Saturday, 14 July 2012

Marzocchi’s Open bath – the key to performance and long service intervals!

Marzocchi have always been advocates of the open bath system as it has many advantages over a closed damper, in fact I would go as far to say that the only negative this design has is ultimately its biggest positive!
Benefits: Since suspension forks need to rapidly telescope, moving up and down thousands of times a ride, bushings should be coated in a bath of oil allowing friction free movement. The only deign that truly accomplishes stiction-less performance is Marzocchi’s proven "Open Bath" technology. Since oil completely bathes the internal bushings, seals and cartridges all the moving parts glide smoothly; this eliminates friction that causes forks to feel harsh and unresponsive. Because of the larger oil volume it takes longer for the oil to get dirty, which in turn reduces seal and bushing wear. The higher oil volume keeps temperatures under control. Closed cartridges (or rear shocks for example) work very hard in confined spaces, friction causes heat, heat causes damping fade, so a higher volume of oil will give a more consistent level of performance over extended runs.
Lastly the performance remains at a consistently higher level for longer. With low oil/ closed systems the performance drop can be huge if the fork isn’t correctly maintained. This can also contribute to worn stanchions as the fork dries out.
To hold all this oil in the fork you need a good seal, fortunately Marzocchi  is a motorcycle suspension company with over 60 years of experience and they use the highest quality seals from Japanese manufacture NOK. NOK are OE suppliers to all the big motorcycle manufacturers and are considered the best.

Negatives: the only down side for using increased oil volume is weight, BUT... With the advent of optimised stations, titanium springs and Ti bolts featured in Marzocchi’s latest fork line the weight difference can be as marginal as a packet of biscuits...

You can also successfully argue that the marginal weight saving gained by using a closed damper is also a negative. By using less oil (as low as 5cc) the fork becomes very service sensitive. Service intervals become every 10hrs, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year...  Also consider the service costs; how many services do you need to make to preserve your warranty? If to save 100g you have to spend £100 per service per year, it’s starting to look like not such a great deal...?
With an open bath system the fork is always under constant lubrication, there are no funny service routines and no hidden service charges and to top it off you also get a THREE year warranty as well and you do not have to get your fork serviced to keep the warranty valid...  All of this is only possible with the Open Bath Damper...
Introducing the Marzocchi 55 RC 3 TI 2010 from chris smith on Vimeo.

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