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Thread: Wheelchair technology lags far behind bicycle technology

  1. #1

    Wheelchair technology lags far behind bicycle technology

    I went to my local bike shop today to buy a pair of gloves. While there I checked out the latest and greatest in bicycles and wheels and left completely disheartened. The latest generation of carbon fibers wheels are incredible -- I saw some by Mavic that were just insanely lightweight. And then there were the carbon fiber bicycles. . .

    While we may marvel at the creations of Lasher or TiLite or whoever, they all suffer greatly by comparison to the technology that exists now but which probably won't find their way to the "ultra" lightweight wheelchair market for years to come.

    I know it all boils down to economics -- our niche market is simply too prohibitively small to encourage the kind of competitive innovation that would reach parity with the bicycle industry. Suddenly my TiLite ZRc feels like a Ford Model T.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by stephen212
    Suddenly my TiLite ZRc feels like a Ford Model T.
    ..and you can get it in any color you want as long as it is titanium grey!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Guess what happens when you side load those ultra-light carbon fiber wheels? (hint, it involves buying another one)
    I rode bicycles for many years, and I don't see there being that much of a tech advantage to bicycles over wheel chairs. In all of the ultralights, you are trading strength for weight.

    Aerodynamic rims? Not needed, and a giant PITA.
    Ultra light gears, brakes? Yes. I would trade a few extra pounds for the ease of which I fly along with my hand cycle, but I can't figure out a design to do it.
    Titanium tubing? Had it on my bike, have it on my Wheelchair. Lighter vs heavier than aluminum? Who cares, it makes for a more comfortable ride.
    Cycling gloves? I still use them.
    Dorky yellow jerseys? Never wore them before, I'm certainly not going to start now.
    Cycling shorts? Used them before, now I can't feel my ass anyways.

    Casters are an area that I think could use serious help.

    Anyways, I don't think that there is that big of a tech difference. You don't have to take bikes through doorways and hallways. If you have some ideas on adapting bike tech to wheelchair tech, talk to tilite. Maybe you'll see it in their next rev of chair.
    Don't anthropomorphise computers. They hate that.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    May 2004
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    Ottawa, Cdn.....eh
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    Yha, as a Metallurgist, former biker, now wheeler, Bikes and chairs are 2 different items.

    Having thin/tappered walled double butted tubes, isn't practical in chairs. Yha i'll be lighter, but structurly i'll be bad. Chair tubing aren't stressed the same, and are banged around alot more.

    As Bondo said, it's the components that are the tech stuff, and Carbon fiber degrades in UV light.

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