Wheelchair tyres should be given a lot of consideration because they have significant implications on the wheelchairs performance. Furthermore, they affect the manoeuvrability of the wheelchair and the wheelchair users comfort.
Generally, two types of wheelchair tyres should be considered and these types will be used on all models of wheelchairs, be it Transit, self Propelled or Transfer. The first type and previously most popular type are pneumatic tyres. Pneumatic wheelchair tyres are known to help with the wheelchair users comfort because the air inside allows the tyres to absorb more impact. However, these tyres are also known to puncture easily so maintenance costs are usually higher. Furthermore, pneumatic wheelchair tyres have to be replaced on a regular basis.
Another type of wheelchair tyres to consider are solid tyres sometimes referred to as PU Tyres, which are usually made of rubber. But sometimes, these are made of plastic as well. Because they are made of some form of solid material, they cannot puncture, nor can they deflate. Solid tyres are categorised into three types: entirely solid, the semi-pneumatic, and foam tyres.
Entirely solid tyres are generally made of rubber or plastic. Although these weigh the most, they are preferred because of their durability. On the other hand, there are semi-pneumatic tyres that are essentially made of rubber tubing. Having air inside the tubing will allow better shock absorption. Lastly, there are foam tyres that are quite similar to the semi-pneumatic ones but have polyurethane to substitute for air.
The appropriate wheelchair tyre depends on the needs of the wheelchair user and which features the user gives highest priority to. Should the ride be smooth and is the most important factor for the user then pneumatic tyres are recommended.
Some wheelchair models have the choice of which type of tyre however more manufactures are opting for PU Tyres which have the characteristics of a Pneumatic Tyre but the benefit of never going flat.