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Thread: Should a wheelchair be comfortable?

  1. #11
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for the advice. I am going through the ideas you've given me. SCI55 as usual makes things easier for me to understand than anyone and I appreciate it.

    I am a walker, if that means I can get up and walk. I don't have an SCI and do have sensation everywhere so I don't think I have to be concerned with injuring myself and not noticing. 19 years now using chairs and each time I've gotten better at choosing equipment and the fit that works for me. I learn all the time. A friend who is a para with nearly full sensation was one of the first to open my eyes to the idea that you have to get what fits you and that's not always the regular guidelines. His chair measures all wrong according to those. He's very happy with it. Another friend who is para has a COG that makes no sense to me and uses off-road tires kept at half inflation. I tired his chair once and it felt crazy. He's been all over the world with it and is happy.

    I'm trying to learn all I can and choose what I think works best for me. What my question meant - and it was answered, thank you, was, is a chair supposed to be comfortable or do you always have to sacrifice every time you are in it. I've sacrificed with every chair though it's been less and less.

    So now I am planning out my new chair and it's going to be with my own money. I am realizing more and more how much I feel sitting in my chair affects what I do with my life. Getting a better cushion taught me a lot. My freedom really expanded.

    On Mike Box, I have met him a couple of times and he is incredibly nice. Talking to him is something to think about.

    Thanks again everyone, you've really helped.

  2. #12
    Grommet, To further facilitate the best feedback from the tribal elders available on this forum, it would be helpful if you detailed the specific features on your present chair that "work" and those that can "work better." In other words, what aspects of your current setup do you find comfortable/uncomfortable? As you've remarked, each successive chair has been an improvement over the previous one. So rather than reinvent the wheel(chair), maybe we can help you home in on the features that need the most attention.

  3. #13
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Thanks Stephen, good idea.

    Current chair:
    16x16 (tapered frame)
    19FSH 16RSH
    90 degree front
    17" to footrest
    13" seat back - fabric
    CF solid seatpan

    The chair fits me mostly, the problems are firstly I feel bunched up. Like I don't have enough room or always have to hold myself in a bit. Not width wise but where my legs and feet are. The footrest length seems fine but the frame, I think because of the taper, digs in to my legs. I put a 1 inch book under my cushion and with the extra height everything did seem to open up, I did feel more comfortable. Also, my feet rest on the balls and not the whole foot. I don't know why and have wondered if it's the front frame angle but when I raised myself up my feet did fit better though still not flat.

    The seat posts dig in to my back. I need the high support, not sure what to do about that but thinking about getting a Roho solid back. So my ideas for now are to increase RSH to 17", go to a solid setback and have no taper in the frame. Also wondering about changing to 85 degree front end.
    Last edited by grommet; 11-18-2014 at 06:42 PM.

  4. #14
    I agree with Tooley. After 27yrs I can say heck know these arent very comfy. Keep doing what your doing, peer to peer. if someone isn't in a chair they have no clue, I don't care what their pedigree is.
    side note, the back post dig in my back too. let me know what you come up with in backs, I just cant get used to the adi. I've had 2. I will say my new tr3 is a great chair, i'll probably go Box next ride in a few years.
    best of luck.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  5. #15
    I am always uncomfortable in my chair, heavy muscle tone and just permanent discomfort.
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

  6. #16
    [QUOTE=grommet;1752627

    The seat posts dig in to my back. I need the high support, not sure what to do about that but thinking about getting a Roho solid back. So my ideas for now are to increase RSH to 17", go to a solid setback and have no taper in the frame. Also wondering about changing to 85 degree front end.[/QUOTE]

    I've been using hard backs since Jay first introduced them back in the mid-'80s. When I trialed the New Halls Wheels Hallmark (Bob would actually ship you a demo chair to check out!) it had a crappy sling back and the back posts were digging into me where I lacked sensation causing mild dysreflexia. When I got my own Halls chair, I put a Jay Xtreme back, the sleekest one available at the time. For the past many years I've been using the ADI carbon fiber back and yes, I find it comfortable.

    Though I think my chair is quite comfortable, I need to keep moving around and shifting positions. If I meditate from my chair, I get uncomfortable (though this is a common experience even among ABs while meditating).

  7. #17
    Senior Member
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    I think of my wheelchair as more of a prosthetic device rather than a wheeled vehicle, but there are similarities to other vehicles, like automobiles. Both have the same comfort vs. performance dilemma. A high performance sports/race car may be fast and handle well, but the ride is usually stiff and rough. And they have minimal interior and creature comforts. Some don't come with power accessories, air conditioning, radios, or even heaters. If you want comfort, you'll need a luxury car. That will be larger, heavier, and have thick cushy seats and plenty of interior amenities. Both types of cars are very different; but also, both types will be similarly expensive.

    Our ultra-light performance wheelchairs have minimal upholstery, narrow hard tires, 85-90 degree front ends, and 3 or 4" casters. There's not much room to design-in a whole lot of comfort. A comfortable chair might have to be longer, wider, have a separate backrest, a suspension system front and rear, and a nice thick cushion. That will also make it larger, heavier, slower, and less responsive. I think every wheelchair is a personal compromise between the two extremes.

  8. #18
    Nicely put, ala.

    Quote Originally Posted by ala View Post
    I think of my wheelchair as more of a prosthetic device rather than a wheeled vehicle, but there are similarities to other vehicles, like automobiles. Both have the same comfort vs. performance dilemma. A high performance sports/race car may be fast and handle well, but the ride is usually stiff and rough. And they have minimal interior and creature comforts. Some don't come with power accessories, air conditioning, radios, or even heaters. If you want comfort, you'll need a luxury car. That will be larger, heavier, and have thick cushy seats and plenty of interior amenities. Both types of cars are very different; but also, both types will be similarly expensive.

    Our ultra-light performance wheelchairs have minimal upholstery, narrow hard tires, 85-90 degree front ends, and 3 or 4" casters. There's not much room to design-in a whole lot of comfort. A comfortable chair might have to be longer, wider, have a separate backrest, a suspension system front and rear, and a nice thick cushion. That will also make it larger, heavier, slower, and less responsive. I think every wheelchair is a personal compromise between the two extremes.

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