The Progeo Joker R2 is the new variant of the Italian wheelchair company’s popular Joker model. A rigid frame wheelchair, it is described by Progeo as extremely light and very adaptable. Dominic took a look to learn more about the Progeo Joker R2 lightweight wheelchair.
Joker R2 Specification
The hydroformed frame, an aircraft-grade aluminium, weighs in at a starting weight of 5.7KG without wheels. Whilst not the lightest wheelchair on the market, given that it is not titanium or carbon fibre, a weight under 6KG is very good. It comes in 6 seat widths of 33 to 48cm and 7 seat depths – 35 to 50cm. The front frame angle is 90 degrees and the footplate distance ranges from 35 to 49cm, with precision adjustment.
Hydroforming is what gives the Progeo Joker R2 frame it’s shape, whilst making it very strong and stable when compared to a round tube design.
The backrest can be angled at 74 to 94 degrees against the seat, with heights available of 24.5 to 47cm, adjustable again. Upholstery ranges offers include breathable fabric with a single zip pocket (as fitted to the review wheelchair) or the Progeo AIR posture backrest. As well as this, there are options of the backrest are Aluminium (Standard), titanium or carbon fibre.
Whilst on the topic of carbon fibre, the clothing guards/mudguards (carbon fibre is standard on the Progeo Joker R2) and footplates are available in carbon fibre too.
Wheel options range from 22 to 26 inches, with 0/2/4 degrees of camber, tyres include high pressure tyres and marathon plus – and handrims range from chromed steel to Surge LTs and Quads.
All of this gives a high customisation possibility – and not even touched on colours, which is a chart of 7 in total. Oh – and wheel guards are an option too.
The Italian brand Progeo certainly know style – the simplicity in the design, along with the colour flashes and subtle upholstery means that your wheelchair looks good. The gorgeous angular frame over the front caster stems stand out, especially when compared to some bracket-based caster housing or other popular wheelchairs.
The under-seat pocket, adorned with the Progeo logo, is easily accessed. The rear seat pocket, with the embroidered logo, gives the impression of a sporty car – the red, white and green colours standing out.
The wheelchair can be less subtle – available in Opaque Orange, for example, the wheelchair can certainly stand out if desired. When picking my children up from school, the colour was admired by quite a few people across the age spectrum. It also looked just as good when out shopping for clothing.
On the Road
The Progeo Joker R2 has a great feature of being really easy to set up correctly, which means that it is already going to handle well on the road. There are several tyre options, including off-road and high pressure tyres (although I always have my own Marathon Plus tyres at 125psi anyway). Spinergy Spox are an option.
The ride is comfortable, aided by the adjustable back rest too. Handling with the Surge LT’s fitted is very competent and thanks to the pin point precision of configuration, the wheelchair can be easy to manoeuvre on the flat and on hills. Coupled to this, the sport brakes are easy to lock into place – just watch your fingers in the edge though for those first couple of times – I pinched my thumb when I wasn’t careful.
With modern life, storage is important. Thankfully the Progeo Joker R2 scores well here too, with a pocket under the seat and one in the backrest. The zip-covered pocket in the backrest is the same width as the upholstery, which can sometimes lead the a little flex when trying to open the zip from behind you. It does mean you an keep bits like keys or USB charging batteries hidden and safe. The pocket under the seat, for us, is perfectly sized for a large USB-charging battery for when out and about for the day.
Off the road, the Joker R2 is just as competent on grass and play surfaces, incurring no issues around basic terrain. It coped better than I did in the snow.
The Joker R2 is similar to other active wheelchairs in this regard. The backrest folds down and locks in place, which means that lifting it over yourself is easily done. Thanks to the weight, it’s also easier to lift over yourself, too. However, the clothing guards are not removable as standard (it’s optional and one that we would recommend if you are transferring yourself into a car.
Wheel removal is easy as well – the quick release wheels are easily removed and with the optional Spinergy wheels, easily balanced.
The Joker R2 fits neatly into a Seat Leon or Ford Focus on the front seat or in the boot. In larger cars, such as a Seat Alhambra, the wheelchair can fit in without doing more than lower the backrest – and due to the weight, easily done. When transferring the wheelchair across your seat, you will find that the intrusion of the rear wheel stems limited to the height of the axle bar, making it less likely to bash your knees.
Adapting to life
The Joker R2 is great for being adjusted as your disability changes. Because of the millimetre-precision adjustment of the rear wheels, it means that your wheels will be perfectly adjusted to your needs.
Likewise, the footrest can also be adjusted in height (and pitch/depth on the aluminium or carbon fibre version) and the front casters can be adjusted by up to three inches to give added height to your feet and knees. This means that as your seating positions and needs change, your chair will move with you. Thanks to the way in which Progeo use standard hex-nuts on their chair, the chair is not difficult to have adjusted by a suitably qualified technician or Occupational Therapist.
If balance is your initial issue, anti-tip bars can be added as well to ensure that you can build your confidence. If simplicity is your thing, the order form offers simple set ups of standard, active, prudential and extreme – a great help if you’re unsure of what settings will give you which sort of set up. The option we’d take would be the removable carbon sideguards, which enables a side transfer into or out of your wheelchair as well as an easier load into the front of the car.
Conclusion – Progeo Joker R2
The Joker R2, given its ability to change with you, is a great wheelchair to help you as a novice active wheelchair user or a user with a changing need. This means you can maintain your mobility and independence. It’s then complemented by the design which is subtle and stylish. It maintains its own look within a market where a lot of rigid frame wheelchairs can look similar.
The wide range of options give you the configuration that you need – which means you can have confidence in your mobility. Dealers of the Progeo range are around the UK which means great support – the options being well known brands gives you confidence with the warranty.
In short, this is a good wheelchair regardless of changing needs or needing an ultralight wheelchair. If colour is your thing, the bright orange means you won’t be missed.
Joker R2 Size specification
|Seat width||33 – 36 – 39 – 42 – 45 – 48 cm|
|Backrest height||From 24.5 to 47cm
|Backrest angle||Form 74° to 94° to the seat
|Seat depth||35 – 37,5 – 40
42,5 – 45 – 47,5 – 50 cm
|Seat height||Front from 44 to 53 cm
Rear from 36 to 47 cm
|Total length||88cm approx.
|Footplate distance||From 35 to 49 cm
|Front frame angle||Aluminium 90°|
|Rear Wheel Camber||0° 2° 4°|
|Total width||Seat width + 17cm
(with 0° camber)
|Weight without rear wheels||Starting from 6 kg approx.|
|Wheelchair weight||Starting from 9 kg approx.|
|Maximum user weight||125 kg|