If you’ve spent a good portion of the last year or so indoors, you’re likely to have a refreshed enthusiasm to hit the outside world – and may well be looking at a new wheelchair with which to do so.

Everything’s changed. That includes you. The fact that over a year has passed since we last enjoyed our full liberty has affected everyone. As a wheelchair user you may suddenly find that as restrictions begin to taper off, that your current setup is no longer fit for purpose. Your condition and physical requirements may have changed but also the level of your aspirations to get around might also have developed to the point where you need to look again at how well your current wheelchair suits you.

We asked several mobility companies for their views…

Wheelfreedom, M1 powerchair

Wheelfreedom
We recently profiled Wheelfreedom’s stunning new Chessington showroom (Able, March/April 2021 edition) but it’s not just the showroom that’s cutting-edge. The latest products are on show, reflecting current trends – the need for long-lasting comfort, equipment that is compact and portable, and at a cost that offers good value for money.

Comfort
Long-term use of an active wheelchair can cause pain and fatigue from whole body vibration. On a typical chair, it’s just the air in your tyres and the cushion you’re sitting on that will protect you from bumps in your path. Wheelfreedom’s showroom features a whole host of ways to address this – from titanium frame Tilite chairs to the ever-popular Loopwheels. Recently, they’ve helped to launch a wheelchair that’s uniquely built to combat this – Ki Mobility’s Ethos. The dual frame design sees the seat frame separated from the base frame by vibration dampening polymers – this minimises the vibration that’s transmitted to your body, providing a smoother ride, even over cobbles and rough pavements.

Compact
Power add-ons for manual wheelchairs have progressed rapidly over the last decade, and Wheelfreedom have a great range on show – from the Alber E-Motion power wheels for gentle assistance to the hi-tech SmartDrive MX2. Wheelfreedom General Manager, Chris Sedgwick, has picked the Unawheel Mini as the current star. “It’s as light as you can get at 5.3kg, and the sleek, minimalist look complements any wheelchair. The Unawheel fits easily with almost every wheelchair, folding or rigid framed, and it’s a powered add-on that isn’t bulky, heavy or hard to use. There’s nothing else like it, and it’s really convenient for travel now that’s starting up again.”

Costs
Getting value for money from your mobility equipment is always a priority. High performance powerchairs will cost several thousands, and while it’s important to ensure your powerchair does what you need, it’s also important to make sure you don’t overspend on it. Permobil are known as a premium manufacturer of powerchairs, and with that has come a somewhat undeserved reputation for being expensive. But their new M1 powerchair puts the lie to that perception, as a great value performance powerchair. Chris Sedgwick explained, “The M1 has the same drive unit technology as Permobil’s M3, so you have great suspension, 5mph speed and a 25 mile range, all for standard. With 50° of powered tilt, powered legrests and Roho backrests available too, it’s an impressive offering.”

Of course, what matters with all of these products is having the chance to try them out first, so you can see what suits your unique requirements. 

Visit: www.wheelfreedom.com

Karma Mobility, EVO Lectus

Karma Mobility

Karma Mobility also discussed their current top pick with Able Magazine… 

The EVO Lectus is a stylish front wheel drive powered wheelchair, which has numerous options and accessories. It is a front wheel drive chair, making it both capable when used outdoors and manoeuvrable indoors. For outdoor use, the EVO Lectus has the option of large (up to 85aH) batteries for increased range, while indoors, the compact base can negotiate very confined spaces. 

The modular seating system is designed to be extremely configurable, down to the smallest detail, in order to provide the most comfort possible. The seat rail and backrest allow for numerous seating options and accessories to be attached to the chair if required.  

Performance 
The chassis has all-round suspension which can be adjusted to the user’s weight to provide the optimum driving performance for each user. Powerful high torque German motors make short work of rough terrain, and their efficiency increases driving range. The gyro system guarantees an optimal control of the wheelchair.  

Options 
Power options include seat lift, seat tilt, biomechanical backrest recline and powered footplates. These can also be used in combination to allow the seat to lie flat, allowing the user to rest without having to get out of the powerchair.

The EVO Lectus has been crash tested with both standard 4-point vehicle restraints and with the Dahl docking system. The Dahl system allows the user to drive into a vehicle and drive from the powerchair. 

For more information, please visit: www.karmamobility.co.uk or tel: 01527 520468.

Triride, Tribike E Plus

Triride

Incorporating a power assist unit, such as the Triride TriBike Hybrid Plus could help you to extend the range of your adventures…

Triride power assist products also have an active focus enabling users to discover a new level of freedom. With the weather improving and the need for personal space and exercise ever present, the Tribike Hybrid Plus allows physical activity with the support of electric assist when you need it or when the going gets tough.

Available with a 20” or 16” wheel and various configurations you can fit to most manual wheelchairs, the Tribike Hybrid Plus includes our exclusive electronics systems to further enhance your riding experience.

Powerful
Tribike Hybrid includes 7-speed gearshift available in different gear ratios to suit the rider’s preference. A powerful motor and Bluetooth on demand throttle for start/walk assist, allowing power only operation up to 6km/h (3.7mph).

Pair with our larger battery option and you have electric assist cycling up to 100km in range, a great way to keep active and see the countryside from your existing manual wheelchair.

Visit: www.triride.uk