2019 Marzocchi Bomber CR Coil Shock Review
Over the years Marzocchi has been touted for the quality of their coil-sprung suspension. Now reborn under Fox ownership, the latest product and the first rear shock, brings us back to those roots. Tying in with Marzocchi's current range, the shock offers great value at 299 USD (328.95 USD with coil spring). Thankfully, lower prices and fewer adjustments don't have to mean less performance, as proven by the new Bomber Z1 fork.
2019 Bomber CR Features:
- Adjustable Low Speed Compression (LSC) and Rebound
- Options available for travel ranges from 130mm to over 200mm
- Standard: 7.5 x 2.0”, 7.7875 x 2.0”, 7.7875 x 2.25”,8.5 x 2.5”, 8.75 x 2.75”
- Metric: 210 x 50mm, 210 x 55mm, 230 x 60mm, 230 x 65mm, 250 x 75mm
- Trunnion: 185 x 52.5mm, 185 x 55mm, 205 x 60mm, 205 x 65mm, 225 x 75mm
- MSRP: 299 USD shock only (29.99 USD for a spring)
Normally when new suspension is released, it comes with a large number of supporting documents. That wasn't the case here; no cutaway shock images, scientific explanations to confound even the most knowledgeable bike dorks, or insane marketing buzz-words. Rather, Marzocchi has kept it simple, just like the product.
And Marzocchi isn't shy about the lack of adjustability on the Bomber CR Coil. The new shock is targeted toward riders who want to “set their sag and shred.” Those who want the advantages of a coil shock and don’t mind the weight penalty will find it among the best value and most easily tuned shocks available.
Despite the low cost of entry and basic appearance, Marzocchi still wanted to provide excellent performance. They claim that internally, the shock features a well-balanced damping feel between the main piston and base valve. The ability to adjust the low-speed compression and rebound externally, each with 16 noticeable clicks, make it easy to fine tune. It should be noted that not all bikes on the market will mesh easily with a coil shock and it’s a good idea to research specific bikes before ordering.
Those with a keen eye will notice similarities to the Fox Van RC and aside from another year of experience and development, the two are the same. The lack of external adjusters make for a simple and perhaps underwhelming presentation but don’t be fooled, once set up it works great. Tested on my GeoMetron G16, a bike well suited to metal springs, the Marzocchi has rekindled my love-affair with coil-sprung suspension. In recent years air shocks have grown increasingly capable and the performance gap between the two continues to close. And yet during testing, advantages to the ride quality of a coil were clear.
Back to back with the Float X2, the differences were more obvious than I expected. Both offer remarkable composure but the coil Bomber CR, a much cheaper option, outshone the Float X2, which retails for close to double the amount at 625 USD. As a flat pedal rider, the settled ride quality was welcomed; much less effort was required to keep my feet planted through rough sections of trail. The only downside to the low-price coil was less projection out of corners or off lips of jumps. This could be tuned for to some degree, with more external adjustability, but at the end of the day air shocks still provide more in this sense. It’s the nature of compressing air.
As an air spring is compressed the pressure builds creating more resistance. The deeper into the stroke it's pushed, the more this builds. Coil springs have a more linear dynamic and allow the wheel to move more easily through the travel range, especially at the initial part of the stroke. There's also less friction in the system and while brands like MRP now produce progressive coil springs, considering a coil shock like the new Bomber CR requires some research. You don't want to excessively use the travel or bottom out too hard. Bikes like the latest Santa Cruz Nomad or YT Capra can benefit while something like the Ibis Ripmo, which features a 'regressive' rate in the latter half of the stroke, won't benefit the same way.
Once the correct spring weight was found the bike comfortably skipped across obstacles and performed impressively over repeated heavy hits. Prior to finding the correct spring, it was getting caught too deep in its stroke, throwing out the shape of the bike, and it required far more rider input. I also noticed delay between compression and rebound during these deep compressions on the too soft spring. The final spring weight provided less static sag but the shape felt excellent on the trail.
The light top-end allows the wheel to easily move out of the way, providing considerable traction. In wet, slippery conditions, where I can be hesitant, the Bomber CR Coil delivered huge confidence. Consistency in a range of weather conditions has been another welcome benefit. The shock has never felt different day to day or during a ride and hasn’t needed any attention. It’s made riding simpler and more enjoyable; just swing a leg over and get going.
For a hair under 300 bucks—30 USD more if you need a spring—the Marzocchi Bomber CR is a no-brainer for riders seeking more traction and composure from the rear of their bike, provided their bike is compatible with the more linear rate of a coil shock. There aren’t many adjustments but Marzocchi is confident the damping range offered will cover a wide range of bikes. There are no complaints, particularly when the price is factored in.
More information on the Marzocchi Bomber CR is available on their website.