Naked Frame Overview

Known around the world, Motion Composites has built a reputation as a leader in the design and manufacture of ultralight manual wheelchairs. We use the world’s most advanced materials, draw on innovation and pay attention to the smallest detail. Keeping users top of mind, our motivation is matched only by our high engineering and design standards.

Motion Composites journey began over 10 years ago with the HELIO wheelchair; the first carbon fiber folding chair to the market. The HELIO C2, carbon fiber, is the flagship design of Motion Composites. It is the result of a series of innovations which features revolutionary components with every detail designed to improve performance, reduce weight, and improve propulsion efficiency.

Today Motion Composites produces three versions of the HELIO (C2, A7 and A6) all stemming from the original design, but in a variety of materials and varying degrees of configurability. The HELIO wheelchair goes beyond the limits of what currently exists within the industry and it best explained using a ‘naked frame’; a stripped-down base of the wheelchair which highlights the design and engineering. The Naked Frame is composed of 4 main features: one-piece side frames, symmetrical crossbrace, locking seat saddles and oversized axles in place of standard center bolts.

One-Piece Side Frames

A one-piece side frame is stronger and requires less maintenance than a standard two-piece frame as it eliminates the need for hardware to affix sections together. The one-piece side frame, unibody style, ensures rigidity which increases propulsion efficiency. On the HELIO C2 model it is a single carbon mould without joints or attachments, for the aluminum models there is one weld point adjoining the unibody frame.

Additional hardware required with traditional bolt together side frames adds weight to the frame and with movement between parts and vibrations coming up through the chair from, over time that hardware loosens. Due to ‘ovalization’, the process of a round hole becoming oval due to excessive movement of hardware overtime, parts cannot be tightened effectively, and this causes unwanted movement within the frame.

Symmetrical Crossbrace

The HELIO symmetrical crossbrace is unique to Motion Composites. This symmetrical design distributes forces equally throughout the frame for superior energy transfer and maximized propulsion efficiency. This unique ultra-rigid folding system also maximizes the chair’s overall stability decreasing torsion and unwanted frame movement.

The crossbrace is the mechanism which allows a wheelchair to fold. It must be designed with precise tolerances to not allow more movement than required decreasing efficiency. The crossbrace is also a determining factor is how the weight of the user is distributed throughout the frame, having a large impact on the efficiency of the wheelchair. If the forces are not distributed evenly it can cause torsion, or twisting, within the frame decreasing the user’s efficiency and the durability of the wheelchair.

The symmetrical crossbrace from Motion Composites allows for not only the benefits of symmetry and force distribution but also does this without additional equipment or hardware adding weight to the frame.

Oversized Axles

A small component but oversized when it comes to the HELIO design; we replace a traditional bolt in the center of a crossbrace with a pressure fit oversized axle. This axle is robust enough to withstand the forces of a manual wheelchair mobility and is pressure fit to allow for high-precision tolerances. This allows the folding movement of the wheelchair but when in use it eliminates excess movement which decreases propulsion efficiency.

Locking Seat Saddles

Seat saddles are a component that allows the crossbrace and side frames to join and make a solid base for the user. The HELIO locking seat saddles allow a secure and tight fit of the seat rails into the side frames. By locking in place this ensures minimal movement adding to frame rigidity and increased efficiency. Not all seat saddles within the industry are locking, some only allow the seat rail to lay within them which can allow unwanted movement within the frame. You want to ensure seat rails can lock in place to reduce unwanted movement and maximize efficiency.

The HELIO wheelchair line-up has been designed with the wheelchair user in mind. By taking a look into the HELIO ‘Naked Frame’ you can see how each small component has been designed with purpose. With some of the lightest materials and most advanced technologies Motion Composites is able to provide a folding wheelchair which is lightweight and highly efficient, allowing our users to Go Beyond!

For more information, please visit the Products Section of our website.

About Alli Speight, MScOT, ATP

Alli holds a Bachelor of Kinesiology and a Master of Occupational Therapy. Thanks to her clinical experience in the community, in long-term care and with veterans, Alli has extensive knowledge of positioning and mobility. This has helped her see new ways of designing the wheelchair prescription process. Alli gives training throughout North America, namely at the CSMC, ISS and ATSA conferences.