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Thread: Rio Mobility Dragonfly review

  1. #1

    Rio Mobility Dragonfly review

    I'll post a review now that I've finally got my TR3+Dragonfly combo truly working: it will take me on impromptu casual fitness rides through my hilly neighborhood without the need to take tools along for use either in the field or at home upon returning.

    1) Quality Shimano equipment needs to be tuned in by a good bike shop.
    2) One design flaw: headtube nuts work loose constantly - I installed a screw to keep the nuts tight - works well.
    3) With axle positioned for everyday use, the DragonFly has limited traction (e.g., won't ascend an ADA ramp). Because I live among hills I had a second axle mounted on amputee adapters to which I move my rear wheels when using the Dragonfly, and now it works beautifully even up long hills much steeper than ADA.
    4) Initial setup is a royal pain. Because it's designed to fit so many configurations, getting it right for one is tedious, iterative, and time consuming. After the setup is tuned in though, it's really sweet. Stay close to tools and help until it's thoroughly tuned in. It took me weeks to tune mine in.
    5) After setup is tuned in, disassemble and apply thread locker on the small fasteners near the headtube.
    6) Coaster brake works very well, especially when good traction exists.
    7) The standard hand grips are marginal; I'm hoping to upgrade to Bike-on's ergo grips.
    8) Inner tube came installed so its angled fill valve was not accessible.
    Last edited by chasmengr; 07-21-2016 at 11:24 PM.
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    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."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  2. #2
    Senior Member robotnik's Avatar
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    I agree with you Chas on many points.
    I had the same issue as yours on the headset bearings. On mine, even overtighten, the threaded collar was slipping on the steering tube, and it was then impossible to avoid play in the bearings. We had to put over all a seat tube collar, very well tighten and glued in place, to fix that.
    You're right about the poor, poor grip on any incline ! As it was too difficult for me to change the back wheels setting, we worked on this front wheel. First of all we didn't use the recommanded caster hight, but reduced it by half. Second, we drilled another hole on the fork's adjustment plate to keep the front wheel as close to the footplate as possible. Third, we changed the chainring, from 18 tooth to 20 tooth, to have the smoother motion at low speed and to keep as grip as possible. And last, we tuned the tire pressure as well, 3bar/45psi seems to be the best. All these settings gives a big amount of performance at the firefly… For sure your 2 axle solution is better, but it was the most I could do on this beast without changing my chair.
    As a quad, I have problems with standart hand grips too. I swapped those with Bike-On's very cool C5 quad grips. But then speed setting was a hassle. We fixed that by removing the existing Shimano Revoshift, and installing a compatible trigger gearing system on a tube, itself installed on the bottom bracket. Now I can change the gears with my chin, quad approuved !
    With all these mods, my Firefly can give all her potential, light, easy to install, cool stuff.
    C6-7 since mid 2002, no hand control nor triceps.
    my website & my job (in France): Accessibility advisor www.acceslibre.eu
    Also working on a French research about Peer counseling and Empowerment.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by robotnik View Post
    . . . we changed the chainring, from 18 tooth to 20 tooth . . . we tuned the tire pressure as well, 3bar/45psi seems to be the best. . . . I have problems with standard hand grips . . . . With all these mods, my Firefly can give all her potential, light, easy to install, cool stuff.
    Great info, nik! Where did you obtain the different chainring?

    I'll try the tire pressure adjust - good to know

    I hope to change the grips, too. the stock grips work for me short term, but now that DFly is tuned in so I can really use it, the stock grips hurt my hands. I hope to get Bike-on"s ergo grips soon.

    I, too, changed the shifter style and mounting location. I mounted a Shimano trigger shifter to a dowel on top of the grip.

    Your chin-shift idea is inspired!!

    I totally agree; with the right mods (and patience), the RioMobility products are fabulous.

    Should we post some pics of our mods for others to see?
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    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."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  4. #4
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
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    Just curious.... how far off the ground does the attachment lift the front wheels off the ground? And can you adjust the amount of lift?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by djrolling View Post
    Just curious.... how far off the ground does the attachment lift the front wheels off the ground? And can you adjust the amount of lift?
    The caster height is adjustable. Mine have about 3" clearance right now, which feels about right for me. The higher the casters, the harder the DFly is to mount and unmount because you need brute force leverage to lift them off the ground to attach two of the four arms. (The new Firefly mounts differently.)

    From my DFly User Manual:

    " 6. Lift the front castors off the ground by pushing the top tube away from your body using one hand. With the other hand, swing one of the top-links toward you. Bring the coupler in line with the ball clamped to your chair by pushing more or less on the top tube. Snap the coupler into place (you should hear a click). Swing the other top-link toward your and repeat the procedure – you san still move the position of the top-link by pushing more or less on the top tube. After making sure that the top-links are secured, you may let go of the top tube."
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    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."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  6. #6
    Senior Member robotnik's Avatar
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    For sure I'll make some pics, I'm now travelling without my DFly, so let's wait 2/3 days and I'll be able to post.<br>I've found the Shimano chainring&nbsp; for the Nexus on eBay at a very nice price : 3$ each !! It was in Germany but I think (I hope) you can find them everywhere. It can't be too expensive even in a shop, as it is just a poor piece of steel… A bit tricky to remove and reassemble (there are painted dots on the hub to match, you can refer to the manual) but doable, without special tools.<br>On my chair when hooked, the front caster's height is reduced by half than Rio recommands I think, around 1". It's enough for my use, they touch the ground from time to time but it has never been an issue. Keep also in mind that it gives more weight, and thus more grip on the front wheel, there's a compromise to find here…
    Last edited by robotnik; 07-26-2016 at 05:34 AM.
    C6-7 since mid 2002, no hand control nor triceps.
    my website & my job (in France): Accessibility advisor www.acceslibre.eu
    Also working on a French research about Peer counseling and Empowerment.

  7. #7
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
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    Thanks I was just curious. That is about the same height that my front wheels lift when I attach my Stricker hand bike and my first attachment that I used for the last 23 years by the way, lifted them about the same height which I think is a good height. I had seen this very inexpensive attachment on ebay and it did not look like the front casters had any lift so I inquired about it and the seller/maker said they were up about a quarter inch and they could go higher but he did not recommend it. I did not continue conversation with him since I was only curious and not looking to buy it. You need an inch ant least and more is better so you do not beat your front casters up and or damage them IMO

    Quote Originally Posted by chasmengr View Post
    The caster height is adjustable. Mine have about 3" clearance right now, which feels about right for me. The higher the casters, the harder the DFly is to mount and unmount because you need brute force leverage to lift them off the ground to attach two of the four arms. (The new Firefly mounts differently.)

    From my DFly User Manual:

    " 6. Lift the front castors off the ground by pushing the top tube away from your body using one hand. With the other hand, swing one of the top-links toward you. Bring the coupler in line with the ball clamped to your chair by pushing more or less on the top tube. Snap the coupler into place (you should hear a click). Swing the other top-link toward your and repeat the procedure – you san still move the position of the top-link by pushing more or less on the top tube. After making sure that the top-links are secured, you may let go of the top tube."

  8. #8
    I agree with greater caster clearance. With ~3" I can climb and descend curbs
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    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."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  9. #9
    Hey. You guys seem to know your stuff around moding the equipment. I had two self powered bike attachments that I got rid of because I had so little traction in the rain I could not even keep up with the kids during the school run.
    My latest was the striker. Nice bit of kit, but slips too much.
    now I see you guys make changes to increase the grip. So maybe you can help me with my new toy, a fabulous electric triride from triride.it
    in order to increase the grip and avoid the front wheel slipping, should I:
    a) make the combined wheelchair + Triride attachment as compact or as long as possible? ( you can play with the length)
    b) I have a 12inch wheel on it. Would a larger wheel make a difference?
    c) wide tire or narrow tire?
    d) i tried to increase the front weigh by putting two batteries side by side... No change. I guess the extra weigh should be as low as possible near the axel of the wheel... Any idea on what I can use?

    thanks

  10. #10
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
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    I have used an attachment for over 23 years now. My current attachment is a Stricker Sport and has a 24 inch wheel as I thought it would help out with the spinning of the front wheel, my first attachment had a 20 inch wheel and while the bigger front wheel helped out some what, it did not as much as I thought it might. Wet roads are the worst for the front tire slipping on an incline. In general I never ran my front tire at max PSI. I found that I got a little better traction running at a lower pressure. You will get better traction the further apart the front wheel and the back wheels of your chair are. Stricker makes an axle extension for this very reason. A wider tire should increase your traction as well.

    I am sure the other guys can give more info than I can as They have really modified their attachments.

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