OK, I won’t be objective about this. I’ve never used it; have never seen it in use; and have no idea if this particular wheelchair does even half of what the designers claim — or if it performs as well as they claim. But this thing is beautiful — more beautiful than any contemporary exotic car I’ve yet seen on the road. The design, and what it implies of performance, just takes my breath away.
You’re forewarned — now let’s get down to data.
“This” is the Trekinetic K-2 All-Terrain three-wheeled manual wheelchair. It’s built around a “monocoque” carbon fiber seat to which are bolted the chair’s components, for stability without a conventional chassis. The word — “monocoque” — nicely evokes speed imagery, and the mono-cockpits of aviation and vintage racing cars. It’s a beautiful concept. Performance-wise? Well, it all sounds plausible. (I wanna believe! I wanna believe!)
There’s a lot here that is exciting and fascinating. A few highlights, in addition to the monocoque and the carbon fiber seat:
- front wheel drive for control on off-road terrain
- single, stabilizing, oversize rear caster
- raised hand levers for locking, braking and additional steering control
- 24 inch/610mm wheels that accept standard off-road tires
- optional spare quick-release front wheels with indoor tyres
Coolest of all is the variable camber feature. Camber refers to the wheel angle. The rear tires on my old VW Beetle are tipped in toward the body of the car at the top of the tires, making the stance wider where the tires touch the pavement, narrower above. This “negative camber” gives my Bug greater stability.
Ditto for a wheelchair. You can set the Trekinetic wheels so that they’re perpendicular to the ground — best for narrow doorways and flat surfaces — or vary the camber to handle rough terrain, quickly and easily:
With this revolutionary system, you can go from zero to hero, by just rotating the cross shaft under the seat. Before you get in, simply decide whether you’re going to town in and out of shop doorways, or need the full sports stance with a monster 24 degrees negative camber!
Then there’s the nitrogen shock absorber:
The upshot is you can adjust the weight transfer or backrest angle without getting out of the chair! To recline backwards depress the valve and let your weight tilt the chair backwards*. To recline forwards, depress the valve and the compressed Nitrogen gas will lift it automatically.
(That asterisk refers to what I read as as standard disclaimer — different people have different abilities. See the website.)
An able bodied person can release the wheels and fold the chair up in about 8 seconds and the single, one hand quick release connections mean that many users will be able to do it for themselves.
With wheels removed the Trekinetic is about 860mm x 560mm x 470mm (34″ x 22″ x 18″.)
Weight, without wheels, approx 9 kg (19.8 lbs).
A beauty, eh? Form and function. Yours for just £2,195 — with free delivery in the UK, lucky Brits.
Don’t need a wheelchair? Hey, the site photos alone count as art . . . check out the amazing home page (beauty without Flash, oh yeah).