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Thread: 2 British manual chairs

  1. #1

    2 British manual chairs

    Free Spirit: the world’s lightest wheelchair

    May 13, 2008 Drawing on a background that ranges from experience as an aerospace technician to a stint in research and development on the Williams F1 team, Marcus Cunnington has designed and built the 6.3kg (around 13.9 pounds) Free Spirit - a carbon fiber composite design that claims the mantle of the world's lightest manual rigid wheelchair.

    Cunnington has released the Free Spirit line through his company Future Chairs, with two models available - ‘standard’ and ‘ergo’.

    In addition to high performance characteristics including lightness, rigidity, durability, and shock absorption, carbon composites can be varied through different fiber angles, different plies, different ply thicknesses, and different combinations of materials. This means the end product can be tailored to precise specifications and customized for varying degrees of stiffness in a way that steel, aluminum or titanium can not.

    The stiffness to weight ratio of composites is also very impressive. The 6061 and 7000 series aluminum used in some wheelchairs is roughly one-third as heavy as steel, one-third as stiff, and, at best, is about 80% as strong as the 4130 steel used in wheelchairs. Titanium is roughly two-thirds the weight of steel, one-half as stiff, and about 60% as strong as steel. Carbon fiber composite is less than one-quarter the weight of steel, but it is about as stiff (which makes it almost four times as stiff on a weight-to-weight basis), and it is roughly four times as strong in tension.

    The Free Spirit line of chairs comes with 100% carbon fiber composite main tubes; choice of five color finishes; colored anodized backrest; carbon fiber splash guards; height adjustable backrest; Spinergy wheels as standard or Glance Alloy Billet wheels as extras and colored casters. All of the chairs from Future Chairs are custom hand built using strict design, inspection and assembly process similar to processes used by Formula One teams, with attention paid to detail like the use of alloy blanking caps for the caster pots and backrest tubes. Chairs take between eight to 12 weeks to build and prices start from ₤2595.

    Cunnington isn't alone in having made the transition from F1 to wheelchair design. In 2006, Formula One car part designer Mark Spindle launched the off-road Trekenetic K2 wheelchair.

    Future Chairs are currently only available in the UK, but the company plans to expand later in the year following interest from Ireland, Spain and Canada.

    Future Chairs

    Trekenetic K2

    Carbon fibre monocoque wheelchair

    June 15, 2006 With the post-war baby boom now moving towards senior citizenship, markets for many specialised goods and services devoted to elderly needs are about to mushroom and one that’s certain to reach unprecedented heights is that of wheelchairs. The proportion of the population using wheelchairs increases sharply with age with roughly 3% of people over 65 using them and as an unprecedented number of fashion- and status- conscious boomers reach their seventies, designer wheelchairs and other mobility aids will be big business. Accordingly, when a manufacturer of WRC and Formula One race car parts turns his hand to wheelchair design, we expect there’ll be an equally exclusive market for high tech practical wheelchairs and the Trekinetic K2 launched at the UK’s Mobility Roadshow last weekend certainly fits that bill. Built by designer Mike Spindle, the K2 is entirely new in every respect. Gone is the old tubular frame, replaced with a carbon fiber monocoque based around the seat. Similarly, the layout has been rearranged with two large wheels with adjustable camber at the front and singular rear trailing castor for excellent stability and the ability to negotiate uneven (off road) terrain. It also has adjustable height via an adjustable nitrogen shock absorber, is extremely light, folds up for easy transportation in just a few seconds, has a unique brake-steer system, an automatic inbuilt umbrella and although it’s not cheap at UKP1800, it has no equal in the world of wheelchairs.

    Designer Mike Spindle launched the Trekinetic K2 on the same weekend as the British Formula One Grand Prix where parts he created (suspension arms, wheel hubs, gearbox linkages and a range of other parts in Aluminium, Carbon or Stainless Steel) were circulating Silverstone in at least four of the 22 cars. Similarly, his company builds portions of cars that competed in the World Rally Championship the previous weekend in Greece and this coming weekend in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

    So it’s not that surprising that Trekinetic’s Mission Statement should be bold, ambitious and aiming for the very elite end of the market. It reads:

    'Via an innovative approach we will originate a new concept in manual wheelchair design. By challenging conventional layouts and by evolutionary development, we will introduce a superior product, that will hopefully capture the imagination of both wheelchair users and the able bodied alike. Born from a philosophy to seek out radical solutions to complex engineering issues, utilising cutting edge materials and processes, we will look to improve the mundane image of the manual wheelchair. In so doing, we will seek to offer an enhanced lifestyle and future for their occupants"

    These were the research and development targets for the wheelchair:

    Modern approach to design Off Road and City capability Superior comfort and support for the user Tipping backwards under acceleration to be eliminated Rear Shock absorber for a smooth ride Simple on board wet weather protection Dynamic braking system to cope with hi performance Foldable for transportation Fun to be in and be seen in Variable wheel Camber for stability and practicality

    The full story of the development of the Trikinetic is well told at the company web site so there’s no point in going over it again. What should be said though, is that Mike is keen to create greater volume for the Trikinetic to reduce his manufacturing costs and would be “delighted to hear from bona-fide distributors around the world.”

    Trekenetic K2
    4/6/97, car accident, C5.

  2. #2
    Thats a cool sounding ride! How much is '' ₤2595 '' in western dollars?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun
    Thats a cool sounding ride! How much is '' ₤2595 '' in western dollars?
    $5,045.73 USD; $5,068.71 CAD

    conversions via

  4. #4
    Were you just waiting for someone to ask?

  5. #5
    no. don't make me beat you up.

    besides, the trekinetic chair is old news.

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