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Thread: Detachable manual wheelchair electric handcycle things vs Smart Drive

  1. #1
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    Detachable manual wheelchair electric handcycle things vs Smart Drive

    I've been looking at getting a motorised handcycle attachment for my day chair. I'm not sure on what they're actually called but something along the lines of a Batec electric, Dragonfly or Crazy Horse motorised attachment.

    Does anyone use one of these? If so I was trying to work out what the difference and functionality of the different types were

    The Batec uses a housing under the seat which is about 2.2 lbs. This sounds like a lot for an attachment to be on the chair the whole time. Does anyone have a problem with this? The alternative appears to be clip on arms on the handcycle itself. It doesn't look very stable and I'm worried about it coming off at speed and also looks like it will be time consuming when trying to put it on and off all the time.

    It it worth going with something so large or would something like the SmartDrive MX2 be more beneficial? I'm looking at using it to travel several kilometers to the gym, train station around the city etc. Is the range and speed of the Smart Drive similar to that of one of these attachments?

    Any info/advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    the smartdrive would be better suited imo. attachable handcycles are much bigger. the new SD really is an amazing unit, I have one myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    I've been looking at getting a motorised handcycle attachment for my day chair. I'm not sure on what they're actually called but something along the lines of a Batec electric, Dragonfly or Crazy Horse motorised attachment.

    Does anyone use one of these? If so I was trying to work out what the difference and functionality of the different types were

    The Batec uses a housing under the seat which is about 2.2 lbs. This sounds like a lot for an attachment to be on the chair the whole time. Does anyone have a problem with this? The alternative appears to be clip on arms on the handcycle itself. It doesn't look very stable and I'm worried about it coming off at speed and also looks like it will be time consuming when trying to put it on and off all the time.

    It it worth going with something so large or would something like the SmartDrive MX2 be more beneficial? I'm looking at using it to travel several kilometers to the gym, train station around the city etc. Is the range and speed of the Smart Drive similar to that of one of these attachments?

    Any info/advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  3. #3
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    If you are able, I would think that a SmartDrive is a good solution.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  4. #4
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    My son has used a Firefly for several years, daily. It has the arms that clip on to 4 collars that are bolted to your chair. Stability isn't a problem with this connection type, but it can be a bit fiddly to connect initially (disconnection is easier). It has been a fantastic device for us as a family, making my son more independent, able to keep up with other kids in the park, etc. I believe that other similar devices would provide similar benefits, but only the Firefly fits my son's chair (he uses an Icon). The Firefly is also the cheapest of these devices I believe.

    The Smart Drive looks to be an excellent attachment too. We are considering one for my son at some point but, at this stage, we believe the Firefly does a better job for what he needs. The Smart Drive is slower than the Firefly; that may not be an issue for you, but my son wouldn't appreciate a reduction in speed! I also think that having handlebars in front of you is good for stability (eg when stopping at speed).

    I would imagine that for someone working in the city, commuting via public transport, the Smart Drive would be the better choice. For anything else, such as avoiding public transport, going over rougher terrain, going faster, etc, the Firefly (or one of the equivalents) would be the one to go for.

    A minor word of caution if you go down the route of a Firefly (or similar), since you live in Australia. Assuming you have the speed set above the legal motorised wheelchair/scooter speed limit (10km/h, from memory), they are not considered legal on public footpaths or roads. But I've always said that if my son is ever stopped by anyone knowledgable enough to know this fact, I will strongly fight any legal case that there may be, on the basis that it would be discriminatory that a similar ebike could be used legally; the addition of a wheelchair should make no difference.
    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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Having reread this in relation to what Gordy1 wrote, I also think how you plan to use it is important, along with what your budget is.

    My husband has a Firefly, and if distance and speed is important, I think it is a good option. He also has a Spinergy ZX1, which is somewhat similar to a SmartDrive in that it attaches to the camber tube, but is more like making your wheelchair into a power chair with using a joystick and no active propulsion by the user. He uses the ZX-1 because he does not have good arm propulsion. He uses the Firefly when going longer distances and when having an attachment in front does not get in the way. When going shorter distances or in confined areas, like shopping or restaurants, he uses the ZX-1. What I like about the ZX-1 and SmartDrive is that no equipment is added to the chair. With the Firefly it is only the small hardware that Gordy1 mentioned.

    I just noticed that RioMobility is now shipping the Firefly worldwide for US $195 on their website, and you can also see the mounting hardware https://shop.riomobility.com. I haven't checked prices recently, but I think the Firefly is a pretty good deal at $1,950. I also like that the battery and parts are also reasonably priced. Note: I also saw that the RioMobility has a "Refer a customer and receive $75!". If you decide to get the Firefly, maybe you can refer Gordy1 .

    I was not aware of the Crazy Horse and just took a look at their website http://www.a2j-intl.com. It looks to have a nice attachment system to the front frame, but it's quite pricey with a base price of €3529. For power handbikes, some others you might want to take a look at are Stricker Lipo Lomo, Oracing RR Electric Motorbike, ROAM E-Bike, Double Performance Tracker 20 e-wheeler and TeamHybrid Viper.

    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  6. #6
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    I'm T12/L1 complete para in a manual chair who's owned a Dragonfly for years. I love it because I can get exercise without putting all the stress on my rotator cuffs. After 38 years in the chair, I'm looking for any way to protect my shoulders. That is why I will be getting a MX2 next year when my insurance co will pay for it. My house & car are too small for a power chair & I'm not at all ready for that transition. I'm hoping the smart drive will postpone that transition forever. Is that feasible?

  7. #7
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
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    Have both and would definitely go with the smart drive, way more useful, functional, inconspicuous and practical.
    If you ever travel and visit other cities, the smart drive gives you so much freedom.

  8. #8
    I own a dragonfly and love it for times when I need to go for long distances - not great on hills but is one of the few ways I have to get serious exercise.
    Dragonfly has no battery - just pedals and I can go for miles with it. Also it is easy for me attach and detach allowing me to use a car without a ramp or lift.
    I worry about whether I could handle the smart drive when getting into a car by myself

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