After developing the Loopwheel suspension system to minimise vibration, one of our key considerations was not to absorb too much forward energy and hence reduce momentum (i.e. making the wheechair harder to push).
Therefore we tested the Loopwheel against a spoked wheel to examine the rolling resistance.
We argue that while stiff spoked wheels may perform well on a perfectly smooth surface (sports court, shopping centre etc) they will perform less well relative to a Loopwheel when on poorer surfaces (high street, pavements, pathways).
The wheelchair was positioned at the top of a low ramp. The wheelchair had a pair of identical wheels and the same rider was used in each test. The rider weight was 68.2kg in each test. All the wheels for the test have the same MBL ½” bearings, tyres and air pressure.
The rider allowed the wheelchair to descend the ramp without any input. The wheelchair was left to roll along a level tarmac surface until it came to a stop.
The distance of roll (X) was then measured. The test was repeated 3 times (per wheel type), with an average of the 3 tests making up the resultant distance.
The test was performed for both Loopwheels and standard metal spoked wheels. The tests were carried out consecutively and completed within an hour, in dry conditions and with no discernible wind.
The Loopwheel rolled the furthest for an average of 10.83 meters, the metal spoked wheel rolled 10.51 meters. We conclude that both wheels perform equally well, the small differences in distance rolled were probably due to differences in mass, with the Loopwheel having a larger moment of inertia.
|Distance Travelled (meters)
|Metal spoked Wheel
This test shows that there should be no ‘rolling resistance’ downside to choosing a Loopwheel over a standard spoked wheel, as the suspension mechanism is not absorbing more energy and hindering forwards momentum.
Loopwheels has already been proven to deliver a significant reduction in vibration, which reduces fatigue and pain.