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Thread: Power wheels vs Power chair

  1. #1

    Power wheels vs Power chair

    Hello All, as many of you know I am nursing some fairly damaged shoulders and have been told to either get a power chair or wheels for part time possibly full time use. I'm having a very hard time emotionally accepting the idea of a powerchair after 38 yrs of a manual. Everything would have to be changed in my lifestyle; new lift in my house, van etc..

    I will be looking as I choose to prepare for the future to stay as independent as possible. I'm gradually accepting the fact that any mechanical device I can use to remain independent should outweigh my reluctance to use them and end up with shoulders that are completly worn out.

    Do any of you transfer from your power chair into the driver seat? If so how do you tie down that 350lb. chair. With my manual I don't tie it down after transferring.

    I'll be looking later this month. my vendor suggested the new Permobil M300
    for a p/c. Any other suggestions. The thing about the Permobils is that they are so big and bulky looking. Is there anything out there that has some style to it yet is fairly hastle free?

    The Power assist wheels; what are they like? They seems like they would be in between a manual and a power chair but are heavy.

    Any advice from those who have gone from a man. to power would be greatly appreciated.

    I will look at past posts for sure but just wanted to get this out while I have the initiative to do it. It seems very overwhelming right now. I realize it's a game my brain is playing but it still has power.

    At least I can still handcycle. I haven't been out riding for a month so that could be one of the reasons for this frustration.

    I don't feel depressed, just kind of in my cave til I come to terms and actually get to try some products. It's something I would rather not do but if it will maximize my potential with what I have left, then I choose to do it.

    Sorry for the rambling here; it's late, I'm old and well you know.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    last house on the left
    Hi Patrick,
    I had to switch to a powerchair after 35 years of pushing a manual, and it was a very difficult transition emotionally for me. I hated the idea, but my life was becoming more circumscribed by my inability to push and the pain that resulted in doing any extended pushing. I do transfer to the driver's seat of my van. I have a power seat that swivels so that it can be right next to the wheelchair, and at exactly the height I want it to be. I am sure that safety experts would go nuts over this, but I have no patience for spending time anchoring my powerchair down excessively, so I just put the second row seatbelt (no second row in the van) around the frame and call it quits at that. Realistically, it is a heavy chair, and once I swivel the seat around facing front it would have to be a horribly high speed crash to send the chair through the drivers seat, and at that point I probably have more to worry about than the well being of the chair. The seatbelt works well, and there have been a few panic stops over the years where the chair has swerved a bit, but it has never moved in any dangerous way. There are a ton of sort of sporty looking power chairs out there, or at least as sporty as any power chair can look, but a lot is determined by what else you might need (or not) in the chair. My first power chair was pretty compact as the beasts go, but my latest one needed the tilt-in-space feature, and it is one big chair. By the time I got the second one the benefits of a power chair had become obvious to me, so I don't really care now that it is a lot of chair. Good luck. The first time you go effortlessly up an incline your dislike of the "power chair look" will evaporate. Trust me on this!

  3. #3
    Thank you so much Eileen. This is, IMO, probably the most difficult challenge so far. It's almost like I'm looking at a casket rather than a pc. I guess in a way it is; releasing and grieving one way of life while accepting and embracing the new way.

    Your post was the first I read this morning and it has been very heartening indeed. I always enjoy your humor and wisdom. Thank you for being you.

    I still have some hesitation. Perhaps the power assist wheels would be a good transistion. Once I get up to Vancouver and see the products out there, I'll be more inclined to the change.

    I've been doing some reading on various models etc. and am concerned about the quality and break downs that others have had. It seems they all have a weakness somewhere.

    If I may ask what are you in now?

  4. #4
    i would try the power assist first pat. as strong and as active u are i dont know that u need to go pc. but do whatever u need too. rep
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  5. #5
    Why not get the ZX1 for your manual chair?
    Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
    Pete C6/'97

  6. #6
    Haven't heard back from Pat. Insurance will not pay for the ZX1 unless it has been federally tested. But we'll see Bras.

    Will do John, thanks

  7. #7
    Yes, I know. I am buying one out of pocket for my ZR2. I also bought a used iGlide that I am retrofitting to fit on an new Aero Z or ZRA series 2. I like to have the best of both worlds. I'm calling it my TiGlide
    Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
    Pete C6/'97

  8. #8
    I feel your pain Patrick. I have been using an iGlide powerassist since 2003. They were discontinued and a couple years ago, another company licensed the technology and started making the Tailwind which was an improved version of the iGlide. I thought my worries were over as far as getting a replacement but that company quickly went under because of some legal hassle over the license. However, this past year I was able to get a new computer and drive system, and new wheels for my iGlide as the iGlide staff were emptying their warehouse. Hopefully, that will keep me going for a couple years and maybe a ZX will be a possibility. I have been keeping my eye on power chairs. If I had to go to one today, I would start with looking at the the Quickie S-636. It looks like less of a behemoth than many of the powerchairs.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @

    See my personal webpage @

  9. #9
    Thanks 55, I was hoping to hear from you and get your great sage advice. Its the rips, tears and ruptures that are causing the challenges. Will check that out.

    Is there any new advances in the power assist wheels? Will, gulp, check out the S-636.

  10. #10
    I got a quickie p222se from spinlife and a valetta (, neither of which I use very often, staying in my tr. I'm thinking about getting a yamaha jwx1 ( so I can keep using my tr. It's a better version of the efix. I don't know if they're available in usa but there is one on ebay

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