BREYDON’s wheelchair trials for manoeuverability and tight spaces

Saturday 27 March 2021.
Updated Monday 07 February 2022.

Compare with ease of trekking.

1. Situation

Being nimble is critical for indoorsy domestic stuff, cramped workplaces, skating and dance.

It is especially crucial for moving about bathrooms, kitchens, and across thresholds. This helps to open up options for where one can safely and affordably live. It can be the difference between being able to visit people in their homes or not. It reduces stress and awkwardness when navigating the greengrocer’s or tight passages between market stalls. It is essential to much work or leisure within venues that are crowded or spread across floor tiers, such as studios and theatres.

A personally appropriate degree of agility is also invaluable in wheelchair skating — which you might encounter under the confused term W.C.M.X — and some forms of dance.

2. Qualities

For such contexts, these qualities are the most important:

  • compact chair‐footprint in use
  • precise, snug fit
  • frame that maintains its shape under strain in any direction
  • nimble handling
  • very high predictability during transfers — this means keeping flimsy/sponginess to a comfortable minimum, and eliminating fiddliness

3. Features

These are the features to achieve them:

  • external dimensions: short and narrow
  • very little or no wheel camber
  • strong wheels front and back, in appropriate sizes and materials
  • a bit of controlled suspension — in the form of balloon tyres and/or actual systems
  • a rigid frame, made to measure and carefully balanced
  • tucked‐in seating position
  • seat back, bucket, etc that support/enforce good posture
  • shaped pressure cushion(s)
  • steady, symmetrical, fixed, one‐piece footplate
  • suitable places to attach belts or straps — waist, lap, torso being of particular consideration
  • solid (or tension‐adjustable) seat that will not sag over time
  • robust and easily replaced sideguards
  • side guards ending before the tops of the push wheels, leaving plenty of access to the tyres
  • push rims designed for those with limited hand function (maybe in concert with glove/cuffs)
  • unobtrusive mechanism for parking brakes

Here, I am assuming a chair with two large drive wheels controlled by push rims, plus one or two tiny castor wheels forward of the heels.

4. Candidates for manoeuverability and tight spaces

Chairs definitely up to skating:

  1. RMA SK8R Made to Measure
  2. Box WCMX
  3. RMA SK8R Club

Chairs which may or may not be durable enough:

  1. Melrose Scorpion
  2. Küschall The KSL [Mk I or 2.0]
  3. Ottobock Zenit R CLT
  4. something like Mogo have
  5. Lasher Sport BT-X
  6. Motivation Active Rigid Frame
  7. Melrose Hornet
  8. RGK MaxLite
  9. Küschall K-Series
  10. RGK Octane Sub4
  11. Melrose Hawk Ultra
  12. Ottobock Ventus

…And other predominantly welded, rigid, active chairs.