Air Bag: an inflatable air spring – types vary widely based on the mechanisms used to deliver air to the spring’s bladder.
Hollow Rubber Springs: “bump-stop” style springs manufactured using rubber and contain a hollow open-air core.
Why are SumoSprings different?
NOT AN AIR BAG
There are several options when it comes to air bag systems. Why are there so many options? The reason there are so many variations of air bag systems is because there are endless ways to get air into the bag/bladder. Some can be manually inflated, some have remote air compressors, and some are so sophisticated you can adjust the air pressure in the bag, from within the cabin of your vehicle. That may sound great, but lets look at the obvious down sides. You need to supply air. You need to maintain the bag so it does not leak or crack. You need to control the amount of air so the bag does not rupture or “pop.” Unlike traditional air bag systems, SumoSprings do not have a bag. The air is not captured in a single balloon, if you will. The air is captured in millions and millions of tiny micro-cellular bubbles inside of the proprietary urethane material. There is no need for a compressor, no need for maintenance, and they will not leak or rupture. Some will argue that an airbag is superior because you can control how “hard” or “soft” the suspension is. This is why SumoSprings come in different densities, but what really settles this argument is the progressive characteristics of SumoSprings. All SumoSprings have a progressive spring rate, not a linear or constant rate. What does that mean? To use an analogy, think of bed time. It’s been a long day and you want to lay your head down. In place of your pillow is a cinder block – no spring rate! Now, in place of your pillow is an inflated air bag – linear or constant spring rate. At last, there it is, your dream memory foam or feather down (whatever your preference) pillow. You lay your head down and the pillow lets the weight sink in a little. You continue to put your head down into the pillow and the materials inside begin to cradle your head and provide resistance. You push your head down further and come to a comfortable resting place with your head relaxed and supported – a progressive spring rate! SumoSprings start off softly, absorbing harsh bumps and movements, then as the spring compresses they fight back with more and more resistance.
NOT A HOLLOW RUBBER SPRING
As mentioned above, SumoSprings have a progressive spring rate, starting off soft and resisting more and more with compression. This makes for smooth engagement (the pillow analogy we used above). Rubber is harder than SumoSprings urethane material. Therefore, the first contact made with the rubber will be hard. Think about that feeling of bottoming out. Did you realize most vehicles are equipped with a rubber bump stop? Did bottoming out feel smooth or hard? SumoSprings prevent this hard contact and instead make the transition progressively smooth.