Med Forza FCX is a sturdy, capable, travel-friendly wheelchair, offered by a smaller company.
Recommended For: Anyone weighing up to 360 pounds, especially if you travel frequently.
*Note regarding Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.
Do you suffer from a mobility issue that sees you spending at least part of each day in a wheelchair? Has that fact cramped your style when it comes to traveling the way you used to before the mobility issue?
If you answered yes to those questions, and are in the market for a lightweight, travel-friendly chair, then you’ll be very interested in what you read in this Sentire Med FCX review.
Sentire Medical is a small brand. Tiny, compared to the major players in the industry, but their Forza electric wheelchair fills an important niche.
Most of the chairs and scooters offered by the major brands are fairly travel friendly but are too heavy to take on a plane with you, or if you do take them with you, you’ll pay a hefty premium for the pleasure.
To be truly airline friendly, designers need to do all they can to keep the weight to a bare minimum, making the resulting chair unsuitable for everyday use.
Ultimately, what this means is that airline-friendly chairs wind up being a niche product. The only people who tend to buy them have the budget to support such a purchase, in addition to having the funds to buy their everyday chair.
We’ll be quick to admit that the Forza isn’t a perfect chair, but it is a very good one and extremely travel-friendly, especially if you’re a frequent flier.
In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything this model has to offer, and we’ll be quick to point out its shortcomings and limitations. If you’re intrigued to know more, read on, and let’s have a closer look.
An Overview of the Sentire Med Forza FCX
Most of the chairs offered by smaller brands tend to have a Spartan, minimalist look about them. The design teams of smaller companies tend to focus mostly on function, and only spend a small amount of effort (if any) on form.
The Forza is a bit of a departure on that front. While it does look somewhat Spartan, it also manages to look a bit futuristic.
It’s a strangely pleasing juxtaposition that we like very much. Before we do more than mention aesthetics in this section of our Sentire Med FCX review, let’s pause for just a moment to look at this chair by the numbers. Here’s a quick overview:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 24” (W) x 40” (D) x 38” (H)
- Seat Dimensions: 18” (W) x 17” (D)
- Top Speed: 4 mph
- Maximum Range: 20 miles
- Maximum Climbing Angle: 15 degrees
- Wheel Size: 8”
- Ground Clearance: 5”
- Chair Weight: 60 pounds without batteries. 67 pounds with batteries.
- Turning Radius: 29.99”
- Maximum Supported Weight: 350 pounds
These are, for the most part, very good numbers. The chair is about average-sized, comparable to the others in its class. The seat size is a good pairing with the chair’s supported weight limit, but note that the company doesn’t offer any seat size options.
What you see is what you get on that front.
The top speed leaves a little to be desired. However, even many of the models offered by the big brands top out at 4 miles per hour, so it’s not a huge surprise. Just as long as you’re not in a big hurry to get to wherever you’re going, you’ll be fine.
The range of the model, though, is quite good, as is the ground clearance. At 5,” this chair is capable of handling a wide range of terrains.
While it’s not a true adventure chair, it will handle uneven terrain with relative ease. You can even take it on rougher terrain as long as you keep a watchful eye out for especially large obstructions in your path.
One of the best features this model has to offer, though, is slope handling. Most wheelchairs can handle a six-degree slope. At fifteen degrees, the Forza is an absolute beast, capable of handling almost anything. Even if you live in a mountainous area, the Forza can almost always get it done.
The turning radius isn’t best in class, but it isn’t awful either. Unless you live in a tiny house or efficiency apartment, you’ll be able to navigate around your home easily enough.
Most of the wheelchairs on the market today will support users weighing up to 300-pounds. Anything more than that is good and definitely counts in the company’s favor. While it’s not hard to find a chair that supports more than 350-pounds, that’s pretty good, especially for such a lightweight model.
And that brings us to the chair’s weight. Even with the batteries, the Sentire Med Forza FCX weighs less than seventy pounds. We’ll have more to say about that a little later in this review, but for the moment, it’s enough to point out that this is an incredibly travel-friendly model.
Adjustability and Comfort
Most of the mobility aids offered by smaller brands aren’t very adjustable, and sure enough, that’s the case here. The seat size is fixed in its position and sits 21” off the ground. The padded armrests are likewise fixed in their positions, but they do flip back, which makes transfers into and out of the chair a simpler proposition.
The one adjustable feature you will find is the aluminum footrest. You can adjust its angle, flip it up, down, or simply tuck it away if you don’t need it.
It should be pointed out that the Forza is only moderately comfortable. It utilizes conventional block foam with breathable mesh fabric stretched over it. The good news, though, is that additional padding is easy to come by, so you can make it as comfy as you like.
Extras and Options
Most smaller brands don’t offer anything in the way of extras, and here, the Sentire Med Forza FCX Deluxe is a pleasant surprise.
Although the company doesn’t offer any aftermarket accessories for sale, it comes standard with the following:
- A safety belt
- A storage bag for use when traveling and transporting the chair
- A separate storage bag for the batteries
- A saddle-bag style storage bag
- And a cup holder
That’s a pretty impressive list, and all of those are high-value additions. If that’s not enough for you, though, the aftermarket is brimming with accessories offered by third-party vendors so you can customize and personalize as much as you like!
Portability & Ease of Use
The FCX wheelchair is delightfully easy to use. One joystick controller is very like the next, so there are no surprises on that front.
Even if you’re not a very technical person, you won’t have any difficulty mastering the basic controls.
That, combined with the decent turning radius of the machine, will help ensure that you seldom get stuck in a tight spot.
The Forza is a fairly impressive electric wheelchair. If there’s one aspect of the design that stands above all the others as the reason you’ll buy this model over some other, it is the fact that it’s incredibly portable.
Even with the batteries, the unit weighs less than seventy pounds. When folded, it’s got a footprint that’s small enough so that it will easily fit in the trunk space of even a smaller vehicle. If you have a truck, van, SUV, or even a full-sized sedan, storage will be even easier.
The batteries are FDA approved, so in most cases, you won’t have any issues when flying. Be aware, though, that every airline is free to set their own policies, so you’ll want to call the airline you plan to fly with to be sure you understand what they do and don’t allow. The last thing you want is to show up at the airport, ticket in hand, and only then discover that there’s an issue!
Pros & Cons of Sentire Med Forza FCX Deluxe
Miniaturization is expensive. Although this is a sturdy, capable little chair, you’ll pay a premium for it. That fact is sure to put it out of the reach of at least some of the people who might want one.
That, combined with the fact that Sentire is a smaller brand, is a one-two punch that may steer some, especially those who are more brand conscious, away from this model and toward something else.
It should be noted that although Sentire is a smaller company, they do have a good reputation for post-sales service and support. If you decide to invest in one of these, it will serve you well. Also, it’s worth mentioning that it comes with an impressive number of built-in extras, all of which are high-value.
Sentire Med FCX Review Conclusion
We like the Forza, but we don’t love it. It is a well-designed, well-built machine that’s as versatile as it is capable. We’d also point out here in our Sentire Med FCX review that if you’re not brand conscious and take that element out of the ranking equation, this chair would be rated 4.4 stars out of a possible 5.
As we said, this is very much a niche product. Optimized for travel, it’s not really designed for everyday use. As such, we can only give it a provisional recommendation.
References & Resources:
- Sentire Med, Official Brand Website.
- Power Wheelchair Driving Challenges in the Community: A Users’ Perspective, PubMed.
- Wheelchair Design, Physiopedia.
- History of Wheelchairs – The Evolution, United Spinal Association.
- Learn More About Wheelchairs: History & Chair Types, Vantage Mobility International.