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You have been measured for your new chair, the basic specifications like seat width and seat to floor height have been completed, and now comes the challenge – what combination of parts and accessories will fit your lifestyle and your personality?

Par Tina Roesler, PT, MS, ABDA


From wheels and tires, to accessories like backpacks and seat pouches there are a multitude of options that will personalize your ride and help to enhance performance. While the number of options may seem daunting, there are some considerations that will help you narrow your choices.  As Todd Richardson says, “I base my own chairs off performance and mobility first, and make sure I have a very good, tight fit with a small footprint.”


When considering options and accessories, you can essentially separate them in two categories:

Needs – items that will help you to maximize the performance and function of your mobility device; and Desires – items that make your chair unique to you but do not necessarily add to performance (like color options or light up casters).  Keep in mind, that every choice will have an impact on the final configuration and weight of your chair.


So, how do you choose?  If you are looking at maximizing performance, Todd recommends you look at rear wheels and casters first.  “The wheels are the only part of chair that makes contact with the surface you are pushing on.  The weight and stiffness of the wheel directly correlates to the performance, and caster size and material also has an impact”.    While some of these selections may add cost, it is one of the best places to invest. These components are essential for enhancing your ride – especially if you are pushing over a variety of surfaces during the day.  For example, a high pressure air filled tire will have a significant impact on your ride compared to a solid insert.  It will make the chair easier to push and the ride will be smoother.  


However, it does not mean these options can’t add to the “cool factor”.  Handrims and wheels come in a variety of colors and shapes that will not only enhance performance but also make you look good! Black Aluminum Hard Anodized Handrims look good and are more scratch resistant than traditional handrims while the high friction Newton Air Grip rims provide extra grip if you have limited hand function but also enhance the look of your ride with over 10 color options.



Of course, don’t forget the bling!  Once you have the performance options and necessary accessories, it’s time to consider those things that truly make your chair unique.  Interchangeable color options, specialized wheel and spoke covers, as well as other comfort options – like gel padded armrests, or seat pouches, such as the Newton Sanitizing Multi-Purpose Pouch (available in US & Canada only) will finish off the look with style. 



Choose every option wisely and understand the impact it may have on your own comfort and function. “It is important to recognize that every choice will impact weight of the overall system and propulsion efficiency, “says Alli Speight, OT and Clinical Specialist for Motion Composites. Even for items such as armrests and anti-tips that many deem necessary, consider how and when you will use them and if the additional weight will limit you during the day.  Look at every choice critically and weigh the cost benefits. 



In the end, you have hundreds of options and accessories to choose from, and each has a specific impact on performance and style. Take a look at the Options and Accessories Guide from Motion Composites to learn more about your choices and see how they look!




International Business Development

Tina is a physical therapist with more than 20 years of experience in mobility and positioning.

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