4 Factors that Affect the Mobility of Your Manual Wheelchair
The level of mobility of a wheelchair is what determines its efficiency. Good wheelchair mobility means it is easy to maneuver and operate; the rides are smooth and not hindered by any external or internal factors. And here is the disturbing question: What are the factors that affect mobility?
What Type of Terrain will be used by Wheelchair?
Smaller front wheels work better indoors and on wheelchairs used for sports, they have sharp turns compared to ones with large front wheels. On the other hand, outdoor and rough terrain requires larger front wheels. Large wheels will absorb the roughness of the terrain.
The Center of Gravity (COG) Adjustment
If you can adjust the center of gravity of your wheelchair you increase its stability. I will explain this, positioning your wheelchair’s center of gravity according to your needs ensures that your weight is evenly distributed hence ensuring stability. Aluminum light wheelchairs allow you to adjust the center of gravity by moving the rear wheel position forward, upward, upward and downward. But hang in there a minute… you should know how to balance this as the further back and upward you move the center of gravity the more weight shifts to the rear wheels. This will enhance mobility but hinder stability.
Weight Distribution between the Rear and Front Wheels
The proportion of weight distribution between the front and rear wheels describes what weight distribution is. If your front wheels bear the largest weight the amount of friction will be heightened. As a result, more effort will be required to move it. It will ensure your stability. A standard wheelchair usually has a 50% front wheel and rear wheel distribution. This ensures stability but will require more energy to move – a good thing if you are not going to propel the wheelchair without help. But if you are an active rider with enough strength in your arms then getting an 80% distribution on the rear wheel and 20% on the front wheel will be ideal. You will reap greater mobility.
The Mechanical Set Up of the Wheelchair
The types of wheel you chose affect your mobility. Solid wheels do not work well on hard ground but easily facilitate mobility; Pneumatic wheels, on the other hand, give a comfortable ride but get friction. As for the wheel size, smaller wheels produce less friction due to their less contact with the ground, their grip is however reduced. The distance between the wheels will affect stability and mobility. A small wheelbase enables you to easily turn and maneuver. Stability will, however, be affected negatively.
The most important objective for you is to have comfort, mobility and get maximum performance. Riding in a chair when you are not comfortable will have you slip and sit in an uncomfortable position, apart from the discomfort that comes with this you will be courting disaster as you will be putting your posture at stake a sure way to ignite further problems. Your chair should fit your needs and not the other way round. At Sportaid, we can help you chose the perfect wheelchair.