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Top things to consider when purchasing a handbike attachment

There are plenty of handbike options available that can help turn your manual wheelchair into a powered one, and it is certainly a tempting offer for anyone. While a lot of people do well with a manual chair, there are many terrains they struggle with – and it is always important you choose the best attachments to help you with this.

It is not as simple as picking a common brand and setting everything up, there are plenty of factors you must take into account first. Here are the most important ones to keep in mind when getting ready to turn your chair into a powered handbike.

1. The Installation and Attachment

Typically speaking, a handbike attachment takes the form of a powered wheel that can be attached to a chair’s front – the actual installation process of the attachment can often be quite rigorous, however. They are usually assembled around the chair and then affixed. Once this is completed for the first time, it becomes a great deal easier – more of a case of taking it on and off.

The assembly process includes installing the torque arms, lights, battery, and the relevant brackets – you will have to follow the instructions carefully whether this attachment is for you or someone else. Some versions of this attachment will involve a complex locking mechanism, while others simply clamp around the chair’s legs.

Wheelchair users each have different needs, so you must take stock of the unique way your attachment will affix to or detach from your chair – and if you feel like you can comfortably do this at your leisure.

2. Power and Battery

The power source is the core of everything a handbike attachment can offer, and this does vary between the different models. Going for the model with the best battery life is understandable, but this might not be cost-effective if you only make short trips regularly.

Consider where and when you would be using the handbike. Is it just to the shops a couple of streets away, or would you be making day trips to the nearest city? If you think you would benefit from the added battery life, then it might be a good idea to invest. The alternative could be running out of battery before you get home, and this is never ideal – regardless, plenty of brands come with a digital screen showing battery life so you aren’t taken by surprise.

Other important facets of the battery are the weight and number of charge cycles – the former could slow you down, and the latter could cause the battery to lose its effectiveness sooner. Always go for a good balance of battery life, weight, and charge cycle capacity, as an extra few hours cannot save a heavy battery that is only good for 500 charges.

3. Cost

A prime factor in any purchase, the cost of your handbike attachment is always something to think about for a while. You don’t want to make any frivolous buy – especially not when the hope is that it will last you for years to come, at least. This means that you probably will need to make some degree of investment to ensure your handbike attachment is long-lasting and of good quality.

That being said, price is no guarantee of quality. It may be that the model you’re looking at has features that inflate the cost but that you would never use. There is no harm in finding an alternative that better fits your budget and focuses on the core of the handbike experience. They can vary from £100 to well over a thousand pounds – and there is a whole spectrum of quality from one end to another. Do not just go for what is cheap or what is expensive, as neither is guaranteed to get you exactly what you want and need.

These are the core factors that you have to consider when you are deciding on your handbike attachment. It is not a choice that should be rushed by any means, as scrambling to pick the first option that looks decent could mean you struggle to attach it. Alternatively, it might not have the requisite battery power for your regular trips, and it could also mean that you spend hundreds of pounds extra for little added benefit.

When you have the right balance of these three considerations, you will then be ready to make your purchase and turn your manual wheelchair into the powered handbike you have been wanting.

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