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Thread: Learning a front-wheel-drive chair

  1. #1
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    Learning a front-wheel-drive chair

    My little Go Chair has a very tight turning radius and rear wheel drive, and I can navigate it without any difficulty. My new chair is significantly bigger and is front-wheel-drive. After trashing my walls and trim, I've gotten to a place where I'm pretty confident I will make it out of my bedroom in the event of a fire, which means I've learned to hug tightly to the side to which I'm turning, and then turn hard once my wheels clear the perpendicular wall. But otherwise I keep hitting things and getting stuck and damaging things.

    Are there any other guiding principles to driving a chair with front-wheel-drive, that you can offer from experience or the web? Thinking of it like a car has not helped me work out the kinks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
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    Think of it as an articulated truck in as much as the back wheels don't follow the front wheels but cut the corner.

  3. #3
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Similar to driving a long truck, you need to travel straight through the turn a little farther before you begin your turn.

    Most everybody has seen a truck or a bus run over the curb in front of them when making a right turn. Either the truck driver did not have the room to drive through the intersection far enough to begin the turn or inexperience caused the problem.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 11-28-2010 at 07:57 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
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    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

  4. #4
    It's like driving a forklift. Totally counter-intuitive and makes absolutely no sense to me why they are even made.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by pattherat View Post
    It's like driving a forklift. Totally counter-intuitive and makes absolutely no sense to me why they are even made.
    Having a significant amount of weight over the front wheels means better traction to get over obstacles and the ability to use center mount legrest with wide enough footplates to provide normal positioning.

    Front or mid wheel drive chairs are better platforms for power seating because their COG will keep them stable when the seating system is tilted or reclined. Power seating systems on rear wheel drive chairs may need to be mounted further forward to to keep them from tipping back as the seat is tilted/reclined. This translates to a a smaller footprint and a tighter turning radius.

    It defintiely takes some getting used to, but most people are able to adapt

    Here is a document Invacare recently released explaining the differences.

    http://www.invacare.com/doc_files/1167452.pdf


  6. #6
    I understand mid-wheel drive and can see some of the advantages you mentioned, it's the font-wheel drive chairs that don't make sense to me. You would have almost no weight over the drive wheels when you need it the most..going up an incline. And they seem down right dangerous if you ever had to turn at speed.

  7. #7
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    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Drive it slower...The slower u move, the more time u have for corrections 'imo.
    coolbreeze c6/7

    Keep on moving don't stop!

  9. #9
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Front wheel drive is by far, vastly superior for off pavement use. My weight is centered over the front axle. The large front drive wheels bust through brush and climb over obstructions. Front casters get caught on everything and force the chair to change direction. Casters do not climb, but will roll over small diameter objects.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 12-01-2010 at 08:41 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

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