(Ronnie, of Marzocchi: are you there?)

==== THE SETTINGS
Here are the settings (I weigh 240 lbs):

POSITIVE AIR: 40 PSI, both chambers
NEGATIVE AIR: 120 - 135 PSI (3 times the Positive Air)
PAR: 15 PSI

REBOUND: 3 clicks from fastest (full "minus" is fastest)
COMPRESSION: 4 clicks from fastest (full "minus" is fastest)
====

This probably belongs in the Marzocchi-specific forum, but I want to direct it to fellow Clydesdales.

During the summer of 2006, I built my dream bike a piece at a time, choosing the best components for me (meaning a different component set might be better for you; but what I selected has proven exactly what I needed). If I wrote a best-selling book and received an obscene amount of money for it, I would get this bike again.

I bought a Turner Five Spot, XL, Blue. Even covered in mud it is beautiful.

One of the components I selected was the Marzocchi Z.1 SL (yeah, it is Z dot one). I chose the SL with 20mm through-axle, 2 Positive air chambers, 1 Negative air chamber, 1 PAR air chamber, external Rebound adjust, and external Compression adjust. It does not have ETA or TAS -- I considered them to be one-time adjustments and did not want them.

With four air chambers and two adjustment knobs, the fork was intimidating. During my first several rides last summer, I could not control the bike. It felt like a heavy, out of balance SUV, compared to my steel, hard tail Stumpjumper that I had ridden for 12 years.

A year later, about three weeks ago, I got the final setting correct. That is why I am writing this to you, a prospective 'Zocchi buyer. You might be able to get it right immediately.

First, the Marzocchi "Bomber Suspension Owner's Manual" numbers are wrong -- at least for big folks like us. After many conversations with the dealer, Randy Filz (amazingly patient with me), of Filz Built Bicycles, Springfield, Virginia, he put me in contact with Ronnie, a suspension technician for Marzocchi, USA. In five minutes, I had the numbers I needed. I screwed up one number, and did not discover that fact until three weeks ago.

Here are the settings (I weigh 240 lbs):

POSITIVE AIR: 40 PSI, both chambers
NEGATIVE AIR: 120 - 135 PSI (3 times the Positive Air)
PAR: 15 PSI

REBOUND: 3 clicks from fastest (full "minus" is fastest)
COMPRESSION: 4 clicks from fastest (full "minus" is fastest)

I slowed the Rebound two more clicks slower (towards "plus") because the fork was kicking up too much for me.

I have Negative Air at about 125 PSI, arriving at that through trial-and-error, looking for plush

I have Positive Air at 40 PSI, as Ronnie prescribed.

I NOW have PAR to 15 PSI, as of three weeks ago. I screwed this adjustment up, and when I corrected it, well ... all I can say is "Wow."

Right after talking to Ronnie last summer, I put in the settings exactly as he described -- except, of course, screwing up PAR.

First ride after that was remarkable. Suddenly I could control the bike. It did what I wanted ... almost.

The suspension was stiff, like that of an Indy car or a formula car. I felt every stutter bump, and long rides were uncomfortable.

Three weeks ago, rain arrived just as I was about to leave for the trail head. Looking at the NOAA Web site, I predicted that the rain would clear in 40 minutes as it moved south of the District. So I spent that time checking all the settings carefully.

That is when I discovered that the first tick mark on the fork pump dial indicated 10 PSI, not zero pressure. The PAR actually was almost 30 PSI, not 15 PSI.

PAR comes into play when the fork is about to bottom, theoretically making it "bottomless." Because the fork was so stiff, I did not pay close attention to the PAR. I thought it was inconsequential because I was getting only 2" of travel out of 5".

I set PAR exactly to 15 PSI, not approximately.

What a huge difference that setting made!

Now the fork is plush, meaning that I have complete control ... well, as complete as my skill level permits. This is exactly what I envisioned three years ago in my dreams, and last year as I was buying the pieces one at a time.

I can do more on the Turner than I could do after 12 years on the Stumpjumper. I get 3 1/2 inches of travel -- I am not yet comfortable with my skills to get significant air, and I slow down at rock gardens and other scary places. And I can do most of the tight switchbacks at Wakefield.