Previously, I’d never owned a bike with a Marzocchi fork on it. But after riding the 55 RC3 Ti for the last four months, my prejudice towards the Larry Flynt of the fork market has been swayed. As the name indicates, the 55 RC3 Ti fork features rebound adjustment (R) and compression adjustment (C). It also has air and coil preload adjustability, a titanium spring (Ti) and, new for 2010, Marzocchi’s 20 mm quick release thru-axle, which performed flawlessly throughout our test. I’m used to an air sprung 36 mm fork, so the extra 400 gm was noticeable straight out of the box. Even though this model is a good 400 gm lighter than its predecessor, it’s still the heaviest in its class by just under 100 gm. But once you get this fork on the trail that weight penalty is, well, not a penalty at all. In fact, I’d say it adds to the fork’s impressive ride characteristics. The fork arrived from the distributor tuned for my weight and riding style. I think my pie eating abilities must have been exaggerated though, because for the first few rides I struggled to use full travel. Letting a bit of air out of the preload made a discernable difference, enabling full use of all 160 mm of relatively frictionless travel. Out on the trail the 55 RC3 Ti seemed to have more sag than other forks I’ve used recently. Sag is the neutral travel position of the fork when you sit on your bike. This position determines how much positive and negative travel the fork has. In my opinion, this is what sets the 55 apart. The travel characteristics allow you to run with more sag while not compromising pedalling or bottom out performance. Traction is constant and inspires confidence. I was able to ride harder and with more vigour than usual, my front wheel rolling effortlessly over rocks and roots and barely leaving the ground. This allowed me to take faster and more inventive lines, which made challenging trails a tonne of fun. Add to that the lateral and torsional stiffness offered by these forks and my bike quickly became an all-mountain trail-eating machine. Although this fork is incredibly tuneable it’s not the easiest to adjust. With around 30 clicks of adjustment on the preload leg and something similar on the rebound, it would be pretty easy to start fiddling and find yourself well and truly lost. But if this fork is, as it’s touted to be, a step back to Marzocchi’s golden days, once you’ve got it dialled you should never need to change it. And with a three year warranty, there’s nothing to worry about. Highly recommended. CALEB SMITH
Afton are another newcomer in what seems a flood of new shoe brands, but the stylish look and comfort have got everyone talking. Want to be the snazziest dude among your mates? Look no further.
The Flat pedal shoe market has thickened recently, and one brand leading the charge is Ride Concepts. We did some skids this summer in a long term test, and are stoked there is a new player in the mix.
The Orbea Rallon is a hot topic. Good looking and extremely well put together, this pedigree machine gets the carpark talking. We got to spend a few days aboard the Spanish rig and collated some thoughts inside.
We got to spend some of our summer thrashing around on this beast. A user friendly 180mm do it all park bike, that’ll pop jumps and rip turns till the cows come home. Get in.
Two bikes for the price of one? Canyon’s new Strive enters with 29” wheels and a revised shapeshifter giving you a 135mm trail bike and a 150mm enduro weapon at the press of a button. Does it live up to the hype?
We take a look at Whyte’s short travel 130mm 27.5 trail which has all the hallmarks of their bigger rigs. This bike questions the big travel trends and makes us take a look at what we actually require out of a bike. Is big actually better?