Ultra lightweight rigid wheelchairs

- Aug 14, 2018-

Many rigid models are now made with ultralight materials such as aircraft-grade aluminium and titanium, and wheelchairs of composite materials such as carbon-fibre have started to appear. Ultra lightweight rigid wheelchairs are commonly known as 'active user chairs' as they are ideally suited to independent use. Another innovation in rigid chair design is the installation of shock absorbers, such as Frog Legs, which cushion the bumps over which the chair rolls. These shock absorbers may be added to the front wheels, to the rear wheels, or both. Rigid chairs also have the option for their rear wheels to have a camber, or tilt, which angles the tops of the wheels in toward the chair. This allows for more mechanically efficient propulsion by the user and also makes it easier to hold a straight line while moving across a slope. Sport wheelchairs often have large camber angles to improve stability.

Rigid-framed chairs are generally made to measure, to suit both the specific size of the user and their needs and preferences around areas such as the "tippyness" of the chair - its stability around the rear axle. Experienced users with sufficient upper-body strength can generally balance the chair on its rear wheels, a "wheelie", and the "tippyness" of the chair controls the ease with which this can be initiated. The wheelie allows an independent wheelchair user to climb and descend curbs and move more easily over small obstacles and irregular ground such as cobbles.

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