Rehasense's new range of Power-Assisted Wheelchair Systems are handbikes designed to fit to the front of almost every active wheelchair with a fixed front. Featuring a built-in motor and battery, plus intelligent controls, they allow your wheelchair to access areas you couldn't previously.
All models feature a 48V 11.6 Ah Lithium battery that charges in just 5 hours, and offers a range of 24.8 miles, more than enough for a full day's outing. A lower-capacity Flight Battery is available as an extra that is IATA compliant for transport on a plane. Powerful multifunction headlamps ensure visibility, and can be set to automatically come on in low-light conditions.
The City is the most popular model of PAWS handbike, providing a versatile balance of performance and manoeuvrability. As the name suggests, it is designed for everyday mobility in urban environments, primarily on paved surfaces, but it is a capable performer off-road too. It comes as standard with a 12" wheel, but can be upgraded to a chunkier 14" wheel if you want to tackle rougher ground more regularly. With a 1 metre turning circle, it can be driven inside as well, and doesn't add too much to the length of your wheelchair. The City features a 350 Watt motor that provides plenty of power, as well as a top speed of 18 mph - it really is nippy.
Traditional handbikes feature clamps or bracketry bolted permanently onto your wheelchair, meaning that they add unnecessary weight for you to propel around when not using your handbike, as well as compromising the looks of your wheelchair! Rehasense's PAWS have the clamps fully built-in to the handbike, meaning your wheelchair has no bracketry left on it when used without the handbike.
Easy clamping is available in two forms:
Manual clamps - just line up your wheelchair, and push the long levers to clamp the handbike on. Push forward on the handlebars to lift the front of your wheelchair off the ground, and you're ready to go.
Automatic clamping and lifting - as the name suggests, you just line up your wheelchair, press a button and the clamps automatically affix to your wheelchair, and then lift you up ready to go. This upgrade is available on all PAWS handbikes and allows effortless docking.
Both methods are a big step up from traditional attachments - much easier to operate. However, the powered clamping and lifting is the star attraction of the PAWS range - ideal for those with limited dexterity or upper body strength who may struggle with manual attachments.
Two handlebar configurations are available on the PAWS handbikes - either Standard or Tetra controls, the latter being designed for those with limited hand strength and control, allowing full control without exertion. Both handlebar variants can be set up in multiple positions to provide a comfortable fit for you.
The controls include forwards and reverse modes, a walk mode at a safe and steady 4 kmph, and cruise control - saving you from having to constantly grip the throttle. A traction mode button can be enabled for stationary starts on slopes or slippery surfaces, while track assistance helps to keep you driving straight and sure.
Braking is controlled by the front disc brakes, managed by twin brake levers mounted on the handlebars - these can be operated by either one hand or both, if heavy braking is required.
A colour display screen provides all the information you want at a glance, and brightness automatically adapts to ambient lighting conditions to ensure visibility. Both controls and your whole handbike have an IPS4 waterproof rating - they're not afraid of rain, puddles or moisture.
We've been really impressed by the new PAWS range of handbikes. The City is the most popular model so far - it's not too big, meaning it can be used for shopping trips, the work commute and indoors, as well as muddy fields. Unlike some other models of handbike, the PAWS range comes with most features as standard - you don't have to pay to upgrade to cruise control, for example. The only cost options are the power clamping/lifting, tetra controls, and the large 14" wheel.
The clamping options offer a real advantage over other models of handbike, particularly for those who want to use their manual wheelchair regularly without the handbike attached, or who aren't able to attach a handbike without the power assist.
A slight drawback is that the clamping mechanisms do add some weight to your handbike, making it heavier to transport if taking it in a car. We would suggest trying the PAWS City alongside the Triride equivalent the Special Compact HT, which offers better off-road performance with a much more powerful motor and is lighter, but doesn't have the same clamping system. Alternatively for a cheaper alternative, the Empulse F55 is an option for those on a budget.