By Jamie. AKA CrashBob
This is the first Marzocchi fork I’ve ridden since 2004 and my first 29er fork from this company. The thing I noticed about the fork was how it felt on the bike compared to the fork I had been riding on as part of our $1,000 bike test. As soon as we switched to the Corsa SL LR from a hydra-coil, the front end came alive. For the record, I have spent time on Various Rock Shox Reba Forks, Recon forks and Fox f29 forks in the 29er wheel format.
The weight of the Marzocchi is on par with other forks in the same class/price range. It has a 15qr which is a substantial upgrade in terms of stiffness and as an added bonus easy to use and more secure. The SL LR has an external rebound dial and a lock out. Our test model was a 100 mm travel with a 1 ⅛ steer tube . Higher end models are lighter,have a slicker polished nickel treatment on the fork legs, hollow aluminium crown and aluminium tapered steerer tube and an adjuster that changes the compression. The higher end corsa Superleggera model cost $669. In addition for around $929 you can get a full carbon crown and steerer tube.
The first real strength of this fork was how simple it is to set up. Adjustments were quick and simple and, with each adjustment, you could feel the change in the action of the fork. I did notice that the fork’s rebound adjustment, although functioning, did not achieve a slow rebound. I’m not complaining about it because I generally like a faster rebound to keep the tire sticking to the ground.
Whether in or out of the saddle, I noticed very little flex and it tracked the terrain accurately, regardless of what I threw at it. One of my favorite test spots at our local track is a gnarly little rock garden on a downhill, off camber section with three medium rock formations. This section of track is usually tough on the meek or timid of heart. I made several passes with the Corsa SL LR on a hardtail bike, and felt very comfortable with plush action/tracking. I never felt out of place or worried about going over the bars as a result of poor performance. Considering this section of terrain is probably outside the scope of the manufacturer’s intended use, I’d say that speaks highly of the fork.
On the same track, there is a section of switchbacks that really test your ability to corner with a combination of speed changes and sharp corners. Once again, the fork did as it was asked and tracked accurately without any loss of speed. I did notice that, at slower speeds, the quick rebound wasn’t as plush as one might like.
All in all, this fork is plush and comfortable to ride. I would buy this fork if I were in the market for one, and be very happy with my choice.
Strengths: Price, setup and durability
Weakness: Rebound control
Who is best suited: The causal weekend warrior to the beginning racer.
FatBobs notes: The Marzocchi Corsa SL LR is a very good XC fork for the money. Jamie nailed the user who would be interested in this fork. The weekend warrior to beginning racer. Its easy setup and solid manners in XC applications make it an easy choice.
The rider who spends alot of time airborn should look elsewhere. The suspension is very linear. This allows the XC rider to use the travel easily over terrain typically found on an XC track or trail. It is supple on small hits but on really big hits bottom out is noticeable. We set our sag between 20 % and 25%. More aggressive riders will blow through the travel too quickly over more technical terrain. The higher end models have an adjustment to tune the fork to be more progressive. I have experience with it on the 44 series fork and it is effective. Unfortunately the starting point Corsa SL LR does not have this option.
Chassis stiffness is on par with other forks in its price point the exception being the Rock Shox Recon with the 20mm axle option. Still stiffness is very good and not really an advantage over other forks in its price range but also not a penalty.
The butter smooth, plush action and ease of setup and maintenance is a selling point for the right rider. If you are a hard charging XC rider that has budget limits, the Marzocchi Corsa SL LR is a good choice and with a compression control could hold its own in the modern suspension world at nearly any price point.