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Thread: 0 vs 2 degrees of camber?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Southeast, USA

    0 vs 2 degrees of camber?

    The only posts I can find about this are pretty old. I have always had 2 degrees of camber on my chairs over the past 8 years I've been injured. So I don't have any experience with 0. I know all the pros and cons of each, I'm looking for rear world experience from someone that has put a few years in a chair with both setups. The main two points I'm interested in are:

    1. Camber makes turning easier and takes less effort.

    2. Camber gives a more natural motion when pushing which is easier on the shoulders.

    I understand these would be more noticeable on a chair with 4+ degrees of camber. But how much of a difference is there on a chair with 2 degrees compared to 0? If it is minimal to none, then I'll take the extra 1 1/2" of width off my footprint that 0 degrees will give me.

    Again, I would really like to hear from those of you that have had chairs with both of these options as I'm more interested in your experience than the technical statistics we've all heard already. In the meantime I am going to try to check with my seating clinic to see if they have one I can try with 0 degrees.

  2. #2
    Almost 47 years in and have gone thru all the cambers with sports chairs, handcycles and daily chairs. I go back to the days before rigid chairs and making a cambered folder by putting a block with two holes between the cross members. It created camber with sagging upholstery. We had to be careful when folding as the front down tubes would come out of the frame ending with the whole frame coming apart.

    I use 0o camber now mostly because it makes the chair narrower with more space between the top of the wheel and chair frame. also when using an Attachable Striker, over my other handcycle, there's no drag due to the front wheels being lifted up and putting the rear wheels at other than 90o and change in toe in/out. If I had camber I would have to set the wheels either for daily use or when front wheels are lifted off the ground. I have to slow down going around corners and curves but no big deal.

    Will never go back to camber again. I'm not a jock anymore and like the narrower footprint with more space between the wheel and frame. Toe in/out is not a big factor either with 0o though I do check for it every so often.

  3. #3
    I use 0 cause it fits through check out aisles and I don't tear up the bottom of door frames as much.

  4. #4
    I had a 16 inch wide chair with zero camber originally, cuz the OT assumed I’d get fat now that I wasn’t walking any more.

    From there i switched to a 13” wide chair with 2 degrees of camber. I haven’t felt that either setup was particularly unstable, but I would not get a 13” wide chair with zero camber because I sit high in it and that would almost certainly start to get a bit tippy in tight corners.

    if I still had a 16 inch chair I’d be fine with zero camber.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    I use 0 cause it fits through check out aisles and I don't tear up the bottom of door frames as much.
    On a similar note I prefer 2 degrees because i tear up my knuckles on door frames much less. Idgaf about the bottoms of the door frames (at least mine... I guess I try not to ruin other people’s homes when I can).

  6. #6
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Vancouver WA USA - - Male T4 ASIA B incomplete
    Same here, every time I go to my zero camber chair I wipe out my knuckles.

    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    On a similar note I prefer 2 degrees because i tear up my knuckles on door frames much less. Idgaf about the bottoms of the door frames (at least mine... I guess I try not to ruin other people’s homes when I can).

  7. #7
    I don't hit my knuckles. Probably because I wheel with my palms on top of the tires and grip the ring with my fingers at the first joint. Ring is attached by the inner holes of the tabs.

  8. #8
    Have used camber a long time ago. But the problems outweigh the benefits. Camber adds lateral stability. You can speed around turns easier, like ramp switchbacks. But who cares? The real benefit for camber in everyday life is that you're less likely to tip while picking stuff up from the ground on a steep incline. But how often does that happen? Just have to be more careful. Would never go back to camber. There are places that I can barely make it through the doorway. If I had camber I couldn't go to these places. That's far more important to me than performance. Besides, how much performance is gained with camber? It's negligible off the court. The exception may be if you're pushing all day. Then you may see some benefit. But if your shoulders are feeling it already, then you need a SmartDrive not camber.

    My solution to prevent scraping my knuckles is to be more careful. After all, if you're scraping your knuckles and you add camber, then you're scraping your wheels and destroying the doorways. Better to destroy doorways than knuckles. But still unacceptable IMO. After all it's possible to be careful. It's impossible to make it through a doorway that's narrower than your chair.
    Last edited by August West; 01-30-2020 at 04:46 AM.

  9. #9
    The comments above would suggest to someone unfamiliar with wheelchairs and camber that there's a significant difference between 0 and 2 degrees camber. It's really quite subtle.

    You can play around with this chair width calculator to get actual data.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Zealand -- T10 AIS C
    I have never seen the dwelling of the afflicted that is without evidence of wheelchair action and unless a person is fortunate enough to have a purpose built home, try as you might, it happens.
    It is part of the decor and in time should become quite fashionable, a bit like ripped or cut-out jeans.
    For advice and direction, consult with your preferred interior decorator .

    BTW, I like that calculator Stephen, except it does not give the option to calculate or read in metric.
    When is the USA going to catch up?
    A bit of trig is good exercise too.
    Last edited by slow_runner; 01-30-2020 at 05:41 PM.

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