Evolution of Our String Beds

The Ross 2 String.

Dave Ross. Rebound Products Founder.
Published April 15th, 2018.

The most important part of a trampoline affecting its performance is the bed. Rebound Products has been making string beds since 1980. Plenty of prototypes were produced in the early years, but from 1991 to 2008 the power and construction of our production string beds remained constant. Our string beds were used at the 1996 and the 2007 World Trampoline Championships, and at many other prestigious trampoline competitions to include World Cups and the Toronto Harbour Front, Reach for the Sky trampoline festival.

Since 1978 we have considered the conventional stitched trampoline bed technology as obsolete. This is because using stitching to hold a bed together also tears it apart, resulting in about 5 times lower lifetime! Furthermore, when a string is worn or accidentally cut on a string bed, a new string can be easily spliced in with knots on the bottom of the bed with the bed on the trampoline frame, so repairs are cheap and easy! In order to keep a string bed together there is more weaving, which means smaller holes, a better feel on the feet, and also paint to stiffen the strings. We did plenty of research in the early years to develop our beds to have a very similar bounce to traditional equipment, so our athletes could train on string beds, but still compete well on webbed beds. For most of that time, this was the 4/6mm webbed bed. There were still some small performance differences. The main difference was that the string bed weighed more, but had lower air resistance. So the bounce feels a bit different. To an athlete who did not depress the bed too far the power was similar to 4/6mm beds. To an athlete who really pushed the bed down there was slightly more power. This enabled both small and large athletes to compete successfully, which nicely complemented our adult sport. Also the trampolines’ power was not as dependent on spring tension, so the softer beds which older athletes prefer, were still powerful. Our athletes adapted from string to web beds in 2 to 6 weeks. In 1996, at Worlds, although very few athletes trained on string beds prior to the training days, the performance level was still very high.

At the 2007 World Championships with Rebound Products again supplying the equipment, the sport had become Olympic, so many athletes trained on Rebound equipment prior to that event. This was because that meet was the qualifying event to the 2008 Olympic games. By this point with the development of the sport, and with the older age group involved in the open event, pretty much all athletes were powerful enough to get a better bounce from a Rebound Bed. Meanwhile between 1996 and 2007 our frames had undergone a significant improvement to include the introduction of double braced corners, which subsequently became the industry standard. The combined result was some amazing performances at the 2007 Worlds. In addition due to our superior springs and diligent work by our staff who fine tuned the trampolines every night during the event, the bounce remained very consistent over the training and competition days, resulting in a lower than usual incidence of failed routines.
After that meet the international athletes went back home to train on 4/6mm beds and pretty much started complaining. With so many athletes saying the same thing, the big manufacturers started competing to produce the most powerful beds. So now we have the new competition reality with 4/5mm and 4/4mm webbed beds.
Rebound Products responded initially by producing a bed very similar to a powerful prototype bed that we made and tested in 1986. It was not released then, as it was too powerful compared to competition beds. From 2008 to 2015 our competition string bed has similar construction, lifetime and stability as our earlier beds but with increased power. This was achieved by opening up the space between strings somewhat. This new lighter, lower air resistance bed is very similar in power to the 5/4mm beds used at the 2012 Olympics.

When it became apparent that the 4/4mm bed is the current competition reality, we did a massive project involving many different weaves and then fine tuning with 11 actual full size prototype beds tested in the gym, to develop a string bed which would bounce and feel very close to a 4mm webbed bed. The final result has been sold since January 2016 and has had the new paint job required by 2017 competition rules since March of 2016. This new bed is very popular. The bounce speaks for itself. A smoother bounce, great power and great control. In gym comparisons with 4mm averaging over a range of athletes show slightly higher bounce times for the 4mm, but slightly higher routine times for the new 2 string bed. On top of the nice feeling on the feet and the superior lifetime, athletes who are recovering from injury can train longer on this more forgiving bed. Once again only minimal adaptation is required to prepare for competitions on webbed beds.

We have believed since 1976, and proved with wider, 14 ft. length, prototype bed trampolines, that the direction for competition trampoline evolution is to larger trampolines.
Regardless, we have continued to further perfect the bounce of our competition sized trampoline beds.