The cliché is, “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.” This has for the most part held true for ultralight manual wheelchairs, where only a few wheel innovations have dramatically improved performance over the decades. However, there are new wheel technologies that really have reinvented aspects of the wheel — with notable benefits for ultralight wheelchair users.
The Historical Issues with Wheeled Propulsion
In recent decades, as technology and social inclusion increased, ultralight wheelchair use also increased. In the process, the study of biomechanics in manual wheelchair propulsion became a field unto itself. Two primary findings emerged. First, ultralight manual wheelchair propulsion in the long term can be hard on the body, where the traditional forward pushing motion has a correlation to joint strain, especially at the shoulders and wrists. Second, because ultralight wheelchairs traditionally use stiff frames, without suspension, they can prove very jarring, exacerbating such conditions as back pain