Mountain Trike - All Terrain Trike
The active chair for active people!
The Mountain Trike Offers riders the freedom to venture out around town or into the countryside. Whether that is to the beach, down muddy tracks, over grass or along cobbled streets, gravel driveways and even through snow. We call this All-Terrain.
With a conventional wheelchair, the smallest everyday journey or outdoors activity can seem daunting. The Mountain Trike gives riders the ability to go to places that were completely inaccessible previously, whilst maintaining the function and versatility of a standard wheelchair.
Possible applications for the Trike are huge, ranging from going to the playground or park with a child, walking the dog, to camping and bush craft activities or adventure rides in the beautiful natural surroundings we have all around us.
We are immensely excited to be able to offer such an innovative product and hope you will join us in the great outdoors!
The Mountain Trike story began in October 2006 when Tim started his final year Masters project in Innovation and Engineering Design at the University of Bath. Being an avid mountain biker and downhill racer he wanted to design a product that would enable wheelchair users to experience the great outdoors in the same way he does on his bike. He was determined that through this project he would develop a completely new wheelchair design and create something truly worthy of being called an "all terrain wheelchair".
Extensive testing of standard wheelchairs revealed the following problems:
•The small wheels at the front of the wheelchair (castors) provided insufficient climbing ability.
•The small front wheels and thin rear ones also dug into soft ground.
•Poor articulation and rigid frames caused standard wheelchairs to lift off the ground on uneven obstacles.
•The brakes, often lacking completely, were inadequate to safely control downhill travel.
•Moving along the contours of a slope was uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.
•Propulsion up slopes was very difficult as the wheelchair rolled backwards every time your hands were lifted to push again.
•The position of the large rear wheels meant tipping backwards was a real problem when crossing obstacles or ascending slopes, requiring a great deal of balance and skill.
Tim, who was now joined by engineering course mates Johnny and Ed, firmly believe that every product should be designed with the user in mind. So throughout the design and development of the Mountain Trike, every detail was tried and tested over and over again with as many different wheelchair users as possible.
We were also very fortunate at the University of Bath to have renowned professors in medical engineering, biomechanics professors and engineering design, so were able to draw from a hugely wide field of relevant expertise and advice.
The initial idea was simple; place the large wheels of the wheelchair at the front rather than the back, and use these to climb over simple obstacles.
In order to quickly try out this fundamental principle Tim modified a standard wheelchair so that the seat pointed backwards and we went out testing again. The difference in performance was profound.
The chair however was now dynamically unstable and would fishtail or spin out when cornering, making it very hard to control. This was caused by free rotating castors and at this point Tim created the initial design for direct steering. Cables, from a steering device at the front, would control a rear wheel, much in the same way as the rudder of a boat works.
Cables connecting a steering system at the front controls and directs the rear wheel. Completely revolutionising the way the device is directed, creating smooth turns and eliminating the awkward traditional ‘tank steer' method.
Combining all this with mountain bike suspension created the very first Mountain Trike, the Mk1.
Over the next few years the design developed and came of age. Over 150 people have ridden in the Mk2 since it was first produced in 2009. One even made it to Kenya with a group of injured soldiers so that they could take part in a desert marathon. Everyone's feedback was considered and if possible added to the extensive features and improvements in the Mk3, our final prototype.
But the design improvements never stop! The growing number of people with high spinal injuries who have been contacting us has led us to start developing quadriplegic hand controls and braking, as well as true one armed control for the many military amputees that we have met.
Every step has taken us closer and closer to realising our dream. Giving everyone the freedom to enjoy the outdoors.
Please note the Mountain Trike website seems to be gone.