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Thread: is FWD better on muddy fields and light snow?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    is FWD better on muddy fields and light snow?

    Hi

    I have appointment for wheelchair assessment for electric chair on 16th of this month.

    I was hoping for funding for Genie standing chair but may have to accept the NHS standard issue (RWD Spectra XTR I think) It has some features that I like better on Spectra than Genie but these are mainly cosmetic.

    I'm trying to draw up a list of Pro's and Con's and thought I had heard FWD do better with hills (very hilly here) and over mud/snow cos drive wheels are at front. Can anyone tell me if this is true?

    I currently have an old Vibe which although has chunky front castors it does slide all over when its muddy and can't take it out in snow. But it has an higher speed package than the Genie which is only 4mph and 40ah batteries.

    It would be mainly indoors chair but would be needed for back up for dog walking when larger mobility scooter is having repairs/new batteries.

    Which would you guys go for and why?

    Thanks

    Kati

  2. #2
    kati,
    my first thought was to try to dissuade you from getting any kind of power chair at all, but especially a standing chair or an indoor chair. but youve already heard all my arguments, so we dont need to get into it again!

    in regards to your question, rwd is better for the most part. for chairs like the omega track or the dragon where you have a lot of weight over the drive wheels, its different. but a lot of fwd chairs dont have that weight distribution, so when you try to go uphill, the drive wheels dont get a lot of traction on the ground, and they spin out of control. same deal in mud or wet. the trouble that rwd chairs might have is if the casters are too hard or solid. lower pressure pneumatics can have more 'flotation' when it comes to them being pushed over or through a puddle (or whatever) by the rear drive wheels.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    Problem is I can no longer self propel a manual chair so have no choice unfortunately.

    I have tried a standing chair, I liked been able to stand again to go around the house and do things.

    I mainly use mobility scooter for dogs walks but I like to take her to little park that has swing gate which scooter too long.

    Problem I have with Vibe is it's size for indoors and I can't get directly from bedroom into lounge with it cos of position of doorways, though apparently the Spectra is not as long or wide.

    I'm afraid it will come down to cost so I might not get a choice but quite a lot of people on here seemed to have FWD or MWD chairs so was just wondering what was their experience over different terrains with a standard indoor/outdoor chair.

    Kati

  4. #4
    " mainly use mobility scooter for dogs walks but I like to take her to little park that has swing gate which scooter too long."

    according to the dda, the council has to change it; not only that, theyre 7 years past the deadline for completion. the absolute only only only reason they havent done so is that noones complained (or complained loudly enough, or complained a second time for an appeals process they may arbitrarily decide to have, but are actually not required to inform you of), so they think theyre getting away with spending the budget on something else. trust me, thats how the morons work - i have experience dealing with them... like southampton city council, who could not get it together to find a bag of cement to put ramp on the 6 inch curb to the only ground floor doctors office in the city... again, after the dda deadline. a friend of mine got huntingdon council in cambs to remove a swinggate so she could get a tramper through it. write letters, emails are too easy to ignore.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    we also have an A frame at end of estate on a shortcut which neighbours have been petitioning to change since we moved here. Two wheelchair bungalows directly in front of it and a complex for the elderly behind us who also has several wheelchair users.

    We have been in local papers and its still there! I been here since 2006! so although the council SHOULD do something about these things they very rarely do and won't change all shortcuts in villages cos one wheelchair user wants to be able to walk their dog along them!

    Its more important for them to stop kids flying up and down with skateboards and bikes and hitting people than making sure a few of the residents have the same access as everyone else!

    so until council change their minds I have to find a chair that fits through them if I want to be able to get around the village unfortunately.

  6. #6
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Other than a few farmers and such, no one requires a off pavement powerchair more than me. I have used many types of powerchairs here in the National forest and the one thing that gives wheelchairs the most problem is front casters. They are constantly changing direction when ever they come into contact with anything and everything. A slight change in slope, a small twig, a tiny depression or a crack in some pavement. In snow the casters head in any direction where the snow is less dense. Sometimes I need to blast back and forth and back and forth, in an attempt to get the casters to travel in the direction I need to go. Many times I have needed to quit, go back inside and miss whatever appointment that was scheduled.

    With front wheel drive a chair just powers right through with seldom a change of direction. I have hit ice before, below the snow and then a FWD will spin when the tires loose traction as any power wheelchair does.

    The worst is the Invacare TDX mid wheel then my Quickie 626 rear wheel. At the VA progressive care center where I was confined for 2 years, I drove all types of Pride Mobility Jazzys and Quantum powerchairs and many other brands and styles. Although I did not like the Permobil so much, not because of the traction but because of the center seat post that caused my seat to wiggle around like hell, on uneven terrain. I have given a lot of powerchairs a run for their money. Most get stuck on wet grass.

    Even my Frontier X-5 mid wheel, had trouble with the front casters this year in the deep snow, trying to climb up my gravel driveway. Had to transfer to the OmegaTrac, which won't work for a lot of folks.

    I am going to demo the Otto Bock C2000 fwd any day now.l hope they get here before all the snow and the ice melts. We'll see.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 03-05-2011 at 09:16 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    Thanks, thats the kind of thing I wanted to know.

    Sorry I forgot I had posted in this topic before last year after trying the Genie chair (memory problems!)

    It took the NHS until January to reply to my letter I sent October 2010 about the Genie chair and I only just got an appointment last week for the 16th, so almost 6 months its taken to get this far!

    It does also depend whether they are willing to fund it fully or most of it and how much I would have left to pay.

    I have same problem with my Vibe trying to get down muddy path have to keep backing up then trying to move forward, then back again etc.

    Problem is if NHS won't fund Genie they only offer a RWD as standard, are there any FWD Invacare chairs? (they have contract with them to provide NHS chairs over here) Only seen the TDX but I really don't think the tny castors back and front will handle that park when I need to use it in there.

    Not much can do now other than wait for appointment and see what they say.

  8. #8
    Have you looked at a powerchair that you can change from RWD to FWD (or visa versa) if you are not happy with the performance?

    I know the Quickie Groove can be changed around by a tecnician (some re-programming of the control system would be required of course).

    To be fair, if you're looking to use it around the house too, I would take a look at a Mid Wheel Drive chair (very easy to manouvre about inside). Take a look here - www.quickiepower.com, might be of use in your decision?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Katilea's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll look into them.

  10. #10
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    No mid wheels off pavement except the frontier X-5 which is designed differently.

    Mid wheel drives get stuck easier than any other style. The drive wheels loose traction almost immediately upon leaving a solid surface of any type. All that is needed is to travel over a small swale or undulating terrain and suspend the drive wheel in the air and your stuck.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

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