Down The Trail – Brakes and Suspension of the Future

Remembering Our Favorite Stories From 20 Years Ago

The July 1997 issue featured a special segment where we tested the “forks and brakes of the future.” We found some gems in the photo archives of products that, while they look archaic now, were revolutionary at the time. Enjoy.

We rode Shaun Palmer’s fork: The Manitou X-Vert triple-clamp fork was a super-rigid fork that looked like it was stolen off a motorcycle and repainted. At 4.5 pounds with 4 inches of travel, this thing was built for downhill and aggressive trail riding. The mango color was not one of MBA’s favorite things about this fork, but we rode it anyway.

Marzocchi Z.2 Atom Bomb: You could say that 1997 was the “year of the bomber,” with guys like Wade Simmons and Brett Tippie shredding a whole new style of riding on the North Shore. Most of that riding was done on Marzocchi suspension. The Z.2 Atom Bomb was a lightweight version of the perennial freeride favorite, but still featured the open-bath/coil-spring design that made these forks ride so well. This thing also had Marzocchi’s BAM (Bomber Aerospace Material) in the castings to make it even a bit lighter than the previous generation.

This thing: We can’t even find any info on this in the issue we’re talking about, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Suspension forks had not yet been figured out back in the day. We’re willing to bet this thing didn’t work all that well—and probably cost a fortune. At least you’d be the center of attention at the trailhead.


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