Photo Epic: Marzocchi Pre-Season Testing

Mar 18, 2014
by Matt Wragg  

PHOTO EPIC
Marzocchi Pre-Season Testing
WORDS & PHOTOS: Matt Wragg

There used to be a joke that the old Marzocchi forks didn't need a support truck at the races because they never had problems. World cup racing has moved on a long way since then and reliability alone is not enough to win any more. Marzocchi are confident that their product quality is back to pre-2008 standards, but they want to see people win with their products, so have gone big on the support truck to help them do that. This week they rolled into San Romolo to test with MS Mondraker, CS Intense, FMD Racing, the Lupato brothers and more of their European-based racers.

It s an early start for testing.
  It's an early start for testing.

Back from a big injury last year Damien Spagnolo was back at San Romolo to start his campaign to get back to where he feels he ought to be.
  Back from a big injury last year, Damien Spagnolo was back at San Romolo to start his campaign to get back to where he feels he ought to be.

Pedro. Mr Marzocchi Chile and their lead world cup suspension technician. MS Mondraker team manager Lukas Haider puts his work into perspective best. He first showed up to help the team get their bikes dialled in a Val D Isere 2012. That was the race Brook Macdonald rode his Marzocchi-sprung Mondraker to his breakthrough World Cup victory.
  Pedro. Mr Marzocchi Chile and their lead world cup suspension technician. MS Mondraker team manager, Lukas Haider, puts his work into perspective best. He first showed up to help the team get their bikes dialled in a Val D'Isere 2012: that was the race Brook Macdonald rode his Marzocchi-sprung Mondraker to his breakthrough World Cup victory...

Supporting the tech guys at San Romolo was this man Stefano Migliorini. He s not your average sales manager though - he was one of the first Italians to ever race World Cup downhill competing with the likes of Nico Vouilloz Philip Perakis and Corrado Herrin back in the day.
  Supporting the tech guys at San Romolo was this man, Stefano Migliorini. He's not your average sales manager though - he was one of the first Italians to ever race World Cup downhill, competing with the likes of Nico Vouilloz, Philip Perakis and Corrado Herrin back in the day.

There are some interesting bits sitting around in the truck...
  There are some interesting bits sitting around in the truck...

The difference between the prototypes and the production versions. The two light gold shocks are the prototypes of Marzocchi s forthcoming Moto shock - the darker gold one is what will go into production.
  The difference between the prototypes and the production versions. The two light, gold shocks are the prototypes of Marzocchi's forthcoming Moto shock - the darker gold one is what will go into production.

 It feels like a Harley Davidson right now. Things weren t quite there for Markus Pekoll first thing. Pedro listened and simply offered a few well-placed clicks of adjustment to get his bike where he wants it.
  "It feels like a Harley Davidson right now." Things weren't quite there for Markus Pekoll first thing. Pedro listened and simply offered a few, well-placed clicks of adjustment to get his bike where he wants it.

Pedro doesn t just work on mountain bikes he works on anything that has a Marzocchi fork or shock bolted to it with or without an engine. Each rider has their own setup card meticulously laid out beneath his work bench.
  Pedro doesn't just work on mountain bikes, he works on anything that has a Marzocchi fork or shock bolted to it, with or without an engine. Each rider has their own setup card meticulously laid out beneath his work bench.

Bernat Guardia feeds back his early morning impressions.
  Bernat Guardia feeds back his early morning impressions.

For each rider and bike they have a pre-prepared baseline for settings and spring weight to work from.
  For each rider and bike they have a pre-prepared baseline for settings and spring weight to work from.

A quick floor test on a prototype NCR350 fork.
  A quick floor test on a prototype NCR350 fork.

Dani Alvarre gives his feedback to Pedro.
  Dani Alvarre gives his feedback to Pedro.

At the top of the damper assembly above the spring and the gold washer is the shim stack in this damper from a CR380 fork.
  At the top of the damper assembly, above the spring and the gold washer, is the shim stack in this damper from a CR380 fork.

Have you ever wondered what it was that makes a fork or shock feel the way it does Shims much like these are the answer - the large ones go at the oil ports for the low speed compression and the smaller ones go further down the stack for the high speed compression.
  Have you ever wondered what it was that makes a fork or shock feel the way it does? Shims much like these are the answer - the large ones go at the oil ports for the low speed compression and the smaller ones go further down the stack for the high speed compression.

Where the magic lives. One of Pedro s well-guarded boxes of shims.
  Where the magic lives. One of Pedro's well-guarded boxes of shims.

The master at work.
  The master at work.

Ready.
  Ready.

Pedro demonstrates how a well-serviced damper should move.
Pedro was passing his knowledge on to Davide who will be helping him at the races this year. Carefully he took him step-by-step through how to purge air from the fork internals fill with oil burn off the surface air and cycle the damper and repeat the process until it moves fluidly.
  Pedro passing his knowledge on to Davide, who will be helping him at the races this year. Carefully he took him, step-by-step, through how to purge air from the fork internals: fill with oil, burn off the surface air and, cycle the damper and repeat the process until it moves fluidly.

Tutorial over Pedro and Davide get to it while the riders get another run in.
  Tutorial over, Pedro and Davide get to it while the riders get another run in.

Davide prepping a damper cartridge for tuning.
  Davide prepping a damper cartridge for tuning.

It s reassuring to know that even an artist like Pedro has to get the hammer out for some jobs.
  It's reassuring to know that even an artist like Pedro has to get the hammer out for some jobs.

Every rider gets the same attention from Pedro regardless whether they re a top ten contender or a young rider looking to break into World Cup racing.
  Every rider gets the same attention from Pedro, regardless whether they're a top ten contender or a young rider looking to break into World Cup racing.

Solid proof of the gains riders make doing this kind of testing. Damien Spagnolo s times from two days of testing. With Pedro s help he went from 2.39 to 2.29 over the course of the testing - shaving 10 seconds from a two and a half minute course is a huge deal in a sport where thousandths of a second can be the difference between victory and defeat.
  Solid proof of the gains riders make doing this kind of testing. Damien Spagnolo's times from two days of testing. With Pedro's help he went from 2.39 to 2.29 over the course of the testing - shaving 10 seconds from a two and a half minute course is a huge deal in a sport where thousandths of a second can be the difference between victory and defeat. Worth driving across a continent for, without a doubt.

Testing is hard work. An exhausted Denny Lupato takes a well-earned break at the end of the day.
  Testing is hard work. An exhausted Denny Lupato takes a well-earned break at the end of the day.

At the end of a long day the guys MS Mondraker s Lukas Haider joins the guys in the truck as they unwind. Unfortunately we can t show you what was on the phone that they were laughing about as it may upset some of our younger readers...
  At the end of a long day, the guys MS Mondraker's Lukas Haider joins the guys in the truck as they unwind. Unfortunately we can't show you what was on the phone that they were laughing about as it may upset some of our younger readers...

www.marzocchi.com

Posted In:
Stories Marzocchi



100 Comments

  • 61 6
 Marzocchi forks have been mint from 2010 to current day. They had 2 bad years in 8 and 9. Everything either side of that has been absolute class. This stuff looks awesome too.
  • 16 1
 I'm running some 2008 888's and they have been problem free after being ridden 2-3 times a week since buying from new , one service and still faultless , I dodged the bullet there
  • 13 0
 i have some 2013 888 evo ti's and they are the best fork i have ever ridden. So light, easy to adjust, reliable and they feel super sturdy! props to Marzocchi
  • 3 30
flag Mattin (Mar 18, 2014 at 4:27) (Below Threshold)
 ..
  • 6 0
 That is exactly what our van looks like come DH season, minus the heavy tools, shims, experts, and rear shock knowledge. We can hook up your fork or give you alot of beer though.
  • 8 1
 I'm running 2006 888 RC2x + Avalanche cartridge cant find any better fork on the market even nowadays. Still running the factory oil rings and seals Razz .
Avalanche cartridge has everything i need shim stack mid valve, fast rebound, high speed blow off valve and many more adjustments, like the forks on the pro's
and 888 RC2x chassis its so stiff and reliable so i think it will last forever Wink
  • 6 0
 If you love the 888's wait till you try the new 308's. So light, they can keep those Fox float 40's Wink
Had mine 3 months now and my old race pace is now cruising speed. 308's are so good, now i want the Moto shock!
  • 4 0
 I've been running some 2013 55 RC3 Evo Ti V2's (catchy name right?) since November and they have been nothing short of flawless. Ridiculously supple but with plenty of midstroke support and pretty much maintenance free throughout the Scottish Winter. Marzocchi are definitely back and better than ever, There's a reason the 55 RC3 has been in the Dirt 100 for 5 years running.
  • 1 0
 I had on my dh bike 888 RC3 Evo 2, and they where sooooo plushh and stiff, now i ordered a new bike what will come whit the 2014 888 fork and rear shock! cant wait
  • 2 0
 i have blown 3 rc3 carts on 888s so i have given up and bough fox, having said that my riding bud has some 08 888s (yes the problem set) and they havn't skipped a beat in the 5 years since he bought them.... go figure!!
  • 1 0
 well 888 are quite picky with the oil i can say some brands and thickness are better than the others and Mz performance changes dramaticly after Razz I have not blown my RC2X yet but i just got enough of it due to the lack of adequate high compression and high speed rebound, that's what Avalanche cartridge does very very well, and 888 chassis is stiff as a rock Razz once you decide to go a bit further you need to change some bits here and there Smile
  • 1 0
 2004 Jr T's are freaking awesome
  • 1 0
 Isn't it always winter in Scotland?
  • 26 1
 I'll never understand how my suspension works.......just keep twisting knobs until if feels good.
  • 17 3
 Same. I feel like a lot of people on here try to talk like they know everything when in reality, they do the same thing, turn some dials, add or subtract some air pressure and go ride. There is no way we have that many mechanical engineers here on pb.
  • 3 0
 Haha perfect! I just go off of what there base tune is off there website. Then I just max out air pressure and hope it's firm
  • 11 1
 The basics of suspension are quite simple stuff to learn though, so no need to be a scientist. Learning to tune shim stacks to your liking and stuff like that is where it gets tricky.
  • 17 0
 Marzocchi: please make service manuals and or service videos available for your products. At least for your forks.

There are plenty of skilled home wrenchers that can do their own services but without the service manual there is always going to problems. The lbs's don't have them either.. because the manuals don't exist..
  • 4 0
 Im comfortable changing seals on my 888 but would a service guide for the shim stacks.
  • 16 1
 It's articles like these that almost make me regret leaving the wrench world... at the end of the day, these guys make it all happen! Hats off to you, Pedro
  • 7 0
 Did you just...think twice...about leaving the wrench world.
  • 8 0
 Wheres the hype??? Fox would show pretty pictures of assembled forks and throw around fancy jargon.
Marzocchi shows testing of the forks and working with the internals.
I am fortunate to have a Marzocchi authorised dealer near by. They treat me like gold. They even like my Shivers.
If you have an 08 fork, get a new damper from Marz. They will help you out.
  • 8 0
 Love the new Marzocchi stuff, looks great
  • 10 0
 The rear shocks look amazing, but i still miss the M arch on the forks (and the 66).
  • 4 1
 M arches were alright, but got uglier with every new generation. The OG cnc machined bolt on arches were the shit, looked so good
  • 1 2
 can't wait for the new super monster t!!! it'll be awesome on my 05 kona stuff!
  • 3 1
 Well .. I think they might abandon they Corsa, 55, 66 and 888 to past. The 300-series seems to be the new shit. Just bought a 888 CR and that made me buy another 55 CR. It's cheaper and heavier, but works great!
I'm sorry to hear that the 350 wont be made in 26" - because f*ck 650b !
  • 5 1
 I really like the look of the new Marzocchi stuff , but it does worry me at the lack of independent reviews through the media. That, and like all forks as far as I am aware, you can't test them first. I'd be quite happy putting a deposit down to cover the cost of the fork if lost (etc.) AND pay a nominal fee to be able to test it for a couple of hours/days first. I'm not sure why this isn't more readily available, particularly as you could buy a low-mid range hardtail for the same amount as a set of half decent forks!
  • 18 0
 We currently have a 380 and Moto shock on long-term test with the guys in Canada and I'm in the process of getting the 350 - the reviews are coming.
  • 3 0
 Like many other riders here, I guess that I would like to see the come back of Marzocchi continuing. Hope Spagnolo will be on top of the charts for the upcoming season. Occasionally this guy is super fast, he almost won a WC in 2012, be 2014 the return of Marzo and Spagnolo.
  • 3 0
 Hell, did anybody else notice the red anodized up side down leaning in the corner???? Lets hope this is not a leftover from a moto test the week before.
I would put in an order right away!
  • 1 2
 Those are shivers off an mx bike. I cant really see them improving on what DVO has done with an inverted design anyway
  • 2 0
 The author of the article refers to the larger shims in the shim stack providing low speed compression damping. Isn't this typicaly taken care of with a dedicated low speed compression circuit (needle valve setup)?

So is this something out of the ordinary?
  • 2 0
 Got some new 55 CRs 2014 such a solid plush fork feels bottomless but still stiff enough for trail work, was always a RS man but Marz and a few other brands are pushing the market now.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know if Marzo will be selling full compression assemblies with different shim stack settings for the 380? Or will it be like the old days where someone at Marzo can adjust shim stack settings? I don't think anyone at Marzo America knows how to adjust shim settings since the the migration to DVO.
  • 4 0
 My 2014 888 Rc3 Evos are the nuts! Wouldn't change a thing about them.
  • 1 1
 I would love to say that they have been great, but I haven't taken a chance on them since some 2011 model bikes that had Marz forks on them. They all failed and the service dept told us to drill holes in the damper. When that didn't work we were basically were SOL. Ended up selling the bike for a price w/out fork because it was basically a pogo stick.
  • 1 0
 By service dept. Do you mean bike shop? Cause that sounds like you guys got powned. Drilling holes in dampers would work beyond killing them. New stuff is amazing BTW. Worth trying.
  • 1 0
 Actually I work at the shop, and Marz told us to drill the holes...I would love to have made that up, trust me, we all looked at each other weird. And when it didn't help anything we were kicking ourselves in the ass for their cruel joke. lol
  • 3 0
 The hole-drilling-thing was for low end 'Zocchis (usually oem 55's and dj's) that had unserviceable cartridge dampers by Suntour. Those damn things always failed. Drilling holes was an open bath conversion that usually worked great. You just had to do it exactly the correct way and fiddle with oil levels to make it feel right.
  • 2 0
 Either way, having to drill holes into your fork to make it work is not cool.
  • 1 0
 Definitely not cool. More like ridiculously sad. They should had just sent you a few rc3 cartridges to throw into the forks, which would had left them with lots of happy customers for a reasonable cost. That said, they would had probably run out of rc3 cartridges
  • 1 0
 Definitely not cool. More like ridiculously sad.

They should had just sent you a few rc3 cartridges to throw into the faulty forks, which would had left them with many happy customers and a couple of lost bucks. That said they would had probably run out of rc3 carts in a minute considering the amount of crappy post '08 oem 'zocchis out there :rolleyes:
  • 1 0
 F'cking phone, that didn't go quite as planned, sorry lol

A mobile edit like on the forum would be cool, eh?
  • 1 0
 Running an 2014 888 on my TR-450, nothing but great things to say...and unless your running WC races...don't bitch about the weight, and if you are get a 308. Keep it up Marzocchi!!!
  • 1 0
 Just added 888 GRC RC3 Evo 2 ,and Moto C2R w/ PB to my Demo this year. Rockin' full Marzocchi this season! Cant wait to try it out. Super impressed by the fit and finish of this new suspension, it rivals FOX on ANY level!
  • 1 1
 I have been using Marzocchi forks for a while on most of my bikes 160-180 mm single crown.

2009-10 Bomber 55 TST2 AIR and 2010 Bomber 66 RCv. Over all great product, low maintenance - seals last, just change the oil and clean the fork regularly and that's pretty much it, with a yearly rebuild (internal cleaning, refilling oil levels, and re-greasing). This works for me!

New shocks and forks are looking great, keep up the good work and help the riders get those medals!
  • 3 0
 never heard of anyone burning air, oxygen maybe.
  • 2 0
 "Forthcoming" Moto shock...When would that be?..will your 2014 shock be available in 2014???
  • 2 0
 buy and YT industries Tues dh bike, and you get the 2014 fork and rear shock Big Grin www.yt-industries.com/shop/de/Bikes/Gravity/Tues2.0-Pro-2014?xa1881=hm0n6oljueuim45d2hd2lc70p7
  • 1 0
 Snowdog85..Thanks!
  • 1 0
 My 66 rc3ti damper doesn't look like that.
Are newer marzocchi using cartridge system??
Mine is 2012 and I believe its still open bath.
  • 1 0
 The 380 uses a new type of damper.
  • 1 0
 DBC cartridge.
  • 3 0
 Somebody noticed those sexy upside down forks?
  • 2 0
 Yep, Moto Forks!
  • 2 0
 Get a custom tune on your shim stack and laugh all the way down the mountain.
  • 3 0
 I STILL HAVE MY DC SHIVER 2005 AND IT IS GREAT. LOVE IT!
  • 1 0
 I have 2 sets of 55 micro switch TA, and I kept on blowing up the dampener. Marzocchi put in the RC3 dampener, and it's amazing!! And I still have the travel adjust
  • 1 0
 Or request it be done when the fork is in for service. I have a 55 Micro Switch TA as well, and I blew the damper and had Marzocchi Canada install an RC3 EVO damper. Air sprung, travel adjust and sick open bath damper. Works amazing.
  • 1 0
 Burning off the surface air while bleeding a damper....seems extremely unnecessary. Any moto dampers require or suggest this?
  • 2 0
 Or the caption has it wrong, maybe he is heating the surface oil with a flame making the viscosity lower and thus colapsing surface bubbles and foam? The heat would be very local and effect a very small portion of total oil volume. I am just guessing here, but it makes sense "cooking" of surface bubbles.
  • 3 1
 Burn off the surface air in the damper??
Never heard of that before!
  • 1 3
 My first fork it was z2 bam I'was happy as a pig in a sh...t but.They were like a sleeping Beauty after success of z1, my drop off 2003 broken, first 888 and with broken crown heavy compare to boxxer, 888 from suntour it's a joke long list of problems not only 2 years
  • 1 0
 Its only the shims (kinda like washers) that makes the hi lo speed compression??
  • 1 1
 Go to University. Get a degree in engineering. And ill get back to you. Yes its that complicated.
  • 1 0
 Im not saying its not complicated... i just red at one point "shims much like these are the answer" for a good feel of the fork. There is probebly something else...
  • 2 0
 M A R Z O C C H I Death To Invaders
  • 1 0
 Those rear shocks are the sickest thing I've evverrr seen from Marzocchi. Very impressed!
  • 2 0
 tool lathe under the bench........that's sick
  • 2 0
 marzocchi for life!!!!!!!!!
  • 2 1
 Whois Pedro??? why the guy has the chilean flag in his stickers???
  • 4 0
 He works with Ignacio Espinosa in Ractech-Chile and is living in Chile for some time. Very involved in the motorcycle world here. They are also getting hard into the MTB racing in Chile. Pedro prepares the suspension for many top motorcycle riders at the least.
Ahora, xq chu* te escribo en inglés?, xq preguntaste en ingles! jaja
  • 1 0
 What coating is on the prototype fork stanchions?
  • 2 0
 Ca$hima
  • 1 0
 Oh. I thought it looked darker than the coating on Fox forks.
  • 1 0
 Was just pullin' your leg, hence the spelling! Smile
  • 1 0
 It's most likely the same "Gold Race Coating" new 55's for example have.
  • 1 0
 Nie ma co się tam tyle wyciećwierzać, ino deko sprajem i jazda!
  • 1 0
 Dani Alvarre???? Whaat? his name is Dani ALGARRA!!!!
  • 1 3
 really excited to see how this new marzocchi stuff rides for the average joe. Saying the product is at pre-2008 performance is a big statement, fingers crossed!
  • 1 3
 Good to see stuff moving forward but I am not in position to buy new stuff so unless I can get a job working with it does not really matter to me
  • 1 0
 i want one of those vans
  • 1 0
 Nice write up!
  • 1 0
 Marzocchi 4 Life !
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