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Thread: World's Lightest Wheelchair Wheels

  1. #1

    World's Lightest Wheelchair Wheels

    Lighter and cheaper than Topolino, Spinergy, Golz, Dinos...
    http://www.tiarrow.com/?product=sweel

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    My thoughts are: weight doesn't matter so much. Anything between 20-35lbs, fully setup including cushion, is functionally fine. Durability and fit are more important than shaving a couple pounds, or ounces, off the whole package.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

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    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  3. #3
    I'd say both things matter. Of course durability and fit is very important, but a light wheelchair is very important too. I think everyone who's struggled up a hill or who takes apart their chair for car transfers would agree.

    Rotational weight count for much more than static weight and therefore it's of much bigger importance to have light wheels than a light frame. It's about the energy required to accelerate a rotating wheel vs a static frame. Rotational weight have up to four times as much effect as the chair's static weight. The difference between Spinergy SLX and TiArrow sWeel is 2*200g.

    Changing from a Spinergy to a TiArrow and taking 400 grams off your wheels would in most wheelchair situations be the same thing as a 1.6 kg lighter frame.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by 1029xx View Post
    Changing from a Spinergy to a TiArrow and taking 400 grams off your wheels would in most wheelchair situations be the same thing as a 1.6 kg lighter frame.
    On this particular point I have to agree with Oddity. Assuming your calculations are correct (and they sound perfectly reasonable to me) that 1.6kg isn't very impressive since it's not something like a 15% lighter wheelchair frame. Instead it's more like a 2% lighter chair since you can't discount the fact that your 80kg ass is sitting in it. And you only get the actual 200g weight savings on individual wheel transfers whereas the frame is always the heavier part of getting a wheelchair into a car (or wherever).

    That being said they are very reasonable priced wheels and they look pretty damn good too. I especially like the minimalist hub design, the carbon fiber looks great and I bet it's much easier to clean than my difficult to get around Spox hubs (I always have trouble getting in the nooks and crannies around the awkwardly shaped TiLite hubs).

    The thing that interests me the most though is the cross spoke pattern. I'd have to handle them to be sure, but it sure looks like the crossed spokes give you plenty of room to grab the hub with your fingers going in the wide gaps between the pairs of spokes, so they are able to fit more spokes than my Spox without cramping the grip when transfering (unlike my first set of Sun wheels which never had enough room for my fingers when gripping the hub). Plus they've got standard looking spokes, so the bicycle shop probably won't freak out if I ask them to true the wheel like they do with the weird plastic spokes.

    I'm seriously considering asking my DME to throw a pair of these on the new chair I'm in the process of ordering. Worst case scenario I can throw my old reliable Spox back on. Thanks for the post.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    On this particular point I have to agree with Oddity. Assuming your calculations are correct (and they sound perfectly reasonable to me) that 1.6kg isn't very impressive since it's not something like a 15% lighter wheelchair frame. Instead it's more like a 2% lighter chair since you can't discount the fact that your 80kg ass is sitting in it. And you only get the actual 200g weight savings on individual wheel transfers whereas the frame is always the heavier part of getting a wheelchair into a car (or wherever).
    I guess I got my aha-moment when I started using ultralight tyres/tubes a couple of years ago, and then moved to lighter wheels which really impacted how I ride and how I feel about being in a wheelchair. Since then I'm really interested in light wheels. It's just so much more effortless to roll around.

    The effect on agility and acceleration of the chair is dramatic. Light wheels are much easier to spin up, change direction and stop.

    Yes, it might only be a faction of the total weight, but it sure feels much more than just a couple percent different.

    Interesting thoughts about the hubs and spokes. I've got a pair of Spinergy's laying around that I stopping using a couple of years ago. Almost had forgot about those. Now that you brought it up I remember the hard-to-grip hubs and plastic spokes. That really got annoying after a while...

  6. #6
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Really? I noticed no difference between Vtracks with standard tubes (light), ranging to things like Marathon Plus tires, and some tire combos including 'thorn resistant' tubes (heavy) on my wheels (Spinergy). The only time I noticed a difference was disassembly. Something about my 100kg butt atop my chair kind of absorbed any theoretical inertial benefits using lighter wheel assemblies.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    Really? I noticed no difference between Vtracks with standard tubes (light), ranging to things like Marathon Plus tires, and some tire combos including 'thorn resistant' tubes (heavy) on my wheels (Spinergy). The only time I noticed a difference was disassembly. Something about my 100kg butt atop my chair kind of absorbed any theoretical inertial benefits using lighter wheel assemblies.
    For tyres it has more variables to it than just weight to make it agile. V-trak does have higher rolling resistance than Marathon Plus which eats up some of the fact that they're lighter.
    Have you ever tried a pair of SpeedRun compared to Marathon Plus, both with light tubes and high pressure? There it's more a question about just the weight rather than other factors, and you should notice the difference.

    Comparing wheels (sans tyres) is easier. For a good, effortless feeling it's all about stiffness and low weight.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1029xx View Post
    I'd say both things matter. Of course durability and fit is very important, but a light wheelchair is very important too. I think everyone who's struggled up a hill or who takes apart their chair for car transfers would agree.

    Rotational weight count for much more than static weight and therefore it's of much bigger importance to have light wheels than a light frame. It's about the energy required to accelerate a rotating wheel vs a static frame. Rotational weight have up to four times as much effect as the chair's static weight. The difference between Spinergy SLX and TiArrow sWeel is 2*200g.

    Changing from a Spinergy to a TiArrow and taking 400 grams off your wheels would in most wheelchair situations be the same thing as a 1.6 kg lighter frame.
    I can appreciate the theory but on my setup it didn't translate to a dramatic change in feel. I have two of the lightest chairs available, Lasher Sport BT-Mg, and a set of Rogue Ti wheels (now unavailable) which weigh much less than Spinergy Spox. There's a post around here from years ago with me hanging them on a luggage scale and they are ~1lb lighter. Lighter than Topilinos also. Had that discussion with Topilinos owner when he claimed his wheels to be lightest. After proving Rogues were lighter he changed his claim to "lightest available" My point being, I've got a fair bit of experience playing "the weight game" and discovered there is a point of diminishing returns. Beyond a certain point (for my setup ~25lbs) successive weight reductions translate into increasingly subtle differences in "feel" at the pushrims. When I went from 30lbs to 25lbs I noticed it. From 25lbs-20lbs it was less dramatic. My final push from 20lbs to 17.5lbs, total package" was imperceptible to me. I put all the convenience items I removed back on and run my chair at 20.5lbs (there's a post here showing me weigh it) and I'm happy. I don't think a couple hundred grams is gonna make my eyes pop out in amazement, but if TiArrow wants a product test and review, they can send me a set straight away!!

    Eta: I swap wheels between the Rogue Ti + Speedrun + short tabs and Spinergy LX + Speedrun + NaturalFit, quite often, and if tire pressures are topped off at 145psi there isn't a difference that I notice. I'm sure there is on paper, though. My 175lb ass dominates the inertia equation.
    Last edited by Oddity; 09-06-2015 at 10:43 AM.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  9. #9
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1029xx View Post
    For tyres it has more variables to it than just weight to make it agile. V-trak does have higher rolling resistance than Marathon Plus which eats up some of the fact that they're lighter.
    Have you ever tried a pair of SpeedRun compared to Marathon Plus, both with light tubes and high pressure? There it's more a question about just the weight rather than other factors, and you should notice the difference.

    Comparing wheels (sans tyres) is easier. For a good, effortless feeling it's all about stiffness and low weight.
    I settled on Marathon Plus. I only have to change them once a year, they take 145psi, seem like they'll try to shrug off attempted punctures, and overall it seems a nice balance of function/durabilty. Wheels are the 14 year old Spinergy Spox I've been running since forever. Nice wide gaps in the spokes to grab the nicely substantial hub, easing disassembly; and only had to true/tighten the spokes once after noticing a couple of them were loose (with no ill effects). I have more issues pushing up hills, uneven surfaces, through grass, etc., than feeling for any rotational inertia differences with slightly lighter or heavier wheels on my 257lb rolling package (225lb me, 32lb complete wheelchair)

  10. #10
    I think it's great if you're happy and think you found some kind of sweetspot between function, durability and lightness.

    However, I really can't see anything wrong about getting light wheels. In particular these TiArrow wheels that's cheaper than everything else in it's class. To me, it seems like a win-win situation.

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