SMA News Forums Forums Assistive Technology Going from Rear-Wheel to Front-Wheel Drive

  • Going from Rear-Wheel to Front-Wheel Drive

    Posted by deann-r on March 16, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Rear-wheel-drive was the only option when I got my first wheelchair. Now 3 main options exist. Along with rear-wheel there is mid-wheel and front-wheel drive. Each has its pros and cons. If you’re not familiar (although most of you are) basically it’s where the bigger tires and motors are located that drive the chair. I’m sure there’s a legitimate reason manufacturers are focusing more on mid and front-wheel drive. But switching drives isn’t always easy. After spending 5 years in a mwd that I hated I gladly went back to the rwd I was comfortable with. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the features I wanted on a rear-wheel this time, so I’m giving fwd a try. So far I’m not a fan. Those back tires that stick out and go willy-nilly are awful. Not only have I taken out a table leg I’ve caught my cats tail a couple times. Thankfully she’s forgiven me. The real test will be this summer when I can get out and about more. Maybe by then I’ll be used to the feeling I’m fishtailing on ice. Are you a fan of a particular drive?

    deann-r replied 3 years, 3 months ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • kelly-miller

    March 16, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re having trouble with your fwd on your new chair, DeAnn! There’s nothing worse than the excitement of a new chair being squelched by a major problem like how it drives. After 10 yrs of mid-wheel drive, which I loved (sorry), I also had to go to fwd. I had the exact same issue with those stupid little wheels on the back. I also had to watch anything I hung on the back such as a backpack or grocery bags. I have to say I did get used to the point of not hitting the walls, door frames, and table legs, however I counted down the days to the allowable 5 yrs to get rid of the dreaded fwd so I wouldn’t be running into and over things such as my poor Lab mix, Rex.

    One thing to be careful of when you go outside is the way it hits bumps. Large bumps, like a low curb, are pretty much okay, but those medium-sized ones can be tricky. This would be a bigger crack in a sidewalk or a baby crater in asphalt. I hit the first one as I would’ve with my mwd and almost threw myself out on the ground. Until you get used to it outside, I would take everything very slowly.

    I’m currently trying to get used to my new chair I received about a week ago. While I’m having trouble getting comfortable in it, I’m super happy to get back with my preference of mid-wheel drive! I know you’ll get used to yours; there’s always that serious adjustment period where we wonder if we’ve made the biggest mistake of our lives with any new chair, but I know you’ll get it! Let me know if I can give you anymore tips.

    • deann-r

      March 24, 2021 at 11:54 am

      Thanks for the heads up with the bumps. I can tell already I’m in for a bumpier ride. Although this chair won’t rank as a favorite I am adjusting to it. Glad to hear you’re back to your preferred mwd. Good luck with the adjustment process.

  • adam

    March 18, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Went from scooter to joystick RWD. Converted a RWD to FWD. Then got first proper FWD in 1999 – never looked back. Can’t beat the turning ability; if you can get your front wheels in you’re sweet.

    FWD were 2nd to none for sport.

    • deann-r

      March 24, 2021 at 11:56 am

      Glad to hear there’s hope for me getting used to fwd!

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