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  • FIRST POST
    • apoole
    • By apoole 7th May 18, 4:15 PM
    • 19Posts
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    apoole
    Electric Bike Attachment to Manual Wheelchair Not Fit For Purpose.
    • #1
    • 7th May 18, 4:15 PM
    Electric Bike Attachment to Manual Wheelchair Not Fit For Purpose. 7th May 18 at 4:15 PM
    Hi,

    I am a full time wheelchair users following an accident 35 years ago. I purchased last week a Batec Mini Electric Bike that fits to the front of your wheelchair, lifting the front wheels and making your chair like a three wheeled motorised bike. This was a face to face transaction with a registered wheelchair company based in an Industrial Unit/Workshop. The bike is sold by this company but manufactured by another suppler.

    The bike has a top speed of 20khm and also has handle bar mounted breaks, the front powered wheel is 16 inches in diameter.

    My concern is that I took the bike out over the weekend around a local park area, the performance of the bike was good, although occasionally the bike lost traction on the front wheel on different surfaces. As part of my journey I needed to tackle an incline that I have managed numerous times previously in my normal four wheeled battery powered scooter. The incline is covered with concrete flag stones and was perfectly dry with the weather conditions. To enable to bike and chair to scale the incline I increased the acceleration to the maximum speed and gave myself a good run up, when reaching the base of the bank I lent forward to help the front wheel keep traction on the incline (as advised by the company I purchased the bike from). While scaling the bank I noted the bike losing speed and eventually the front wheels began to spin as the bike slowly came to a stop. To try and secure the bike and chair on the bank until help/my friend was able to catch me up I applied the brake handle levels on both handle bars thinking this would secure the chair and bike. With the brake applied the bike and chair then started to roll backwards down the hill. Unable to do anything apart from keep the brakes on the bike applied, the chair and bike gain momentum. The build-up of speed going backwards then caused the chair and bike to topple over.

    This then caused damage to the bike handle and brake level and also scratches to the push rim of my wheelchair on one side. I also cut my hand and grazed all my right arm to cause bleeding.

    I have contacted the suppler by email (5 May 2018) and explained the above and informed them I will be contacted them on Tuesday as I feel the bike is not fit for purpose.

    My main concern is that although the chair failed to climb the bank, the brakes also failed in stopping the chair from rolling backwards. Luckily when this happened I was on a park pathway and with a friend (I would have hated to think this may of happened on an incline next to a main road or on the canal pathway near my home).

    The deposit for the bike was paid in January 2018 (2000) and the final balance paid on 2 May 2018 (2000) when I collected the item.

    I am after some help/advise before I discuss this with the company:

    Am I entitled to ask for a full refund and return the item based on the above (including the damage caused)?

    As it is a design fault with the brake not being able to hold the chair/bike on the incline can I ask for compensation/cost to repair my manual wheelchair?

    If the company suggests that it was caused by user error, what can I do next?


    I paid the deposit and final balance on the same credit card, should I contact the card provider to suspend payment?

    When initially using the bike I thought it was great and a good way to give greater independence to get out and about, but sadly with the above happening I feel that I no longer want to use this model bike I have purchased (hence wanting a refund). Alternatively, the company does sell a different model to the bike I purchased called a Batec Rapid this has a top speed of 28kmh and bigger front wheel 20 inch in diameter, could I asked for an upgrade replace instead of a refund?


    Thanking you in advance for any replies or any other suggestions/answer would be gratefully appreciated?
Page 1
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 7th May 18, 4:31 PM
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    unforeseen
    • #2
    • 7th May 18, 4:31 PM
    • #2
    • 7th May 18, 4:31 PM
    If the weight isn't on the wheel with the brake then no matter how good the brake is it will not hold a wheelchair and person on a hill that it is already struggling on due to lack of weight on the front wheel to drive it. It sounds like your expectations of this bike were higher than it was actually capable of.

    I doubt if any of those products will achieve what you want because of the lack of drive wheel weight
    • Les79
    • By Les79 7th May 18, 4:46 PM
    • 200 Posts
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    Les79
    • #3
    • 7th May 18, 4:46 PM
    • #3
    • 7th May 18, 4:46 PM
    Sounds like your fault to be honest.

    You acknowledge that you were losing traction prior to attempting the incline:

    "I took the bike out over the weekend around a local park area, the performance of the bike was good, although occasionally the bike lost traction on the front wheel on different surfaces"

    Plus, it makes sense that a vehicle (of any sort) with three wheels will have a different centre of gravity (hence the advice to "lean forward") as well as less traction than a four wheeled vehicle.

    Also, do you really think that the back wheels on a wheelchair are designed with traction in mind?! Look at this picture:

    http://www.cyclonemobility.com/batec-mini-new-travel-necessity/

    Admittedly, your wheelchair *may* be different but you can see a clear difference in traction between this extension part and the wheelchair wheels.

    So, for you to subsequently go on and attempt an incline (one which required you to go up to 20 kph to complete "I increased the acceleration to the maximum speed and gave myself a good run up") seems a bit reckless and irresponsible to me.

    RE: the brakes damage point, is this the sort of incline you could handle with just a manual wheelchair? If yes, the brakes have potentially failed you (unless you've neglected care of them). If no, you don't really have a point because you mis-used the brakes.

    Sounds like it could be a potentially complex case, not least because of the costs involved with the item. Probably one where you should consider a solicitor/CAB and get expert advice. May be worthwhile contacting your CC too.

    In a nutshell, though, if you have a faulty item case you'd generally be entitled to:

    - Refund, repair OR replacement (at the discretion of the company)

    - Any associated costs (possible personal injury too)

    But yea, I'm erring on the side of user error in attempting something risky when warning flags were already in place.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 7th May 18, 7:54 PM
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • #4
    • 7th May 18, 7:54 PM
    • #4
    • 7th May 18, 7:54 PM
    Well my initial thought is that something like surely isn't designed for anything more that pottering around on pavements. I can't see how it could be stable without a tremendous amount of weight over the front wheel.

    However in the website linked above I see the following:

    "Light and compact, the new Batec Mini is a must-have when travelling and perfect for the beach, country strolls and mountain treks. So if you currently struggle to get over Spanish cobbles, up Scottish mountains or even on the beach with the family, look no further than the Batec Mini."

    So they are certainly selling is as suitable for all terrain, and certainly suitable for inclines.
    Whether the OP was doing anything rash of course, I can't really say.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 7th May 18, 7:58 PM
    • 200 Posts
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    Les79
    • #5
    • 7th May 18, 7:58 PM
    • #5
    • 7th May 18, 7:58 PM
    Well my initial thought is that something like surely isn't designed for anything more that pottering around on pavements. I can't see how it could be stable without a tremendous amount of weight over the front wheel.

    However in the website linked above I see the following:

    "Light and compact, the new Batec Mini is a must-have when travelling and perfect for the beach, country strolls and mountain treks. So if you currently struggle to get over Spanish cobbles, up Scottish mountains or even on the beach with the family, look no further than the Batec Mini."

    So they are certainly selling is as suitable for all terrain, and certainly suitable for inclines.
    Whether the OP was doing anything rash of course, I can't really say.
    Originally posted by ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    Good spot!
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 7th May 18, 8:02 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    • #6
    • 7th May 18, 8:02 PM
    • #6
    • 7th May 18, 8:02 PM
    I would be worried about any electric bike claiming that top speed, the maximum allowable is 25kpm (15mph), anything over that sounds a very dodgy product.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 7th May 18, 8:34 PM
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    forgotmyname
    • #7
    • 7th May 18, 8:34 PM
    • #7
    • 7th May 18, 8:34 PM
    Did the chairs brakes also fail?

    Yes a 4 wheels scooter may climb gradients where a single wheel model wont, thats fairly obvious. You have at least 2 driving wheels and your weight will normally be over those wheels aiding traction.

    Driving a single wheel that is extended out to the front with a much reduced load will have issues.

    If they suggest it was user error then i would agree with them. You lost traction trying to climb a gradient and persisted in trying to climb it instead of going back. Im curious about the chairs brakes though why did they not hold it from rolling backwards?

    Is there was no traction to pull up the hill, there would be little traction for a brake to work on that single wheel.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 7th May 18, 9:33 PM
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • #8
    • 7th May 18, 9:33 PM
    • #8
    • 7th May 18, 9:33 PM
    I think a lot depends on what the OP wants. If they want a refund because it clearly isn't suitable for climbing Scottish mountains, then whether they were rash doesn't come into it. That only matters if they want some compensation. They seem to only want a refund.
    • apoole
    • By apoole 7th May 18, 9:54 PM
    • 19 Posts
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    apoole
    • #9
    • 7th May 18, 9:54 PM
    • #9
    • 7th May 18, 9:54 PM
    Hi, thanks for all your comments and advice.

    The incline I was climbing was 3-1 which the dealer mentioned he had climbed himself (so assumed the incline would be no problem).

    When using the bike the only brakes I could use/rely on were the ones on the bike (reason for this is that to try and put the brakes on for the chair would require me to take my hands off the bike and this would cause the bike to turn and tip the chair anyway). My disability affects my balance and so unable to do any sudden movements.

    In addition, the dealer had stated that the brake would hold the bike on an incline but did not suggest it would roll back like it did...

    The literature for the bike does details its ability to tackle terrains... I understand it is not a 4x4, but as mentioned feel let down by its
    limited function compare to my Mobility Scooter.
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 7th May 18, 10:06 PM
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    unforeseen
    What do you mean the incline was 3-1?

    The bike brake would never have held it on an incline because all the weight would be on the back causing the front to lift and TBH you are lucky the whole thing didn't tip backwards since you had to lean forward when trying to go up just to put weight on the wheel.
    Last edited by unforeseen; 07-05-2018 at 10:10 PM.
    • apoole
    • By apoole 7th May 18, 10:22 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    apoole
    Yeah, as mentioned the dealer while discussing the bike when I collected it 'said he had climbed a 3-1 bank' .....

    My concern was that I was advised the brake on the bike would hold it on a bank and no mention was given that the bike and chair would roll back (it was scary).....
    • Les79
    • By Les79 7th May 18, 10:37 PM
    • 200 Posts
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    Les79
    What do you mean the incline was 3-1?

    The bike brake would never have held it on an incline because all the weight would be on the back causing the front to lift and TBH you are lucky the whole thing didn't tip backwards since you had to lean forward when trying to go up just to put weight on the wheel.
    Originally posted by unforeseen
    I suspect that it means *1 unit vertically VS 3 units horizontally*

    So if the horizontal distance is 3 metres, you go up vertically by 1 metre.

    (if it was the opposite, 3 units vertically VS 1 unit horizontally, then that would be very steep indeed!).

    My A-level Physics is failing me right now, and Google is only coming up with Physics problems which tackle acceleration DOWN a plane, but it would be very interesting to crunch the numbers using Pythagorean-based equations here!

    We've got the speed value (20kph), we can have an educated guess at the distance (using pythagoras if needed) and the friction coefficient. This would help us work out the subsequent rate of deceleration (and whether the optimal values, ie the one a consumer expects to experience, produce a result whereby you make it up the bank).

    Rubbish the things you forget when you get a bit older.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 7th May 18, 11:23 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    A 1:3 incline is incredibly steep. It would be a struggle on a bicycle and on foot. I don't think the salesman understood what he was saying.

    To put that in context, I have a 1:8 hill near me that needs to be taken in second gear in a car and is a hard climb on a racing bike. No way would I contemplate climbing it in a powered scooter or wheelchair.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 8th May 18, 12:08 AM
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    A 1:3 incline is incredibly steep. It would be a struggle on a bicycle and on foot. I don't think the salesman understood what he was saying.

    To put that in context, I have a 1:8 hill near me that needs to be taken in second gear in a car and is a hard climb on a racing bike. No way would I contemplate climbing it in a powered scooter or wheelchair.
    Originally posted by Aylesbury Duck
    I would agree with this...but I would also suspect that as he says he has done it regularly on a mobility scooter, maybe it isn't 1:3.

    "Which"

    https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/mobility-scooters/article/mobility-scooter-faqs

    says

    "Generally, they can cope with a small slope the same gradient used for wheelchair access ramps (1:12). Some can cope with a slightly steeper slope (1:8) but any steeper and they are likely to cut out."

    So unless he has some kind of super mobility scooter adapted to hill climbing, I suspect we are not talking a 1:3 incline here.
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 8th May 18, 5:55 AM
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    unforeseen
    Maybe it can cope with a 1 in 3 bank. They tend to be pretty short compared to a hill.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 8th May 18, 9:10 AM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    Maybe it can cope with a 1 in 3 bank.
    Originally posted by unforeseen
    Sounds like the new name for TSB, based on the chances of being able to log in to internet banking.
    • ElefantEd
    • By ElefantEd 8th May 18, 10:24 AM
    • 578 Posts
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    ElefantEd
    A 1 in 3 slope has an angle of about 18 degrees. If the chair + occupant weighs 100kg (=1000N) in total, this means the component down the slope is about 320N. At 20mph (=9 m/s), the energy required would be 2.8kJ every second, ie the power of the motor would need to be 2.8kW. This doesn't even allow for frictional losses. I suspect the OP's motor is rated at less than this, hence the difficulty in getting up. A 1 in 3 slope is pretty steep, many cars wouldn't be able to cope -it's about the steepest gradient on a road in the UK (somewhere in Yorkshire I think?).
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 8th May 18, 10:52 AM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    A 1 in 3 slope has an angle of about 18 degrees. If the chair + occupant weighs 100kg (=1000N) in total, this means the component down the slope is about 320N. At 20mph (=9 m/s), the energy required would be 2.8kJ every second, ie the power of the motor would need to be 2.8kW. This doesn't even allow for frictional losses. I suspect the OP's motor is rated at less than this, hence the difficulty in getting up. A 1 in 3 slope is pretty steep, many cars wouldn't be able to cope -it's about the steepest gradient on a road in the UK (somewhere in Yorkshire I think?).
    Originally posted by ElefantEd
    I love a bit of physics. Thanks.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 8th May 18, 8:13 PM
    • 200 Posts
    • 258 Thanks
    Les79
    A 1 in 3 slope has an angle of about 18 degrees. If the chair + occupant weighs 100kg (=1000N) in total, this means the component down the slope is about 320N. At 20mph (=9 m/s), the energy required would be 2.8kJ every second, ie the power of the motor would need to be 2.8kW. This doesn't even allow for frictional losses. I suspect the OP's motor is rated at less than this, hence the difficulty in getting up. A 1 in 3 slope is pretty steep, many cars wouldn't be able to cope -it's about the steepest gradient on a road in the UK (somewhere in Yorkshire I think?).
    Originally posted by ElefantEd
    Love it

    Out of curiosity, do you have a link to a formula which is related to this? I had a look and could only really find acceleration down an incline from rest!
    • its_all_over
    • By its_all_over 8th May 18, 8:21 PM
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    its_all_over
    I would be worried about any electric bike claiming that top speed, the maximum allowable is 25kpm (15mph), anything over that sounds a very dodgy product.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    I think it's even worse than that, a wheelchair used on the pavement shouldn't be able to go faster than 4 mph which is only 6 kph.

    This is from the Highway Code

    Rule 36
    There is one class of manual wheelchair (called a Class 1 invalid carriage) and two classes of powered wheelchairs and powered mobility scooters. Manual wheelchairs and Class 2 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 4 mph (6 km/h) and are designed to be used on pavements. Class 3 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 8 mph (12 km/h) and are equipped to be used on the road as well as the pavement.
    I found the page on gov.uk at this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-users-of-powered-wheelchairs-and-mobility-scooters-36-to-46

    I Think apoole might get into bother doing 20kph in a motorised wheelchair on any public pavement.
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