If you are
looking for a top end "rehab" style Powerchair with good speed, good range, Big
Amp Control system and true outdoor capability and some indoor ability then this
is the best Powerchair out there. With a few small issues.
one is better! And this
one is going to be better still!
For ANY outdoor use -
even our "SMOOTH" streets - it is superior to all other currently
available powerchairs. It offers a truly Smooth COMFORTABLE ride much like a
boat over water.
Conventional Powerchairs rattle you about like a pea on
a drum and vibrate
you to death even on our supposedly wheelchair friendly smooth streets.
Never mind on
a grass field or any real "off road". This is uncomfortable as well as physically
damaging if you suffer from pressure sores or spinal problems as I do.
This is because normal powerchairs almost universally use hard small
skinny tyres! 3.00 x 8 sized - (14 inch). They have very high pressures and
very small sidewalls. YOU FEEL everything you drive over only too well...
Suspension on all current powerchairs barely does anything to stop this high
frequency vibration and bumping about and its unlikely to improve as it simply
cant work at the slow speeds we travel at.
Why is the X5 so good outdoors? Because
unlike every other modern powerchair it uses big soft low pressure "balloon"
style main drive wheel tyres. These run at a very low pressure of just 4 to 7
psi and simply deform to absorb bumps, Even rocks and curb edges. You don't
"feel" the obstacles or the surface.
There is only one chair in the world better than this X5 for outdoor use that I
know of and that's my own. It uses
the same sized tyres as the X5 for the very same reasons.
They missed an important trick though. I
personally use tubeless ones on my own
powerchair (up to 20 times less chance of a puncture causing deflation)
And I use 4 ply tyres rather than 2 ply. They are even tougher and harder to
puncture. And they are filled with off road puncture seal fluid - just in case!
I like to be sure! I can actually drill a hole in mine without the tyre
deflating. That's very important for a Powerchair user. No not drilling
holes... Puncture survival! And a tubeless tyre cannot be fitted to an X5 wheel
even though they are the same size. They failed.
While it performs well outdoors and off road too, its a bit big
and high indoors. It width is claimed to be 28 inches. But my ruler showed me
28.5 inches+ across tyres. That is over 3 inches wider than my own fat tyre
powerchair. Why??? And its length is a good few inches longer too... As
usual they just are not trying.
And it has an extra set of casters sticking out at the rear to
hit everything behind you as you manoeuvre indoors. It feels like a tank in
comparison to my own chair indoors. Even the seat is a few inches higher.
I tried an X5 in myRollx Van. Typical
lowered floor minivan. It JUST goes up the ramp if you are inch perfect. But
that would get very tiring at night or in rain. Once inside headroom becomes a bit of an
issue too, as does moving it about to get to the correct driving position. I
drive from the wheelchair. It is too wide to go centrally in front of the
steering wheel. It can be used in a van but isn't ideal. The
electronic tie down would also need moving off centre to allow it to fit...
Needless to say my own heavily modified fat tyred F55s powerchair
is a fraction over 25 inches wide so has plenty of room on the ramp. And turns
easier inside to as its much more compact / shorter too and has lower seat.
X5 factory programming is dismal, soggy, and
vague much like all new powerchairs but with the aid of an OEM
programmer that can be fixed! If you can get hold of one. Its
not easy. An end user/dealer programmer will not fix that. Its considerably
better than the last few Pride Quantum or Quickie powerchairs I have tried though! They
are absolutely unreal to the point of being almost unusable! What were they
thinking? We are not all 93.
It uses a Dynamic Control System - now
updated to a DX2 system.
That is MUCH better than most systems. See whyhere!
It uses the large group 24 MK Gel
batteries'. In a chair like the Frontier X5
that's bad. Gel batteries struggle with high currents that this chair requires
off road with its big 4 pole motors and true 120 amp x2 control system (if programmed to take advantage)
Good AGM batteries such as I choose to use in my own powerchair are far superior
here - although they may not last quite as long.
There are a few quality issues too.
Arms are flimsy, weak and wobble about. If you use them to lift
yourself as I have to do they will bend and fail. Swing away footplates are badly made and
finished. The base appears to be reasonably well made. Non of it is finished
well in common with almost every powerchair with thin single layer of paint on
most parts and cheap steel bolts/bearings etc. Another reason I built my
own! That and I don't like that great chunk of powerchair sticking out behind
me. Or mid drive (6 wheel) powerchairs generally. It makes them too long. And
they can get hung up with drive wheels off the ground. See video for
some more details:
Power base below.....
The X5 power "base" seems pretty well built and solid
however. In this image one battery is removed and you are looking at
the rear. Obviously the seat has been removed! Notice the big soft squashy
tyres. 145 / 70 - 6 rubber! There should be standard on all powerchairs. But
there is no reason for it to be 28.5 inches wide! My built in a bedroom
powerchair with the same sized tyres and batteries is 3.5 inches less wide!
Caster wheels are a little small for snow / sand etc but seem to manage mostly.
Bigger would have been better. But since there are so many of them they would
hit everything around you indoors.
Speed... There are claims of
7.5mph, 7mph, 6mph... Not sure which is correct. They all seem to be about 6.5
to 7 as far as different owners tell me. Seepowerchairs and speed.
However IF I had to choose a powerchair from all that is
currently available (and wasn't allowed to just build my own) then I would seriously
consider one of these. subject to reprogramming, and some off road goo in the
tubed tyres. The puncture seal does not work as well in tubes though. Tubes pop
like balloons, or stretch around the nail or whatever letting the air out.