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Thread: A cool and inexpensive way to add grip to your anodized rims

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  1. #1

    A cool and inexpensive way to add grip to your anodized rims

    I have weak intrinsic muscles in my hands which limit how hard I can grip a standard handrim. I would be able to push more-efficiently with a plastic coated rim. Problem is, I don't want to wear push gloves and the prospect of burning the flesh off of my hands during downhill braking isn't all that appealing either. Some CC members may recall several experiments I did about a year ago in my quest to find some way to modify a handrim to provide both a high friction surface for pushing and a low friction smooth surface for braking.

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=87444

    I eventually, discovered that using just the oval component of a NaturalFit worked fairly well for me. But on some days, especially when my skin is dry, I lose efficiency due to slippage. Several days ago while rolling with a full head of steam, my hands slipped enough during a mini-wheelie to clear an expansion strip so that my casters landed in the expansion strip. Fortunately, my FrogLegs soft roll casters and titanium frame absorbed enough of the impact to limit me to a partial endo and kept me in the chair.

    When browsing through my local Lowes Home Improvement store this afternoon, I came across this product in the electrical section. It is a 3/4"wx5 yard roll of 3M Scotch 2242 Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape.

    While it looks like electrical tape, it is actually rubber and not vinyl It cost under $5 a roll so I figured it was worth a try.

    When I got home I was amazed how much it feels like the plastic coating used on handrims. I applied it around the outer circumference of my NaturalFit along the inside portion. It applied smoothly and conformed nicely to the surface of the handrim. It looks like it should stay Since my NaturalFit's are black, the tape is hardly noticeable. When I grasp the handrim, however, I can definitively feel a difference.

    While I am psyched that it made such a difference in my pushrim efficiency for <$10, it was also frustrating when I thought about the considerable time & money thathave been saved had I known about this tape last year. It would have also prevented personal injury (caused when I punctured my hand with a pop rivet making a prototype).

    I would recommend trying this tape on an anodized handrim for any quad with marginal grasp, those who push off the tire for more traction, or to anyone who liked the "Dual Grip" handrim (now discontinued).

  2. #2
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR

    [...]

    I would be able to push more-efficiently with a plastic coated rim. Problem is, I don't want to wear push gloves and the prospect of burning the flesh off of my hands during downhill braking isn't all that appealing either.

    [...]
    question - does your newest approach resolve this requirement?

    another question - any thoughts yet on how often it will need to be re-applied? i'm looking down at my hand rims and they are scratched to hell and back and i'm thinking to myself: "gee...this may be a good idea, but i think i'd be retaping my hand rims every other day."

    thanks for sharing!
    dale
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Daleb
    question - does your newest approach resolve this requirement?

    another question - any thoughts yet on how often it will need to be re-applied? i'm looking down at my hand rims and they are scratched to hell and back and i'm thinking to myself: "gee...this may be a good idea, but i think i'd be retaping my hand rims every other day."

    thanks for sharing!
    dale
    answer - I can't say for certain since I just found this stuff yesterday, but I believe I met my requirement. The larger diameter & surface area of the NaturalFit allows me to use my grasp fairly well, but I wanted just a bit more friction to reduce the degree of efficiency I lose due to slippage at higher speeds or when going up grades. The area of the push rim that I use for braking is not affected.Those who require a high friction surface along the outer aspect of their push rim should probably stick to plastic coated rims or Pushblacks.

    I applied it along the inner portion of the NaturalFit (one edge touches the welds for the tabs and the other runs right along the centerline of the rim...



    It is somewhat protected, seems to have a decent adhesive, and conforms well to the irregularities near the tab welds. I'm guessing it will last 2-3 months, but only time will tell. At less than $5 per roll, it would be acceptable for me if I had to re-tape every few months .

    Things I'm curious to see in the coming weeks are:

    - Will the adhesive migrate out onto the pushrim so that it gets on my hands? Right now, it is residue free.

    - Will it stay in place if it is hot outside and has been sitting in my car?

    A little off topic, but anyone who uses Schwalbe Marathon Evo tires and keeps them inflated at 145 psi should not keep them in their car on a hot day. I called in sick last week and had not brought my chair inside the previous night. The temperature was in the high 80's and I discovered one of my tires was completely flat when I got to work the following day. When I changed the tire, I found a 4" slit in the tube. It must have made a heck of a bang.

  4. #4
    SCI OTR, have you tried the plasti dip? I have not tried it myself, but it looks promising, and it's sold at pretty much any hardware store.

    http://www.plastidip.com/index.php


  5. #5
    I've used it on tool handles before where it works well, but it would be difficult to apply on any part of a wheelchair without it running or dripping. This tape applied so cleanly, it is difficult to tell it's there. It is tacky enough that I am able to push my wheelchair with just my thumb nestled in the gap between the wheel and push rim.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR
    I've used it on tool handles before where it works well, but it would be difficult to apply on any part of a wheelchair without it running or dripping. This tape applied so cleanly, it is difficult to tell it's there. It is tacky enough that I am able to push my wheelchair with just my thumb nestled in the gap between the wheel and push rim.
    when it comes time to re-apply, if you think of us, please post an update. it sounds like a winner!

    cheers,
    dale
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Buffie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    I've used it on tool handles before where it works well, but it would be difficult to apply on any part of a wheelchair without it running or dripping. This tape applied so cleanly, it is difficult to tell it's there. It is tacky enough that I am able to push my wheelchair with just my thumb nestled in the gap between the wheel and push rim.

    sci_otr, will you give an update on how this has worked out.
    __________________________________
    C4/5 functioning on a C6 level, use of left hand, no triceps

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Buffie View Post
    sci_otr, will you give an update on how this has worked out.
    I found that using it on the outside aspect of my NaturalFit lasted only a few weeks before they became nicked up enough to where I wanted to replace them. I now use it only on the inside aspect of my NaturalFits (see DaleB's post).

    The same strips have now lasted over three months with just a wipe down every week or so with a little water & dishwashing detergent to restore the tackiness.

    It won't help quads who don't have much finger function, but I think it is beneficial to those with some grip (I have a full, but weak, gross grasp in my left hand).

    While I don't have quite the degree of enthusiasm as my initial posts, I still find it helpful and will continue using it.

  9. #9
    How do you get the thumb strip off the natural fit rims? I would much prefer an opening there beween the oval pushrim and the wheel as SCIs photo shows. I bought my current chair with the natural fits - does the thumb strip come off without destroying the rim, does it readily detach?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp View Post
    How do you get the thumb strip off the natural fit rims? I would much prefer an opening there between the oval pushrim and the wheel as SCIs photo shows. I bought my current chair with the natural fits - does the thumb strip come off without destroying the rim, does it readily detach?
    The "oval component" mounts exactly like a standard pushrim. The "thumb ring" simply fits in the gap between the rim and push rim. The only thing that keeps it from rotating is friction. It can be removed following the same procedure required to remove a pushrim.

    I've spec'd out NaturalFit's on a quite a few chairs during the past year or so and have gotten mixed reviews. I'm beginning to suspect that a significant number of the end users who were dissatisfied with them would like them better without the thumb piece. Because it takes about an hour or so to remove the thumb ring and reinstall the oval component (not to mention the hassle of removing the tire and risking puncturing a tube), I'd like to see an "Oval Component Only" option added to manufacturer's order forms. That option would also reduce the cost by about 40% compared to the complete set.

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