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Thread: Rio Dragonfly vs a handcycle such as Top End Excelerator

  1. #1

    Rio Dragonfly vs a handcycle such as Top End Excelerator

    Hi everyone,

    I really want to be able to get out and exercise this year and am debating between the two in the title.

    Is having a dedicated handcycle that much better than having an attachment like the dragonfly? I would guess the top end could handle more torque without flexing, but then I would need to get a hitch and rack on the back of my van, and store it in my living room.

    Does anyone have any experience with both that could weigh in? Does the dragonfly provide a good workout as it is? 1st gen vs 2nd gen?

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    Keep in mind that transfers to and from a handcycle are nontrivial so it's not a good fit for spontaneous or casual exercise. That said you do get to get into a different seating position which I find beneficial.
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

  3. #3
    My 2 cents. My Hand cycle sat in the garage for years because of difficulty of transfer being a hassle to transport. My attachable gets used 2 to 3 times a week when the weather is decent.

  4. #4
    Yes I know how miserable the low handcycle transfers are which is why I was thinking of one like the excellent which seems to be as close to an even transfer as possible.

    Pete which attachable do you have?

  5. #5
    I also have an unused hand cycle. Didn't even bother to move it to the new city I moved to.

    The transfer really isn't that bad to me (skinnyish T8), but it is an enormous pain in the ass to transport anywhere. Basically I would totally ride a traditional hand cycle if I had room to leave it assembled in my house and my house was directly on a cycle friendly street. Also with a handcycle you can't cycle "to" anywhere. Your final destination will always return to the wheelchair you left behind.

    In my current apartment, there is a greenway that's like 10 or 20 miles long that would be great to handcycle on. I'd only have to brave traffic for about three blocks, and it's slow, downtown traffic, so I'd definitely do it. It's just that there's nowhere for me to keep a handcycle. My apartment is 600 square feet, which is quite big for the type of apartments I usually live in. Still, I couldn't possibly justify the 15 or so square feet it takes up (assuming I can find a place to store it upright), and I definitely don't have the 30 or 40 square feet i'd need to leave it assembled and flat on a stationary cycle trainer (which is another expensive object I own that is collecting dust). Even if I had room in my apartment I'd somehow have to get the handcycle out of the apartment (the axel is wider than the door) and onto an elevator that's not big enough.

    Back in the day I used to leave my handcycle disassembled in the trunk of my Toyota Camry. I have a Freedom Ryder (FR1 I think is the model number), which is quite a decent recreational hand cycle and the "body" of the bike disconnects from the front wheel/crank section, but it takes a solid 20 minutes or so to assemble on my own, so I rarely had the time and desire to assemble the damn thing.

    I really don't like the look of the dragon fly, but it does seem to be much more practical. Certainly better than a handcycle you wouldn't use. If I had one, I'd almost certainly take it down the greenway from time to time, and it's narrow enough that I could take the sidewalks to get there and not risk the traffic.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2008
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    Perth, Western Australia
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    662
    Quote Originally Posted by juniorsenior View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with both that could weigh in? Does the dragonfly provide a good workout as it is? 1st gen vs 2nd gen?
    My son has a handcycle and had a Firefly (fully electric version of the Dragonfly). He also trialled a Dragonfly for a couple of weeks. Both of the flys were 1st gen, which are do-able by yourself, but the 2nd gen looks much easier for independence (but I don’t know how robust the 2nd gen is).

    Unless you can change the COG on your chair easily, don’t bother with the Dragonfly, as there is not enough traction, and the wheel will just spin on the slightest of inclines. My son had the Dragonfly trial for two weeks. He tried it once, and we took it back a week early! (The Firefly, due to its extra weight, is significantly better). Have a Dragonfly search on here and you will see what various modifications people (esp Chas) have done to their chair to get the Dragonfly to grip.

    His handcycle is gathering dust in the shed. It’s big, he can’t get it outside himself without assistance and, as has been mentioned, he can only do a round trip back to his wheelchair. It was ok in a straight line, not good at turning, and sharp turns don’t work at all. And going uphill was so hard that I added electric power to it to make it a bit easier.

    His Firefly eventually died (through overuse mostly!), so I beefed it up and it’s now his primary off-roader...search on my posts and you will find some more info. The only Firefly components remaining on it are the connection pieces to the chair.

    Since you are looking at getting exercise, I’d recommend looking at a hybrid attachment. One that provides electric assistance (and/or electric override). Then you can get the exercise you want, but have the weight on the front wheel for traction. And adjustable electric assist that you can reduce as you get stronger (or you just go further!).
    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.

  7. #7

    Smile I love my Dragonfly

    The real advantage of a Dragonfly over a handcycle is that when you get somewhere you can take it off and have a wheelchair. My wife and I take it on all trips and will take it for 10 mile walks with a stop in the middle. Think of it as a chair on steroids for any kind of distance and on arrival you have a chair again

  8. #8
    pete and i both have strickers, no comparison to a rio, far far superior but costs more too. i have a loaded quad elite that i ride maybe 500 miles per summer as opposed to 1500 on my stricker. im a c5-6 and can mount and be riding in 3 minutes.i ride daily weather permitting. from yesterday. i actually get a much better workout on it than my race bike. higher sustained heart rate over distance with the power assist.
    Quote Originally Posted by juniorsenior View Post
    Yes I know how miserable the low handcycle transfers are which is why I was thinking of one like the excellent which seems to be as close to an even transfer as possible.

    Pete which attachable do you have?
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  9. #9
    you actually get a better workout with the hybrid assist i have found. check out the stricker for him gordy, nothing like the rio.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy1 View Post
    My son has a handcycle and had a Firefly (fully electric version of the Dragonfly). He also trialled a Dragonfly for a couple of weeks. Both of the flys were 1st gen, which are do-able by yourself, but the 2nd gen looks much easier for independence (but I don’t know how robust the 2nd gen is).

    Unless you can change the COG on your chair easily, don’t bother with the Dragonfly, as there is not enough traction, and the wheel will just spin on the slightest of inclines. My son had the Dragonfly trial for two weeks. He tried it once, and we took it back a week early! (The Firefly, due to its extra weight, is significantly better). Have a Dragonfly search on here and you will see what various modifications people (esp Chas) have done to their chair to get the Dragonfly to grip.

    His handcycle is gathering dust in the shed. It’s big, he can’t get it outside himself without assistance and, as has been mentioned, he can only do a round trip back to his wheelchair. It was ok in a straight line, not good at turning, and sharp turns don’t work at all. And going uphill was so hard that I added electric power to it to make it a bit easier.

    His Firefly eventually died (through overuse mostly!), so I beefed it up and it’s now his primary off-roader...search on my posts and you will find some more info. The only Firefly components remaining on it are the connection pieces to the chair.

    Since you are looking at getting exercise, I’d recommend looking at a hybrid attachment. One that provides electric assistance (and/or electric override). Then you can get the exercise you want, but have the weight on the front wheel for traction. And adjustable electric assist that you can reduce as you get stronger (or you just go further!).
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  10. #10
    As John said I have a stricker with assist. There are so many advantages it's hard to name them all . Avery high quality of construction for 1. Also you can control your workout by adding the amount of assist you want/need. I did not have to change my COG on my chair. I have had some version of a hand cycle for almost 30 years. I would say I put more miles on my stricker in 3 weeks than the rest combined. mainly due transport and transfer issues. Yes it's a big investment but the quality of life that it adds is hard to put a price on.


    Quote Originally Posted by pete4sake View Post
    My 2 cents. My Hand cycle sat in the garage for years because of difficulty of transfer being a hassle to transport. My attachable gets used 2 to 3 times a week when the weather is decent.

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