The development of material engineering and manufacturing technology allows us to construct not only products that meet the buyer’s needs, but also reliable, lightweight, ergonomic and safe products. The ability to reflect the user’s individual characteristics through appropriate product design is becoming increasingly important.
This also applies to the rehabilitation industry, and especially to users of active wheelchairs.
Due to the modular structure, when ordering a wheelchair you can choose the frame, backrest, rear and front wheels, forks, brakes and other components.
In this article, we will focus on selecting the right rear wheels for your active wheelchair.
Construction of the rear wheel of a wheelchair
The rear wheel consists of:
• A rim with tape (1)
• Hubs with rolling bearings (2)
• Spokes with nipples (3)
• Pushrim (4)
• Qr-axe (5)
• Tyre with inner tube (6)
Choose the design and size of the wheel
The wide range of rear wheel components, available on the market, allows you not only to customize the wheel to your operational requirements, but also to modify the design of the wheel to your liking.
The safest way to choose the right wheel is to start by reviewing wheels in catalogues based on the same size as those originally purchased for your existing or ordered wheelchair (e.g. 24-inch wheels). This will allow you to narrow down your selection to the components that were intended for the chair by its designer.
Next, verify the selection of the axle and the distance of the wheel from the wheelchair frame (so that no wheel element rubs against your chair frame) according to the user’s manual below.
Measure the length of the quick release axle
Remove the wheel and axle from the wheelchair. Using a calliper (or a tape measure), measure the length of the axle from the nut to the beginning of the ball (as shown in the photo). Make sure that the measuring surface of the calliper is parallel to the stop surface of the nut.
Photo 2. Measuring the length of the useful axis.
The measured value is the usable length of the axle, which can be adjusted with the nut on the axle to a limited extent.
Measure the length of the wheelchair’s locker
Insert the axle into the wheelchair opening until it stops, release the axle button so that the balls lock into the wheelchair lock, then try to extend the axle, where there is resistance, measure the length of the rest of the axle from the nut to the bearing surface of the carriage.
Photo 2: Measuring the length of the locker.
By measuring this length and subtracting it from the length of the useful axis, we indirectly measure the length of the locker.
Measure the distance between the outer surfaces of the rolling bearings in the hub
With the length of the lock and the width of the hub, you can select the axle (including a spacer sleeve if needed so that the wheel does not interfere with the structure of the wheelchair).
Rear wheel in a different size
In some cases, you can buy a wheel size other than the one recommended by the manufacturer for your active wheelchair. When selecting a different wheel size, e.g. 25-inch instead of 24-inch, consider the change in the seat angle and the change in the position of the centre of gravity, as well as the possibility of making any changes if the structure of the wheelchair frame allows it.
TIP: If in doubt, contact your wheel supplier to ensure the correct selection of these components for your active wheelchair.
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