Understanding The Basics About Wheelchair Wheels
Didn't know that wheelchair wheels were so complicated? Not to worry, read on for more information to help you sort it all out.
The components that make up the “wheel” are:
Rim – the part the rubber tire mounts to
Hand rim – the rim used to push the wheelchair forward by the user
Spokes/MAGS – connect the outer rim to the hub
Hub – the center of the wheel
Tire – can be pneumatic, urethane, air free, rubber, smooth or knobby
To understand what type of wheel you may need it is better to understand the basics so that you end up with a more comfortable ride. Not only wheelchair users but also bicyclers can now enjoy the latest in technology.
This article will focus on the wheelchair wheel. There are several companies on the market that sell wheels and related parts. If you have an understanding of the parts and their benefits you will be able to make a better informed decision.
Pricing may or may not include tires or hand rims. When looking be sure to understand that you may be looking at just the rims and the tires are separate. If you need to replace your tire there are several choices available depending upon how you use your wheelchair.
There are ultra lightweight, narrow wheels to help decrease the overall width of the chair. The narrow wheels with fiber spokes add shock absorbency and strength for a more comfortable ride. Because of their style they perform well at cambers up to 20 degrees.
Some wheelchair wheels are made of forged aluminum and are good for everyday, sports or off road use. You need to consider the weight capacity of these wheels and also what type will work best for you. In general the overall weight is 5 lbs.
A typical manual wheelchair has two sets of wheels – 2 small in front and 2 large in back, sports chairs may have only 3 and power wheelchairs can have 3 pairs.
The rear wheels of a manual wheelchair are usually the largest and are considered the “drive wheels” because the hand rims or push rims that are attached to help propel it forward.
The front wheels or casters are the steering wheel and allow the user to maneuver the chair in different directions. The smaller the caster the greater the foot clearance and agility, however, they get stuck in cracks easier. The caster can also be pneumatic or solid.