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What is Adaptive MTB?

Adaptive Mountain Biking (aMTB), sometimes referred to as “off-road para-cycling”, encompasses a broad range of  riders who typically cannot ride a standard mountain bike and require adapted equipment and trails to suit their physical, intellectual, neurological and sensory abilities.

There are varying adaptive mountain bikes available around the world, each designed to meet a riders specific need. Readily established adaptive equipment includes: handcycles, recumbent leg-cycles, and tandem bikes. Other categories of adaptive mountain biking are illustrated in the diagram below:

 

some of the more common adaptive off-road bikes from around the world...
Recumbent Handcycle
Suitable for cross-country.

The first type of off-road handcycles, and the more common style among people with disabilities, is the recumbent handcycle. Much like it’s road counterpart, the off road recumbent allows the rider to be seated in a ‘leaning-back’ position with the legs held forward and typically strapped in to supporting leg brackets. The weight is distributed toward the rear of the frame which is supported by two rear wheels.

Main Features

Seating: Full backrest and sitting cushion
Seating Position: Leaning back – legs forward.
Weight Distribution: Middle to Back
Drive Chain: Front Wheel
Pedaling: Parallel hand cranks
Steering: Front wheel pivot (between legs) with hand cranks

Function

The single front wheel pivots between the legs and acts as the primary steering wheel and drive wheel. A back rest allows the rider to strap themselves with belts according to their ability and comfort level. It also allows them to propel the handcycle by pushing simultaneously the hand cranks which is typically positioned around chest height.

Width 0
Turning Radius 0
Technical Features 0
Gradient 0
Camber 0

*In relation to other available adaptive bikes of similar category.

Positives

Can be modified to use on-road. Less trunk stability required – Can be adapted for higher functioning quadriplegics.

Negatives

Larger turning circle. Less suspension. Less clearance. Can be difficult to transfer in/out from wheelchair.

Manufacturers

FreedomRyder
USA
http://www.freedomryder.com


Lasher Sport, LLC
5720 S. Arville Street, Suite 105
Las Vegas, NV 89118
http://www.lashersport.com


Outrider USA
66 Fletcher Commercial Drive,
Suite E, Fletcher, NC 28732
https://outriderusa.com/


Reactive Adaptations
Colorado, USA
http://www.reactiveadaptations.com


Sport-On
Ul. Ścięgny 177B
58-540 Karpacz
POLAND
https://www.sport-on.com/


Wolturnus
Skalhuse 31
9240 Nibe DENMARK
https://wolturnus.dk/en/products/handbikes/fatbike/


Kneeling Handcycle
Suitable for cross-country, technical and downhill.

This is a relatively newer type of handcycles arranged in a ‘tadpole-like’ configuration with one wheel at the rear and two at the front. With the rider positioned on their knees and sitting on a bucket seat, they have less options for strapping their torso and are therefore more suited, although not limited, for people with a higher function and stability.

Main Features

Seating: Carbon bucket seat
Seating Position: Kneeling forward
Weight Distribution: Middle to front
Drive Chain: Rear-wheel
Pedaling: Alternating hand cranks
Steering: Standard bike handlebars

Function

Opposite to the recumbent handcycle, the kneeling handcycle has the drive wheel is at the back, while two front wheels act as the steering and balancing wheels.

A typical bike handle bar group set is common among the kneeling handcycles.

Width 0
Turning Radius 0
Technical Features 0
Gradient 0
Camber 0

*In relation to other available adaptive bikes of similar category.

Positives

Good impact absorber. Smaller turning circle. More stable over technical features. Higher ground clearance.

Negatives

More trunk function required. More strain on the back and neck. Chest-plate initially uncomfortable. Can be difficult to transfer into.

Manufacturers

Reactive Adaptations
Colorado, USA
http://www.reactiveadaptations.com


Sport-On
Ul. Ścięgny 177B
58-540 Karpacz
POLAND
https://www.sport-on.com/


One-off (not in production)
494 Stage Road
Cummington, MA 1026 USA
http://www.oneoffhandcycle.com/

Up-right Handcycle
Suitable for cross-country, technical and downhill.

Similar to the kneeling bike, the frame has many of the same features of the tadpole configuration.  The difference being that the rider is siting in a upright position with legs forward. One of the key features different to the recumbent handcycles (which can also be positioned in a more up-right position) is that the up-right handcycle steering doesn’t impact the orientation of the legs (they stay straight). A few new iterations are emerging on the market recently however is only manufactured by a few producers.

Main Features

Seating: Full backrest and sitting cushion
Seating Position: Sitting upright – legs forward.
Weight Distribution: Middle to Back
Drive Chain: Front Wheel
Pedaling: Parallel hand cranks
Steering: Front wheel pivot (between legs) with hand cranks

Function

Opposite to the recumbent handcycle, the kneeling handcycle has the drive wheel is at the back, while two front wheels act as the steering and balancing wheels.

A typical bike handle bar group set is common among the kneeling handcycles.

Positives

Less trunk stability required. Can be adapted for higher functioning quadriplegics. Good ground clearance. Legs remain in straight position. Easier transferring from wheelchair.

Negatives

Top-heavy.

Manufacturers

Reactive Adaptations
Colorado, USA
http://www.reactiveadaptations.com


Sport-On
Ul. Ścięgny 177B
58-540 Karpacz
POLAND
https://www.sport-on.com/


Ti-Trikes, Inc.
34 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06089
http://www.ti-trikes.com


Greenspeed
Unit 5/31 Rushdale St, Knoxfield
Victoria, 3180, Australia
http://www.greenspeed-trikes.com


Recumbent Leg-trike
Suitable for cross-country, technical and downhill.

Recumbent leg trikes have been available as road designs for many years, out-dating any adaptive off-road handcycle. A small number of manufacturers are producing off-road compatible leg-trikes with the advances in technology. The design is almost identical to that of up-right handcycles with the variation of being leg-pedaled and the seat generally being more recumbent than upright. Steering is typically achieved with out-rig handles with the shifters and brake leavers. The outriggers typically steer in sync.

Main Features

Seating: Recumbent backrest.
Seating Position: Leaning back – legs forward.
Weight Distribution: Middle to Back
Drive Chain: Rear Wheel
Pedaling: Legs in front of trike
Steering: outrigger handles

Function

The single front wheel pivots between the legs and acts as the primary steering wheel and drive wheel. A back rest allows the rider to strap themselves with belts according to their ability and comfort level. It also allows them to propel the handcycle by pushing simultaneously the hand cranks which is typically positioned around chest height.

Positives

Can be modified to use on-road. Less trunk stability required – Can be adapted to higher quadriplegics or people with ABI that have some leg function. Moderate ground clearance. Small turning radius.

Negatives

Less suspension options. Legs exposed at front. Minimal seat padding options.

Suppliers
AZUB BIKE s.r.o.
Bajovec 2761,
688 01 Uherský Brod, Czech Republic
https://azub.eu (FAT and Ti-FLY)

HP Velotechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Kapellenstrasse 49
65830 Kriftel Germany
https://www.hpvelotechnik.com/ (Scorpion FS Enduro)


Ice Trikes
Unit 15, Tregoniggie Industrial Estate, Empire Way
Falmouth TR11 4SN, United Kingdom
https://www.icetrikes.co (Full Fat and Adventurer HD)


Reactive Adaptations
Colorado, USA
http://www.reactiveadaptations.com