Originally Posted by Moronic
...BTW: What can you tell me about the Marzocchi fork? I've heard it's very good, and I've heard it's not so good. Is a cartridge kit (Matris, say) a necessity, or a luxury?...
I've been very happy with the Marzocchis. I've yet to replace the front springs due to my weight, since I'm not a light Italian. I have only two compliants, which could be easily fixed with some mild effort. The factory settings for preload, compression and rebound damping are way too light. I've adjusted everything to suit my weight, riding style and riding typical conditions.
Since I haven't updated the spring rates, I've increased the preload and adjusted the compression damping. The changes have resulted in less pitching (squat and dive) but then made the fork much more harsh over small but sharp bumps that seem so prevalent in Houston. The sharp bumps are due to the road heaving up, really are transmitted up to the rider with my current set up. The good part is that the excessive fork dive problem when braking has been fixed. I'll take short jarring bumps every once in awhile over diving at every brake application. I've also increased the fork oil weight, to I think to 10wt instead of 7wt to help resist the forks blowing through the entire stroke when coming down from wheelies. The change in oil weight helped, it doesn't blow through as often now.
With some effort, I could correct these problems at the next service by installing the correct fork springs for my weight and increasing the amount of oil, by about 10mm. I'm on the fence about the oil weight 10 or 7. I just need more oil so it firms up for the last half of travel. At least this what I seem to remember what adding oil does to front suspensions.
I would say a cartridge kit is more of a luxury. I've given it serious though, but when it comes time to but my money where my mind is I always back out.
Please keep in mind most of my usual miles are commuting. For touring, the changes I've made are more than sufficient. For washboard gravel roads, they are too harsh. But then again that's less than 1% of my riding.
I've been very happy with the BASE shock, a sachs unit? I only need to update the spring rate as well. I've increased the preload and rebound damping.