Our Guide to Handcycles

Handcycling can’t usually give you as much power as ‘leg cycling’ so the configuration and quality of the machine become so much more important. Handcycles range from utility cycles to high performance sports equipment. Two-wheeled handcycles are rare and confined to the sports sector.

Attach or Transfer?

Some handcycles are created by clipping a separate unit onto the front of an existing wheelchair. This makes use of a chair you have already and usually has a cost advantage. Other handcycles are based more on cycling technology and come as a whole road-going trike. These have integrated design and tend to cope better over uneven surfaces. They generally have better riding dynamics, which is important as you have to steer the front wheel while you power it. Obviously, you need to transfer from your own chair to the tricycle. These ready-built hand cranked trikes give a variety of choice which is not possible if you go down the attachment route.

Types of Handcycles

Hand cranked trikes come at lots of different price points. Some take the form of highly refined and very light recumbent trikes; others give you a more upright riding position. The higher quality ones give you lots of gears, because you need them.

There are hand cranked versions of almost everything, but almost always with three wheels. These include tandems, recumbents, off-road trikes and powered models. We also supply companion cycles with hand cranking on one side or both sides. Children are not forgotten, there are good handcycles for them, too.

Handcycle Power

Attachments give direct power to the front wheel. Complete handcycles can also offer this, but many have the drive going to the back wheels, often through differential drive, giving you better traction, especially over poor surfaces. A differential also gives you a smoother feel on the turn and decreases tyre wear. All but specialised sports machines have a range of gears – either derailleur or internal hub – and plenty of options to fine-tune the specification to your exact needs.

Tyre Quality and Handcycle Storage

Tyre quality is really important when it comes to Handcycles. Puncture-proof tyres are a popular option and self-sealing tubes can be added to give even more peace of mind. We can also match your treads to the type of terrain you’ll be riding.

Some handcycles separate into two parts for storage and transportation. But, if they don’t come apart, some, but not all, will fit on our tow-ball mounted Heavy Duty Tricycle Rack – so you can simply hang it on the back of your car.

Options and Choices

You may find the perfect handcycle easily, but there are clearly many possible variations, combinations and customisations. This is why, as a responsible social enterprise, we prefer to have a conversation with you first, to understand your exact needs and help you avoid mistakes. Our experts can also tell you about our try-out facilities and any alternatives amongst our refurbished cycles. It’s worth getting in touch!

Refurbished Options

We have built up expertise and supply chains which allow us to offer a wide range of refurbished cycles. Most of these are pre-loved models of top brands which we bring in from Holland and elsewhere. Our refurbished cycles are not always the latest model, but we buy quality, so even older cycles will look smart and all perform brilliantly. Refurbished cycles offer great value if you have a limited budget.

What Our Customers Say

"The staff are great and their generosity of spirit plus the most amazing array of different bikes that I had ever encountered provided an abundance of answers to my questions."

Rob Brown

Contact Us

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