The Küschall K-Series is a rigid frame manual lightweight wheelchair with the ability to be customised to the user. But is it as simple as that? We took a look to find out about.
The basic specs
The Küschall K-Series comes in three body forms – aluminium, titanium or carbon fibre. Of the three, the titanium and carbon fibre are self coloured, meaning that you will be showing off your ultralight wheelchair body. Coupled to this is one of two seating options, allowing for a certain amount of seat pitch and wheel positioning to suit you. Then a folding backrest is added, again adjusted to the pitch required for you, with options of a basic seat sling, tension adjusted upholstery or a removable backrest, such as a Jay or Matrix back. Finally, casters and rear wheels are added, along with any required wheel camber – 3 degree camber is standard and up to 10 degrees is available, using a Vario Axle.
The more complex specifications come to key issues such as weight of users and of the chair – so, here is the good news. The Aluminium wheelchair can take a user up to 20.5 stone, with seat widths 320mm to 500mm and depths of 350mm to 490mm. As standard are 24 inch wheels and 75 degree front angle (a 90 degree option is available, both with or without a V style frame). You can also lighten the Aluminium wheelchair by adding a carbon fibre rear axle and titanium backrest, although at only 250g weight deduction, you’d have to really notice the difference.
Keeping it simple
So for a wheelchair with quite a complex list of configurations, how can it be kept simple? This comes down to the prescription being correct first time. The user is measured and the wheelchair set up to their individual needs. Most users appreciate a bit of camber and 3 degrees from the standard axle will be sufficient.
Adding some tension ventilated upholstery, folding push handles if needed and Soft Roll front casters, the wheelchair is always great for most people – although those buying their own chair will usually opt for Spinergy wheels, too. Schwalbe black & grey pneumatic tyres come as standard, which are my personal preference over solid tyres. From this point on, many users are adding things that will benefit themselves individually, such as carbolife push rims or anti-tip bars.
The K-Series is an agile wheelchair, with the ability to be set up to the pushing needs of the user. That means that regardless of being a long time wheelchair user or a first time wheelchair user, the K-Series can be set up to your existing pushing style or help you find your new style. Being versatile, the base configuration can also be tweaked later on.
If your set up makes the wheelchair front casters leave the ground a bit more than you feel comfortable, anti tip bars can be added, which can ease your mind.
The wheelchair we tried had a titanium footrest – our one thought here is that a bit of a grip strip would help, especially for when wearing a deck shoe with less adhesion – your feet will slip off easily. A carbon footplate, which we assume has a bit of grip, is £165.
The tension upholstery on the back comes with a pocket, which is great for keeping keys in, or if you are like me, your phone. I missed an under-seat sling, which I normally keep a large battery in for charging up my phone on long days out.
The upholstery is comfortable although in the summer I’d want vented upholstery. This is available as an option and one we would recommend – a few warm journeys on public transport or long meetings will make you appreciate the choice.
The clothes guards (mud guards are available) flip up for transfers, fold in for transportation and are great for keeping your clothing clean much of the time – you should remember that any clothing guards are a defence against muck, not miracle workers. Being carbon, they look great no matter what colour frame you opt for and will go well with any clothing be it jeans and shirt or a suit. And if you need pushing through puddles during a rain storm, fold down handles are a great option too.
Being able to drive is a huge part of many peoples independence and a great wheelchair makes going out alone a lot easier. The Küschall K-Series basic design enables the independence subtly, which you only notice once you’ve had a chance to put the wheelchair in and out of a car yourself – so that’s what we did.
You can see how well the K-Series sits on the front seat from the photos (although for our visually impaired readers – the frame sits flush along the front seat and the casters on the footwell floor). Lifting the wheelchair over, the lack of axle struts under the frame mean that it won’t catch on your legs or on the car itself. The backrest sitting flat against the seat also means that you don’t have to adjust a steering wheel or move your own seat too much.
For those times when you need the front seat, the wheelchair fits nicely into the boot of a standard estate car.
We all need that first chair that makes a lot of sense to us and gets us moving, re-establishing some independence or helping us adjust our independence as we go through life. The K-Series is as versatile as you could ask for and configurable to each persons needs.
Prices for the frame start from £1,975 (aluminium) up to £2,283 (carbon fibre). Paint options for the aluminium frame are extensive and range from bright and colourful to darker colours (including a matt black). A versatile options list ensure that you have a choice of wheelsets (front and rear), although most people will go for Spinergy wheels and Soft-Roll casters.
Small things such as the lack of foot grip and no standard under seat pouch (£59) is fault finding at it’s finest and easy to resolve. There are plenty of options too, which means your chair is truly your wheelchair.
There’s a good reason why many people get a second Küschall K-Series after their first – it’s because it’s a great rigid wheelchair that can adapt to you as you change. That’s why we gave it 9 out of 10.