Title:
Adjustable ski suspension and ski tip stiffener devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable ski suspension device for use on skis and snowboards provides increased comfort, speed, and edge control to the user. An optional ski tip stiffener device permits adjustment of ski tip dampening and overall ski stiffness to accommodate different snow conditions.



Inventors:
Lowe, Michael R. (Boulder, CO, US)
Application Number:
09/766530
Publication Date:
07/25/2002
Filing Date:
01/19/2001
Assignee:
LOWE MICHAEL R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C5/07; (IPC1-7): A63C5/07
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANAMAN, FRANK BENNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William E. Hein (Loveland, CO, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis, the suspension device comprising: a riser plate fixedly mounted to a top surface of a snow ski; a bottom plate fixedly mounted on top of said riser plate; a top plate, spaced above said bottom plate, and movably attached thereto by means of four or more side bar members coupled to said bottom plate arid said top plate; toe and heel retention members of a conventional ski boot binding attached on top of said top plate; an elastomer insert removably positioned between said top and bottom plates to provide resistance to relative motion between said top and bottom plates; and a spring device mounted to said top and bottom plates proximate forward ends thereof to provide a desired degree of preloading of said top plate against said elastomer insert and to provide additional resistance to relative motion between said top and bottom plates.

2. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 1, wherein said riser plate is shorter than said bottom plate.

3. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 1, wherein said spring device comprises an elastomer spring device.

4. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 1, wherein said spring device comprises an air spring device.

5. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 1, wherein said spring device comprises a coil spring device.

6. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 1, wherein said spring device incorporates a dampener element.

7. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 1, wherein said spring device comprises a leaf spring device.

8. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis as in claim 7, wherein said leaf spring device comprises: a leaf spring mounting plate forwardly extending from said bottom plate; a leaf spring member having a proximal end fixedly attached to a forward end of said top plate; and a pair of connecting bars hingedly connected between distal ends of said leaf spring mounting plate and said leaf spring member.

9. In combination with said adjustable suspension device for snow skis of claim 1, a ski tip stiffener device mounted forward of said adjustable suspension device.

10. The combination of claim 9, wherein said ski tip stiffener device comprises: a retainer member fixedly mounted at a forward end of said bottom plate; a stiffener rod retained by said retainer member and extending forwardly therefrom; and a dampening disc mounted at a forward end of said stiffener rod and adapted for being adjustably urged against the top surface of said ski proximate the tip end thereof.

11. A ski tip stiffener device comprising: a retainer member mounted on a top surface of a ski forward of a conventional toe retention member of a ski boot binding; a stiffener rod retained by said retainer member and extending forwardly therefrom; and a dampening disc mounted at a forward end of said stiffener rod and adapted for being adjustably urged against the top surface of said ski proximate the tip end thereof.

12. A device for mounting to a snow ski, the device comprising: a riser plate fixedly mounted to a top surface of the snow ski; a bottom plate fixedly mounted on top of said riser plate; and toe and heel retention members of a conventional ski boot binding attached on top of said top plate.

13. An adjustable suspension device for snow skis, the suspension device comprising: a top plate, spaced above a ski, and movably attached thereto by means of four or more side bar members coupled between said top plate and said ski; toe and heel retention members of a conventional ski boot binding attached on top of said top plate; an elastomer insert removably positioned between said top plate and said ski to provide resistance to relative motion between said top plate and said ski; and a spring device mounted to said top plate and to said ski proximate a forward end of said top plate to provide additional resistance to relative motion between said top plate and said ski.

14. An adjustable suspension device for snowboards, the suspension device comprising: a bottom plate fixedly mounted to a top surface of a snowboard; a top plate, spaced above said bottom plate, and movably attached thereto by means of four or more side bar members coupled between said bottom plate and said top plate; an elastomer insert removably positioned between said top and bottom plates to provide resistance to relative motion between said top and bottom plates; and a retainer cable connected between said top and bottom plates to provide a desired degree of preloading of said top plate against said elastomer insert.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to snow skis and, more particularly, to a device mounted between the ski and boot binding for providing adjustable suspension between the skier's boot and the ski itself The device also serves as a ski stiffener and ski tip damper to provide improved comfort and control for the skier.

[0002] Several methods for providing ski suspension are known in the prior art. However, they have all proven unsuccessful in the marketplace for a variety of reasons. Some provide ineffective suspension, while others are too complex or heavy, or their suspension rate and dampening are not adjustable to skiing conditions or the weight of the skier. Ski tip dampeners and ski tension adjusters are also known, but none of them are generally adapatable as after market additions to most skis. Exemplary of these prior art ski suspension devices is that described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,979,761 to Rohlin.

[0003] It would therefore be advantageous to provide an adjustable suspension device for use on skis and snowboards to provide more comfort, speed, and edge control for the user. It would also be advantageous to provide a ski tip dampening device that permits the adjustment of skis to perform better in different snow conditions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is a general pictorial diagram of a ski having the adjustable ski suspension and ski tip stiffener devices of the present invention mounted thereon.

[0005] FIG. 2 is a general pictorial diagram of the adjustable ski suspension and ski tip stiffener devices of FIG. 1.

[0006] FIG. 3 is a general pictorial diagram of a snowboard having the adjustable ski suspension device of the present invention mounted thereon.

[0007] FIG. 4 is a detailed pictorial diagram of the adjustable ski suspension device of FIGS. 1-3.

[0008] FIG. 5 is an assembly diagram illustrating the adjustable ski suspension and ski tip stiffener devices of FIGS. 1-2.

[0009] FIG. 6 is a detailed pictorial diagram of an alternative embodiment of the adjustable ski suspension device of FIGS. 1-2 in which a leaf spring assembly is employed.

[0010] FIG. 7 is a detailed pictorial diagram illustrating the riser plate and bottom plate of FIGS. 1-2, with toe and heel retention members of a conventional ski binding being directly mounted to the bottom plate.

[0011] FIG. 8 is a general pictorial diagram illustrating an embodiment of the adjustable ski suspension and ski tip stiffener device of the present invention in which the bottom plate and riser plate of FIG. 1 are eliminated.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0012] Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, and 5, there is shown a conventional ski 20 on which is mounted an adjustable ski suspension device 30 in accordance with the present invention. A centrally-located riser plate 7 is fixedly mounted to ski 20. A bottom plate 2 is fixedly mounted on riser plate 7. A top plate 1, spaced above bottom plate 2, is movably attached thereto by means of four or more side bars 3 to form a parallelogram therebetween. A conventional ski boot binding, including a toe retention member 22 and a heel retention member 24, is mounted to top plate 1. When the skier applies downward pressure on top plate 1, it rotates downward and forward with respect to bottom plate 2. Resistance to this rotational motion is provided by means of a an elastomer insert 4 positioned between top plate 1 and bottom plate 2 and a spring device 5 that is mounted to top plate 1 and bottom plate 2 at forward ends thereof Spring device 5 may comprise a conventional elastomer spring, air spring or coil spring, for example, that may be adjustably preloaded by means of a retainer bolt 6. Alternatively, spring device 5 may incorporate a dampener element. Spring device 5 may also tale the form of a leaf spring assembly 52, illustrated in detail in FIG. 6. In accordance with that embodiment, leaf spring assembly 52 includes a leaf spring mounting plate 56 that may be formed as an extension of bottom plate 2 and a leaf spring member 53, a proximal end of which is fixedly attached to top plate 1 and a distal end of which is pivotally connected to a pair of connecting bars 54. Riser plate 7 of FIGS. 1, 2, 5 and 6 acts to provide separation between bottom plate 2 and ski 20, thus permitting ski 20 to flex upward along more of its length during use to thereby create a smoother and more skiable arc.

[0013] Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a snowboard 21 on which are mounted a pair of adjustable snowboard suspension devices 31, the details of which are illustrated in FIG. 4. Each of the adjustable snowboard suspension devices 31 is similar to the ski suspension device 30 of FIG. 1, including a bottom plate 2 that is fixedly mounted to snowboard 21, a top plate 1, spaced above bottom plate 2 and movably attached thereto by means of four or more side bars 3 to form a parallelogram therebetween, an elastomer insert positioned between top plate 1 and bottom plate 2, and a retainer cable 11, connected between top plate 1 and bottom plate 2. Retainer cable 11 is connected to a selected one of a plurality of holes 12, provided along top plate 1, to provide a desired degree of preloading of top plate 1 against elastomer insert 4. In both the ski suspension devices 30 and the snowboard suspension devices 31, described above, elastomer insert 4 is readily changeable and may be selected to exhibit a particular density, spring rate, and dampening rate to thereby tailor the suspension characteristics to individual skier and snowboarder weight and skiing style.

[0014] The adjustable ski suspension device 30 described above provides better ski edge control because high frequency vibrations are absorbed thereby, thus reducing edge bounce and chatter by maintaining contact between the ski edge and the snow surface for a longer period of time. The present ski suspension device facilitates higher speed as the ski floats over small bumps on the snow surface, thus reducing lifting energy losses over non-suspended skis.

[0015] Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown an alternative embodiment of the present invention in which the toe and heel retention members 22, 24 of a conventional ski boot binding are mounted directly to bottom plate 2. Bottom plate 2 is mounted to riser plate 7, which is in turn mounted directly to the top surface of a ski. While this arrangement provides no suspension, it allows the ski to flex along its entire length without being restricted, as is in the case in which the toe and heel retention members of a conventional ski boot binding are mounted directly to the top surface of the ski.

[0016] Referring now to FIG. 8, there is shown an alternative embodiment of the present invention in which the bottom plate 2 and riser plate 7 of FIG. 1 are eliminated. In this embodiment, top plate 1 is attached to the ski 20 by means of four more side bars 3 to form a parallelogram therebetween. Elastomer insert 4 is provided within the space between top plate 1 and the top surface of ski 20 Spring device 5 remains as described above in connetion with FIG. 1. The advantage of this embodiment is that the overall height of the ski suspension device is reduced to better meet international ski racing regulations.

[0017] Referring again to FIGS. 1, 2, and 5, there is shown an adjustable ski tip stiffener 40 that may be employed to adjust ski 20 to optimize performance in a variety of snow conditions. Ski tip stiffener 40 includes a retainer member 42 that is fixedly mounted at the forward end of bottom plate 2, a stiffener rod 44 retained thereby and extending forwardly therefrom, and a dampening disc 46 mounted at the forward end of stiffener rod 44 so as to contact the upper surface of ski 20 proximate the tip thereof Dampening disc 46 is adjustably urged against the upper surface of ski 20 by means of a screw adjuster 48 to provide a desired degree of ski tip dampening and overall ski stiffening to accommodate various snow conditions.





 
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