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Thread: Initial Icon thoughts (for a young user)

  1. #1
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    Initial Icon thoughts (for a young user)

    Long post – apologies…but I started to write this the day after my son’s Icon arrived, and things have kept moving along since then!

    I thought it was worth posting both my initial thoughts, and then my thoughts having had the chair for a few weeks now.

    Immediate thoughts:
    Came in two boxes. One for the wheels and one for the chair assembly.
    Chair assembly was light!
    Cleverly packaged, just involved pulling the front footplate assembly completely out, reversing it around, and then inserting back in and tightening up. Needed a bit of lubricant to get the assembly back in, but very smooth travel once it was in.
    Only things that weren’t connected were the anti-tips, which were wrapped separately. I hadn’t seen pictures of them before, so didn’t know how they would attach, nor how adjustable they would be. Very easy to work out, and very adjustable (which is good, as my son likes to sit back on his anti-tips, and it was easy to position them so that he could continue to do so).
    Worked out how to adjust most things without looking at the online manual. But reverted to the manual to find the RSH adjustment. I think it is like most things with the Icon – once you know how to adjust it (and where the adjustment mechanism lies) then it all starts making sense.
    Shock-absorber…I understood that the shock would be pre-set for my son’s weight, but there didn’t appear to be any “give” at all, even when my son “jumped” up and down in the chair. So I started to go through the manual to look for the appropriate pressure setting. However there is nothing in the manual at all about the shocks! But, as a regular CareCure reader, I knew that I had seen something about the shock setting in one of the threads from Christian. Eventually found what I was looking for, and confirmed that the shocks should be set around 75% (in psi) of my son’s weight (in lb). Checked the shock pressure, and it was pretty much on that value. But given that Icon (via Sportaid) had double-checked my son’s weight, I figured that they are not used to such light people using the Icon. So I’ve reduced the shock pressure so that there is some obvious movement in the shocks when my son moves significantly up/down. As per the thread, lots of adjustment is recommended to find the right setting/pressure. But I think it would be good if there was at least something mentioned in the manual about the shock pressure! I will also be interested to see whether my son even notices a difference in the ride with the shock absorber…it is presumably far better (or more noticeable) for heavier people.

    When I put the shock down to a very low pressure, the shock didn’t bottom out because the rear rigidiser bar (base of back canes) hits the anti-tippers. My son is tall for his age, but if you were much smaller, and wanted the seat in its lowest height, with anti-tippers, then I think there would be a definite clash problem. I thought that the solution would be to rotate the anti-tipper holders round 180 degrees, to have them under the axle, but they won’t rotate properly as they would clash with the axle assembly underneath. And as the anti-tipper holders also act as the axle clamp, you can’t move the anti-tippers out towards the wheels to avoid the clash. So whilst the anti-tipper holders are obviously designed as part of the axle clamp to save weight, in some cases there may be a need to provide separate holders and clamps to avoid this clash problem.

    Reclining back – seems pretty good, although might be a bit fiddly for quads or those with big fingers. Can be done whilst in the chair, provided you can reach.

    The mechanism for folding the back forward works well (and no “play” in the upright position), but you need small fingers and some reasonable strength to operate it (although I realize that you could attach a string or larger “handle” to make this easier, so I can understand why the design is done the way it is).

    Seat height adjustment. Perhaps not as easy as we would like it to be, as it involves unscrewing two bolts using an allen key, then adjusting the two large screw adjusters (above and below), then re-tightening the bolts (on the screw thread, which concerns me a bit, due to the potential damage to the threads). So this adjustment isn’t something that you would choose to do on a regular basis (nor whilst sitting in the chair), which my son is a bit disappointed by.

    And even when the seat height adjustment is tightened up, there seems to be a little bit of rotational play in the seat assembly, which thankfully only seems to get noticed when putting the brakes on/off (and doesn’t seem to cause the brake to rub on the wheel, which was my initial concern). Perhaps we just haven’t worked out how to tighten it properly yet, we shall see.

    Seatbelt…first thing my son said when he got in the chair – “where’s the seabelt?”. Hmmm, it seems I forgot about that bit! And on re-checking the order form, I see that there isn’t the option to order a seat-belt – so at least it wasn’t me just forgetting about it! Now I’ve just got to work out where best to attach the seat-belt, as it’s probably not as obvious as with other chairs.

    Backrest – I transferred a Jay 3 backrest from my son’s previous chair (ZRA2) to the Icon…fairly easy to do.
    Lubricant…have some to hand, as I think it needs some just to make those intial adjustments easy.
    Brakes – we got the push-to-lock brakes (which are actually pull-to-lock, which work better for my son as the handles are less likely to snag his clothes/legs when transferring). The downside to these brakes is that for many of the Icon adjustments, the brakes also need to be adjusted…which becomes a pain. Also, remember to have the brakes off when making adjustments, as I discovered that it is virtually impossible to make some adjustments when the brakes are “on”, as the adjustments try to push the brakes further “on”!


    After a couple of weeks:
    We realised after a couple of days that my son’s seating position wasn’t suitable for him, and despite lots of adjusting of everything, I was struggling to get him seated correctly. (It’s difficult to explain what was actually wrong, but he didn’t look particularly comfortable). At this point I thought of Grommet’s post and actually understand what he must have gone through with all his tweaking….

    Thankfully we had previously arranged for our local OT to visit (they helped to fund the chair, and they wanted to see that it was ok). We adjusted the chair together, fitted my son’s ZRa wheels to the Icon (they are 22”, the Icon came with 24”, which is the smallest diameter that Icon supply), with the end result being much better for my son. I think the main issue was actually related to the placement of the rigid Jay 3 backrest, rather than anything I fundamentally did wrong with the Icon. But I have to admit that my skills were not as sufficient as I they would be in getting a perfect chair fit (and that’s despite some of my other posts talking about the various things I’ve built to assist my son – but I guess that’s the difference between engineering and bio-mechanics!).

    We also fitted a seabelt, which was pretty easy – attached it to the top of the seat pan.

    I have since tweaked the chair further (as there were a couple of things that my son wanted changed). Adjustments have been pretty straightforward, and my son has decided that he really likes a tippy chair for some reason!

    Summary of thoughts so far:
    Chair looks to be a really good design for a growing child/teenager (albeit the child needs to be large enough to fit the chair initially – see my comment above about changing wheel sizes). Adjusting the chair for growth should be very easy going forward.
    When giving my son a pull along (i.e. he holds my hand as I walk along), I’ve realized how smooth his ride is…and he notices it too. Big difference from the ZRa.
    Although I’ve not directly compared the weight of my son’s ZRa with the Icon, I suspect that the Icon may actually be marginally lighter.
    Getting the chair “dialed in” perfectly at the start was a challenge for me, and I did need some professional assistance. Whether it was issues with the rigid back (non-Icon), or the Icon itself, I empathise with Grommet, as I am probably one of the few people to now understand what he must have gone through…
    I do seem to have spent a lot of time tweaking with the chair, something that I don’t remember doing with my son’s ZRa…but that could just be my bad memory, or the fact that the ZRa has less adjustment in it!
    The back canes do have a degree of “sway” in them, which probably complements the suspension to a degree (i.e. a bit of flexibility all round, so probably not a bad thing) but if you are expecting a completely rigid back, it’s not…(it is however rigid in a back/forward direction).
    My comment above about the rotational play in the seat height adjustment still stands (although it causes no problems). I have now realized that you can tighten the two large screw adjusters extremely tightly, and get no play…but so far it seems that the adjusters do come loose again fairly quickly. I may try getting a rubber “washer” to see whether that stops the loosening off.
    Despite Icon not supplying the chair with a 22” wheel size, that diameter seems to work fine. Might be something that could be considered by Icon, as it would increase the number of children that could use the chair.
    Ops Manual – some info on the shocks (particularly pressure setting) would be useful. (Although I just discovered today that the info on the shock pressure is on the Icon website order form (but not on the SportAid site, which is where I ordered from…)).
    I have ordered some quick-release collar rings – two for making the footrest assembly in-out quicker, and two to allow me to change the anti-tippers so that they sit beneath the axle and won’t clash with the rigidiser bar.

    Shame that there isn’t much point in posting a picture of the chair, as they are all the same!
    But possibly the youngest Icon user? (It arrived on my son’s 9th birthday by complete coincidence!)
    And the first Icon in Australia?

    Hope someone finds this info useful sometime!

    Cheers,
    Gordon
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sowseng's Avatar
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    very informative
    Life is meaningles, though you create the purpose.

  3. #3
    Great review! Thanks
    Chas
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    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
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  4. #4
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    Id like to see pictures! I think the adjustments of the chair make things look differently, the same as different configurations of another rigid chair.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy1 View Post

    My comment above about the rotational play in the seat height adjustment still stands (although it causes no problems). I have now realized that you can tighten the two large screw adjusters extremely tightly, and get no play…but so far it seems that the adjusters do come loose again fairly quickly. I may try getting a rubber “washer” to see whether that stops the loosening off.
    There are holes in those collar rings that you can put something in to get some leverage to tighten them against the frame. Then tighten the bolts as tight as you can. Mine have never came loose and that's been over 7 months.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggular View Post
    There are holes in those collar rings that you can put something in to get some leverage to tighten them against the frame. Then tighten the bolts as tight as you can. Mine have never came loose and that's been over 7 months.
    Thanks juggular, that's good to hear. I think I've been a bit cautious in tightening everything up too hard, partly due to thinking that I will still need to tweak things again, and partly because the thought of tightening the bolts onto the screw threads makes me worry about damaging the threads.... But as I haven't seen any thread damage, perhaps I've got no reason to worry!
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Lin View Post
    Id like to see pictures! I think the adjustments of the chair make things look differently, the same as different configurations of another rigid chair.
    I'll see what I can do...just need to persuade my son to sit still long enough for me to take a decent picture!
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the review. First off - if you EVER need any help, please email me directly, and we can try to figure it out on email, or even do a Skype call if need be to walk you through the adjustments - there are some tricks and shortcuts that we can help with.

    The shock pressure is a tough on - we'll add a section to the users manual, but the COG setting has a dramatic affect on the mechanical advantage of the rider over the shock. If someone sits really far forward, we're seeing people with really low pressure, and those that sit really far back with a lot.

    The best/quickest way to adjust it is to start with an amount of air pressure in the shock equal to the persons weight, and with the person in the chair, use the bleeder valve on the shockpump to slowly let air out. As you do that, have the person pull themselves down into the chair to engage the suspension. As you bleed the air out, you'll quickly get to the "sweet spot" - undo the shock pump, take it for a test ride, and readjust if necessary.

    The seat post collars really do need to be tightened down as much as possible - like juggular said, if you put an allen wrench or a screwdriver in one of the holes, you can use that as a lever to get them really tight. The pinch bolts have rubber tips, so they won't gall up the threads, so crank them down too.

    We're in the process of putting in our coding application for a pediatric chair - it will start at 10" wide and go to 14", with seat lengths starting at 10" and going to 14" as well, and down to 20" wheels.

    I started using a chair when I was 9, so the pediatric model is on my personal radar screen in a big way.

  9. #9
    The large diameter of the seat tube will prevent the threads on it or on the collars from getting damaged by really tightening them. If you need to readjust, and are having trouble getting them undone, put an allen wrench or screwdriver through the hole in the collar, and tap it with a hammer.
    Last edited by JeffAdams; 07-28-2012 at 06:01 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffAdams View Post
    The pinch bolts have rubber tips, so they won't gall up the threads, so crank them down too.
    Aha...thanks for that bit of info...that makes me less concerned about damaging the seat tube threads (it was the pinch bolts damaging the threads that I was worried about, not the seat post collars). Something else worth saying in the user's manual?!?

    Yes, I can understand what you're saying about the shock pressure variations...your method of getting it right makes a lot of sense (and is easy to do, once you know!)

    Like I've said above the Icon seems really well designed for a growing person, so if your paediatric version is just as easy to upsize, then I think you've got a great marketing oportunity. I've seen several kids here being given a chair that they've outgrown only a few months after getting it (but it doesn't help that it takes "the system" 6-9 months to get a chair from the initial measuring!)

    Might send you an email about another query...cheers.
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

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