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Finding your ideal wheelbase

The right power wheelchair is one that increases your mobility and maximises your comfort. Finding the right powerchair can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

Magic Mobility Founder Ash is helping to break down the importance of the wheelbase, what impact it has on a wheelchair, and why it’s often down to your choice of wheelbase that will take you where you want to go.

The way that wheelchairs maneuver is largely impacted by its wheelbase. The wheelbase impacts the turning circle, off-road capabilities, size and comfort of ride.

Front Wheel Drive

A front wheel drive powerchair has the larger driving wheel positioned towards the front of the wheelchair. With the drive wheel positioned at the front, the front wheel drive has excellent climbing capabilities and is ideal for tackling kerbs and other inclines.

Front wheel drive wheelchairs have excellent stability, largely due to the user’s weight being distributed over the drive wheels. This adds to the off-road and climbing capacity of the chair, with the weight providing better traction over obstacles.

Front wheel drive variants also have excellent turning ability and are easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces.

They are well suited for users who work in office spaces or drive cars, as they can go close to benchtops, desks or steering wheels.

The Magic Mobility Frontier V4 model is available with a front wheel drive train, with the option of hybrid drive tyres or 14” knobby tyres.

Mid Wheel Drive

The mid wheel drive’s larger driving wheels are positioned at the centre of the chair, with castors at the front and rear providing stabilisation and steering assistance.

Mid wheel drive powerchairs have the benefit of excellent off-road capabilities and generally have smaller turning circles.

The mid wheel drive’s castor wheels ensure that there are six points of contact with the ground at any one time. This provides greater stability, particularly when going up or down a slope. The castor wheels improve the centre of gravity and prevent the wheelchair from tipping forwards or backwards.

The castor tyres on the Frontier V6 All Terrain (AT) model are attached to bogie arms, which are designed to provide more traction on soft terrain. In addition to supporting the castor wheel, the bogie arm can push the drive wheel into the ground to increase traction when off-road.

Mid wheel drive powerchairs are easy to drive, with the most intuitive steering of all of the wheel bases.

Magic Mobility has a range of mid wheel drive powerchairs available in the Frontier V6 range including the All Terrain, Hybrid, Compact 73 and Compact 40 models.

Rear Wheel Drive

The rear wheel drive has the large drive wheel positioned at the back of the wheelchair, with castors at the front. For rear wheel drive models, a majority of the wheelchair weight is distributed at the back of the chair and over the drive wheels. This gives rear wheel drive models excellent control, climbing and tracking ability.

Rear wheel drive wheelchairs perform well at higher speeds, as a majority of the weight is distributed around the drive wheels.

They often also have the smoothest ride, particularly when 14” knobby tyres are used.

Rear wheel models are often easiest for attendant control, as they are positioned at the rear of the chair near the pivot points.

Four Wheel Drive

The Extreme X8 has been specially designed for maximum power off-road, with all four tyres driving simultaneously. Each of the tyres is powered by its own independent motor, which ensures maximum traction on any terrain. The weight of the powerchair is distributed evenly across all four tyres.

A four wheel drive powerchair is the ideal solution for serious off-road action, tackling challenging and uneven terrains with four 14” knobby tyres.

Are you interested in finding the right wheelbase for your powerchair?  Contact us today to find out more. If you’re in America, contact Innovation in Motion for more information or to arrange a trial.

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