Batec Handlebars

Requirement; to enable a wheelchair user with no hand function and minimum arm strength to operate a Batec powered cycle attachment.

This independent project was to modify the handlebar controls of a Batec powered wheel for a user with no hand function and very minimal arm strength.

A number of wheelchair add-on cycle manufacturers offer “Tetra” controls for those with limited hand function, but none were suitable. Critically, each system relies on the user having sufficient bicep strength to carry the weight of their arms in order to operate the controls.
The user in question had good shoulder strength and good tricep strength, but minimal bicep strength and no hand function. As a result, they were unable to hold their arms up to the controls. Even if the user’s hands were secured into place using gripping aids (Active Hands), the arm weight would mean they were constantly pulling back on the controls.

Design specifications and restrictions;

  • Shoulders, upper and lower arms and hands should be in a comfortable neutral position.
  • Weight of the users arms should not impede control function.
  • There should the redundancy in the braking system since the user is likely using gripping aids and therefore unable to take their hands away from the controls. (Dual braking supplied as standard on Batec bikes).
  • Braking should operate in the line of action the user has most strength.
  • System to use as many standard components from the Batec/cycles as possible.

The outcome was a system replacing the standard handlebars with a rotating crossbar, with each handgrip on a drop stem at each end. Pushing both hands forward’s actuates brakes and pulling both hands back controls acceleration.

Batec Mobility are a leading manufacturer of wheelchair cycle accessories including hand bikes, hybrid bikes and purely electric bikes.