When first using an active wheelchair, it can take a while to get used to it, particularly finding the best seating set-up for your comfort, and also developing your wheelchair skills. The Life range caters for this, as it provides a massive amount of on-chair adjustments - this includes 6 cm of centre of gravity, 8 cm of rear seat height, and 1 - 4° wheel camber. Many of these adjustments do not require additional parts, and the range each setting can be adjusted by is of a much higher degree than found on other chairs. This allows you to start off with your Life set up for maximum stability, for example with push handles and anti-tips fitted as well, and then the configuration can be changed as you gain confidence to a more active and energy efficient set-up.
The seat on the Life F is also highly configurable, ensuring that your wheelchair always matches your clinical needs and provides a high level of comfort. Options include an angle-adjustable backrest with a pivot point 6 cm above the seat to match your hip angle, and your choice of either tension adjustable backrest upholstery or the more clinical J3 range of posture-supporting backrests, plus a large variety of armrests and sideguards. The Quickie Life can be supplied with either a fixed or swing-away front end. Swing-away legrests allow for easier forward transfers, and several types are available including the ultra-light Xenon2-style legrests, cheaper Helix-style ones and even angle-adjustable elevating legrests. Opting for the fixed front frame offers better rigidity, therefore improving performance, and also a compact more active footprint, particularly with a 2 cm inset.
Frame and Transport
The Life F features a folding frame, and is made of lightweight aluminium - this allows it to be easily folded up to a compact size, and lifted in and out of a car for transport. The new folding fixation can be operated with just one hand, and keeps the chair securely folded, so you don't need to worry about it opening up when lifting it. If you are unlikely to be transporting your wheelchair, or space is not an issue, then we would suggest considering the rigid-framed Life R instead, whose rigid box frame makes it more energy efficient.
The Life F starts at 11.5 kg, and we do occasionally get asked why people should opt for this wheelchair when it is only a couple of kilos lighter than a "bog-standard" basic self-propelling wheelchair. The Life F differs in that it is a built to order wheelchair rather than a one-size-fits-all "boxed product", allowing it to fit your needs and size much better. Further to this, it has a much more active, energy efficient profile - making it much easier to self-propel, and can be adjusted as your requirements change rather than needing to buy a new wheelchair.
While it is common for beginners' wheelchairs to have a clunky "clinical" appearance, the Life range is a clear exception, featuring all the style options you'd expect on the Quickie range. This includes 32 frame colours plus a selection of accent colours to personalise your wheelchair, plus stylish handrims, coloured components and the option for an inset "sporty" fixed frame.
The Quickie Life F is a cut above other active wheelchairs for first-time users, and in our view is the best pick for those new to active wheelchairs who want a model that is easily transported. While slightly more expensive than Invacare's equivalent Action 5 Folding, the Life has a sportier profile and a standard folding mechanism - the Action 5's unusual folding mechanism is very much a "love it or hate it" feature.
Of the Quickie range, the Life F offers the highest range of "on chair" adjustability - more than on the Neon2, letting it adapt to your changing requirements, whilst still retaining good performance. While ultimately most wheelchair users will then go on to a lighter more advanced model such as the Xenon2 or a rigid chair, by gaining experience with the Life you can develop your skills and work out the best set-up for your wheelchair.