Effect of rebound damping on hopping and jumping


I love your book and site. You really know how to break down riding skills into digestible bits.

Last weekend I was able to attend a suspension clinic with the guys at PUSH Industries, they are super knowledgeable and great guys. They took the time to review our suspension set ups and had me slow down my rebound on both my front and rear suspension.

They said that most riders ride with way too fast of rebound. I have found that the slower suspension has definitely helped me feel smoother on the pump track, but it is harder to get as much pop on bunny hops. What is your opinion on suspension dampening and what tips can you give me to improve my jumping on a full suspension bike with more dampening.

Also I can’t wait to buy MMBS II do you have an ETA on the date that it will be available.

Keep pinning it,


Hey Dave,

Thanks for the kind words.

You raise some interesting points. Let’s hack at ’em:

Those guys are indeed great and knowledgeable. Super cool. Super pro.

If they say slow down your rebound, then slow it down. I think PUSH should offer a service where they adjust your suspension AND remove all the adjusters. They dialed in my 2005 S-Works Enduro, and — dang — that bike was awesome.

First, it’s damping not dampening.

Second, I have nothing to add on top of PUSH. Whatever they say, do.

Third, as far as hopping and jumping go:

I run my rebound as fast as possible without feeling bouncy. Maybe I’m super pro, or maybe I don’t know any better, but fast rebound feels best to me. I feel like I stay higher in the travel, and that the bike is more supple. But that’s me.

When my bike unloads from preloading a hop or loading a jump, I don’t feel the rebound adjustment. I’m not compressing my suspension then waiting for it to spring back; I’m cramming my bike into the earth and letting the earth return that force. I know this might sound silly, but here’s my proof:

I jump every one of my bikes — P.3, SX, Stumpy, Enduro, Demo, Intense BMX 20″ and Intense BMX 24″ — the same way. My timing adjusts for different speeds, lip radii and suspension travel (or lack of it), but my focus is always the same:

– Heavy feet and light hands.

– Load smoothly into the lip.

– Let the bike unload just as smoothly.

It’s a smooth cycle, but a powerful, deliberate one.

If changing your rebound makes your bike hop and jump very differently, I think maybe you’re not being deliberate enough with your loading/unloading. Stop waiting for your suspension to spring back. Cram your bike into the earth. Let the earth return that force. (Video would help here, but there’s no time.)

This was written very quickly. Make sense?

It’s due out this spring. The publisher said I’d see a proof this month. The new edition has more detail on suspension setup.

OK, back to the BMX book.

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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8 replies
  1. Walt says:

    What I heard from a video that I saw where a suspension pro from England says that you run your rebound fast in the front (without being too bouncy) so that your fork can come back up fast in a series of quick bumps and not pack down and bottom out. But you run the rebound on your rear shock slow so that you don’t don’t bucked over the handlebars on a big hit.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Interesting stuff.

    I am not a suspension pro. I’ve always thought the front and rear should be balanced, especially when it comes to rebound speed.

    But you know my perspective: That you should almost always drive your weight through the middle of the bike.

    I’m curious to see what other people have to say. At some point I want to talk to the masters and do a detailed book on suspension setup.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    I just remembered:

    Darren Murphy, founder of PUSH, is a suspension pro.

    He told me that rear-wheel bucking is seldom a too-fast rebound issue. He said it comes from too much resistance to compression. The more resistant your suspension is to compression, the harder your wheel presses into the ground — and the harder the ground presses back.

    When he PUSHed my Enduro, Darren opened up the compression circuit so the shock moved easily on fast, square hits. That made the bike much smoother.


  4. Brucee says:

    I cant give an exact quote, but slower rebound on the rear is what Sam Hill advised a couple of years ago, and looking at his riding it kinda made sense to me. There are going to be times on fast downhill runs when your rear wheel is going to press into the earth way harder than you would like. open compression circuit or not. a little slower rebound than would otherwise be dialed in for optimum return seems sensible for situations where your weight is farther forward than you would like (heavy hands) and you could use a little extra help in the form of slower return of the excessive force transmitted to the ground.

  5. leelikesbikes says:


    And, to support that point: Hill seems to ride with a more braced, moto style than, say an older-school DHer like Nico Vouilloz.

    A lot of the younger riders, who all came up on excellent equipment, seem to ride their DH bikes more like motos.

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