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Marzocchi Bomber Air Rear Shock

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Vital First Look - Marzocchi Bomber Air Shock

Marzocchi nails this air shock aimed at hard-charging mountain bikers.

Rating: Vital Review
Vital First Look - Marzocchi Bomber Air Shock

Suspension manufacturers are competing to develop the most advanced and tuneable rear shocks and deliver the highest performance to their factory riders. But, do most riders need race-driven highly customizable tuning options to experience transcendence on their mountain bikes? Nah. The all-new Marzocchi Bomber Air rear shock is everything you actually need in a high-performance shock and nothing that you can’t live without. We are certainly not knocking the performance of other high-end flagship models out there. But, we are saying that for many riders out there, the simple approach wins the day. The Bomber Air is available in a wide range of sizes in both standard and trunnion mount. We've been spending some time with the new shock and are ready to share our findings.

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Highlights

  • Asymmetric reservoir position
  • Air valve location offers improved frame clearance and pump access
  • DH-rated shock
  • 2-position, non-indexed compression sweep
  • Tunable sweep to adjust the stop to a narrower window
  • Has travel reducing spacers like most modern shocks
  • Unique air volume spacers, available in 0.1 C.I. increments
  • Trunnion and standard eyelet options
  • Adjustable compression and rebound
  • All adjusters are tool-free
  • Compatible with FOX bearing mounts on both ends (excluding trunnion)
  • Weight: 484 grams (205x65)
  • 40 to 75 mm stroke
  • Metric: 190x45, 210x50, 210x52.5, 210x55, 230x57.5, 230x60, 230x65, 250x75
  • Trunnion: 185x52.5, 185x55, 205x60, 205x62.5, 225x75
  • MSRP $479 USD

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Italian suspension manufacturer Marzocchi was acquired by FOX in 2015, so it is no surprise that the new Bomber Air strikes some resemblance to air shocks in the FOX line-up. However, even a casual glance at the Marzocchi will reveal that this is no Float X in Italian robes. The first feature that jumped out at us was the large volume, asymmetrical reservoir. Marzocchi claims that the Bomber Air is “slightly off for the slightly off.” Maybe that’s why they gave us fewer choices to make when setting it up and making adjustments. There is a compression adjuster, a rebound adjuster, and a Schrader valve for setting air pressure. Notably absent from Marzocchi’s first air shock is a dual position climb-mode lever. No more forgetting to put it back in downhill mode!

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The Lineup and Initial Impressions

Since joining forces with FOX, Marzocchi has been a solid performer in the coil spring market, appealing primarily to those more gravity-oriented riders or those that simply prefer the feel and performance of coil springs in their shocks and forks. Marzocchi has long offered forks with air spring technology, but up until now did not offer an air-sprung rear shock. The Bomber Air shock not only checks that box, but it also checks off several others: plush, responsive, and, as the name implies- bomber. Marzocchi now has both coil and air shocks covered, and if you combine Marzocchi and FOX, together, they have an incredibly versatile suspension range. The Bomber Air shock may have fewer adjustable controls than its FOX cousins or competitors alike, but it delivers on performance where it really counts. And although we don’t know a whole lot of detail about the Bomber’s inner workings, Marzocchi has made it clear that the internals are unique to this shock.

There are a few features that set the new Marzocchi apart from the other DH-capable air shocks. The asymmetrical reservoir design will offer better fitment on certain frames and makes it easier to adjust the compression knob mounted on top. The compression adjuster is unique in that it only turns 180-degrees and there is no indexing. The narrower window of adjustment makes quick work of changing from firm to soft or somewhere in between. When it comes to set-up, some shocks demand tedious fine-tuning, small tools, and patience. Not the Bomber. There are no clicks to count on the compression adjuster. It is either open or closed or somewhere in the middle of a 180-degree range. But relax, you can still count some clicks. The rebound adjuster has 14 very perceptible clicks to play around with.

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On The Trail

We mounted the Bomber Air on a Kona Process 153, set the sag to 30%, and headed out for some testing in Reno, NV, and the Lake Tahoe region. With the rebound damping in the fastest setting and the compression turned to soft, we dropped in at the neighborhood bike park to hit some flow laps with several drops and jumps. Our first impression was that the shock felt very soft, so much so that we thought maybe we were sagging greater than 30%. A second and third check confirmed that at 170-173 psi, we were right at 30% sag under the hulking 160-pound test rider. After a few laps with both adjustments wide open, it was confirmed that the bomber has an ultra-plush side. We began the process of dialing in the rebound and compression incrementally. As we mentioned earlier, Marzocchi has made this an easy tool-free process.

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We landed on 4-clicks from fastest for rebound and just a few degrees from center towards soft for compression. This became our go-to setting for the rest of our trail rides. But, if the trail demanded more compression it was very easy to grab the compression knob and adjust it either way. For a few long climbs, we closed the compression all the way and were happy with how the shock firmed up a bit, yet was not in any way locked out.

We were delighted with how well the Bomber Air handled the fastest, rocky, technical downhills that we could throw at it. Marzocchi delivered on a shock with only a few manual adjustments that performs well throughout the entire stroke. It shined in the midstroke when soaking up successive rocks and bumps and meshed really well with our Kona’s 160mm single pivot design.

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We even raced in an enduro event and felt like the Bomber left nothing on the table. We were feeling strong pedaling up the steep transfers and never really missed having a climb switch. As we indicated earlier, we loved how it performed in the fast and chunky downhill. We also thought it felt great with the seat post all the way up sprinting the flat sections, making us think that the Bomber would pair very well with shorter travel bikes in the all-mountain and down country categories.

DH/Technical Performance/Fun Factor

The Bomber felt awesome in the terrain that demanded the most from it. Steep, loose, and technical terrain did not phase the Bomber Air one bit. The large volume reservoir allows oil to flow freely as the shock cycles and it has a progressive enough leverage rate to smash really hard without bottom outs. Even though we were initially struck by how plush it feels in the upper and mid-stroke, we never harshly bottomed out. Dial the compression a little this way or that way and just have fun.

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Things That Could Be Improved

There is not a whole lot we would change about this shock. We suspect that there will be many riders that aren’t willing to forego more features, like a dual position lever with ride and climb modes or more control over rebound and compression characteristics. Therein lies the brilliance of the crossover between Marzocchi and FOX. Those riders that want more features can have them on a variety of FOX products. If you are looking to switch it up from a RockShox or other brand you will have to get the correct mounting hardware to do so. Switching the hardware over is not rocket science, but does require a few special tools. It is probably safest to take it to a qualified bike expert and avoid causing damage to your new secret weapon.

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Long Term Durability

We have not had our mitts on this particular shock for terribly long, so we can’t speak first hand about its durability, but Marzocchi has a long reputation for “bomber” durability. There is a one year limited warranty that covers manufacturer defects to the original owner, but they also claim that if something goes wrong they do their very best to address the issue and get you back on the trail.

Marzocchi hit the bullseye when it comes to performance, durability, and ease of use.

What's The Bottom Line?

Marzocchi hit the bullseye when it comes to performance, durability, and ease of use. While it is not as fine-tuenable as offerings from other manufacturers, it favors the “set it and forget it” approach. At $479 MSRP the Marzocchi Bomber Air will appeal to many riders looking for performance and value who can live without all the frills. We absolutely loved how responsive and stable the Bomber Air felt when tackling rough terrain. Word will get around that Marzocchi has delivered big on performance and value and we expect to see a lot more Marzocchi Bomber Airs on bikes very soon.

Visit Marzocchi.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

John Armbruster - Age: 43 // Years Riding MTB: 20 // Height: 5'11" (1.778m) // Weight: 157-pounds (71.2kg)

John has spent enough time mountain biking to witness the technical evolution of our sport and its bikes. Fads have come and gone but the fun never dies. He won't say no to a new trail or another lap, and when the bikes are clapped, John has the mechanical experience to revive his rigs from the ground up. Once resuscitated, he's back on the trail, clocking the miles, vert, and shenanigans.

Specifications

Product Marzocchi Bomber Air Rear Shock
Riding Type Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Spring Type Air
External Adjustments Tool-free Compression and rebound
Available Sizes Metric: 190x45, 210x50, 210x52.5, 210x55, 230x57.5, 230x60, 230x65, 250x75
Trunnion: 185x52.5, 185x55, 205x60, 205x62.5, 225x75
Weight 1 lb 1.1 oz (484 g)
Miscellaneous • Asymmetric reservoir position for improved compression lever ergonomics and versatile frame fitment
• Air valve location offers improved frame clearance and pump access
• Easy to adjust for all rider weights and riding styles
• Innovative tunable sweep dial to adjust the stop to a narrower window
• DH-rated shock pairs well with all Marzocchi forks, from DJ all the way through to 58
• 2-position, non-indexed compression sweep adjust means you can set it and forget it
• Includes travel reducing spacers
• Unique air volume spacers, available in 0.1 C.I. increment
• Compatible with FOX bearing mounts on both ends (excluding trunnion)
Price N/A
More Info

Marzocchi.com

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