This might be the question of all suspension questions that no one actually asks, but everyone definitely has an answer to.
So, is it damping or dampening?
Damping is “a decrease in the amplitude of an oscillation because resistive forces drain energy from the system.”
That’s pretty technical, so let’s simplify these three parts:
- “Oscillation” = compression and rebound
- “Resistive forces drain energy” = shock (damper) controls the movement
- “The system” = your vehicle (or bike) and wheels
So, damping is “a decrease in the amplitude of compression and rebound because the shock controls the movement of your vehicle and wheels.”
Interested in learning how a shock controls the movement of your vehicle and wheels? Check out our earlier post “How Shocks Work”.
But SO many people say dampening!
Hey, we’ve done it. Maybe you’ve done it. No one is pointing fingers over here. It’s a common misconception, but it’s also really easy to just add the “en” into “damping” without even thinking about it.
“Dampen” is a verb meaning “to make slightly wet.”
“Dampening” isn’t even in the dictionaries we use. So, we don’t think it’s an actual word. But if it was, maybe it would mean “making slightly wetting”? Maybe not. That sounds pretty weird.
Anyway, now you’re in the know.
Like what you see? Check out all the FOX Academy videos for powered vehicles and mountain bikes here.
- What Does DSC Actually Mean?
- Is It Damping Or Dampening?
- How Live Valve 3.1 Shocks Work On The 2021 Ford Raptor
- The Difference Between Speed- and Position-Sensitive Damping
- Choosing Between Lightweight Coil & Air Sled Shocks
- New 2021 Ford Raptor: Experiencing Aggressive Control And Stability With 3.1 Live Valve