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First Impressions: Trail Riding With the New Marzocchi Bomber CR Coil Shock

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Photo: Matt Miller.

Marzocchi is in the full swing of things now and has a coil shock to compliment the return of the Bomber Z1. The Bomber CR is essentially a revamped Fox Van RC coil shock, is still affordable, and is now offered in more sizes that are better suited for trail bike applications. The Bomber CR benefits from another year of Fox tuning too. The Bomber CR is simple, ready for abuse, and fits right in with the Marzocchi ethos.

Specs

  • Sizes:
    • Standard: 7.5×2.0”, 7.7875×2.0”, 7.7875×2.25”,
      8.5×2.5”, 8.75×2.75”
    • Metric: 210x50mm, 210x55mm, 230x60mm,
      230x65mm, 250x75mm
    • Trunnion: 185×52.5mm, 185x55mm, 205x60mm,
      205, 65mm, 225x75mm
  • Adjustments: Low-speed compression (LSC) and low-speed rebound
  • Made for: 130mm to 200mm travel bikes
  • Weight: 336g for shock, 381g for 500lb spring, 369g for 450lb spring
  • Price: $300 for shock. $30 for spring.

Riding the Bomber CR

Photo: Matt Miller.

All of my prior experience riding coil shocks has been on downhill bikes, so I was excited to try the Bomber CR out on my trail bike. I mounted the shock on my 140mm travel Banshee Spitfire in place of a RockShox Monarch RT3.

Installation was quite easy. The toughest part was getting the mounting hardware into the eyelets at first, but it just takes a few minutes of finagling. Other than that, put the spring on the shock, cinch up the pre-load adjuster, find the sag, and it’s basically ready to go.

I found it took a little bit of tuning to find the sweet spot in my suspension setup. Marzocchi sent both a 450lb and a 500lb spring since I was in between both recommended rates. I started with the 450lb spring and found myself having to crank the pre-load too much to get the sag set right, so I ultimately put the 500lb spring on.

A few things came to my attention my first time out. At first, it was pedal bob. That was easily resolved by adjusting the low-speed compression. Second, I lost some of the snap to my climbing efficiency.

Still, there is a draw to the Bomber CR, and that is its simplicity. It’s a one-for-all setting, and the low-speed compression isn’t meant to be adjusted on the fly since it’s stiff and hard to turn without a hex key. I was worried about finding a setting that would work across the board with the Bomber CR, but after getting the sag right, and adjusting the low-speed compression and rebound, I found it. There’s a balance to small-bump compliance and pedal bob, but adding more LSC damping reduced my pedal bob without any noticeable hits to small bump compliance.

Photo: Matt Miller.

Compared to an air shock, especially the previous, lightweight Monarch RT3 I had on board, the Bomber CR was much heavier, and like previously mentioned, I felt like I lost some climbing pizazz. Of course this is generally true when comparing any air versus coil suspension system. While there are other coil shocks out there that offer a climb-switch and more tune-ability, they generally cost much more than the Bomber CR.

The up side to climbing with a coil shock like the Bomber CR is on loose, technical trails where the rear wheel forms to terrain more confidently, allowing better traction.

More benefits presented themselves when I started descending. My rear wheel doesn’t skip over small bumps nearly as much as it does with an air can. While trail chatter might not be a big problem with most air cans, the coil shock is noticeably smoother. Small-bump compliance feels infinitely better with the Bomber CR. My rear wheel tracks better over bumps and fast rock gardens and my bike feels more confident around corners.

The KS-linkage on my Banshee still feels pretty progressive without an air can, and I didn’t blow through my travel with the Bomber or struggle with bottom-outs. Part of that is making sure the spring rate is correct for the rider’s weight.

Overall, the shock feels weighty, solid, confident, and durable. I haven’t had a whole lot of riding on it yet since trails have been pretty snowy, but it looks like it’ll hold up for a while. Look for a long-term review in the summer with more miles and harder hits on it.

Conclusion

Photo: Matt Miller.

Considering the price, simplicity, and the durable feel to the Bomber CR, the value is there. If you’re coil-curious about the benefits for trail riding, the affordability and performance of the Bomber CR makes trying this shock pretty low risk.

Thanks to Marzocchi for providing the Bomber CR shock for review.