Fenner vs. Marzocchi Debate

After being misquoted by a individual on a popular lowrider forum we decided to clear the air on some myths and facts about two popular pump heads used in lowriders.

We’re not going to get into any debate about what pump head is better for hopping. Without question Marzocchi has the performance over a Fenner pump head.

If your looking for something to hop high then get a Marzocchi. If you want a long lasting pump look into Fenner.


The Story

If you are new to lowriding the name Fenner probably means nothing to you. Back in the late 1980’s through the 90’s these pump heads were the best pump heads on the market at the time. When you bought a setup with real Fenner pump heads it was a piece of mind that you had a reliable setup. Some foreign machine shops produced cheap copies of these pump heads for lowrider mail order businesses looking to reduce costs and increase profit margins. Fenner couldn’t keep up with the competition of foreign gears so they left the lowrider market. Just another sad story of an American business forced out of competition by cheap foreign products.

The lowrider mail order companies needed something better than the cheap Fenner copies but at a low cost. Marzocchi offered low cost with great performance at the flick of a switch. There is no doubt Marzocchi rules the hopping world. Is Marzocchi a long lasting quality product? Has a Marzocchi ever lasted 10 years before being replaced?

Would it make sense to sell a high quality product that will last under normal use for 10 years if you are selling parts for a living? No, It wouldn’t at all.

Take a look at the quality differences between the two pumps on our Pump Head page and decide for yourself. But the best thing you could do is try for yourself and see. So before your quick to judge just because a shop said that Fenner is junk ask someone who uses them ( not abuses them).


The Differences

First thing that needs to be cleared up is that a Fenner and a Marzocchi are two different types of pumps.

A Fenner is a FIXED CLEARANCE pump. A fixed clearance pump is machined to exact tolerances and holds those tolerances for a very long time.This type of pump will last but is lacking a bit on the performance side of things.

A Marzocchi is a PRESSURE BALANCED pump. A pressure balanced pump uses the the forces it creates to seal the gears tightly inside the chamber. Performance is extremely good until the walls in the gear chamber have been worn down. That is why the center chamber is made from soft aluminum.

Below are the Pros and Cons of each type of pump:

Fenner
Marzocchi

Pros:

Steel construction

Pump output slowly decreases over many years

Needle bearings on shafts

Long life under normal use

American made

Pros:

High pressure output

Handles abuse well

Replaceable seals

Low cost

Cons:

Lower pressure output than a Marzocchi

Can leak between wafers

Can break under extreme abuse conditions

High cost for genuine Fenner

Cons:

Aluminum construction

Pump output quickly decreases over a short amount of time

Uses friction bearings for shafts


Some old Articles on Fenner pump heads

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