Handcycle Wheelchairs

A handcycle wheelchair is a wheelchair that resembles a bicycle, except it is powered by the arms rather than the legs. They have hand cranks instead of pedals and two wheels in the rear. Some are designed for high speeds and athletics, while others are made for transportation or training.

What types of handcycle wheelchairs are there?
  • Cross-training: These models have a reclining seat for long distance rides, cross-training events, and intense exercise sessions. They have 27 gears, including hand shifts and handbrakes. Standard tires are thin, but they can be traded out for a thicker pair if desired.
  • Off-road: These are different than other handcycles because they have two wheels in the front and one in the back. They have fewer gears so that they can be used on off-road slopes and mountain trails. The fatter wheels with thick treads are designed not to slip on rough terrain.
  • Upright: This handcycle model provides a higher center of gravity that is useful at lower speeds. They were created for individuals to use during exercise, recreation, and short distance rides. They usually come in seven speeds with medium-thick tires.
  • Recumbent: These handcycles comes in a range of three to seven speeds. They are designed for transferring in and out of a wheelchair with ease. Most often come with a fork-type steering option.
What are the steering options for handcycle wheelchairs?
  • Fork-steer: This is a common type of handcycle steering. They are designed for use by individuals with both high- and low-level spinal injuries. They also have adjustable footrests, seating angles, and frame configurations.
  • Lean-to-steer: These handcycles have a two-piece frame where the top swivels over the bottom. They are steered by leaning into a turn with the whole body. They are designed for low speeds and low-level disabilities.
What are the different seating options for handcycle wheelchairs?
  • Recline: In this kind of handcycle wheelchair, the seat reclines and has a very tall back. The cranks are positioned high off the ground and close to the rider. This allows the rider to push back against the seatback for leverage while using the cranks to propel the wheels forward.
  • Trunk-power: These handcycle models have a very short seatback. The hand cranks are low to the ground and as far away from the rider as possible. This allows the individual to put their entire weight behind each crank, meaning they can ride at faster speeds for a longer period of time.