The Future of Marzocchi

Words Daniele Addamo
Date Apr 23, 2015

In recent weeks conflicting information has been surfacing about the future of Marzocchi. The Italian company, owned by Tenneco, a publicly traded, Fortune 500 company based in Lake Forest Indiana, has been rumoured to be winding down production. Most of the rumbling has come from Italian unions, seeking to protect workers at Marzocchi’s Bologna facility.

A few weeks ago, the FIOM (the union to which Marzocchi’s tradespeople belong) , released news that management of the US multinational announced the closure of the plant and of production of forks for motorcycles and mountain bikes. The Italian web site Resto del Carlino , also released news that Tenneco intends to exit the suspension fork market.

This news is partially true and it’s related to a severe downturn in the motorcycle market. Management released a statement suggesting the market crisis lead to their decision to leave the suspension business. Since the last meeting of management and unions there has been no progress about relocating production or finding solutions of any kind. An unemployment compensation agreement for workers expires in September 2015 and Tenneco did not renew the lease of the plant, leading unions to call for crisis talks with the employer.

Marzocchi has operated the bicycle and motorcycle arms of the business separately for some time an market conditions for the bicycle market are much less dire. Marzocchi’s bicycle division apparently ended recent financial years in the black with excellent sales results.

We reached out to Stefano Migliorini (Bicycle Division Marketing Manager) , and he confirmed that the bicycle division is in excellent health. At Sea Otter, Marzocchi debuted new products to be released this year, including a new dropper post. As a public company Marzocchi is obligated to support products for a minimum of two years. We’re not likely to see changes to the bicycle division’s production through 2018.

Bicycle industry production was moved to Asia several years ago and should be unaffected by shutdowns in Bologna. What happens beyond 2018 will be dictated by sales results for the next two years.

Sleep easy Marzocchi fans. You have nothing to worry about for a few years.

For more info check out marzocchi.com

This article was originally published in Italian by our friends at TRIRIDE


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Comments

handsomened
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handsomened  - April 30, 2015, 5:14 p.m.

I just bought a Stromer - I am a serious bike guy and I wondered if I am breaking some sort of unspoken code about earning my ride. But!! This thing is a beast on the commute, and I have been on it non stop for a week. It is sheer joy to get it up to 45km without killing myself, and it has made me take the insurance off my car, at least until this thing is paid for by gas and insurance money. When the traffic is stop and go, I am smiling ear to ear leaving all those cages waiting at red lights. It is clean, effective and highly functional, and I really believe as commuters, they are the future. Having said all that, I do not want powered mtb's on the trails. There is a limited amount of room on single track trails, regardless of where you live, and if you want to ride there, get in shape or go somewhere else. I am all for it as commuters and getting more cars off the road.

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chrisgx
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ChrisGX  - April 28, 2015, 2:01 p.m.

It would be a sad day if Marzocchi (automotive) were literally to cease operations. And, allowing that possibility, the attempted reassurance of the continued availability of products for mountain bikes turns out to be completely empty. Virtually, everything about mountain bike suspension (that is of any value) has derived from the motorcycle or motorcar industries. That is where all the engineering came from. And, it continues to be place that advanced research gets done before the technologies developed for motorcycles and cars finally trickles down into mountain bike products. So, yes, closure of Marzocchi automotive and continuation of Marzocchi mountain bike would be possible and in that case bikers should be happy that Marzocchi can offer them obsolete technologies free of the trouble of research and development. Well, we will see how that goes as a business strategy.

Is this anything more than bloody mindedness on Tenneco's part? Don't be surprised if the 'closure' turns out to be a move of operations to Asia. I'm sure the bean counters have done their sums. Why should Tenneco have to put up with those old world Italian unions when they can have pliant Asian workers who ask for so little?

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jamie-hamilton
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Jamie Hamilton  - April 24, 2015, 1:55 p.m.

Yes I hope the buying public doesn't get caught up in the any media hype and not support Marzocchi MTB. I have the 350 CR and although not the flashiest fork the performance is amazing! No hype just reliable, supportive, plush beyond anything I've had before ( and I've had them all ). They are now producing amazing gear, support them and keep the legend alive.

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Timmigrant
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Tim Coleman  - April 24, 2015, 7:31 a.m.

Thank goodness, and thanks for the update. My 380 and 350 are so mind blowingly good. I need these products in my life!

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dkl
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Daniel Louie  - April 24, 2015, 9:13 a.m.

Bump. I recently made the switch back to Marzocchi from Fox and was blown away by how good the suspension is. Comparable weight to RS Pikes, but with 35 mm stanchions and lower maintenance issues it's a win over both.

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martin
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Martin  - April 24, 2015, 6:45 a.m.

I really hope that they stay in business for a long time. I've been exclusively riding Marzocchi forks by choice since 2001, and even in 2009, I had a reliable 55 that I sold with my previous bike in '12. My '01 Z1 MCR is still working like new on my xc bike, and in spite of their weight, both my 66s perform great and are super reliable (which is what I value the most).

Plus they have the best customer service in the industry, with Alex and Naz who are awesome to work with at the Canadian service centre. Keep it up buys and good luck for the future!

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noservice
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noservice  - April 24, 2015, 7:57 a.m.

maybe if you know people at the company they have good service. i have literally had my worst customer service experiences in the bike industry with marzocchi. I've owned a number of their dj forks, a 888, and a 66 -- the actual suspension performance has been on par with the competition but their service is horrible. As is their total lack of documentation on how to service and modify their stuff.

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martin
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Martin  - April 24, 2015, 8:35 a.m.

I guess it depends in what part of the world you are. I did not know anyone at Marzocchi Canada until I called the service centre for the first time in 2013 before buying my latest forks. I had an issue with a 66 and the guys at the service centre went over their head to make me happy.

I have not had to service the 66s myself yet, but I have found Dave Garland's RC3 evo service video on Youtube, and another one on how to bleed the CR damper. It seems basically the same for all CR dampers. I agree that documentation on servicing isn't easy to find, which I've heard it is because of warranty managing issues. I would imagine that with closed-cart dampers, other suspension makers might also go this route in the near future.

You can also find exploded views of every fork from 2004-2014 on the Marzocchi Russia website

Also, they had until last week an employee from MarzocchiUSA responding in a thread on an MTBR forum, which was pretty useful. The thread might still be worth reading (26 pages) or bookmarking if you are looking for specific info. The guy was saying that Marzocchi was working on service and how-to videos for a new "tech" section that would be on their website sometime. I don't now if it will happen, but for now I'm happy with the videos and exploded diagrams.

Hope this helps, cheers!

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cleansooke
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cleanSooke  - April 24, 2015, 6:49 p.m.

From Hawaii to BC I've had great service from marz. They've taken care of every issue (not many granted) I've had over the years 100% satisfaction.

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christian-samuelsen
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Christian Samuelsen  - April 24, 2015, 6:39 a.m.

I'll take over bicycle R&D, production and warranty here in Montreal…. I'll need a few friends though.

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kain0m
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kain0m  - April 24, 2015, 3:20 a.m.

I thought this text seemed awfully familiar - but I have read the original one, translated by bing…

Let's hope that at least the bicycle division will survive… Really looking forward to that dropper post.

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bill-eey
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Bill Eey  - April 23, 2015, 11:26 p.m.

Great investment opportunity for fox or sram or a dark horse? Seemed like they were about to make a come back.

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