You would be forgiven for thinking that all wheelchair tyre options are the same. There are some big differences that can make significant changes to your comfort and driving experience as a wheelchair user. Here are some key things you need to know as well as some places you can buy the tyres from.
The prices are correct as of February 2018.
Solid Wheelchair Tyre Options
Solid wheelchair tyres are great if you regularly go to places where you’ll get a puncture. They have a very firm ride, so if you feel every bump in your spine or have pain issues related to movement, you might want to consider pneumatic (air filled) tyres.
These are usually the preferred option for many NHS services where the wheelchair might see heavy and consistent use. You can also buy them yourself – for example, EPC offer them for £27 per tyre.
Air filled Wheelchair Tyres
Air filled (or pneumatic) tyres offer a more comfortable ride, with tyre pressures adjusted for the user. Many wheelchair users find that higher pressures (around 100 to 145 psi, 6.8 to 10 bar) give a lighter, easier ride whilst allowing for some bumps.
Punctures can be a concern – so we’ve taken a look at a selection of tyres as well.
Puncture Resistant wheelchair tyre options
These give a slightly firmer ride. However, they can withstand significant pressure without incurring many punctures. They’re around £20 per tyre and you can get them through retailers including Amazon and EPC. They offer good directional tread, which means that surface water moves around the tyre, making a surprising amount of difference.
Limited tread wheelchair tyre options
Sometimes, if you spend much of the time of smooth surfaces, less tread (and therefore less resistance) might be preferable. This is especially of benefit if you spend a lot of time on polished or concrete surfaces. Limited tread tyres are available for casters on electric wheelchairs and on main wheels on manual wheelchairs. Schwalbe RightRun tyres are very popular and decently priced per tyre – we found them for less than £20 per tyre at EPC.
Off road tyres
If mud is your thing, you might want to consider some wider wheels with more tread. You can get wider rear wheels that can accept wider and more robust tyres. Although the risk of punctures isn’t much reduced, it does mean you’ll be able to climb over softer and wetter ground. These are best when combined with a hand-bike. We found the following at EPC for less than £25 and best of all – they fit a standard wheelchair wheel.