For the 2014 model year, Marzocchi switched to a numeral-based naming scheme for their forks, with the hundred and ten digit places indicating the stanchion diameter. The new 320 (32mm stanchion) forks for the XC crowd carved off a respectable amount of weight of the prior model, but the 2015 versions cut even more fat and update the offset to work with modern bikes.
Beyond the weight savings, also new for 2015 is a 51mm offset 29er 320, which is better suited for full suspension bikes than the original 44mm offset versions, which are still available. The change in offset was made by adjusting both crown and dropouts, and Marzocchi used that redesign as an opportunity to reduce the weight of both parts by rethinking virtually every part of them. We touched on this at Sea Otter (along with internals, seals and other tech updates), but now we’ve got some great comparison pics showing just how extensive the trimming is…
The offset changes and weight savings start at the top. The old crown is shown in white, the new one sits on top of it unpainted.
Above and below, the newer crown is on the left. The overall shape is slimmer, but the outer section that’s bonded to the stanchions drops a bit lower to keep them stiff.
Note the indentation and shaping around the steerer tube.
At the top of the lowers, extra material was removed around the bulge where the upper bushings site. The arch is also slightly reshaped.
The new dropouts (left) are sleeker with thinner reinforcing ribs. Even the thru axle is made more slender in the center to drop a couple grams.
Resulting claimed weight differences between the 44mm offset and 51mm offset forks are up to 185g:
Why change the offset? The 44mm offset was originally designed around racier hardtails. But, with geometries becoming more versatile and “trail” oriented, and with the availability of so many extremely capable full suspension 29ers now that are spec’ing 51mm offset forks, the time came to offer it. By increasing the offset, the fork decreases the trail, too, which is the distance from the tire’s contact patch to the centerline steerer tube. A shorter trail figure can make the handling a bit snappier, which is good for bikes with the larger 29er wheels and modern, slightly slacker head angles. The downside is it can decrease stability at higher speeds and increase the wheelbase…but keep in mind, we’re only talking about 5mm. It’s really about fine tuning the ride.
The 320 forks are also available for 27.5 wheels and have a 44mm offset.