Travelling over slightly rough terrain such as gravel, mud, grass or even cobbles can be hazardous in a wheelchair. If you are travelling at any sort of speed, you can easily tip over forwards, should your small castors hit a stone, stick or another protrusion.
Fortunately, there are a number of wheelchair add-ons that can quickly convert your wheelchair into a three-wheeler and lift the front castors off the floor. This gives an all together more stable setup allowing you to go over rougher ground.
Comparing the top 3 three-wheeler add-ons
We have had a look at three of the best-selling manual options available in the UK and spoke to OUR TEAM of wheelchair users in Cyclone and some of our customers to get their views on which is the best.
The first one we looked at was Frontwheel from RGK. This is a robust looking piece of kit weighing some 2.6kg. Although it can fit to most chairs it does require mounting clamps to fit it to the frame. This, in the opinion of our wheelchair users, made it less attractive as you have to leave the brackets permanently attached to ensure you can quickly add the Frontwheel whenever you need it.
The second option we looked at was the Freewheel from Gerald Simmonds. This is an unusual looking device, with the wheel situated underneath a looped frame (presumably to provide a mud-guard effect from water spray). Based on feedback from a number of wheelchair users (not just our own staff) the major flaw with the Freewheel seems to be that it attaches to the footplate. Whilst this may present a quick and easy way of doing this, it is very easy for the footplate to get damaged or distorted when travelling over rough ground.
The final option was the Easywheel from Offcar. This has the advantage of fixing directly to the frame of any wheelchair (with a non-detachable footrest) without the need for brackets of any sort. Although it can’t be stored on the back of the wheelchair (like the Freewheel can) it does fold flat for easy storage and transportation.
So, if you are looking for an attachment to turn your wheelchair into a manual three-wheeler, we would recommend the Offcar Easyhwheel based on the fact that it attaches directly to the frame without the need for brackets. This leaves the chair as light as possible and without unsightly brackets when not in use. As a result, the footrest does not run the risk of being damaged either, and it’ll fit on any size tubing.
Or why not go one better and add an electric attachment as well. If your power system is on the front (like with a Batec) you’ll do exactly what the manual 3 wheelers do and lift the castors. But, if it’s a SmartDrive then you can use it in combination with the Easywheel and travel faster and safer over rough ground than you can manually push.