Influence of Tire Type on Wheelchair Coast Down Testing: A Pilot Study

Mathew Yarossi, BS1, Andrew M. Kwarciak, MS1, Sue Ann Sisto, PhD1, Eugene Komaroff, PhD1, Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD1, Michael L. Boninger, MD2
1Human Performance and Movement Analysis Laboratory, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation, West Orange, NJ
2Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA


The objective of this study was to compare the relative rolling resistance of four common wheelchair tires and the SmartWheel. Coast down testing was performed with each pair of wheels positioned on a two-drum roller system. Within each weight condition (45.4 kg, 68.1 kg, 90.8 kg), tire type had a notable effect on coast down time. The pneumatic tires had longer coast down times and were less affected by weight increases than the solid tires. Solid tires are used because they require less maintenance than pneumatic tires; however, their relatively short coast down time, and thus theoretically high rolling resistance, should be considered when determining the appropriateness of a given tire.


coast down testing; manual wheelchair; rolling resistance; SmartWheel; tire type


The work is supported by PVA 2264-01, and VA Center of Excellence for Wheelchairs and Associated Rehabilitation Engineering B3142C.


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