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Thread: 26" wheels on sports chairs

  1. #1
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    26" wheels on sports chairs

    hello all. Hoping some of you that play/have played wheelchair sports can give me some advice on this.

    This is not for my day chair. I have no plans of switching from my 559's on my daychair. This is intended for my sports chair. If you do not play wheelchair sports please accept the fact this thread is intended for hardcore wheelchair athletes.

    I am currently using a loaner chair owned by the local club for wheelchair rugby. I lent it out to a silver Paralympian that plays rugby, b-ball, track. He used it for the Canadian National Rugby Championship tournament. In doing so he set the chair up for himself perfectly, and we are built pretty much the same physically. I have been weight-training hard and when I got back in the chair I am noticeably faster in it. The combination of sitting lower as well as a forward lean has given me a far better mechanical advantage as well as being positioned more ideally for a better technique to keep my hands on the pushrims a greater percentage of the time. The best analogy I have been given is to have my arms resemble connecting rods on the crankshaft journals of an engine. As a gearhead this makes total sense to me. Now my question is this - would I be able to develop more top end speed with a larger wheel?

    I am gearing up to order my own chair (2" narrower, 2" shorter wheelbase to minimize my stance and allow me to sneak through tighter spaces). Going to order an oRacing, btw. I don't want to regret the decision, but also trying to give myself any kind of edge I can get. #winning

    I have no problem getting going, loads of bottom end thanks to a strong upper body. It's the top end speed I'm after to run down opposing players that think they're swift. I have "mocked" the rotational push technique of having a 1/2" taller wheel radius and like the feeling, I'll be even "lower" inside the wheels.

    Wheelie coach, what would you tell your ballers? Any other sporto's, especially track athletes, I would really appreciate your input. I realize race chairs utilize a small push-rim, so this is where I'm second-guessing myself.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    I went through the decision process between 559 and 590 for my basketball chair. I settled on 590. My experience of 559 was that I had quicker half court speeds, but block to block, (where I played because I can sit so tall), I tended to be faster on the 590s. I also sit with a bit wider wheelbase on the 590s, which kept people a couple inches further away. Helpful when scrapping over rebounds, etc. The difference in size of pushrim vs size of wheel brings different leverage into play, not unlike gearing between larger and smaller cranks on a bike, but not exactly the same. I think burst speed and acceleration of the smaller 559 might be more useful to you than top speed, but that's up to how you play, I reckon.
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  3. #3
    Larger wheel, takes more effort to get going but has more momentum; also takes a wider,slower turn than a 559. Smaller wheel, quicker and easier to push from a dead stop, faster turns.. How tall are you?

    Usually, in my day not too long ago, the taller class 4 & 5's used the 590's. They sat tall enough to get a better push while we higher breaks used the 559's for a quicker push and faster turning radius.

    Are you faster down the court and quicker manuvering with 590's. Faster down the court is mostly conditioning and efficiency in the pushing technique.

    Not sure what the trend is now but I know the 590's take a lot of strength to get going at that short of a distance time after time. If you use a wheel that is too big you're prone to injuries.

    I've never sat that low in a sportschair so out of curiousity, what size are the guys pushing now.

    It takes a lot of wind sprints, forwards and backwards; besides what you are doing at practice. You're still fairly new to the sport, it takes time and conditioning. With your new chair, you'll notice a big jump right there.

    I think Dale is right; go with the 559's. You'll be quicker and have a better response on the court.

    Dang T. you've come a long ways in a short time. Alberta is known for that. They've produced some great wheelchair athletes. Looks like they still are.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
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    For me...and for our team...it depends upon a couple of things...balance in your chair at the different heights, and of course arm length and speed. One of our class Ones received his basketball chair with a 590 wheel. While he felt ok sitting in it, once he moved, he realized his balance seemed off, and he was not as fast due to the large diameter of the wheel. He went down to a 559 and now he is explosive. His arms are such that he does not have to exert the energy needed to keep moving. He can start quick and for him, that is important since he is our number one offensive picking machine.

    For what you are looking at being able to do...I think the 559 wheel will suit you the best. With your shorter footprint and that size wheel, I think you will be much faster and can weave in and out better than you would be able to in a 590 wheel.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  5. #5
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
    I also sit with a bit wider wheelbase on the 590s, which kept people a couple inches further away. Helpful when scrapping over rebounds, etc. ... I think burst speed and acceleration of the smaller 559 might be more useful to you than top speed, but that's up to how you play, I reckon.
    excellent food for thought! I didn't think about the wider wheelbase, but like the idea of being able to protect the ball better. On the flip side though it would limit my ability to snag the ball from others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    ... also takes a wider,slower turn than a 559. Smaller wheel, quicker and easier to push from a dead stop, faster turns.. How tall are you?

    Are you faster down the court and quicker manuvering with 590's. Faster down the court is mostly conditioning and efficiency in the pushing technique.

    ... what size are the guys pushing now.

    I think Dale is right; go with the 559's. You'll be quicker and have a better response on the court.
    I'm 6' with long arms. 99% of the guys I've seen run 25's. I suppose I could hop in my coachs' chair to try his 26's but his chair is aot wider than what I use. Now you have me thinking about the turning radius. Good point. I definitely want more maneuverability, looks like I will have to sacrifice that perceived top end speed for a tighter-turning chair to bob-and-weave down the court.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheeliecoach View Post
    For what you are looking at being able to do...I think the 559 wheel will suit you the best. With your shorter footprint and that size wheel, I think you will be much faster and can weave in and out better than you would be able to in a 590 wheel.
    Thanks coach!! The points you've brought up have convinced me.. now where's that Melrose order form so I can fill it out and send it to oRacing. <grin>

    To all you guys, I'm sure glad you hang around here and share your experience. Trial and error is expensive when it comes to the sporting goods that people like us need.

    On a sidenote, I'm headed to Calgary early friday morning to take in some of the wheelchair track meet. Should be a real eye-opener to see some amazing athleticism. At this point I'm just taking it all in, I've realized the possibilities for competition are endless. To think in February before I found wheelchair sports I was still contemplating suicide.

  6. #6
    I agree with Dale B.
    I have had 26 inch wheels and my topend is faster at about 3/4 court, However for us low pointers Melrose has suggested that I stay on 25s.
    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rugbyjack View Post
    I agree with Dale B.
    I have had 26 inch wheels and my topend is faster at about 3/4 court, However for us low pointers Melrose has suggested that I stay on 25s.
    Good Luck
    good info, but this thread is 9 months old
    T6 incomplete - 14 october 2012

  8. #8
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    new math?

    anyhow.. After 21 months and on to my 2nd rugby chair (a terror of a Melrose) I have too much invested into 25" wheels (7 wheels) to ever change. The trick is to not let the 26" guys get a leg up, once they get 3 or 4 pushes they've got me beat if I can't rub them out right off the bat.

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