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  1. #1
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    Marzocchi Z1 FR1 (2005) - spring too firm?

    I got a second hand Z1 FR1 and like the fork, but it feels like the spring is too firm. I'm really light (67KG) ~150 pounds and even without any air I hardly get sag.

    Do they sell softer springs, or is there just something I'm missing? The seller said he has used 5W oil for it, and is somebody who understands forks a lot better then me, so I would assume there is not too much oil in it...

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Z1 FR1 Club

    Most who bought that fork new & weighted under 170lbs has sense sold it because of the problem you describe. I bought one second hand & really like it, but I'm 200lbs geared up. I run no air & sag is about right.

    Last time i checked with Marzocchi there were no different springs to be had for that model. Changing oil levels will only change the progressiveness of the fork. Your sag will not change unless you can find a softer spring.

    If anyone has more current info I would love to hear it.

  3. #3
    wuss
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    So I need to start eating more pizza and burgers... I'm (188cm) 6'2" so I have potential to weigh more

  4. #4
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    Edit: Try removing one of the springs from one leg and using the air-preload to dial in the proper sag. The 5w oil should be perfect for your weight.

    This should fix your problem.
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  5. #5
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    Sounds like a spring issue....

    the oil level won't affect sag unless the fork is completely full of oil. Your best bet here will be to contact Marzocchi USA and see if there were springs in various rates made for that year and model fork. Give them the year, model, travel, and the exact features that the fork has, i.e. eta, air preload etc. Zocch has been pretty spotty over the last few years with the forks that they make additional or optional springs for. Especially since the coil/air forks first started coming out. Apparently they figure an "average" spring rate combined with the air preload will work for the vast majority of riders. A good concept but in some cases like yours it just doesn't work. The Tech guys at Zocch should be able to tell you if optional springs are available for your Z1, or if not, if there are other springs for other medels that will work. Usually all you have to do is match the stanchion diameter and travel length in the rate that you want, soft, medium, firm etc. But sometimes the features of the fork dictate a specific spring configuration. Anyway, give em a call, they'll help you out if they can. Their number is 1 (661) 257-6630. I know, no 800 number, but it's worth the buck or two you'll spend to get the straight poop!

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  6. #6
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    Thanks, I sent a question to Marzocchi asking for information on available springs.

  7. #7
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    You CAN remove the spring from the right leg....

    but i wouldn't recommend it because that cartridge is made for a spring. Yes you will have much more adjustment for sag, but since there is no compression knob i don't think you will ever make the fork feel right. A coil spring fork like this one relies on the oil AND the COIL for compression damping.

    If you call Marzocchi they may tell you to remove the spring also, but i don't buy that that's a fix but rather a band aid.

  8. #8
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    05' Z1 FR 1 210 w/ gear and no air / 5wt. oil - good luck on getting that fork too work for a light rider.

  9. #9
    TNC
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    Let me throw out another option here. I used the HSCV cart leg's spring in a hybrid '04 Z150SL coil/air hybrid that I modified. I have two of these forks. One uses the '05 Z1FR1 spring, and one uses a 6" Manitou Sherman Firefly/Flick/Breakout spring. Surprisingly the Manitou spring is an almost perfect fit into the Z1 chassis like mine and your Z1FR1 when you "trim" the coil to a comparitive length to match the Z1 springs. Trimming the spring is easily done with a hand-held propane torch, then you "flatten" and grind the cut end of the modified spring on a simple bench grinder. I only had to remove a small piece of the end of the Sherman spring. The free length and compressed length of the spring is still compatible to the Z1...but of course the spring rate is different from the Z1 spring because these Sherman springs are made to run as a single unit. Now...this is a good thing when you consider that you'd remove one spring from the Z1 and just run the Sherman spring. Also Sherman springs come in ultrasoft, soft, medium, firm, extrafirm, and I think even an XXfirm. For whatever faults Manitou may have in the eyes of some, spring rate choices are not one of them in some applications. Their forks springs are also very inexpensive. Marz should be ashamed of not offering optional spring rates in some of their top line forks. This process may sound complicated, but it was actually quite easy to modify the Sherman spring. At least it gives you a workable option if you're a tinkerer.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the input. So if I was going to modify the Sherman spring I would go by Manitou's weight scales? Does the Manitou model year make any difference?

  11. #11
    TNC
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    The year/model isn't as important as making sure it's a 6" or 150mm fork spring to better match the Marz. Breakouts, Flicks, and Fireflys ranged from 5" to 7" on certain models, but you just restrict your spring selection to the 6"/150mm springs. As far as the weight scale, because of the possibility of different damping rates between Manitou and Marz, it may not be an exact match...but then, it seldom is even within the same brand of fork and springs. I'd certainly use it as a guide, though.

  12. #12
    wuss
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    Well I found a spring for the Manitou Sherman Slider from 2003. It has 152mm of travel and 32mm stanctions (like the Z1 FR1). Don't know if it matters that it's a dual crown fork?

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=14559

    Also found one for the breakout, does it matter that this model apparently had travel adjustment?

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=14550

    What I can't find is any kind of table giving indicators on what weights these different spring rates are recommended for. Do I want soft or medium?

    edit: soft I guess since medium is not available

  13. #13
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    Ouch...I just looked on our shop's QBP online catalog, and Sherman springs are not even listed anymore. I'll bet you can get the spring from Manitou, but they are in flux right now until the 2nd or 3rd week in July because of the Hayes move. The travel adjust issue isn't a problem on any of those forks. I'm not sure on the Slider spring, as it is a dual crown fork. I don't know if Manitou just used a spaced "regular" Sherman spring or if the spring is actually longer in the Slider.

  14. #14
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    I have a 2005 Z1 FR 1 and a 2006 66 RC2X. I weigh 210 and run 0 air in both forks . 2 days ago I turned my 66 upside down for some wheel work. I uprighted the bike tonight and pushed down on the fork - it was really really soft until the damper filled. Made me think that these forks may have a lot of full range compression in the dampers ???

  15. #15
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    So try taking out some oil? I think I might get a softer spring from a lbs... At least I'll call them today and ask. I have a friend who's done the modification TNC is talking about to car springs, and thinks it's a fairly simple job.

    edit:

    The local Manitou importer said he has hundreds of springs on his shelf. He recomended taking out the current spring, measuring the stanction diameter from the inside and coming to see if there is something that's even a better fit then the Sherman.
    Last edited by dropadrop; 06-21-2007 at 01:03 AM.

  16. #16
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    I just had a ride and managed to get 40% travel, even from a 2' drop to flat

  17. #17
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    What did you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    I just had a ride and managed to get 40% travel, even from a 2' drop to flat
    Dropadrop - what did you do to improve this? I have the same issue with mine - did you use a Manitou spring - if so - do you know which one - from which fork?

    Thanks,
    John

  18. #18
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    I fixed the situation by selling the fork

    I managed to verify that Marzocchi does not offer any softer springs, nor are there any softer ones that would fit (from other models). You might be able to replace the ETA side spring with a softer one though. This could work if you only need them to be a bit softer.

    I did find one solution which would probably have helped, but I just could not be bothered any more. There are companies who modify springs, mainly for cars. My neighbor had modded his cars springs so the rear springs where firmer and front ones where softer, I believe it's done with heat treatment. This might be a better option then the Manitou spring, as it might be hard to know exactly what firmness you will end up with after cutting an existing spring (it will change the springs firmness quite randomly).

    I would have tried, but then I found somebody who would pay quite a good price, and decided to move on.

  19. #19
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    If going with the remove a spring method, which leg should have the spring? The fork is a Z1 FR2, SSV/HSCV.

    Thanks!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by airwreck
    If going with the remove a spring method, which leg should have the spring? The fork is a Z1 FR2, SSV/HSCV.

    Thanks!
    Whichever... Doesn't really matters. If you have an ETA cart, you NEED the spring in there, though.

    I run a hot-rodded AM1... ETA on the left leg and a HSCV cartridge with no spring on the right leg. Works really nice.

    In your case, AW, I'd keep the spring on the SSV side... for no particular reason than ease of service. Much easier to read levels without the spring in there for the HSCV.

    One thing... Unless you use a pneumatic wrench, the footnuts will be next to impossible to tighten down properly as the cartridge will turn without the spring in there. On the SSV side, you just push the fork a bit down and undo/do the nut.

    On the HSCV what I do, is that I start the footnut and then do the topcap before putting any oil in. Then, I put a few PSI in there with the air preload and do the foot nut completely.

    Then, proceed to pour oil in, etc...

    I weigh 140 (64kg) BC and so far, I've used like 110mm out of 130, but I'm afraid I loaded too much oil.

    Air preload to get proper sag is 10 strokes from the pump... no reading at all on the gauge.

    It feels much better than TST on the stock Zoke oil for my weight.

    Airwreck... The SSV side has very low oil (sounds to me like 40cc's like recommended is only for semibath, even though there's indeed a SSV pumping rod in there), which allows you for it not to affect too much spring rate progression. Run the HSCV with no spring and add air preload, I seem to recall you're also a light rider, so just a few strokes of the pump will do. Go for sag, not for pressure.
    Last edited by Warp; 07-11-2007 at 04:13 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Compress the fork and while compressed, depress the air valve to allow the air to rush out, then release the fork. The vacuum will help reduce the overall spring rate and might allow you to get away. Basically acts as a negative chamber, but you have to determine how much negative to make.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp
    Whichever... Doesn't really matters.
    thanks, trying to set up this fork for the wife, she's looking for more fork than her pike and is not digging the 66SL at all.

    I tried one springing it on the Z150 back in the day at zoke techs suggestion but I thought it felt like crap. She's a good fork tuner so we'll see how it goes with this fork that has been sitting forgotten...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by airwreck
    thanks, trying to set up this fork for the wife, she's looking for more fork than her pike and is not digging the 66SL at all.

    I tried one springing it on the Z150 back in the day at zoke techs suggestion but I thought it felt like crap. She's a good fork tuner so we'll see how it goes with this fork that has been sitting forgotten...
    Yeah, I remember some comments about too much stiction on some forks (Marathons, Z1's) when ran with one spring only... This may be the case for middle weight riders, but for lighter ones and the crazy low-low pressure used, I think it may work.

    At least my AM1 (which runs in this config) feels better once I went HSCV.

    Mind you, it'll be more finicky to set-up... more sensitive to levels and pressures.

    BTW.... I don't know which springs are in your Z1FR2, but the ones on my pal's fork were a black (no color actually) and yellow. I think they're way too stiff for my weight.
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  24. #24
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    Removing one spring

    maybe the only way to get anywhere close to a decent sag for a lighter rider,but all reports & threads that I've read report that the fork has WAY too much brake dive & never feels right.

    Jerk_Chicken's suggestion of compressing the fork & depressing the air valve to create a vacuum while in theory sounds interesting but in a quick real world test just pulls the fork down & you have less travel.

    Marzocchi really dropped the ball on this fork for you lighter riders.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bordershy
    maybe the only way to get anywhere close to a decent sag for a lighter rider,but all reports & threads that I've read report that the fork has WAY too much brake dive & never feels right.

    Jerk_Chicken's suggestion of compressing the fork & depressing the air valve to create a vacuum while in theory sounds interesting but in a quick real world test just pulls the fork down & you have less travel.

    Marzocchi really dropped the ball on this fork for you lighter riders.
    I am the one that has tried this in the real world on several zokes, from all coil, to coil/air and it does work, just depends on what the variance is between full travel and the weight of the rider.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bordershy
    maybe the only way to get anywhere close to a decent sag for a lighter rider,but all reports & threads that I've read report that the fork has WAY too much brake dive & never feels right.
    Heavier damper oil???

    I don't know... I'll have to play with mine but improvements over TST were worthy.

    So far, a RC2 cartridge should be compatible and may do the trick getting ride of the dive. Much cheaper than a full Z1 Light or a 66, yet expensive.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    I am the one that has tried this in the real world on several zokes, from all coil, to coil/air and it does work, just depends on what the variance is between full travel and the weight of the rider.
    One variant of this one is to close the top cap on the opposite side to air preload with the fork a bit compressed.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp
    One variant of this one is to close the top cap on the opposite side to air preload with the fork a bit compressed.
    Yep, I've had good results with an SSVF fork doing just this. Seems that slight reduction of the progressivity allowed me to get full travel.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Yep, I've had good results with an SSVF fork doing just this. Seems that slight reduction of the progressivity allowed me to get full travel.
    Will try it!!
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  30. #30
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    Just as an update. I've had my Z1FR1 for just over a year now. In that time I think I've bottomed it two or three times (each time it was on VERY extreme situations). There is very little sag - maybe 10% (and that's a stretch). In a normal ride - which typically includes a lot of rocks, launches and jumps - I ride hard - I rarely use more than 4 or 4.5 inches of travel - I weigh 175lbs all up on my bike. That said, I don't do a lot of drops - maybe 3' or so max.

    After reading through a few of these threads I had some hope that Marz had a softer spring for this fork. I talked to tech support who told me the best option was to remove the spring on the right side and use air, but there might be a softer spring option, sales would know for sure. I talked to a guy in sales who at first told me that I'd have to check with tech support (argh!).

    To his credit the sales guy went and talked to the tech guy and came back with the same answer - remove the right side spring and that there was no softer spring that would fit.

    I guess I'm going to remove that spring. I'll report back how it feels. The other option the sales guy gave me was to "upgrade to a fork with more flexibility" (argh again). At 175, I don't consider myself a lightweight - but I guess Marz built this fork for bigger guys. The sales guy asked me what I weighed and he said, "that fork should be fine for you". (Argh a third time)

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  31. #31
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    My experiences with European Marzocchi where pretty close to yours, they are completely messed up. It was one of the biggest reasons I decided to get a fork from another manufacturer. As if it was not enough that they don't make softer springs for their forks, but they don't even know if they do themselves? What a joke.

    I tried removing the right side spring, and it definatly helped. It was extremely prone to diving though.

  32. #32
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    Man...

    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    I tried removing the right side spring, and it definatly helped. It was extremely prone to diving though.
    That stinks...
    John

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    I tried removing the right side spring, and it definatly helped. It was extremely prone to diving though.
    Did you tried any other change?? Oil level, oil weight, air preload??

    As I mentioned before... In this way the fork becomes more difficult to set-up.
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  34. #34
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    When removing a spring, you have to raise the oil level. The spring takes up volume inside.

  35. #35
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    Ah, I did not raise the oil level to compensate for the spring. I did raise preload air pressure though. Later I tested thinner oil with the spring back in, and also with different oil levels. I guess adding oil to compensate for the spring sounds very logical (now), but too late.

  36. #36
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    I have a really stupid question - how easy is it to remove the spring? Can someone give me a quick summary?

    thanks,
    John

  37. #37
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    Really easy:

    - Remove the top screws (ETA side requires removing the ETA knob first)
    - Pull down the fork so you are left with the springs exposed
    - Using a 10mm key and whatever you used to open the sides top screw you want to remove teh spring from:
    -- Pull down the spring enough to get the 10mm key to jam the purple thing towards teh top
    -- Open the top screw so it comes off
    -- Pull out the spring
    -- Resemble

    http://www.daevh.co.uk/bike/service/z1.htm

    This page worked pretty well in terms of instructions for taking it apart / putting it back together.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    Really easy:

    - Remove the top screws (ETA side requires removing the ETA knob first)
    I know you're not implying it, but just in case... at any rate, ETA spring should stay in. The other side does not need it, the ETA does.


    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    - Using ...and whatever you used to open the sides ...
    26mm six point socket for a Z1FR2 (I don't want to make a gross generalization).
    21mm six point chamferless socket for an AM1 on both sides.

    If you don't have a socket like that (the 21mm MUST be flat, chamferless or it will not bite enough and you'll end up with damaged flats), try a good quality crescent wrench. With good quality, I mean that it has no significant play.
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  39. #39
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    Thanks - I appreciate you guys helping me out!

    Theoretically I should be able to remove the spring without removing oil - correct - or do I have to dump oil first? Then I should add oil to bring it back up to the correct level (I know I've seen a chart somewhere with the correct levels - have to find it).

    John

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch
    Thanks - I appreciate you guys helping me out!

    Theoretically I should be able to remove the spring without removing oil - correct - or do I have to dump oil first? Then I should add oil to bring it back up to the correct level (I know I've seen a chart somewhere with the correct levels - have to find it).

    John
    Yeah... no need to dump oil.

    Now you have the spring out, sink the uppers in the lowers, sink the carts as much as you can (remember you still have to pull it up and if it goes too deep you may not reach it).

    Measure between 50mm (if you're very light) and 40mm (if you're heavy) from the top of the crown to the surface of oil. Use a caliper or a straw with a mark on it.

    Use the syringe and tube you use to bleed your brakes (if they use mineral oil, if they use DOT forget about it) to refill/remove.
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    I got a $1 turkey baster to help the fine tuning task.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    I got a $1 turkey baster to help the fine tuning task.


    I saw one here at Walmart... it was like 20 bucks or something... my syringes stayed on duty
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  43. #43
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    You guys rock.

  44. #44
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    I pulled the spring today, one thing to add (which may seem obvious to others) you measure oil level with the fork compressed.

    In any event it feels good, I put 20 psi in it for now. I expect to have to up that after or during the next ride, I'll report back on how it performs. I've got good sag now..

    John

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    if you pull the spring, do you lose rebound adjust?

  46. #46
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    Why not use an earlier Z1 spring? Jensen and Cambria have 130 mm springs for the 30mm stanchion forks in different weights. This would require a longer spacer and another washer since the springs are not an exact match. I think the difference is about 3/4". I bought them by accident hoping it would fit my 32mm z1 and noticed the differences.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by hahee
    if you pull the spring, do you lose rebound adjust?
    No.

    The spring is independent from the damper.
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    I wonder if you could remove the spring on that side and slide a washer down the rod to create a floating piston. You would probably have to have the washer fit the rod within 1mm to seal but you could do it easily with a dremmel. Kind of a DIY TPC for the hscv. Thoughts? Somebody machine me one and i'll try it out. Probably 30mm OD and 6mm ID.

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    Z150 fork too firm: is only option to remove spring?

    I am having the same problem with my Z150 ETA fork. Fully geared, I'm about 220 and 230 and normally only get about 4 inches of travel on the fork. Not running any air preload. Sag is about right but the plushness is missing. Rides pretty firm.

    Is removing the spring the only option here? Has anybody been able to get softer springs?

    Would changing oil levels or oil weight help?

    Thanks in advance!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebronze
    I wonder if you could remove the spring on that side and slide a washer down the rod to create a floating piston. You would probably have to have the washer fit the rod within 1mm to seal but you could do it easily with a dremmel. Kind of a DIY TPC for the hscv. Thoughts? Somebody machine me one and i'll try it out. Probably 30mm OD and 6mm ID.

    You guys have this figured out. Removing the spring is the way to soften the fork.

    As far as making it a TPC style fork, not gonna work....tapered ID on the stanchion as well as the oil displaces so rapidly...that crazy **** happens! Don't think I haven't triied it in an openbath format....besides it would be a patent infringement.
    Ride Your Bike!

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