Marzocchi Bomber Air Shock Performs Great, More Affordable Than Fox [Review]

I’m not sure what the first image someone might conjure up is when they think of Marzocchi anymore. Back in the day, it was surely freeride, but since Fox re-stoked the brand four years ago, Marzocchi has more or less become a more affordable version of Fox with the rugged simplicity Marzocchi was known for, and the brand has some great options for every day trail riders.

The Bomber Z1 used a Fox 36 chassis and a Grip 1 damper, the Fox Bomber CR was based off of the Fox Van RC coil shock, the Marzocchi Transfer dropper was a rebranded Fox, and the Bomber Z2 fork was actually a new model, with a unique chassis and damper.

Marzocchi has a new air shock option out today, the Bomber Air, and it fits right in with some of the other products we’ve mentioned.

The Marzocchi Bomber Air shock most closely resembles the Fox Float X, with its can design and layout. The shape is about the same, and the major differences are an asymmetrical shock reservoir for a potentially better fit inside some frames, along with simplified adjustments.

Specs and features

Marzocchi describes the Bomber Air as a shock with a large volume reservoir for increased oil flow and volume for consistent performance. The shock has “sweep adjust” compression, meaning there is a dial on top of the reservoir (same spot on the Float X) to adjust the compression. Though a dial might imply a sense of “infinite” or several adjustment spots like some sweep adjustment dials on forks, the sweep on the Bomber air controls two positions: open and firm.

The shock is available in metric and trunnion sizing, in shorter and long travel options, with stroke lengths from 45-75mm. They are compatible with Fox mounts, which is what was sent with my sample.

Sizes

  • Metric: 190×45, 210×50, 210×52.5, 210×55, 230×57.5, 230×60, 230×65, 250×75 
  • Trunnion: 185×52.5, 185×55, 205×60, 205×62.5, 225×75 

The Marzocchi Bomber Air weighs 500g on our scale — almost exactly what we weighed the last Float X at. The Bomber Air retails for $479 or about $120 less than a Kashima-coated Float X. As for the all black Performance Elite Float X with a climb switch and an actual adjustment dial for low speed compression, that costs about $40 more than the Marzocchi.

Riding impressions

Photo: Steve Jenson

I installed a Trunnion-mounted version of the Bomber Air in a 205×65 length. With the lack of adjustability comes an ease of installation and setup. I aired it up to 145-150 PSI on the Privateer 161 and the rebound three clicks from fully open. There are 14 positions for rebound, which should be enough for most.

From there, the low speed compression is also adjustable with the sweep, though it gives you a distinct open and firm position. That leaves out high speed rebound and high speed compression.

I’ve had the shock for about a month and have been riding it on the dry and dusty trails in Colorado and also took it with me for a wet and wild trip in Ecuador, where the shock was coated in mud for days at a time and saw upwards of 6,000 feet of descending for multiple days.

Throughout this varied riding, I haven’t yearned for other settings or adjustability and the shock has performed admirably. I’ve run it in the open mode about 98% of the time, thanks to modern suspension kinematics. The Bomber Air hasn’t had any noticeable stiction and it’s soaked up small chatter well while climbing. The firm mode does indeed make it more firm but it’s not a lockout. You lose some sensitivity, and other than sustained fire road climbs, I’m not sure why I’d use it. Depending on your suspension/linkage design you might not need it either.

The Bomber Air has been exceptional on descents too. I swapped out a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate prior to the Marzocchi, and the new shock was noticeably more sensitive and composed. I didn’t experience any noticeable fading on long descents. Since there isn’t much adjustability with the Bomber Air, it’s been nice that the shock has worked well and hasn’t needed any changes for my preferences. Some, especially those interested in Marzocchi, may want to see a high speed compression adjustment. The shock has recovered from big hits easily though and I haven’t noticed a single harsh bottom out, though this might depend on the amount of progression in your suspension linkage.

Perhaps most importantly, after a week in Ecuador with rain, mud, and tens of thousands of feet of descending, the shock hasn’t skipped a beat and feels how it did on day one. Fox confirmed that the shock can be serviced with the same kit used for the Float X, although they say the internals are unique to Marzocchi and based on the Bomber CR.

Closing thoughts

The Marzocchi Bomber Air has been excellent so far and a reasonable alternative to more expensive shock options if you’re not concerned with tunability. The 2-position dial is essentially a climb switch and not as easy to use as a flickable lever, but if you don’t use a climb switch anyway, then it’s not a big deal.

Compared to the Kashima Fox Float X, there are savings to be had with the Bomber Air. But if you’re looking at the less expensive Performance Elite version for a tad more adjustability, the Bomber Air might not be worth it since it’s priced only $40 lower.

Still, the Bomber Air has stood up to some gnarly conditions so far and proved its worth and reliability. Marzocchi has another good option for people who want simpler, reliable high quality suspension at a better price.

Party laps

  • Great alternative to more expensive shocks
  • Reliable in adverse conditions and long descents
  • Simple setup

Pros and cons of the Marzocchi Bomber Air shock

Dirt naps

  • Not a lot of savings compared to Float X Performance Elite
  • 2-Position compression sweep might work better as a lever