How Do I . . . Airbag Front Suspension Setup 

Topic:                          Front Bumper - how did this come about? That is, how did the wetbike community come upon this design? I'll post what I remember, but would like others to fill in the stuff I've forgotten (most of it really).

A Little Background

A few years ago a thread was started about how we could do something to decrease the violent impact of the front ski when landing off of jumps and/or riding in choppy water. I don't know if that thread still exists, but for quite a while it was one of the main topics on

There were even some outstanding discussions using the online chat. We had tons of people throwing out ideas and asking "what if".

The Discussions

These discussions covered a lot of ground. Some of the things thrown out were:

  • Spring assembly inside steering tube
  • Mounting motorcycle-style forks on wetbike
  • Gas-pressurized shocks - like the ones on suv rear-hatches
  • Compression-only setup - how to get around rebound slowness (would hold ski up too long)
  • Airbag front end - and how to make it work
After several months, the real issues narrowed down to 2 things. First of all was to dampen just the last couple of inches of travel (to eliminate the slamming effect) - and the second was to not affect the rebound (so that the ski could fall down without any friction.

My Airbag Prototype

I got fixated on the idea that an airbag setup would be the shnizzle. Spent time looking at several airbags - and how they could be mounted. Even planned on "bleeding" off some compression from the top cylinder to provide pressure for the bag. Too complicated.

Anyway, I did figure out how to crate a new lower H-Beam assembly that could cradle an airbag and allow it to pivot and not tear itself to pieces. Here's a few pics:

I was just about to get a prototype welded up when a much better design came along.

The Winner

The design with the round bumper has turned out be the best so far. It's simple, inexpensive, easily serviced and durable - a winner all around. The airbag design never made it out of the prototype stage . . . yet 






Copyright 2011 Capt'n Obveeus

Joomla templates by a4joomla