Blog > February 2018 > Tools of an Active Life: Hand Bikes

Tools of an Active Life: Hand Bikes



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Adapted bikes are a great way to expose people with disabilities to new forms of recreation, exercise, and travel. There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to adapted hand bikes, making it easy for you to choose a model that is suited to your age, fitness and level of ability. Moreover, the four main classes of hand bike – leisure, recreational, competitive sporting, and foot-operated – offer even more options to personalise functions and adaptions.

Choosing the right adapted hand bike

Before you even start looking for a hand bike, there’s a few things you should know about the different sizes and adaptions used on adapted hand bikes.

Your mobility

Your level of mobility is an important consideration when purchasing a hand bike. Adapted hand bikes can be operated by leg movement, arm movement, or a mixture of both.

Intended application

If you’re thinking of picking up cycling, make sure that your attention is focussed on hand bike designs that maximise speed and movement efficiency. Similarly, choose an urban design if you want to use your hand bike to get around your local area.

Personalisation options

All adapted hand bikes include an extensive array of adjustment functions. This means that you can personalise your hand bike to better fit your weight, height and body shape. Some of the most common adjustment options are raiseable handlebars, a detachable chassis, and adjustable seating. If you get the chance to see a hand bike in person, you should always try these adjustments out prior to making a purchase.

Hand bike class and type

The two most popular hand bike classes are touring and sporting. These two design classes can include conventional adapted bicycles or converted wheelchair hand bikes.

Wheelchair hand bikes

A wheelchair can be transformed into a hand bike by using a simple conversion kit. Some of the most popular conversion kit hand bikes belong to the ultra-lightweight Quickie Attitude range.

Boasting an ergonomically designed grip and easy conversion process, the Attitude range of hand bikes also have a set of support wheels, ensuring easy-manoeuvring and efficient movement.

At Sunrise Medical, we offer a range of wheelchair adapted hand bike models:

Attitude Manual Hand Bike – Features 30 speed gearing and 20-inch wheels.

Attitude Hybrid Hand Bike – A hand bike with the option for electric powered movement when you don’t feel like manual operation.

Attitude Power Hand Bike – This hand bike is 100 percent driven by electric movement, giving it an edge on rough terrain. Despite the battery, this model is still lightweight, with its total weight coming to 15.3 kg.

Sporting hand bikes

The most common application of a top end sporting hand bike is in professional or semi-professional adapted cycling. However, the growth of adapted cycling and adapted hand bikes has led to an explosion in the number of sporting hand bike models and designs. Today, touring hand bikes – sporting hand bikes that are used in a leisurely capacity – are one of the most popular designs.

Touring hand bikes rely on arm movement to drive, steer and brake a wheelchair. For this reason, touring wheelchair models are a fantastic option for people with any disability that affects their torso or lower extremities (for example: paraplegics or people with a specific class of spinal injury).

The Quickie hand bike range from Sunrise Medical has all of the features you need and expect from a touring hand bike. The range includes the following models:

Shark RT – A highly personalisable hand bike for people just getting started with adapted hand bikes.

Shark RS – This hand bike has competition-level features and is best suited for professional cyclists.

Shark RS Attack – This particular hand bike has proven a popular choice for elite athletes. Possessing a welded and specially-designed frame, the Shark RS Attack maximises performance without compromising on safety or appearance. Get yours by using our Built-4-Me service.

Regardless of whether you’re currently searching for a hand bike, or are already a veteran adapted cyclist, don’t miss out on more hand biking news and disability-related content. Subscribe to our blog to find out more about active living, adapted sports, and wheelchair design.