Whirlwind | RoughRider | Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual

Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
Copyright © 2007 by Whirlwind Wheelchair International
First Edition, June 2007
Written by
Alida Lindsley & Carol Maddox
Chris Howard & Ralf Hotchkiss
Joan Rogin & Marc Krizack
Funding Provided by
The Jared Tamler Memorial Fund
The Fred Gellert Family Foundation
Whirlwind welcomes your ideas and suggestions for improving our wheelchairs and manuals.
The best information we get is from you, the rider.
Please feel free to contact us.
Whirlwind Wheelchair International, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, SCI 251, San Francisco, CA 94132-4163 USA
Phone: 415.338.6277, Fax: 415.338.1290, E-mail: info@whirlwindwheelchair.org
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Table of Contents
Your RoughRider
Who is the RoughRider for? And RoughRider Specifications
RoughRider Components
RoughRider Features
Common Modifications
Basic Riding Skills
Know your Capabilities and Limits
Pressure Relief
Pressure Relief Techniques
Moving Around
Riding Techniques
Tranfers: Getting in and out of your RoughRider
Traveling with your RoughRider
Maintenance and Repair
Maintenance Schedule
Wheel Locks
Lubricating your RoughRider
Cleaning your RoughRider
Routine Inspections
Nuts and Bolts
Troubleshoot: If your RoughRider Does Not Roll Straight
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
Your RoughRider™
The RoughRider wheelchair’s innovative design helps
you ride more easily and safely:
• Over very rough ground without tipping forward.
• Over soft surfaces, without the front wheels getting
• Down and across slopes, with minimal effort and
much less risk of tipping.
The RoughRider is compact, lightweight, and has a
comfortable seat.
The RoughRider’s folding frame makes travel easy on
buses and automobiles. The RoughRider was designed with
few removable components to minimize the loss of parts.
The RoughRider was also designed for easy repair and
maintenance using commonly available parts and tools.
The RoughRider’s design is the culmination of ideas and innovations of wheelchair builders,
users, and experts from around the world who promote the independence of wheelchair riders.
page 1 of 57
Who is the RoughRider for?
To avoid potential injury, the RoughRider should only be used by someone who can meet the
following criterion:
Pressure Management - The single most important criterion. If you have limited or no
sensation (feeling) you must be able to manage the pressure on your body to use the
RoughRider safely (e.g., proper techniques for self care, pressure relief, skin care). A pressure
ulcer can form after only 20 minutes of sitting without pressure relief. You must always have an
appropriate, high quality pressure relief cushion (and know how to care for it) to use with the
Head and Trunk Control - The RoughRider’s sling-type backrest may not be suitable for you
if you have weak or absent trunk muscles, as you may not have enough muscle support to
maintain a desirable riding position. Using the RoughRider with inadequate trunk control could
lead to the development of scoliosis (curvature of the spine). If you are not able to support your
head independently, you should not use the RoughRider, as it does not provide any head
Size and Fit – The RoughRider is designed for riders with hip widths between 31.5–48.5 cm*
(12.5–19 in.), and an upper leg length longer than 40.7 cm (16 in.). The length measurement is
taken while seated and measures from back of pelvis to back of lower leg. With some standard
modifications however, the RoughRider may be suitable for riders outside of these ranges. See
end of section for more information. *Seat widths may vary depending on manufacturer.
RoughRider Specifications
355mm (14 in.), 400mm (15.7 in.), 440mm (17.4 in.),
480mm (19 in.)
Seat Depth:
405mm (16 in.)
Seat Height:
485mm (19 in.) at front of seat
Seat Angle:
12 degrees
Seat to Back Angle:
90 degrees
435mm (17 in.) standard, 380mm (15 in.) and 485mm (19
Back Height:
in.) custom
Footrest Height from Front of Seat:
255mm–375mm (10–14.75 in.)
Rear Wheel Dimensions:
24 x 1.75 in. standard
Rear Wheel Camber:
3 degrees
Rear Wheel & Caster Barrel Bearings: 6201 (12mm ID x 32mm OD)
12mm; Class 8.8 hardness (Grade 5)
Push Rim Diameter:
485mm (19 in.)
Front Wheel Dimensions:
110mm (4.3 in.) diameter x 80mm (3.1 in.) width
Front Wheel Bearings:
Standard bicycle hub and bearing
Overall Width:
229mm (9 in.) + Seat width
Overall Length:
Shortest 910mm (36 in.); longest 990mm (39 in.)
Wheelbase (Front to Rear Axle):
Shortest 480mm (19 in.); longest 560mm (22 in.)
Rear Wheel Position Adjustment:
5 positions over 80mm (3 in.)
16.75 kg (37 lbs)
RoughRider specifications: numbers are approximate and may vary depending on manufacturer.
Effective Seat Widths: *seat fabric will
be narrower than effective seat width
page 2
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
RoughRider™ Components
Side Frame
Back and Seat
Rear Wheel
Push Rim
Wheel Lock
Caster Barrel
Caster Fork and
Caster Wheel
Upon receiving your RoughRider, please make a note of how the components are adjusted so that
you can easily adjust them in the future. It is recommend that you write down the following
critical measurements and refer to them when performing inspections or maintenance on your
Seat Width
Seat Height
Footrest Height
Right __________cm
Left __________cm
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
(measured between inside edges of side frames)
(measured from floor to front edge of seat)
(measured from front edge of seat to back edge
of foot plate)
page 3 of 57
RoughRider™ Features
Long Wheelbase
Small diameter caster wheels fit under the footrests, resulting in
a longer distance between the rear wheels and caster wheels
without making the chair longer overall. The small wheels also
allow you to maintain a low knee height, so that your knees can
fit under tables.
What are the advantages of a longer wheelbase?
• Prevents tipping (better forward stability) when traveling over
uneven terrain, such as rocks or uneven dirt roads.
• Easier to push because more weight is on the rear drive wheels,
and less on your front caster wheels, which gives you better
traction on uneven ground and makes it easier to roll straight on a
side slope.
Foldable X-Brace
Why have a foldable X-brace?
• Chair folds flat for easy storage and
transport. If your chair does not fit
under or behind the rear seat of a van or
bus, you could be charged double or
triple for transport.
• Chair width can be easily changed by
substituting a different size X-brace and
page 4
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Pneumatic Rear Tires
Most RoughRiders come with all terrain pneumatic tires (mid to
heavy-weight), that fit on standard wheel rims (24 x 1.75 in.)
However, you might prefer light-weight tires and rims if you will be
mostly riding indoors or in well-paved urban environments.
Why use pneumatic (air filled) rear tires?
Because wider, sturdier, pneumatic tires provide better:
• Shock absorption - air filled inner tubes absorb bumps
better than standard hospital wheelchair tires that are
made of solid rubber.
• Durability - thicker, knobbier tires last longer on rough
roads than standard wheelchair tires that are thin and have
little tread.
• Repair and replacement options - pneumatic tires are
available wherever bicycle parts are sold and eliminate
the need to search for special wheelchair tires. Solid
rubber tire inserts may be an option to avoid punctures.
Wheel Locks
“Parking Brakes” Stabilize your chair when
it is stopped for easier and safer transfers,
reaching, weight shifting, etc.
Parking brakes should not be used to slow
the chair because it will quickly wear down
the tread of the tires.
“Zimbabwe” Caster Wheels
Why use “Zimbabwe” caster wheels?
• The flexible rubber design provides a
smooth ride over rough ground including
cracks, stones, and other small obstacles.
• The wide wheel “floats” over soft ground
without getting stuck.
• The V-tire profile reduces the sticky
contact area of the tire so that it swivels
easily on hard surfaces.
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
page 5 of 57
Adjustable Rear Wheel Position
The RoughRider’s rear wheels have five positions.
Why have an adjustable rear wheel position?
An adjustable rear wheel position optimizes stability and
performance for riders of differing abilities.
With your rear wheels further forward:
• Your chair will be easier to push because there is less weight on the
front wheels.
• Your chair will resist turning downhill on a side slope.
• It will be easier to go over obstacles.
• It will be easier to perform wheelies.
With your rear wheels further back the chair will be less likely to tip
Start with the rear wheel in a position that feels secure to you. As your
skill level increases with practice, the wheel position can be adjusted
Your Cushion
If you have limited feeling in your buttocks, you should use
a high quality foam cushion that is highly resilient. If you
do not use a suitable cushion you are likely to develop a
pressure sore. You should also perform regular pressure
relieving exercises (see the Basic Riding Skills section for
more instruction and information about limited feeling).
A cushion can also make you feel more comfortable and
can promote good posture. If you use a cushion, make sure
your footrests are well adjusted so that your weight is
evenly distributed on the cushion.
page 6
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Seat Angle
The RoughRider was designed with 12 degrees of seat tilt.
Why does the RoughRider have seat tilt?
• Seat tilt makes sitting feel more natural and comfortable; the
back-tilted position helps keep your trunk upright.
• Seat tilt helps you resist falling forward out of the chair (e.g. when
you are stopped suddenly by a bump).
with little seat tilt
RoughRider with
12 degrees seat tilt
forward and uses
effort to sit.
Rider can reach
farther back to
push and can sit
upright with less
Cambered Rear Wheels
Cambered wheels tilt inward at the top of the wheel and
outward at the bottom. The RoughRider has approximately 3
degrees of camber.
Why have cambered wheels?
• More stability side to side because the chair is wider at the
• Easier to push the push rims because they are in line with
your shoulders,closer to you, and angle outwards slightly.
The RoughRider’s footrests:
• Are adjustable to accommodate users of different
• Fold out of the way for easier transfer.
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
page 7 of 57
Common Modifications
For Shorter Riders
Shorter Seat Depth - If your upper legs are shorter than
40.7mm (16 in.), as measured from back of pelvis to back of
lower leg, you can shorten the effective seat length by:
• Asking the manufacturer (or a local metalworker) to
shorten the seat tubes at the front and to make custom seat
fabric to fit the new sized tubes;
• Adding foam behind your back so that you are sitting
further forward (you may also want to move your rear
wheels forward).
Shorter Back Height – Some manufactures may be able to customize
the back height for you, if you prefer a shorter back height.
For Taller Riders
If you are taller than 1.8m (6 ft.), you may need to make some
modifications to make the chair fit better. This is especially
important if you do not have full feeling in your body.
In order to bear more weight under your thighs and less on your
buttocks to prevent pressure sores, you can:
• Adjust footrests to their lowest position.
• Add dense foam under your normal cushion to lift you
up, if your thighs are still not bearing weight.
• Adjust your wheel position backward to stabilize your
higher center of gravity.
• Ask your manufacturer (or local metalworker) to make a
higher backrest for you. A higher backrest may be more
comfortable and support you better.
page 8
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Optimal Riding for Amputees
If you do not have legs, you may want to:
• Move your rear wheels back to prevent yourself
from tipping backward.
• Remove the footrest(s) to minimize the weight of the
chair, unless you use the footrests to carry loads or
get in and out of the chair.
Heel Strap and Lap Belt
You may want to add a calf strap to your RoughRider to
keep your feet from slipping backward off the footrests.
You can add a calf strap by wrapping a piece of material,
such as webbing or heavy cloth, around the footrest tubes.
A lap belt may be useful to improve your control and
keep your buttocks seated in the wheelchair. A lap belt
can also help you feel more secure when riding your
wheelchair. You can add a lap belt by attaching two
strips of soft material, such as webbing, to the guide tubes
(the inner curved tube on side frame) or to the back tubes
and connecting the strips together with a buckle.
Prevent areas of high pressure: It is very important when using both the lap belt and the heel
strap to prevent the strap material from creating areas of high pressure. If you use a heel strap or
lap belt make sure to routinely check the skin of your lap and the back of your legs and feet for
signs of pressure sores. Refer to the Basic Riding Skills section for more instruction and
information about limited feeling and skin checks.
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
page 9 of 57
Maintenance and Repair
Routine maintenance can:
• Prevent breakdowns and excessive wear making your chair last longer, go farther, and cost
less to repair.
• Prevent injuries or long term damage to your muscles that result from sudden failures.
• Make your chair more comfortable and easier to use.
Some basic maintenance and repairs are explained in this section so that you will be able to keep
your RoughRider rolling as long as possible.
A bicycle mechanic may be able to help you with both maintenance and repair if needed. It is a
good idea to get to know a good mechanic who is close to where you live. Explain to the
mechanic how you use your wheelchair, and use the information in this manual to help your
mechanic understand how a wheelchair works.
After reading this section of the manual it is a good idea to discuss anything that is not clear with
the manufacturer, distributor, or an experienced Whirlwind RoughRider user. They should be
able to show you how to perform different maintenance and repair tasks.
In an emergency situation, you may be able to:
Drive the wheelchair with a flat or
completely missing tire by leaning your
weight away from the missing/flat tire
(though this will quickly damage the
wheel rim).
Drive the wheelchair without one of the
front casters by leaning your weight
away from the missing wheel.
It is always a good idea to carry an inner tube puncture repair kit and a bicycle pump with
you in case of emergencies. Whenever possible, you should also carry an adjustable wrench
and a screwdriver. You should also keep spare parts and tools available in your home for
easy access. Spare parts should include bearings, tubes, nuts, and cushions. Tools you should
have in your home include a second wrench, a small hammer, a spoke wrench, and a knife.
Maintenance Schedule
Routine maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and excessive wear. It will make your chair
last longer. Here is a calendar showing when to do basic maintenance tasks. For how to do the
specific maintenance go to the corresponding detailed descriptions.
What to do
on page
Tire Pressure
Check for cleanliness or breakdown of foam and
structure. Clean when needed. Check your skin
condition daily.
Check tire pressure. Add air when needed.
Page 33
Page 16
Basic Bearing Maintenance: Lubricate bearings in
caster wheels, caster barrels, and rear wheels with oil*
(see notes on recommended oil to use).
Page 36
Check for damage, wear and dirt. Clean or replace as
Page 40
Lubricate Wheel Locks with oil* (see notes on recommended oil to use).
Adjust to correct position. Lubricate moving parts.
Tighten nuts. Every other month OR when wheel
Wheel locks
locks are not holding chair in position OR when wheel
locks become difficult to lock.
Inspect and tighten spokes to true the wheels.
Every other month OR when spokes are broken or
loose OR if wheels wobble when spinning.
Cleaning and
Nuts and Bolts
Clean, lubricate, and inspect your RoughRider for
damage every 2 – 3 months if living in rough rural
environments where you are riding in dirt rather than
on paved roads; 2 - 3 times / year otherwise.
Tighten nuts and bolts.
During Cleaning and Routine Inspections.
2 – 3 TIMES / YEAR
Lubricate footrest pivot, folding stabilizer pivots, spoke threads, X-brace
pivot, and pivot tube with oil* (see notes on recommended oil to use).
Thorough Bearing Maintenance: Clean and repack
with grease* (see notes on recommended grease to
use). 2 – 3 times / year if living in rough rural
environments; 1 time / year otherwise.
Page 45
Page 42
Page 43
Page 48 - 49
Page 50
Page 45
Page 37
The cushion protects your skin from pressure sores. It is important to keep it clean and dry so it
will last longer. Your cushion will not last as long as your chair. You should replace your
cushion every year or as needed. Dirt and moisture that is in contact with your skin can cause
pressure sores. If you notice skin problems developing, you should check the condition of
your cushion.
The foam will wear out with exposure to liquid and sunlight. Foam that is worn out may have
hard spots which can contribute to the development of pressure sores. Try to prevent your
cushion from getting wet or being exposed to direct sunlight.
Maintaining your Cushion
Regularly inspect your cushion for worn spots, dirt, holes in
the cover and foam.
How to inspect your cushion: Remove the cover and inspect
the top foam and base. They should be solid, without crumbling
or excessive discoloration, and the foam should spring back
when squeezed.
When necessary remove and wash the cover with mild soap
and water. Dry it thoroughly before replacing.
Wash top foam when needed with mild soap and water, making
sure to rinse all the soap out, and dry thoroughly before
replacing the cover.
Repair or Replace your Cushion
Compared to new cushion:
You should replace your cushion every year or as
If the top foam is worn out, is misshapen, or doesn’t
spring back when compressed, it should be replaced with
the same type of foam. If well cared for, the base of a
cushion will last longer than the top foam.
Used cushion on left shows significant
deformation. It is time to replace top
foam or entire cushion.
The cushion cover can be patched if doing so will not cause pressure or skin damage. Pay attention
to where the edges of the patch will be, and make sure these are not in places already under pressure
such as the buttocks.
Maintaining your bearings will make them last longer and will help your chair roll more easily.
How to Make Your New Bearings Last Longer
Pack bearings with as much bearing
grease as possible. See Thorough
Bearing Maintenance section for how
to pack bearings with grease.
Install bearings with a washer made of
felt on outer sides of bearings under a
steel washer to prevent dust and dirt
from entering bearing.
*Recommended oil for basic maintenance: Heavier oil is better. The best oil
to use is 90 or 140 weight gear oil; the next best is 20 weight electric motor oil.
Do NOT use:
• Automotive engine oil. The detergent in automotive engine oil will mix with water.
• Common penetrating household lubricants and degreasers like WD40 should not be used.
Use of penetrating lubricants can damage the seals and remove grease. Bearing life will be
significantly shortened if you use your chair with ungreased bearings. Penetrating oils should
only be used for cleaning. After cleaning with a penetrating lubricant, repack the bearing with
grease (see Thorough Maintenance section).
• Light sewing machine or household oils. These oils are too light and will not stay in the
bearing for long.
Maintaining your Bearings
Basic Maintenance (every month OR when you feel your chair slowing down and you don’t
have time to do more):
• Lubricate your caster wheel, caster barrel, and rear wheel bearings with oil*.
*Recommended bearing grease for thorough maintenance: One of
the best types of bearing grease is water resistant boat trailer ball bearing
grease. Automobile ball bearing grease is very good, but is less water
Thorough maintenance for rear hub and caster barrel bearings
(2-3 times / year if in rough environment; 1 time / year otherwise)
To remove the bearings from the hub, remove the wheel from the wheelchair and take the axle
bolt out.
Reinsert the axle bolt at an angle so that the tip of the bolt contacts the inside face (inner race) of
the bottom bearing (see above left picture). Gently tap on the head of the axle bolt as you move
the bolt’s tip around the hole of the bearing until the bearing falls out. Hammer lightly; do NOT
hammer with force. Turn the wheel over and remove the other bearing. The same process can be
used to remove the bearings from the caster barrel. If the bearings will not come out, put some
light oil (not penetrating oil) around the bearings and try again later.
Once the bearings are removed carefully pop the seals off with the tip of a knife.
Clean all parts with kerosene making sure to get all of the dirt out. A brush such as a toothbrush
can also be helpful.
Allow to dry; then repack/reassemble bearings with as much bearing grease as possible.
Replace the seals.
Formatted: Justified
Thorough maintenance for front wheel bearings
(2-3 times / year if in rough environment; 1 time / year
Formatted: Justified
Cup and balls
If caster fork has slots: Take the wheel out of the caster fork by loosening nuts until the wheel
drops out of the fork. If the caster fork does not have slots: Take the wheel out of the caster fork
by loosening nuts and screwing cones toward one side until axle is off center enough to pry out
of fork.
To disassemble bearings, unscrew the cones outward/away from wheel until balls fall out.
Clean all parts with kerosene.
Allow to dry; then replace the balls and reassemble bearings with as much bearing grease as
possible. Dipping the balls in grease will hold them in place and make assembly easier.
Repair or Replace your Bearings
If after being cleaned and repacked the bearings still do not move easily, you will have to replace
either the balls or the whole bearing.
Sealed bearings in rear wheel hub and caster barrel: If the bearing still does not move easily after
being thoroughly cleaned, replace the entire bearing.
Front wheel bearings (bicycle bearings):
Replace balls if broken or cracked. If the
wheel still does not move easily, inspect
cup and cone for damage. If the surfaces
that the balls roll on are obviously rough,
these parts should be replaced. If you need
help, a bicycle mechanic should be able to
do this.
Upholstery that is worn unevenly or otherwise damaged can be dangerous as it:
• Can cause uneven pressure on your buttocks or legs.
• Can cause you to sit in an uncomfortable position.
• Can rip suddenly and cause you to fall out of the chair.
By inspecting your upholstery regularly you will know when you need to replace your
upholstery. Your upholstery will not last as long as the wheelchair and will have to be replaced
over time. Make sure all bolts or screws that hold the upholstery in place are there. Replace any
missing bolts to make your upholstery last longer and prevent injury from upholstery failure.
It is important to keep the upholstery clean and dry because dirt and moisture (sweat, food,
drink, dust, mud, or other substances) can cause the upholstery to wear more quickly or rot. Soil
(dust/mud/etc.) can contain abrasive materials which may wear the upholstery away and cause it
to wear out much more quickly than if it is kept clean. Moisture can cause the upholstery to rot
and the fasteners, which hold the upholstery to the frame, to rust. If the upholstery stays wet it
can also stretch.
Maintaining your Upholstery
Inspect your upholstery 1 time / month and look for tears,
wear, dirt, or any metal parts sticking through the upholstery
that could injure you.
You can clean your upholstery by removing it from the chair.
Wash the upholstery with mild soap and water. Allow the
upholstery to dry thoroughly before putting the fabric back on
the wheelchair. You can also wipe the upholstery down without
removing it from the chair. If you wipe the upholstery, be
careful not to get the seat screws and other movable parts of the
wheelchair wet.
Repair or Replace your Upholstery
Upholstery stretches: The upholstery should be tight when the chair is open. As fabric stretches
over time the RoughRider’s seat will get wider. Your RoughRider should not get significantly
wider than its intended width. If your seat width is wider, you will have to work harder to push
your RoughRider since you will have to reach farther out to grab the push rims. If your seat is
more than 40mm (1.6 in.) wider than the original seat width you may be able to adjust your seat
fabric back to the original size by sewing new seams along the edges to make it narrower or by
moving the holes inward. Use your measurements when you originally received the chair to get
the correct width and height of the seat. If you are not able to correct your seat width it may be
time to replace your seat upholstery.
Holes in the upholstery: Avoid riding in a wheelchair that has holes or tears in the seat because
sitting on an uneven surface can cause bad posture and may increase the pressure on your
buttocks. If there are any holes or tears in your seat or seat back, either repair them or replace
your seat upholstery. If the holes are not too big, it should be possible to patch the holes. It is
best to use the same fabric as the original upholstery. If the holes are very large, or the upholstery
is so worn it cannot be patched (many holes, very faded, thinning, etc) you will probably need to
replace it.
Wheel Locks
Loose wheel locks or wheel locks that aren’t adjusted correctly may not fully lock the wheels and
can cause you to fall while getting into or out of your chair, resulting in injury to you or damage to
the chair.
Maintaining your Wheel Locks
It should be very difficult to move your wheels
when they are locked.
• Check that the wheel locks are adjusted so that
they push in slightly on the tire (about ½ cm or
3/16 in.).
• Check that the nuts and bolts are all there and
sufficiently tight.
• Check your tire pressure. If your tires are
under- inflated your brakes may slip.
To adjust your wheel locks:
• Make sure that the wheels are sufficiently inflated
before adjusting.
• Loosen the bolt that holds the tube clamp tight
around the side frame tube.
• Move the wheel lock into a functional locking
position and retighten the clamp.
If the wheel locks are hard to operate and push too
much into the tires, the wheel locks are too close to the
wheel. Move them further away from the center of the
Loose or broken spokes can cause a wheel rim to bend. A few loose spokes will not necessarily
make riding more difficult; however, they may allow a wheel to collapse when going over a curb
or a big bump and can also make other spokes break more easily since there will be more tension
on them.
Maintaining your Spokes
To check for and tighten loose spokes, go around the wheel squeezing pairs of spokes together
with your fingers.
• If a spoke gives when you pull it gently, it needs to be tightened. Tighten loose spokes at the
nipple, where they meet the wheel rim, with a spoke wrench, turning each one a little bit at a
• If a spoke does not give at all, it may be too tight. Loosen it by turning the spoke nipple the
opposite direction.
Another method for checking for loose spokes is to pluck each spoke with your fingernails. If a
spoke makes a sound noticeably lower in pitch than the other spokes, it should be tightened. If a
spoke makes a sound much higher in pitch than the other spokes, it may be too tight and should be
To check the wheel’s alignment, lift the wheel off the ground and spin it while you look across it
from one edge. Your wheel should turn freely and smoothly with no wobble. You can also use a
stationary object (like your frame) to see if the wheel stays the same distance away while spinning.
If the rim is bending or wobbling to one side of the wheel, tighten spokes on the other side of the
bent part of the rim to center the rim. A bicycle mechanic will be able to do this if you need help.
To make sure your rear axle is tight, push sideways on the wheel rim. The wheel should not wobble
around the axle. The wheels should not touch the back tubes or rub against your clothes. Tighten the
nut(s) on your rear axle to eliminate the wobble. Make sure the wheel rotates easily; if the wheel
does not rotate easily the nut is too tight.
You may be able to check the wheel’s alignment while seated in your
chair by taking your weight off the wheel and suspending your wheel
in air while spinning it.
Replacing Broken Spokes
Remove tire and tube.
Remove broken spoke and insert the new spoke in the same direction as the broken spoke
(spokes on the same side of the hub should alternate directions).
Weave the new spoke in the same pattern as the other spokes (look very carefully at the
existing pattern to make sure you are doing it the same way).
Insert the threaded end of the spoke through the same hole in the rim that the broken spoke
went through. Thread the small end f the nipple through the hole in the rim and screw it onto
the end of the spoke.
If a spoke of the same length is not available a longer spoke can be used. Make a sharp bend in
the long spoke at the non-threaded end to the length needed. The bend in the spoke will hook
through the hole in the hub (see the above left two pictures). As you begin to tighten the nipple,
bend the hook end of the spoke back against the main shaft of the spoke.
Tighten the new spoke and adjust as many of the spokes around it as necessary to align the
A bicycle mechanic will be able to do this if you need help.
Lubricating your RoughRider™
Formatted: Font: (Default)
ZWAdobeF, 1 pt, Not Bold, Font
color: Auto, Superscript
Consistently lubricating your RoughRider will keep all the moving parts operating smoothly and
efficiently. Use medium- to heavy-weight oil. Do not use common penetrating lubricants like
WD40 because they can damage the seals and remove grease. Bearing life will be significantly
shortened if you use your chair with ungreased bearings. Penetrating oils should only be used for
cleaning. After cleaning with kerosene or a penetrating lubricant, repack the bearing with grease
(see Maintaining Your Bearings section).
Apply oil to each of the following parts one drop at a time until the area is saturated and the part moves
X-brace pivot tubes, center pivot,
and folding stabilizer pivots
Bearings: Rear wheel, caster
wheel, and caster barrel
Footrest pivot tubes
Wheel locks
Seat tubes and side frame
Put a tiny drop on each spoke
where it enters the nipple.
When chair is folded, rub candle
wax onto the contact surfaces
between seat tubes and side
frame. The wax will make
folding easier and prevent the
paint scraping off.
Maintaining the correct tire pressure:
• Increases the life of the tires, saving you money;
• Decreases the rolling resistance and saves you energy;
• Keeps your wheel locks working properly.
Check tire pressure by pressing with your thumb across the width of the tire. For average
pressure you should be able to barely depress the tire (about 5mm (3/16 in.)
The correct tire pressure will be different depending on different conditions. Higher pressure
(harder tires) helps the chair move faster, but is less comfortable, is harder to push on uneven
terrain, and can be slippery on wet pavement. Lower pressure (softer tires) is more comfortable
on uneven ground but the tire is more vulnerable to getting flats and can put more strain on your
arms and shoulders. If the tire pressure is not the same in both wheels, your RoughRider will
turn toward the side of the lower pressure tire.
Tool Kit for Tire Repair
Rubber cement for tire patches
Sandpaper (cloth backed 60 grit
works best)
6 patches with tapered edge
Spare valve cap – metal type with
built-in wrench for valve core
Spare valve core
Repairing or Replacing Tires and Tubes
When tire tread gets very worn, or the tire is brittle or cracked, it is more likely to go flat, so be
ready to replace it.
If tire is not damaged and only the tube needs repairing:
• Remove tire by gently prying it outside the rim using a tire tool or a screwdriver with the edges
filed smooth (or the ends of spoon handles like the picture above). Pull tube out of tire.
• Carefully inspect inside of the tire for the cause of the puncture. The cause of the puncture may
be screws, thorns, glass, or other sharp material that may still be stuck in the tire tread and will
puncture the tire again if it is not removed.
• Find hole in tube by pumping halfway full and squeezing it. You may be able to find the hole
by the sound of escaping air. If not, put the tube under water. Squeeze the tube and watch for
bubbles escaping from the hole. Another way to do this is to rub soapy water on the tube and
watch for bubbles forming in the soap.
• Mark around the hole with a pen or pencil.
• Let any remaining air out of the tire.
• To repair tube, roughen the surface around the hole (about 25 cm (1 in.)) by rubbing the tube
with sandpaper. Make sure the surface is completely clean and dry.
• If there is glue, apply glue and wait about 30 seconds for glue to get tacky.
• Press on patch and let dry. For temporary repairs to torn tires wrap a strip of canvas around
inner tube 2-3 times.
• Replace tube and tire and re-inflate to desired pressure.
Cleaning your RoughRider™
Keeping the chair clean and dry helps keep the metal parts from rusting and the upholstery from
rotting. Cleaning also prevents damage caused by dirt or sand scraping against the chair’s moving
Clean the frame and upholstery as needed using water with a little
mild soap, making sure to rinse and dry it completely afterward.
Pay special attention to all moving parts, such as the axles, the caster
barrels, pivots where the chair folds, and areas where the upholstery
is fastened to the frame; dirt can be especially damaging to these
After each cleaning, and only after the chair is completely dry,
apply medium- to heavy-weight oil to all moving parts on the
chair (x-brace pivots, pivot tubes at the bottom of x-brace, folding
stabilizer pivots, wheel lock pivots, and footrest pivots) to prevent
rusting and to keep the moving parts moving smoothly.
Page 31 of 57
Routine Inspections
Inspection of the chair’s frame for damage that needs repair is a good thing to do while you are
cleaning it. If tubes are bent, the wheelchair may be out of alignment and will not roll smoothly or
in a straight line. Cracks in the wheelchair’s tubes or joints are indications of where the wheelchair
may break completely and should be repaired as soon as possible.
To do routine inspections, look over your RoughRider
while not sitting in it to make sure there are no holes in
the upholstery, cracks in the welds, bends in the tubes,
loose nuts or bolts, bent axles, uneven footrests, or loose
handgrips. If you find major structural problems like
cracks or bends, you should have your RoughRider
repaired as soon as possible by a capable technical
professional (for example a bicycle mechanic or auto
repair technician) to prevent major failure.
This frame cracked after years of use
and was then repaired and reinforced.
page 32
Basic Riding Skills
Your RoughRider™
Maintenance and Repair
Nuts and Bolts
Although your RoughRider has been designed with a minimum number of nuts and bolts, over
time and miles of travel, your RoughRider will experience vibrations and torque that can cause the
nuts and bolts to loosen. Loose fasteners allow unwanted extra movement in the chair and this
movement makes pushing your chair more difficult. Loose fasteners also make other parts, like the
brakes, hard to use. Tightening loose nuts and bolts will prevent parts from getting lost or broken
and will help your RoughRider roll more easily.
Tightening Nuts and Bolts
Inspect your RoughRider for loose nuts and bolts. If
loose, tighten them with a wrench. The center pivot bolt
of the X-brace should not be tight but the locknut used to
keep the bolt from falling out should be very secure and
hard to turn. You should be able to hold one caster wheel
down and lift the other 2 cm (3/4 in.) above the ground
with little effort.
Lock nuts or split nuts should be repaired if you notice
they are coming loose. See the Split Nut repair section for
a solution.
You should not have to use too much force to tighten a nut. If tightening is difficult, then the nut
may be cross-threaded on the bolt. If you tighten a cross-threaded nut, you can ruin the threads of
the bolt and that might make it difficult to remove the nut later.
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
page 33 of 57
Repairing or Replacing Nuts and Bolts
If a bolt cannot be repaired it should be replaced, but some repairs are
Rounded bolt head or nut? File two opposite sides of the bolt head
or nut until they are flat enough to get a good grip with a wrench. If
the bolt or nut will still not turn then the nut may be rusty.
Rusted nut? Apply a mixture of light oil and kerosene so that it can
flow onto the threads of the bolt and nut, then wait. Try to loosen the
nut periodically over the next few hours. If it is not possible to loosen
the nut, cut the head of the bolt off with a hacksaw, remove the bolt,
and replace it.
Your RoughRider uses lock nuts in multiple locations so they do not come loose from the vibrations
that happen during normal use. A lock nut is harder to turn than a regular nut and should not come
loose by itself. Your chair will come with either standard commercial “nylocks” or with Whirlwind
split nuts. A nylock is a nut with a nylon ring on the inside. If the nylock is easy to turn it has lost
most of its locking capacity and should be replaced. A Whirlwind split nut is a lock nut that can be
easily made with the correct size standard nut and basic tools (hacksaw and clamp/vise). A worn
out nylock can be replaced with a Whirlwind split nut.
To make a split nut:
• Firmly grip the nut on the top and bottom faces (as shown in bottom center photo).
• With your hacksaw blade slightly off center, cut halfway through the nut.
• Squeeze the nut in a vise or clamp or smash it with a hammer to close the slit (as shown in
bottom right photo).
• When putting the nut on your RoughRider place it so the wider slice screws on first.
If the Whirlwind split nut becomes easy to turn it may be able to be repaired.
To repair a Split nut:
• Check that the slit is cut half way through one side of the nut. If it is cut less than half way
through, use a hacksaw to complete the cut to half way.
• Squeeze the nut in a vise or smash it with a hammer to ensure the slit is closed.
page 34
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Footrests must be at the correct height to maintain a good sitting position and pressure relief.
Check to make sure that your footrests are at the proper height for your best sitting posture. You
might want to mark the frame where they should be to make it easy to check their alignment. Your
feet should rest lightly on the footrests when you are sitting in your best position in the seat and you
should have even pressure over the entire surface of your seat.
If your footrests are too low, you will tend to slide forward in your seat to keep your feet on the
footrests. Sliding forward in your seat can cause bad posture, make you uncomfortable, and cause
pressure sores if you have no sensation in your buttocks.
If the footrests are too high there is more pressure on your buttocks which may be uncomfortable
and can cause pressure sores.
Correct Footrest Height
Footrest Too Low
Footrest Too High
Better sitting posture
Knees Up
Moves you
Feet Low
To adjust the footrest, loosen the bolt on
the footrest clamp tube. Move the footrest to
the correct position and tighten.
You will have to adjust your footrests while
not in your chair or get someone else to help
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
page 35 of 57
Loose handgrips can cause serious injury if they slip off while someone
is pulling the chair; especially pulling up stairs or curbs.
Check to make sure your handgrips are tight by pulling on them as
if you are trying to remove them.
If you can pull the handgrips off, they must be re-glued using
strong glue. A very good glue is heavy duty contact cement that is
made especially for installing automobile weather-stripping.
If strong glue cannot be found, remove the handgrips completely
and be cautious when lifting the chair by the bare handles.
page 36
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Troubleshoot: If your RoughRider™ Does
Not Roll Straight
If one wheel has more resistance than the others, your chair will turn to the side to which that
wheel is attached. This turning occurs because the wheel is rotating slower on that side, as if you
were braking or pulling on it. This resistance will also make you work harder when pushing
because you will have to compensate for this unevenness.
Check to see if the chair rolls in a straight line. Find a flat area with as few bumps as possible.
Roll your RoughRider at a medium speed while trying to push equally on each wheel. Let go
without shifting your weight and see if your RoughRider drifts to one side. If it does, this is
usually the side that is affected by one of the problems below. After trying any of the solutions
below, check to see if your chair rolls in a straight line.
Observe. Look at the chair on a flat surface and notice what doesn’t look straight. Look at the
caster barrels, caster wheels, rear wheels, and side frame.
Uneven Tire Pressure
A chair will turn toward the tire with the lower pressure.
Solution: Equalize the pressure in the two tires either by pumping up the lower pressure tire or by
releasing some of the pressure in an over inflated tire.
Dirty or Damaged Bearings
A chair will turn toward the side of the chair where the bearing is sticking (like braking on one side).
Solution: Check the bearings in the caster wheel and rear wheel. See Bearings section; Check and
clean or replace bearings as appropriate.
Stuck X-Brace
A chair will turn toward one side if the X-brace pivot does not move easily or is jammed so that one
caster wheel is suspended above the ground. You should be able to see if this is the problem if you
look at how your 4 wheels contact a flat surface when you are seated in the chair.
• Loosen X-brace center bolt. The center bolt should not be tight. There should be approximately
0.5 cm between the locknut and the square tube. With a person seated in the chair, you should
be able to hold one caster wheel down and lift the other 2 cm (3/4 in.) above the ground with
little effort.
• Check to make sure that there is a good locknut (nylock or split nut) to keep the X-brace center
bolt from falling out. Another option for a locknut is to use two nuts to make a jam nut. Thread
the first nut onto the bolt. Thread the second nut onto the bolt and tighten it firmly against the
first nut to create a locked nut.
• Lubricate and manipulate the X-brace to loosen the joint.
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
page 37 of 57
Rear Axle Out of Alignment
A chair will roll with much greater resistance due to the scuffing on the ground caused by one wheel
pointing in or out (toe-in or toe-out).
Solution: Measure the distance between
the rear wheels at their front and rear
edges. Pick a point half-way up the wheel
(even with the axle) to make the
measurement. If the two distances are
within 6 mm (1/4 in.) of each other, the
wheels are ok.
If the distance of either measurement is
more than 6mm (1/4 in.), then, do the
Measuring the distance between the rear wheels at
front and back of wheel
Check to see whether the axle bolt is bent. If it is bent, replace it. If the bend is minor, the axle
can be straightened by hammering it on an anvil. If it is not bent then,
Check the fit of the axle in the axle block hole. If the axle bolt fits loosely, the axle hole may
be deformed. You may have to move your wheels to a different axle position.
If the axle is straight and fits in the hole but the wheels are still not pointing in the same
direction, the axle block might not be straight. You may need to bend it back into alignment.
Check the angle of the axle block by putting multiple bolts into the block and measuring their
angle by referencing a perpendicular surface. Get the help of a mechanic with a very large
adjustable wrench; clamp the frame close to the axle block. Check very carefully for cracks in
the frame after making any bends. Weld shut and reinforce any cracks.
Check angle by
referencing to a
page 38
Clamp frame
close to axle
Your RoughRider™
Basic Riding Skills
Maintenance and Repair
Bent Caster Barrels
Have someone sit in the chair or put something nearly equal to your weight in the seat, then look to
see if the caster barrels are straight by checking whether the barrel and the side frame are parallel
with each other and at a right angle to the ground.
If a caster barrel is not vertical, the caster wheel will be pulled
in the direction that the barrel is tilted and the chair will turn to
that side.
Solution: Re-align the caster barrel. Get the help of a mechanic
with a very large adjustable wrench to bend the caster barrel so
that it is parallel with the side frame and perpendicular to the
ground. Check very carefully for cracks in the frame after
making any bends. Any cracks must be welded shut and
Caster Wheel Rubs on the Fork
A chair will veer to one side if the caster wheel rubs against the fork; friction will act like a brake on
the wheel and your RoughRider will pull to that side.
The caster wheel could be rubbing on the fork for two reasons: the caster fork could be bent or the
caster wheel is not centered in the fork.
The stem of the caster fork is bent – The chair will veer to
one side if the stems of both forks are not precisely at a right
angle to the axle of the caster wheel.
Tube over
caster stem
Solution: If the caster fork is bent at the junction between the
fork and the bolt (stem) get the help of a mechanic with a
large vise to straighten the fork; after making any bends,
check very carefully for cracks in the fork and where the fork
and stem meet. The angle between the fork and the stem Caster fork in a vice
should be 130 degrees. You can put the caster fork in a vise with stem pointing up
with the bolt pointing upward. Be careful not to dent the fork
by clamping it too tight. You can protect the fork from the
jaws of the vise with two scraps of wood or heavy leather.
Put a thick-walled tube over the bolt and pull to change the
angle of bolt.
The caster wheel is not centered in
the fork.
Solution: If the caster wheel is not
centered on the axle, center it by
removing or adding washers.
Replace any missing nuts.
Whirlwind RoughRider™ User Manual
Remove or Add
Center Wheel
in Fork
page 39 of 57
Rear Wheel Rubs on the Side Frame
Cause 1: Your RoughRider will pull to one side if the axle bolt is loose. If the axle bolt is loose in
the axle block, the weight of the rider on the seat will cause the wheels to lean in at the top. If they
lean far enough, the wheel might rub against the side frame, friction will act like a brake on the
wheel and cause your RoughRider to turn toward that side.
Solution: Tighten the axle bolt. Replace any missing washers or
nuts. If the hole in the axle socket has become too large and too
loose, move your wheels to a different axle position.
Cause 2: The wheel is bent. If the wheel rim is bent, you can usually fix
it by adjusting the spokes.
Solution: Adjust and tighten the spokes as shown in Spokes section. If
the wheel rim is bent a lot, you must straighten it before adjusting the
Cause 3: The axle block is bent relative to the frame.
Solution: Re-align axle block as shown in Rear Axle is Out of Alignment section.
Frame is Misaligned
If one of the side frames leans inward while you are riding the chair, the chair may turn away from
that side. The side frame of the chair leans inward when the ends of the seat tube on the same side
of the chair are bent inward.
Reinforcement Welded
Under Seat Tube
Solution: This repair requires two people. Clamp the square tube (cross tube) in a vise . Slide two
long (50-80cm) strong, thick- walled tubes over the ends of the bent seat tube until they are both
touching the square tube. At the same time, both people should carefully push (or pull) in the
opposite direction that the seat tube bent. Continue until the seat tube is straight. Hammering the
ends of the seat tube outward can correct the problem. If the side frame bends inward again, get a
good welder to re-align the entire X-brace and reinforce both seat tubes by welding in reinforcing
rods under the seat tube.
page 40
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