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January 2016

Final Frontier!

Magic Mobility Frontier V6



What an interesting convoluted journey this has been. It all started last year right at the beginning of 2015 I was going to the Equipment Expo . I had already been successful in getting a hospital funded wheelchair with all the features that I needed or wanted at that stage in 2014; this in itself was a real endeavour of reasonably mammoth proportions (but when all was said and done my current TA iQ while being a very confident every day wheelchair which does mostly footpaths and streets reasonably well, Not cope well with alternative Terran (e.g. field of damp grass, a rutted track, a sandy beach).

Mainly what I want, is as much versatility as I can get. I have spent years researching power wheelchairs which might fit the bill. To this day it still amazes me how much in the way of choice there is if you have money to fulfil your needs. Of course at the top of the tree you can always get something custom-made for yourself. The easiest reason though is to get something which is already in production.

Early on I discounted the idea of a tracked vehicle (by this I mean a wheelchair type device which doesn't have conventional wheels/tires but runs on tracks instead). The difficulty is with many of these kind of power wheelchairs can't really be used really different scenarios because of their design limitations. Plus also battery range is often compromised ñ plus also having difficulties with transportation (because it can't fit into normal-sized vans and because of size problems as well. So it came down to what kind of compromises I felt that I would be able to live with? Well my answer was very very clear. I wanted something with the least amount of compromises possible because, for the price of the wheelchair which I would need to fund personality I wanted to get the best value for money that I could (meaning that I want to use the new wheelchair in as many different areas as was possible.

To cut a long story shorter :-), I whittled down the candidates two main contenders:

21st century scientific (bounder plus all-terrain package), and Magic Mobility's (Frontier V6 all-terrain version).

This whole project was extremely challenging but also very exciting for me. Since I was little I've always been interested in any kind of technology especially youth and I will personally be involved with using. I had such a confidence boost in 2014 from having successfully navigated the challenging waters of using a very good general purpose power wheelchairs supplied to me. One of the features that I could not live without power is the raising seat feature, this along with a more comfortable contoured seat that is quite literally transformed my comfort and the quality of my life.

So with any subsequent wheelchair I would not want to go backwards!

21st century scientific bounder plus

This wheelchair is really the Rolls-Royce in the power wheelchair customisation states as far as I can tell. The options list is huge. The difficulty I had with this wheelchair was the necessarily mammoth task of working through this options list and making an informed choice.

The Bounder Plus drivetrain differed somewhat from the conventional methods used by many other manufacturers, by not using a direct gearbox combination, used a belt drive system instead of a gearbox theoretically meaning there will be less need for service.

The more glaringly obvious issue for me in dealing with 21st-century was they didn't have a local distribution network or even a local agent that I could call on. So all my correspondence needed to be done via email correspondence (this, I found quite limiting) ñ especially when you were going to spend quite a large sum of money on something that you weren't even able to trial the wheelchair before you bought it.

While it looked impressive on paper I wasn't truly sure whether it would meet my needs either the short or long term. I had a really long correspondence with them.

In the end I decided on Magic Mobility because, they have a proven record in Australia and New Zealand and would do everything the bounder plus would be capable of what I wanted it to do.

So my mind was set! I put my order and for Magic Mobility's Frontier V6 All-Terrain power base.

This wheelchair is made in Melbourne Australia very close to where I in the South Island of New Zealand. So instead of having to pay for this with the American currency which was very strong compared to the New Zealand dollar time all I had to worry about with the Australian dollar which was much closer in value.

Ordering a power wheelchair with rehab setting and the consideration is not as easy as you might think! Make a mistake in the Confederation of the wheelchair you need and retrofitting some feature afterwards can be very expensive. Most wheelchair manufacturers in my investigation and practical experience are not particular experience in rehab seating options, because their main concern is the electorates and mechanicals of the operation of the base and tires.

I know that specialised seating is and I've come to realise very individualised to the particular individual you are dealing with, you could take a risk and put on a seat on yourself; but my suggestion would be, if you are even thinking that you might benefit from some professional advice please get it, it will cost you less in the long run both in comfort/convenience and possibly money. Not getting a therapist involved may delay proceedings somewhat (and if you're anything like me you want everything to happen yesterday). The extra effort you put in now will pay off in the future for you health wise (that has been my personal experience)

There are still some minor things to work through, but now as of the date of this posting, everything is just about ready to go, I just have to do some additional alterations and make a slight addition to the foot plate – and it will be on the green light!

I'll post on my blog first before writing any longer article – any impressions!