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Thread: Carbon fiber chairs...Thoughts??

  1. #1
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    Carbon fiber chairs...Thoughts??

    Hi all,

    I'm a new para to the forum and I'd like to hear all your thoughts about carbon fiber chairs. I'm currently using a TiLite ZR series 2 manual chair but am looking to upgrade sometime soon but not sure if I should stay with titanium or make a move to magnesium or carbon? I'm looking for the lighest, functional day chair that doesn't look too shabby.

    My main concern with carbon are horror stories I've heard about cracking/exploding frames when dropping from steps or gutters. Does anyone use carbon or know of their durability?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Welcome!!

    IMHO CF is not durable enough for any everyday-wheelchair frame; it's great for some components though (backrests, seat pans, side guards). I have a CF backrest (eBay for $120) and CF wheels (MagicWheels) which have metal (aluminum & steel) rims and hubs.

    I'm a function over form person. I would never buy CF for the miniscule weight savings it has, and I'd never buy a chair with a CF frame even it cost less than aluminum. Somewhere on CCC a user posted a link to a video about CF bicycle failures. It was a great video, but I cannot find it now. According to that source, CF bicycle frames are appropriate only for high-end races where milliseconds count.

    I do hear great things about magnesium-frame chairs.
    Last edited by chasmengr; 07-23-2015 at 12:33 PM.
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
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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.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    No experience with CF, other than components (seat pan, side guards, and back rests), but I've owned (and still use) 2 Mg alloy frame chairs. One everyday and one off-road. 1st was made in 2008 and 2nd in 2010. It's 2015 and neither shows any signs of being worse for the wear except for the finishes (both powder coated). My everyday chair is quite light. Here's a link to the breakdown. http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthr...l=1#post897765
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm a new para to the forum and I'd like to hear all your thoughts about carbon fiber chairs. I'm currently using a TiLite ZR series 2 manual chair but am looking to upgrade sometime soon but not sure if I should stay with titanium or make a move to magnesium or carbon? I'm looking for the lighest, functional day chair that doesn't look too shabby.

    My main concern with carbon are horror stories I've heard about cracking/exploding frames when dropping from steps or gutters. Does anyone use carbon or know of their durability?

    Thanks in advance
    Without question carbon fiber chairs are more prone to damage -- catastrophic damage -- than metal frame chairs. This is not to say, however, that it's likely to occur. The Panthera X is the only cf chair that I have direct experience with. I've trialed them a few times at the Abilities Expos and I have a few friends that own and love them. As with all things wheelchair, there are trade-offs. To minimize production costs, the Panthera X can not be custom made. Instead, the side panels come in 3 (I think) different size side panels all of which have the same front frame angle. Camber tubes and back rigidizers are available in different sizes to make the chair as bespoke as possible. Some of the components, particularly the casters, are cheap and not particularly robust. All that said, if you've got the $$ and feel comfortable with the more limited sizing possibilities and options choices, then I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Yes, CF is more vulnerable to damage than metal but I wouldn't consider the odds of that happening to be particularly high.

  5. #5
    If designed and manufactured correctly CF is both stronger and more durable than aluminum. All high end mountain bike frames have gone CF now and the stories of parts exploding are for the most part from the 90's when they were trying to build the lightest stuff possible without proper experience. I have no concern about CF itself but I do have concerns about your average wheelchair manufacture jumping in without really knowing what they are doing...half of them can't build a decent chair no matter what material they choose.
    T4 Complete since 01/01/2012

  6. #6
    I've had a Panthera X for a couple of years. The weight saving is amazzzzzzzing - you can lift the whole frame with one finger however, as said above it's not easy to customise and doesn't fit me that great and I would never use it for flying. Heck, an airline even broke the CF camber bar on my Ti

    It's fine for daily use, in and out the car / work etc but I would use it for off-road work.

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