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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

So you want a fast wheelchair right ?

You may remember that in 2014 BMW released some images and information on its newly designed racing wheelchair, well now in preparation for this year's Paralympic games that takes place from 7 August to 18 September in Rio de Janeiro.

So the giant car brand has invested much time and money to improve on the original design and has worked closely with the US Paralympic team to create a racing wheelchair that they reckon is both faster and more comfortable than the previous model. The speed increase seems to be as a result of a reduction in drag of about 15% but its hard to see how they did this as it looks very very similar to the last wheelchair they built. However fine detail reveals the use of carbon fibre in the frame and a slight change in the wheelchair frame angles.

The BMW design team started frok the basic by scanning an athlete whilst sitting in the chair and then made a replica model that could be used for testing andf ultimately for the redesign of the wheelchair. From there, they developed a computerised model that could simulate changes in actual aerodynamics, from this they learned that approximately 50% of the aerodynamics actually comes from the athlete's body, which could ultimately be modified by addressing the clothing and headgear.

Take a look at the BMW Racing Wheelchair for Rio 2016 Paralympics

The carbon fibre used in the wheelchair frame has lead to a stiffer platform that is more responsive and helps to keep the wheels straight, which avoids the dreaded encounters that occur when you get a wobble on! Further improvements were made to the wheelchair seat design and each athlete has a bespoke form fitting seat to fit their posterior.

Finally gloves are being custom made for each athlete and there is talk scans of each users hands being used to create 3d printed inserts that will fith the wheelchair users hands and rims perfectly.

These changes were summed up by BMW associate director as:

"There's an interesting psychology to all of this," he said. "The comfort of your equipment, the repeatability – when you have that mould, you know how it’s going to feel every time. That's one less thing for them to think about."

If you are interested in raching wheelchair see more here on the Mistral racing wheelchairs

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