Publicado por: Ricardo Shimosakai | 29/01/2014

Mountain Handbike. The thrill of defying nature on wheels.

Mountain Handbike three-wheel system is reverse of most handcycles, with two wheels in the front and one in the rearMountain Handbike three-wheel system is reverse of most handcycles, with two wheels in the front and one in the rear

Since the 1980s, handcycling has grown into a world-renowned competitive sport in which paraplegics, quadriplegics, and amputees can test their skills. But most handcycles are road cycles (no one seems to like calling them trikes, although that’s what they are), and it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that we started seeing mountain bikes adapted for this crowd.

In 1996, several downhill mountain bikes were brought to Steamboat for some mountain fun. These were some of the first models from Grove Innovations, with four mountain tires, four-wheel disc brakes, full suspension, and no “handcycle” power, just downhill fun. Since then we’ve had the chance to try them with the adaptive program in Crested Butte, and although the shocks and weight of the machines have changed slightly since 1996, the cost hasn’t seemed to.

It’s a very comfortable ride with four Fox shocks and a soft padded seat. Your arms are at a comfortable distance and angle to the handlebars, and if all you’re seeking is some downhill thrill, this is definitely the type of mountain bike for you.

The only other downfall to this model besides cost is that it’s a downhill bike only, and others have been modeled after it, so you’ll need to drive it to the top of a mountain, or take a chairlift in order to use it.

Its three-wheel system is reverse of most handcycles, with two wheels in the front and one in the rear. You’re also positioned nearly prone on the bike, and resting on a chest pad that is used to steer when you are pedaling. You can also steer with the handlebars when not pedaling. This pad is a little uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re a woman, but you do get used to it. Your knees are bent below and slightly behind you, giving your chest the frontward power it needs to crank up hills. The design of this bike is revolutionary, and has proven itself against the odds and doubts of many professionals in the mountain cycling field. Its highest recognition comes from a movie about three paraplegics who brought their One-Offs onto Utah’s White Rim Trail and biked the entire 110 miles in reverse, the more challenging loop, without any able-bodied assistance.

Its twenty-plus gear shift system has a wide range of “granny” gears for easier pedaling, and the rear wheel provides traction at a narrower maneuverability for single-track trails, something that is more of a challenge for the four-wheel downhill bikes. But that’s not to say it’s easy going. The weight of the machine is around fifty pounds, with twenty-inch wheels. Powering these toys up rocky, muddy mountains isn’t something you do unless you’ve got the arms to do it. But for those who don’t have a choice, the One-Off is an amazing machine; which earn Augspurger the MIT Inventor Award in 2001.

Source: Access Anything

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