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Marzocchi Bomber CR coil shock review

Can the Marzocchi Bomber CR deliver that classic coil plushness on a budget? We’ve spent the last few months finding out

Marzocchi Bomber CR
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Excellent ground sucking traction, smooth impact control with proven reliability and as much adjustment as most riders will need at a great price. Fantastic size range, too

For

  • Super plush
  • Naturally damped feel
  • Useful adjustability
  • Very comprehensive sizing
  • Good price
  • Relatively light

Against

  • No external high-speed compression
  • Heavier than air
  • Reduces ‘pop’

When Fox revived legendary suspension company Marzocchi, it concentrated on rebuilding its reputation for super reliable, plush, uncomplicated suspension at affordable prices. To help hit cost targets, Fox has used a lot of proven tech from its own line, and the CR is essentially an evolution of Fox’s Vanilla RC. That’s great news though, as the RC is a much-loved damper. The CR is a worthy successor that’ll glue your bike to the ground on rougher, faster trails but still offers strong support for railing the turns. The basic adjustment is as much as most riders will need. It’s heavier than an air shock though (440g more than the Fox Float DPX2 XV that it replaced on our Specialized Status test bike), and it won’t ‘pop’ as well if you want a playful feel.

Construction

The shock uses a piggyback design with an extra damping oil reservoir, which might make fitting to some crowded or cramped bikes an issue, but otherwise, the fit is as universal as you could hope for. That includes metric and imperial sizes, with a conventional end of body eyelet as well as trunnion style mount. 

Because different weight riders will need different weight springs, they are sold separately (often listed as Fox). You can also fit a fancy orange Fox SLS (Super Light Spring) coil if you want to make this already comparatively light shock even lighter. 

While external damping adjustment is limited to a rebound adjuster and a low-speed compression adjuster, the damper has two separate internal compression controls. A high flow stack using conical Belleville washer shims opens up to take the big slaps, with a shimmed mid valve ready and waiting if you need more control under high loads.

Performance

If you’re used to air shocks, then coil shocks have a very distinctive, almost inert feel. As they don’t need to be airtight (just oil-tight), the seals don’t drag as much so the coil spring is super plush off the top. That means you might need to add some low-speed compression to stop excess movement when pedalling, but the vibe is very much damped rather than bouncy anyway (especially if you’re running a light coil weight with the stock, relatively steady high-speed rebound tune). Even when you’ve got it dialled right, that will make the back end of most bikes feel less playful and ‘poppy.' Our Specialized Status host bike definitely felt less like a mullet and more like a twin 29er with the CR fitted.

Marzocchi Bomber CR

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The upside is that the rear wheel sticks to the ground with amazing consistency and traction, as though you’re running a heavier, softer tire than you really are. The high flow valving also does a great job of swallowing hard and fast square edge hits and landings with minimal drama and kickback. If you’re a big rider hitting stuff really hard (or vice versa) you (or your favourite suspension tech) can still get inside and play with the shim stack to tune it to your exact needs. That meant tracking and overall composure of the bike was excellent, and if you’re into charging down chunder without backing off, you’re going to love the coil feel. It’s much less susceptible to temperature changes on long descents than an air shock, too.

While the metal spring adds weight and a planted rather than floated feel, sensitivity and tenacity on technical climbs are excellent if you just keep turning the cranks.

Verdict

Marzocchi’s Bomber CR delivers all the stuck down, succulent traction, ultra-consistent and reliable benefits of a coil shock at a really good price. The massive range of fit and size options mean it’ll work on most older bikes and a lot of trail bikes, too.

Tech specs: Marzocchi Bomber CR shock

  • Price: $299 / £339 (coil spring its an extra $29.95 / £44.95)
  • Weight: 873g (230x65mm with 450lb spring)
  • Sizes: Standard Metric: 210x50mm, 210x55mm, 230x60mm, 230x65mm, 250x75mm; Standard Imperial: 7.5×2.0in, 7.7875×2.0in, 7.7875×2.25in, 8.5×2.5in, 8.75×2.75in; Trunnion Metric: 185×52.5mm, 185x55mm, 205x60mm, 205x65mm, 225x75mm
Guy Kesteven
Guy has been riding mountain bikes since before they were mountain bikes and is right handy on an offroad tandem (of course he is).