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    • apoole
    • By apoole 7th May 18, 4:15 PM
    • 21Posts
    • 0Thanks
    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

    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 2
    • ElefantEd
    • By ElefantEd 8th May 18, 9:33 PM
    • 632 Posts
    • 1,193 Thanks
    I just did a diagram and worked it out from first principles, I teach physics so it's second nature to me! Everything rounded off to make the numbers easy.

    But it boils down to P = Wv sinx where W = Weight (in Newtons ie 10 x mass in kg), v = steady velocity, x = angle of slope. You can get the angle from tan x = 1/3 (for a 1 in 3 slope) if that's the way the info is presented. But you'll need a calculator for the tan and sin functions.

    Obviously if you start off going fast enough you can get up a short, steep, slope but only by trading off your kinetic energy and losing speed.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 9th May 18, 1:44 AM
    • 600 Posts
    • 695 Thanks
    I just did a diagram and worked it out from first principles, I teach physics so it's second nature to me! Everything rounded off to make the numbers easy.

    But it boils down to P = Wv sinx where W = Weight (in Newtons ie 10 x mass in kg), v = steady velocity, x = angle of slope. You can get the angle from tan x = 1/3 (for a 1 in 3 slope) if that's the way the info is presented. But you'll need a calculator for the tan and sin functions.

    Obviously if you start off going fast enough you can get up a short, steep, slope but only by trading off your kinetic energy and losing speed.
    Originally posted by ElefantEd
    That's cool I used to teach maths up to KS3 level and I appreciate the SOHCAHTOA part of your post with the "tan x" bit to work out the angle of ~18%.

    The Physics part is a bit beyond my ability.

    I just want to say though but you are a real asset to your profession, you really sound like you know your stuff, and I genuinely thank you for that!
    • apoole
    • By apoole 9th May 18, 10:44 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Firstly, thanks for all the replys and information provided.

    To update, I spoke to the owner of the business yesterday and explained my concern with the bike. He showed concern with regard to my injury sustained and then seemed to defend the reliability and durability of the bike.

    I explained its inability to climb the bank and the fact that the bike was then not able to hold itself in position when the brakes were applied and the safety element of this.

    I then also discussed how at the point of sale of the bike, they did take me out on a trial run (15mins) and we covered a distance over a tar-mac pathway again travelling at top speed along this pathway giving me the impression that the bike was able to tackle most terranes and inclines, at one point one of the group took his bike and chair via an incline onto a raised grassed area to show how it was able to go across grass. They really seemed to apply this was more that just a standard mobility scooter and the best way to travel while in your wheelchair.

    He also reaffirmed that the bike and chair was able to scale/tackle a 1-3 bank no problem and that he had been able to scale an incline of greater gradient? and taken his wheelchair with bike through the Delamere Forest (Cheshire) on the tacks and pathways.

    He then stated that he would like to come out and look at the incline I failed to climb and show/prove that the bike is able to tackle this and if still not happy with the bike he would provide a refund.

    My concerns are still:

    Ok, the bike like a mobility scooter does have limitations but does provide additional independence. The normal retail price of this attachment is 4999.00 (wow) but as I was one of the first 20 people to purchase this bike in was reduced to 4000.00. If I return it I will get my 4000.00 refund and with the bike only showing 15km on the clock (7km of that was already on when I purchased it) with a quick brake-handle fix, it will probably then be sold again as new for 4999.00 (leaving me to purchase something else similar at full price).

    As per my original post, is this bike suitable for use? As mentioned re speed limits for motorised chairs, the bike does have three speed settings (Walking up to 6kmh) (Cycle up to 12kmh) & (Extreme up to 20kmh) as mentioned with there being limited weight at the front of the unit when climbing inclines, you need to lean forward and to gain momentum to climb banks you need to obtain speed before starting your accent (i.e. speed setting needs to be more than walking pace). I also mentioned that how you need to gain momentum before climbing banks meant that when out with other able-bodied people as a group you need to race off quicker when faced with these inclines.

    They gave no advice or guidance regarding speed limits of motorised wheelchairs on public footpaths and even seemed to encourage travelling at high speeds as shown on my test run (the company also produces another bike attachment called a Rapid that has a top speed of 28kmh).

    I questioned with them when on the test run re Liability Insurance in case of an accident and they inform that the bike came with a liability cover for 12 months but to ensure that if I was to hit anyone make sure that you say your bike was on the walking pace setting (I understand why now?).

    I also feel that the sales practice of the company should be question? Obviously as a convenient attachment to give greater independence this appeals to wheelchair users and with the high price for the item provides a good profit for the retailer.

    With mentioning all the above points to the business owner, he suggested that he would take my advice on board and look to offer an awareness course for the bikes as part of purchase.

    I know the final decision is left with me. But would you return the bike and put it down to experience? Keep the bike and accept it has limitations i.e. speed, traction, stability?

    Or can these above points be addressed via Legal Assistance i.e. miss selling.

    Thanking you all again in advance for any replys.
    • A Nice Englishman
    • By A Nice Englishman 9th May 18, 10:58 AM
    • 2,135 Posts
    • 1,194 Thanks
    A Nice Englishman

    As an 'outsider' I'm afraid it appears to me to be a rip-off and potentially dangerous for both the user and the general public. I'd get my money back and buy something else.

    If part of the reason for buying it is to have fun (and why not!) would you be able to drive an off-road quad bike? 4000 would buy nearly 100 rides.
    Last edited by A Nice Englishman; 09-05-2018 at 11:12 AM.
    • apoole
    • By apoole 9th May 18, 11:23 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Thanks for link re Quad Bike, looks like fun and will contact them re suitability for a wheelchair user...

    The bike my post is about is more for day to day use i.e. going to local shop and getting about on days out or when out with friends.

    • its_all_over
    • By its_all_over 9th May 18, 2:32 PM
    • 165 Posts
    • 92 Thanks
    4000 sounds like it's a ripoff.

    Why don't you just buy a proper powered wheelchair? I might not be an expert on wheelchairs, but I have seen plenty of people around town driving something like this that will only cost 1200.
    • futurecut
    • By futurecut 17th Oct 18, 6:17 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    This thread is old but hey its helping me learn to type again...

    I think the OP is on a bit of a hiding to nothing and if refunded i think lucky. I think a bit daft as well. Sales patter is one thing but you do have to understand the limitations of both equipment and yourself. For a dealer to claim 1 in 3 is just daft. It may be possible for some, in some instances but be far from normal. This is recogniseable p*sh.

    For instance, when i could use my legs a biking group i was with may have had 10 people tackle a difficult, short, steep incline. 2 might have made it look easy, 8 ended up on their arses. The two that made it are better bikers. They've better understanding and technique, they know how traction works and how to achieve it.

    The Batecs are by far the best out there. A million times more flexible than powered chairs and scooters, that's why they exist. But they are by no means perfect and like any throttled thing, it wont do everything you ask of it. Frankly like any chair ascent, if you're not going to make it you should know what to do, not just have blind faith in a brake that though 100% functional, wont work because of loss of traction. all you need to do is let a rearward roll start, lock the handlebars full left or right and presto, within one wheel rotation you're sitting perpendicular to the slope, safe as houses, ready to pull away and go back the way you came.

    And on the subject of cost. As usual, people with absolutely no idea what they're talking about claim rip off. Yes, you're right its a lot. But sadly once your life is F*d you're stuck in a system where anything mobility or disability costs eye watering sums. If i wanted to buy the manual chair the nhs gave me it'd be over 2K. From injury onwards we're in a sh*t sandwich where any decision we get to make is to choose the least worst from a choice of awful to terrible. And be charged thousands for it. i could design a better Batec, but its a tiny market, no wonder they cost so much but i cant help think its taking the p*ss. It'll change. The e-bike revolution will bring out plenty rivals and at that price they'll vanish.

    BTW the only off road elec bike/chair is 14K. an elec standing chair is 15k. The disabled are getting ar*e f*ked every day of our miserable lives while we sell golden passports to crooked oligarchs.

    'Austerity' is good for us. No, it's good for those that are telling us to accept it.

    Bit of a rant, still i get so little pleasure these days.
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