Trekinetic All Terrain Limited was originally a state of the art engineering company (under a different name) that specialised in the manufacture of components for the Motor Racing and Formula 1 industries. Some of the worlds most iconic road and track vehicles, were originally built on components manufactured in our factory.
Back in 2000, we decided that there must be a way to get this cutting edge technology before a wider audience. But which was the product that could best benefit from such advanced technology?
By chance, we stumbled upon the everyday wheelchair. Alarmingly, it was still based upon an antiquated metal tube chassis design. This technique had been abandoned by most automobile manufacturers in the 1950's, when they switched to unitary construction. Yet wheelchair manufacturers were still employing it. Why hadn’t they moved on?
Six years,14 running prototypes and thousands of modifications later, the now definitive Trekinetic 3 wheel, manually propelled K-2 was unleashed upon the world in 2006. It was not entirely ready and not everybody was convinced. However, many wanted to know more and within 2 weeks the fledgling Trekinetic website had rocketed from zero to over 13,000 hits. Plus we had our first few orders.
Nowadays, you would be surprised to know, how many people rely on the K-2 for daily transport. From the remotest corners of the globe, to the most exclusive city streets, all our customers share the same open minded approach to life. And with their Trekinetic they are going to get as much out of it as possible.
A bit about automobiles: In the old days motor cars had a tubular steel frame. The body, engine and wheels were bolted on to this frame that was called the chassis. Then somebody thought, if we can make the body strong enough, we can bolt everything to that and discard the frame chassis. This strong body, or stressed member is known as a Monocoque chassis. At TREKINETIC we realised that if we made our seat out of a high tech, strong, lightweight material called Carbon Fibre, two things could happen. It could be made strong enough to attach all the mounting hardware and dispose of the chassis idea entirely. Also if we shaped the inside to suit the human body, superior comfort and support could be effected It meant a complicated moulding process and huge tooling investment, but we decided we just had to do it.
Consider this: When you propel a traditional rear propelled wheelchair, you are effectively pushing only against your body weight. If you push hard enough, you might lift yourself out of the chair. That limits how effectively you can push. We realised that doesn't quite happen with front wheel propulsion, because the reaction to pushing is resisted and supported by the backrest.
The only reason it wasn't done before, is that nobody could make a front wheel propelled 3 wheel chair run straight. We finally solved this with our innovative rear wheel bias system. Then we found our big wheels at the front idea, had a totally unexpected ability. Namely that the chair could traverse uneven and rough (off-road) surfaces with unheard of ease. Even the power GTE model benefits from this configuration.
If big front wheels can roll over rougher ground more easily, that means higher speeds will be possible, right? Basically yes, if you wish. However, higher speeds can reduce stability, so we needed to camber (incline) the wheels outwards to overcome this. But then that was no good for getting through doorways. So a truly revolutionary, self locking 'Varicam' variable camber system was developed. It is quick to change (15 seconds) and requires no tools or loose parts. It was considered so ingenious, that it was used in a world-wide competition by the prestigious engineering magazine Eureka, to see if engineers could work out how the problem was solved. For you, it's just another elegant solution to an everyday problem.
During our extensive testing programme, we found our new wave, 3 wheel, front driven machine had abilities far in excess of some conventional wheelchairs. However, downhill when the going got tough for example, we wanted to be able to control our descent by applying braking to the front wheels. Rather than our hands slipping off, we came up with a lever system that not only dynamically slows the chair, but can make it change direction too. It works just as well for the attendant version and both types have an integrated handbrake and offer a further dimension, compared with convention.
Its not just a shock absorber, its a variable length, lockable shock absorber. With the big tyres on the front, a nice smooth ride with shock absorbing characteristics was assured. But the rear wheel tyre could not be so big. So we fitted a gas shock absorber and then thats when the real Eureka moment arrived. If our shock absorber could change its effective length automatically (like the height of an office chair) owners could angle the seat to change their weight distribution, just when they needed to. It means when going downhill for example, you can recline the seat back, so you wont feel youre tipping out. This was our Trekinetics first Patent and typical of our pursuit of the elegant solution, namely one component doing two jobs.
No matter how good a chair performs, it's not much good if you can't transport it in a car. Trekinetic designed-in this aspect from day one, even the GTE. Unclip the quick release wheels, unclasp and collapse the rear assembly, slide the telescopic footrest in and that's it. It takes just moments: 2 wheels,1 centre tub, nothing to get lost.