Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs

Hello Everyone, Happy belated Lunar New Year to all of you! I apologize for my month long hiatus. It has been a busy few weeks for my family. Right after the holidays, my dog, Halle, had to go in for dental surgery. Then, soon after, my grandma was admitted to hospital for a suspected TIA and aspiration pneumonia. It has been a busy and stressful month, but I am happy to share that things are looking better and my 94 year old “popo”, who is recovering well.

I have not forgotten to collect information, photos  and interesting new products and cases to share with you though. These will be posted as soon as possible as I can’t wait to share them. Also, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has been taking the time to read and contact me about the blog.  It has been a pleasure hearing from you!

Alright! So back to business! A couple weeks back, Access was fortunate to have the opportunity to have an inservice with KCI at Motion Specialties. They brought in their new mattress technology called the AtmosAir. This mattress consists of SAT (or “Self-Adjusting Technology”)cells that essentially self-adjust to the weight and level of load from the client. Click here to see more about this product. This is a product that is marketed as a “no maintenance mattress”. Definitely a neat product worth a trial and a pressure mapping session at some point to see how it measures up to others.

Motion Specialties also provided us with an inservice on Rear Wheel Drive Power Mobility. This was a great inservice with lots of valuable information.  Many of our clients who live in rural areas across the Province rely heavily on rear-wheel-drive bases as they are better able to manage the terrain and weather. Here is a synopsis of our session:

1) Invacare Storm Series: Torque SP, Arrow and Ranger X:

  • Torque: plastic polymer suspension (yellow plastic at rear castors)
  • Ranger X and Arrow have spring shock suspension (yellow coil at reach castors)
  • Ranger X: Bariatric (400lb weight capacity)
  • Frame: frame width is 26.5″, with two lengths: short: 28.5 and long: 31.5
  • Speed: Torque and Arrow: 6.5mph, Ranger X: 5mph
  • Lowest STF height (no tilt): 17.75″
  • Pricing starts at: $8909
  • Personal impression from trial: Generally speaking, I find Invacare wheelchairs to have a very smooth, intuitive drive. This could be great for a client who may need an easier to drive and learn to drive wheelchair. It is also a fairly quiet power wheelchair. For clients who prefer a lot of power and torque, this may not be the first choice, however, overall a nice ride.

2) Quantum Rival:

  • Points of interest: the base is quite long compared to others. Replaced the R4000
  • Frame: width is 25.25″, length is 36″ (which is 5″ longer than the Torque)
  • Suspension: Active Track ATX with rear spring suspension
  • Speed: 6 mph, with high speed available (up to 7.5 mph)
  • Lowest STF height (no tilt):16.5″ (lower than Torque)
  • Pricing: starts at $8406
  • Unfortunately, we didn’t get to trial this one as there weren’t any at Motion at the time. This chair is however, marketed as a “rugged” power base. Feel free to let me know if you have any impressions of your own!

3) Sunrise Xplore:

  • Points of interest: This base has a lowest STF height. Also, rear wheel is forward biaised for it has 6 wheels on the ground for stability
  • Frame: width is 25.5″ and the length is 36″
  • Suspension: Very soft suspension (same as the Experience), meant to absorb vibrations.
  • Speed: 6.5 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 15.25″ without tilt and 17″ with tilt
  • Pricing: starts at $9650 (NOTE: This base is on the higher end. Also, repairs to the Experience and Xplore can cost more than an Invacare base due to the cost of parts. This is important to note for Ministry funded clients who may want to upgrade with personal funds. If the repairs cost more than the funded wheelchair, the client could be responsible for the difference in cost for the repairs)
  • Personal Impressions from Trial: This power base was quite smooth but peppy! It was also quite intuitive, but the drive can be quite a shock if you aren’t used to a quick start. Would be good for clients who prefer this kind of drive.

4) Sunrise Quickie 646:

  • Points of interest: This is an aggressive power base. Rear wheels are forward biaised so that the rear anti-tippers contact the ground.
  • Frame: width is 25.75″ and length is 33.5″
  • Suspension: Rockshox suspension that can be adjusted based on client weight and ride preference
  • Speed: 8.5 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 18″ without tilt
  • Pricing: $11,275 (this is the most expensive of the bunch)
  • Personal Impression from Trial: This was another very peppy power base. I found this base to be quite “jerky”, but still intuitive enough to drive. Definitely a base for a client needing a more aggressive base. This base also has a very high speed compared to the others. Considering the price, this base would be ideal for a client really needing the extra power and speed, who can tolerate or prefers a more aggressive drive.

5) Permobil C350:

  • Points of interest: This chair has one of the better suspensions and is a quiet base. The style of the base is also more subdued in design.
  • Frame: 24.5″ wide, 36″ long
  • Suspension: Shock Absorbing Suspension System with coil shocks on from swing arms and rear anti-tippers
  • Speed: 5mph, this is a slower base compared to the rest, but Permobil will be making the high speed option of 6.5mph a standard feature in the future…
  • Lowest STF height: 18″ without tilt
  • Pricing:$7675, this is the cheapest power base of the bunch!
  • Personal Impression from Trial: This is a very quiet and smooth ride. Probably the smoothest and quietest base of the group. Clients who like a quiet, smooth and intuitive ride with a modern looking base will definitely prefer this base. Unfortunately, many rear wheel drive power wheelchair users generally prefer a more powerful, “torquey” drive. This is probably not the base to choose for a client needing to manage rough terrain.

6) Sunrise P222SE:

  • Points of interest: This is a tippy power base, but is also quite fast. It’s an older model base, but clients who still have them, really love them.
  • Frame: 24.5″ or 25.5″ wide, 31.5″ long
  • Suspension: Fiberglass leaf spring positioned length wise under the seat frame
  • Speed: 8.5 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 18″ without tilt
  • Pricing: $8295, not an expensive base (a bit more expensive than the permobil without tilt. This base is much more expensive if tilt is needed as it jumps up to $14,120 with tilt)
  • Personal Impression from Trial: This base was very very peppy. It’s a small looking base that packs quite a bit of punch! Not the best suspension of the bunch, but with the top speed hitting 8.5 mph, I can see why some clients are sticking with this base. Considering it is a bit tippy, I would definitely be selective with who I would trial this base with.

7) Ranger Express and 904S:

  • Points of interest: The Express comes in a compact base option, however, this compact base also has a lower weight capacity. The 904S is a customizable base that is often used by power soccer players.
  • Frame: Express: 25.5″ wide x 32″ long, Compact version is 23.5″ wide x 31″ long,  904S: 24.5″ wide x 32″ long
  • Suspension: Express: Rigid front frame and low torsion rear suspension   904S: Front Articulating Beam and no rear suspension
  • Speed: Express: 6.5 mph, Compact: 7 mph, 904S: up to 9 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 17″ without tilt
  • Pricing: Express $8798, 904S $9898
  • Personal Impression from Trial: I find that Ranger bases have a very distinct and memorable drive. These are very zippy bases that also pack a lot of punch. They are also relatively smooth and intuitive drives as well. Ranger is a local business that will often make custom modifications and additions based on the needs and wants of the clients using these bases. This makes them a great option for clients using their chairs for a variety of functions including sports like power soccer.

I would like to thank Jodi Mair and Carla Carrico for setting up these inservices for us. They were great as usual! Also, Motion Specialties asked if I could share this special opportunity. March of Dimes has set up a program called the March of Dimes Canada Retrofit Vehicle Initiative for people needing vehicle modifications up to $15,000. Motion Specialties is able to do a variety of vehicle modifications and are hoping that someone may be able to benefit from this rare funding opportunity. Applications are due by February 14th, so please pass this on to anyone who may benefit from this program. Here is the link below with more information.

  MARCH OF DIMES: FUNDING FOR VEHICLE MODS: check it out!   http://www.marchofdimes.ca/EN/news/whatsnew2014/Pages/March-of-Dimes-Canada-Retrofit-Vehicle-Initiative.aspx  

I hope you found this post helpful! Thanks for checking in today!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

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One thought on “Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs

  1. Thanks for this great summary of power wheelchairs Cheryl. It will come in very handy when I do my next power chair prescription. Great job!

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