Words: Ryan Walsch                                                                            Photos: Nick Waygood
 
When the Marzocchi Z1 was announced in 2018 I was surprised not to see a coil option. While uber supple, the Z1 we reviewed last year equipped with a simple and robust Fox air spring and damper left me thinking there was space in the market for a coil option or upgrade. Fans can rejoice as the coil Z1 has returned for the folk whom want simple, supple and send ready fun up front!
 
Marzocchi offered the fork as a coil option ready to ride out of the box or as an upgrade kit for owners of a Z1 or Fox 36 Rhythm. The coil conversion is offered with a choice of four spring rates with a rider weight range of 54kgs to 113kgs and a high gloss red finish or matte black for the fork itself.

 

The Z1 is comes in Boost only in both 27.5 and 29 inch with 37mm (27.5 inch only) 44mm and 51mm (29 inch only) offsets and 160mm, 170mm and 180mm of travel for 27.5 inch and 150mm, 160mm and 170mm of travel for 29 inch forks.


 
One of the things I do miss about coil forks, or even air forks of old was being able to adjust my forks' travel to the scenario I’m riding and I can report the Z1 allows it! Slip that spring assembly out and switch around the clip in, clip out style red plastic spacers to achieve the height you want (within your wheel size's range) and no need for a new pesky air assembly. While it's no trailside adjustment, if you have sound mechanical skills it's a pretty quick workshop task.

 All these travel options, and a coil spring, is it heavy you might ask? Well yes, it tips the scales at a hefty 2552g for the 29er which is almost 340g heavier than the stock Z1 with an air cartridge.
 


Setup
 
It’s a coil, if you ordered the correct weight spring, skip this step or fiddle with rebound for a minute and go ride. We opted for a Z1 Air fork with coil conversion kit to be sent out so we could go through the motions and see exactly what is going on inside.
 
There were two things that I was really interested in finding out. If you ever owned a coil Marzocchi fork or for that matter any coil fork you'd also be keen to know what Marzocchi had done about that spring slapping sound and bottoming out.

 

Marzocchi have nailed the design of the green plastic sleeve that eliminates all spring slapping when we rode it throughout testing. Even through the most awkward and repetitive hits it remained silent and composed.
 
While a spring's “spring curve” is linear, Marzocchi claims that the air/oil pressure that builds up in the fork through its compression does alter the spring curve significantly toward the end of the stroke thus lessening the bottom out severity and we think it worked pretty well albeit it not being an adjustable feature.


 
Damping is taken care of by Fox's Grip damper which has low speed compression adjustment via the large gold dial at the top of the right leg and rebound at the bottom, protected nicely by the black cap.
 
With the advice from Marzocchi’s importer Sola Sport, I opted for the green spring, or firm. My weight actually sits me at the top end of the Medium according to Marzocchi’s helpful chart, but based on how I like my fork feeling and type of riding they suggested I go up to the firm.
 
First Ride
 
Supple is the first thing that you will notice as soon as you rest your hands on the bars, almost no pressure is required for them to move. As there are less seals and o-rings internally, friction is reduced substantially and the result is one very plush and responsive fork.


 
When compared to the Fox Factory 36 with a Grip 2 damper the Z1 was replacing along with the Trust Shout and Pike Ultimate being ridden at the same time, the difference in break away force required to get the fork moving is impressive. Pointing the bike into the first rocky trail and the Z1 comes into its own with a very forgiving demeanor. It does feel like there is an increase in grip on the front when pushing into loose and uneven corners and the Marzocchi Z1 coil remains very predictable to ride and change direction.  I did use the low speed compression to keep the fork from diving too much on steeper terrain keeping it in the mid-stroke sweet spot.


 
The Z1 Coil feels more at home on the rough and technical trails than the bike park. When the trails are janky the Z1 Coil can use all of its travel to maintain grip and confidence in the front tyre. With less adjustability or bottom out control, heavy hitters may opt for the Z1 Air with the ability to increase air pressure on the trail or tokens in the workshop.

 

Our Take
 
Out performing some big names in terms of sensitivity, the Marzocchi Z1 Coil would be a great aftermarket option for those who are looking for more grip, reliability and exceptional trail feel despite the substantial weight penalty.
 
The Marzocchi Z1 Coil offers consistent and reliable suspension at a very competitive price of...
 
RRP: $1325, coil kits $315
From: solasport.com.au
 
Hits:
-      Super plush coil options
-      Good price point for the ride quality
-      Not spring slap or harsh bottom outs
-      Buy a fork or upgrade your current Z1
Misses:
-      less adjustability for the mid-stroke
-      Adds some weight!