folding wheels - design and development

 

 

crossbreed foldable wheels

Wheel size is the limiting constraint on the design of folding or portable bicycles and wheelchairs. Foldable wheels enable a bicycle or wheelchair to be stored and transported more easily than ever before.

 

 

folding bikes and folding wheelchairsFoldable wheels enable a full sized adult bicycle to be folded into a compact and convenient package for transportation and storage and this is where the project started out, aimed at enabling a new breed of high performance folding bike to be created.

 

Early prototype testing on a mountain bike:

 

Bike prototypes

 

The initial design was well recieved by the public and gathered considerable press attention. It was also chosen as one of 10 finalists in the Saatchi and Saatchi World Changing Ideas Award.

 

 

The first ever pre-test prototype, showing the wheel's unique folding motion.

early prototype

 

After we went public with the design, we were surprised to find ourselves swamped with requests from wheelchair users for a wheelchair wheel which can fold in the same way. The advantages were immediately clear. With foldable wheels, a wheelchair isn't just a bit better, it's a completely different product! With foldable wheels, a wheelchair can fit in the trunk of a Smart car, a storage cupboard at home, or an overhead locker on an airplane. What's more, these wheels can be bought as an upgrade, making a great difference, even when fitted to existing chairs!

 

 

 

 

Design work then focussed on a new foldable wheel design, one which could be used with wheelchairs. A great deal of this development work has been performed in association with InnovationRCA, at the Royal College of Art, London.

The aim was simple: to make it possible for the first time, to easily pack an entire manual wheelchair into bags small enough to take as hand luggage on commercial flights or for storage of spare chairs in the home.

 

Packed away in a suitable bag, these images demonstrate how wheelchairs can be packed into a much smaller and more convenient package.

 

new prototypes

The first wheelchair wheel prototypes were designed and developed for user testing and evaluation and were fabricated in collaboration with Racing Fabrications Ltd., a company whose everyday business is to make parts for Formula 1 cars!

 

If this projects interests you, or if you would like to get involved, please feel free to contact me on duncfitz@gmail.com or feel free to leave any thoughts or suggestions on the foldable wheels comments page.

 

We are more than happy to hear from any parties interested in licensing the design of the foldable wheel or in collaborating with us in its commercialisation.

 

 

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Do you use a wheelchair or have experience living or working with wheelchairs? We'd love to hear from you!

Please click here to answer our online questionnaire.

We're working hard to develop the best way to bring these wheels to market and your experiences and views are a vital part of this process.

At the end of the questionnaire you can let us know if you're interested in helping to test and evaluate the new wheelchair wheel prototypes. If you are, then you can leave you contact details at the end of the questionnaire and we'll be in touch soon!

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With thanks...

 

Design and product development in collaboration with the Royal College of Art and InnovationRCA and with kind support from the Wingate Foundation.

 

 

User insights research conducted in collaboration
with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Inclusive Design.

 

…and with many thanks for help and support from:

David Constantine – founder, Motivation.

Charles Moreland – former head of Leonard Cheshire.

 

Martin Sabry – Founder, aIDEAS.

 

Jacqui Jones – Executive Director, Mobility Choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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