how fouled would the ride of a norco aline (8/9inch) be with a marzocchi drop off triple (7 inch)? trying to put together my first big bike and i'm not sure if that fork's going to be suitable, or if it's not then what i should look for.
someone else will correct me if im wrong im sure but ....
I dont think the travel inches are as important as the length of the fork from the thru axle to the bottom of the headset.
That being said ... in this case yes 7" is more important than 4" of travel but what i mean is that defferent forks have different top arch designs and different locations of the thru axle on the lowers. what you should find out is what the frame is recomended for on that measurment.
Like others have said axle to crown height is far more important than travel. If the frame is designed around an 8" fork, the a2c is probably around 570mm. A dc 7" marzocchi with drop crowns will probably be about this height. As would a 7" single crown. Check out used forks and you can probably find a pretty cheap 888rc that will run forever.