going uphill it feels pretty funky and makes the fork seems less stiff than it actually is. Downhill, however, this feeling is unnoticeable. It feels super-plush and extremely stiff. All around a great fork if you have the patience to fiddle with it until you've found your most comfortable set-up. Not for people who want something tuned perfectly out of the box.
Bike Setup: 2004 Giant AC-1. Marzocchi Rocco coil. XT.
a Weekend Warrior
from Northumberland, UK
Date Reviewed: April 12, 2008
Strengths: Good spec, in theory
Weaknesses: Chronic unreliability
Before I start, I'd like to declare a long held loyalty to 'zocchi forks - downhill, freeride,xc - I've loved most I've had. BUT... These forks have wrecked that brand loyalty. They came as OE kit on my Comencal Meta Team. First of all they felt nice - a pain to set up as the suggested pressures are so wrong its laughable, but felt great. Then I go riding and my mate goes "are they only 120mm's?" "no", says I but then I look and oh yes, they've lost travel. So, off they come and back to 'zocchi UK (for 6 weeks!!) who suposedly fix the problem. Now the fork wont compress, so I check the pressures and they have them ramped way up, so I slacken them off and go ride, but now they won't make full travel, whatever pressure I try. So, they're off again - more waiting I expect. Totally weak for any fork, yet alone a top end one and zocchi cleary can't fix them as the ne 55's have the same problem. Also, very poor customer service. What are zocchi doing turning this sort of tat out onto the market? It seems that since production went to the far east, quality has plumeted, but the prices have increased! I'm back to Fox and reluctantly Rock shox.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2008
Strengths: Relatively light for how beefy it is and for the amount of travel.
Weaknesses: Decals came off when I removed protective plastic. Positive and negative chambers constantly lose air. ATA travel adjust dials itself down on downhill sections.
This fork is the biggest piece of crap I have ever owned. The decals came off when I removed the protective plastic when I first got the fork. No big deal I know, but it was a sign of things to come.
The Positive and Negative air chambers constantly lost air for the first couple months.
But by far the biggest issue is the ATA travel adjust dials itself down on downhill sections. As little as 5mm and as much as the entire 40mm of adjustment.
Marzocchi has "fixed" this problem 5 times already, including replacing the ATA cartridge 3 times. I got it back 2 weeks ago after the 5th "fix" and everything was working fine until today. It dialed itself down 10mm on a pretty tame rock garden--so tame my 9 year old shreds it on his HT.
I called my LBS and told them and they are going to call Marzocchi again tomorrow. I'm sure we'll get the run-around some more. I want my money back since this fork is a LEMON but I'm sure Marzocchi will just want to send another ATA cartridge to my LBS and I that will make the 6th time they've jerked me around.
Do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from this fork and Marzocchi products in general. I know that may sound extreme, but I don't want to do business with a company that screws their customers over this many times.
For what it's worth, I had a TALAS that had the crown and steerer tube start to separate. It was out of warranty and FOX fixed it for free anyway. Go FOX or Rock Shox if you want a fork that works.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 3, 2008
Strengths: Amazing fork ( If works !!!!)
Weaknesses: AtA cartrigde is extremly bad and its very difficult to get it as a spare part.
Well I sent my fork to Marzzochi, believe me it was really difficult to get assistance. Nobody answer the Phone. The problem with the air was salved. But now I got a second problem the fork is dialed down. Still problems with the famous ATA air cartridge. Marzzochi should replace this part in all the first production, costumer can not pay for their design mistakes.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shock Pike, some Manitou
Bike Setup: Giant VT
from Austin, Texas, US
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2007
Strengths: Looks pimp, TST5 works good, smooth through the mid travel, very adjustable, not that heavy
Weaknesses: Takes a while to break in, small bump performance is weak, only getting about 5in of travel out of it, travel adjustment is a pain in the ass compared to Fox 36talas
The fork is difficult to get dialed in. Don’t follow the air pressure chart that is posted on the fork, as it is way off. You’re best off just experimenting and doing it by feel. At 5lbs it feels light and can still handle everything that I’ve thrown at it. It does feel ten times better than it did during the first week but its still struggling with small bump sensitivity. It works great on mid to large hits and overall it feels pretty darn good. I am a little disappointed that I am only able to get about 130mm of travel out of it no matter how hard I ride it or how I have the air pressure set up. The travel adjuster is kind of a pain to use. It’s almost impossible to wine the travel down without having weight on the fork. I have to sit on the toptube to be able to screw it down. The TST5 is cool. It goes from fully plush to almost a full lockout. Am I disappointed with my fork?…Na. Does it have a few quirks?… yeah. Would I spend $500 extra for an 08 Fox 36talas?… Hell no!
Similar Products Used: Marzocchi Monster T, Z1, 66, every Judy made, SID, Fox 32, Boxer, Reba, Fox 36talas, and many more
Bike Setup: Intense 6.6, Juicy 7s, XT all around, Maverick speedball R
from The great state of Maine
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2007
Strengths: This fork has turned out to be alright. Actually the way the thing feels is really impressive, I cant say enough good about the overall suspension feel. Really one of the best I've tried. NOT as leaky as originally thought. Holds air for months. Also suprisingly torsionally rigid.
Weaknesses: Lots of adjustablity. I want a fork I cant F up the tuning on. The occasional and random oil seepage. Hard to get the right amount of air to stay in it, could be the pump I'm using.
Super light, stiff, tuneable if you are patient and have lots of spare time, feels ridiculously silky and bottomless, doubles as quite the big hit fork. And you can pick them up cheap nowadays...
Similar Products Used: z150fr, sherman firefly, fox 36 float rc2, z1mcr, z2, judy sl, indy xc, Super T, boxxer WC, Shiver, 888, MonsterT, DH3 to name a few
Bike Setup: 07 sx trail iii
from kittery me
Date Reviewed: August 26, 2007
Strengths: ride, looks good in white, smooth and supple, control, adjustability, feel, holds air
Weaknesses: leaks oil from top of ata and bottom of tst5. Too much stuff - Marzocchi shame on you, as much as my 01 Z1 MCR feels like a bouncy turd (in comparison to modern forks) there has never been anything wrong with it, ever, ever, ever.
I've never owned a fork with so much stuff you can do to it, its a shame that to get the good damping you usually have to spend the big money to get all the bells and whistles.
I bought the fork off ebay from some loser, it was new but leaked oil out of the ata. I sent it back to Marzocchi, they were cool and said they'd take care of me. It looks like they put a new TST5 cartridge. I got it back friday, rode it saturday its leaking oil from the top of the ATA (like it did before) and now its leaking oil from the bottom of the (new) TST5 leg.
Whatever I'm not mad, this is how it is. Hell I could probably get the rest of the summer out of the thing before performance would deteriorate.
Technology has driven the market in a certain direction and so has cost, unfortunately we the consumer are going to lose out.
Based on my latests experiences with Marzocchi I'd say you cant buy a fork based on reputation any longer. My 06 888 VF2 has been wonderful... so far.
Similar Products Used: manitou sherman firefly new 05 (she was a leaker when new too, spv is stupid), 07 fox float RC2(really great, stuff inside started knocking around in a few weeks), my old stand by 04 Z150FR bombproof now, even though it had stuff clanging around the lt leg after a few rides, but weighs an honest 9 pounds. Marz had to warranty fix this fork two after me riding it 4 times. That time it only took a few days to fix and they overnighted it to me without me even asking, that was a really nice experience.
Bike Setup: 07 sx trail 3 saint, LX (the new all mountain), RF all mountain stuff, she makes a great XC ride
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2007
Strengths: Nice color, amazing performance, very soft
Weaknesses: Poor quality
I bought this fork just a couple of months ago, during my second ride, the fork started to losing air. The fork cost me $740 bucks, that mean 370 buck each ride. A little bit expensive. I call Marzocchi, and I will send back the fork, in two weeks.
The performance of the fork is really amazing, but the quality is really bad. Marzocchi must pay attention to this kind of problems