Like any kind of product, powerchairs have their trends and followers that ebb and flow over time. Take the choice between rear-wheel drive and mid-wheel drive powerchairs, for instance. Here at Bromakin, we have a healthy stock of both types of motorised wheelchair, but we have found that the trend has now significantly skewed towards mid-wheel drive vehicles, as the technology has improved and the range of products has increased over time.
Does it really make that much of a difference? In this blog, we will look at some of the commonalities between both types of powerchair, as well as the differences to help you decide which is the best option for you.
Typically, rear-wheel drive models have larger castors and drive wheels, that ride over uneven surfaces easily. In comparison, the mid-wheel drive model has smaller castors and utilises suspension linkages to adjust to undulations. A downside of some mid-wheel drive models is that the drive wheel itself is not independently cushioned by a shock absorber. This is not the case with all mid-wheel drive powerchairs, by any means. Some – like the Ottobock Juvo B5 & Permobil M5, for instance – have the drive wheel adequately incorporated, giving you a safer, less bumpy ride.
Rear-wheel drive powerchairs tend to require very little maintenance compared to a mid-wheel drive model. This is normally because rear-wheel drive mechanisms are much simpler, requiring a more basic chassis, with less chance of developing mechanical problems.
This is where mid-wheel drive models really get to shine, since they are highly manoeuvrable, even in tight spaces. This makes them ideal for indoor use and other areas that a rear-wheel drive powerchair might struggle with.
If your powerchair is fitted with attendant controls, rear-wheel drive is generally considered the most appropriate drive mechanism, as it limits the chance of driving over your caregiver’s feet. However its the sort of thing that is best compared with a demonstration of each type. And also in combination with a specialist Mo-vis Scootcontrol system.
Some mid-wheel drive chairs can have a tendency to pitch forwards when the wheelchair brakes to slow down, which can be an unpleasant experience for some. While rear-wheel devices rarely have this problem, it’s worth noting that most modern mid-wheel drive powerchairs have eliminated this issue thanks to improved technology and design features.
Ultimately, whether you choose mid-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive for your motorised wheelchair is all a matter of personal preference. Here at Bromakin, we have a wide selection of both types of models at our Loughborough showroom. Call us today on 01509 217569 to arrange an in-store demonstration.