By Seb Kemp
Marzocchi suspension has had its ups and downs. Once known for ever-reliable, bomber internals and plush performance, it more recently (roughly circa 2008) suffered through a period in which the brand's products were considered overweight, outdated and even suffered horrific and highly-public malfunctions. And then there's this: for as long as anyone can remember the brand was known for pneumatic blondes, misogynist "art work,” and gimmicky ads, something that drew attention away from the real work of the full-bouncers. However, after an implosion at the metaphorical boob factory, Marzocchi is trying to sweep the old pieces into the bin and start afresh.
There have been a lot of internal corporate changes at Marzocchi in recent years, but at Sea Otter there was also a glimpse of a new direction for the Italian design house. Hidden in the back of Marzocchi's tuning truck, to be specific, were a few samples of something very different: the 380 triple-crown fork and Moto C2R rear shock.
The 380 will be Marzocchi's big release. While they will continue to produce the well-respected 888, the 380 is the logical evolution of the lineage. Low/high speed compression adjustments are nothing special for forks these days, but very few have easily accessed shim stacks for home tuning. This means obsessive fettlers can tune the fork in exactly the way they wish. The fork has lost a lot of weight over the 888; this one now weighing just 6 pounds, 3 ounces after considerable weight was reduced from the axle, crowns and lowers. The stanchions are 38 millimeters in diameter, the seals are custom SKFs, the spring is titanium and the forks fit both 26-inch and 650b wheels.
380 C2R2 Titanium – Highlights:
● 2,795 grams / 6 pounds, 3 ounces
● 200-millimeters of travel
● DBC C2R2 Cartridge
● Low-Speed Rebound
● High-Speed Rebound
• Three-Stage Compression Valving
● Low-speed Compression
● Mid-Speed though shim stack
● High-Speed Compression
● Wheel size: compatible with both 26-inch and 650b wheels
● Tapered Steerer or 1-1/8-inch option available
● Hollow lower crown
● 38-millimeter diameter, nickel-coated, and tapered aluminum stanchions
● Titanium spring
● Increased distance between the upper and lower bushing to increase rigidity
● Low-friction seals for smooth performance
● Taper-wall 20-millimeter axle, removable with single Allen key
● Availability: September 2013
Simone Bassi, Marzocchi's spokesman, explained that Marzocchi wants to get back to its foundation as a company renowned for premium-pedigree products that make sense to the very highest caliber of rider. However, why would Marzocchi move away from the iconic 888 appellation?
"There was a big internal brain storm about this—whether to move away from 888 or not. We want to keep the 888 for next year because it will be the 10-year anniversary of the 888. Since we will keep the 888 and next year is the 10th anniversary we decided to go the next step: triple eight, and 10 years old. Or three eight zero. Plus, this fork has 38 millimeter stanchions. Oh, and we like the name like a racing car, a Ferrari."
An improved fork needed a similar-performing shock to create a balanced platform. Starting from a blank sheet, the R&D department in Bologna, Italy, created the Moto C2R. Increasing the shaft diameter from 12.7 millimeters to 14 millimeters allows increased damping efficiency, compared to the Roco, as each tuning click makes a solid difference and also increases the structural stiffness.
The goal was to reduce the weight as much as possible; accordingly, the eyelet/shaft assembly now comes as one single piece and the main body and reservoir have been massively CNC machined.
The shim stack is removable, which will allow nerds to fine tune the compression shims according to the racing track and riding style without the need to disassemble the complete shock or to bleed the system.
There have also been a few other smart little details. A small, Teflon-tipped screw in the upper spring plate keeps the plate in position rather than winding on or out under load. There is also a composite body protection and a optional volume adjuster can be fitted on the reservoir, replacing the air valve. This offers four volume positions to control the final stroke progression, easily and without tools. Last but not least, the new design of the rebound knob offers better sealing against mud and dirt, so we are told. Not enough? Well, it is supposed to be very light: 369 grams.
Weight: 369 grams/ 0.81 pounds in 241 millimeters/ 9.5 inches (no reducers or spring)
One piece design eyelet + Ø14mm shaft
● Spring preload
● Low-speed compression
● High-speed compression
● Low-speed rebound
● High-speed rebound through shims stack
Availability: September 2013