Glossary of Sport Wheelchair Terms

RIGID FRAME: A non-folding wheelchair.

BOX FRAME: The traditional, square, cube-like, wheelchair frames like we see on QUICKIE’S GPV. They can be rigid or folding frame types, and allow for infinite adjustability and ultimate adaptability on everyday sportschairs.

OVER-THE-AXLE FRAMES: The newer frame style for sportschairs that feature a smaller frame, which tapers from the front forks, upward over the rear axle, as with the Action A4 or QUICKIE GPS/TRIUMPH. This frame style is lighter and more responsive than a box frame, but far less adjustable.

SQUEEZE FRAME: When the seat frame is lower in the back than in the front, creating a wedge seat that lowers the center of gravity and keeps you butt in place.

CAMBER: The amount of angle on the rear wheels, the way in which they flair out at the bottom. We recommend 4 degrees of camber for active everyday use. Once you get toward 8 degrees of camber, the chair is too wide for practical use, so stick below 6.

Camber-Tube: A solid bar that connects both rear wheel axles and provides camber.

Axle/Camber plates: Bolt-on mounting hardware that connects the rear wheel axle to the frame, allowing for numerous adjustments.

CASTERS: The front wheels. They come in size 3”, 5”, 6”, 7”, and 8”. 3’s are for hard-core sport use; 5’s and 6’s are great all-around casters; and 7’s and 8’s are more for rough terrain. We like 5” casters because they’re fast, compact, light, and durable — don’t believe anyone who says they get caught in sidewalk cracks! Look around any gathering of sportschairs, and you’ll se 5’s are the casters of choice.

Caster Housing: Where the fork connects to the frame.

REAR WHEELS: Most users don’t realize that the rear wheels are as important as the frame of a chair. A 26-pound chair with high-performance rear wheels will out roll a 18-pound chair with cheap rear wheels. We’re getting into physics, but a light, stiff wheel rolls better than a heavy, flexible one. 20”, 22”, 24”, and 26” are the common size, with 90% of adult chairs having 24” wheels, which are the perfect size. Plastic mag wheels appeal because they are care-free and all but impossible to break; however, they’re heavy and flexible, meaning it’s like pushing uphill all the time. At the other end of the spectrum is the composite wheel — such as X-Core tri-spokes — which cost over $500 per pair! The composite wheels are made to increase aerodynamic efficiency on bicycles traveling at speeds above 17 mph. Most of us wouldn’t live to tell about it if we did 20 mph. in our tennis or everyday chairs, so the point of composite wheels is void. A pair of high-performance spoke wheels — light, stiff, strong — for $170 are the best investment you can make in your chair. For everyday use, a 24” high-performance spoked wheel with a 24 x 1 3/8 or 24 x 1 pneumatic tire will keep you rolling your best.