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0 vs 2 degrees of camber?

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    0 vs 2 degrees of camber?

    The only posts I can find about this are pretty old. I have always had 2 degrees of camber on my chairs over the past 8 years I've been injured. So I don't have any experience with 0. I know all the pros and cons of each, I'm looking for rear world experience from someone that has put a few years in a chair with both setups. The main two points I'm interested in are:

    1. Camber makes turning easier and takes less effort.

    2. Camber gives a more natural motion when pushing which is easier on the shoulders.

    I understand these would be more noticeable on a chair with 4+ degrees of camber. But how much of a difference is there on a chair with 2 degrees compared to 0? If it is minimal to none, then I'll take the extra 1 1/2" of width off my footprint that 0 degrees will give me.

    Again, I would really like to hear from those of you that have had chairs with both of these options as I'm more interested in your experience than the technical statistics we've all heard already. In the meantime I am going to try to check with my seating clinic to see if they have one I can try with 0 degrees.

    #2
    Almost 47 years in and have gone thru all the cambers with sports chairs, handcycles and daily chairs. I go back to the days before rigid chairs and making a cambered folder by putting a block with two holes between the cross members. It created camber with sagging upholstery. We had to be careful when folding as the front down tubes would come out of the frame ending with the whole frame coming apart.

    I use 0o camber now mostly because it makes the chair narrower with more space between the top of the wheel and chair frame. also when using an Attachable Striker, over my other handcycle, there's no drag due to the front wheels being lifted up and putting the rear wheels at other than 90o and change in toe in/out. If I had camber I would have to set the wheels either for daily use or when front wheels are lifted off the ground. I have to slow down going around corners and curves but no big deal.

    Will never go back to camber again. I'm not a jock anymore and like the narrower footprint with more space between the wheel and frame. Toe in/out is not a big factor either with 0o though I do check for it every so often.

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      #3
      I use 0 cause it fits through check out aisles and I don't tear up the bottom of door frames as much.

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        #4
        I had a 16 inch wide chair with zero camber originally, cuz the OT assumed I’d get fat now that I wasn’t walking any more.

        From there i switched to a 13” wide chair with 2 degrees of camber. I haven’t felt that either setup was particularly unstable, but I would not get a 13” wide chair with zero camber because I sit high in it and that would almost certainly start to get a bit tippy in tight corners.

        if I still had a 16 inch chair I’d be fine with zero camber.

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          #5
          Originally posted by baldfatdad View Post
          I use 0 cause it fits through check out aisles and I don't tear up the bottom of door frames as much.
          On a similar note I prefer 2 degrees because i tear up my knuckles on door frames much less. Idgaf about the bottoms of the door frames (at least mine... I guess I try not to ruin other people’s homes when I can).

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            #6
            Same here, every time I go to my zero camber chair I wipe out my knuckles.

            Originally posted by funklab View Post
            On a similar note I prefer 2 degrees because i tear up my knuckles on door frames much less. Idgaf about the bottoms of the door frames (at least mine... I guess I try not to ruin other people’s homes when I can).

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              #7
              I don't hit my knuckles. Probably because I wheel with my palms on top of the tires and grip the ring with my fingers at the first joint. Ring is attached by the inner holes of the tabs.

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                #8
                Have used camber a long time ago. But the problems outweigh the benefits. Camber adds lateral stability. You can speed around turns easier, like ramp switchbacks. But who cares? The real benefit for camber in everyday life is that you're less likely to tip while picking stuff up from the ground on a steep incline. But how often does that happen? Just have to be more careful. Would never go back to camber. There are places that I can barely make it through the doorway. If I had camber I couldn't go to these places. That's far more important to me than performance. Besides, how much performance is gained with camber? It's negligible off the court. The exception may be if you're pushing all day. Then you may see some benefit. But if your shoulders are feeling it already, then you need a SmartDrive not camber.

                My solution to prevent scraping my knuckles is to be more careful. After all, if you're scraping your knuckles and you add camber, then you're scraping your wheels and destroying the doorways. Better to destroy doorways than knuckles. But still unacceptable IMO. After all it's possible to be careful. It's impossible to make it through a doorway that's narrower than your chair.
                Last edited by August West; 30 Jan 2020, 4:46 AM.

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                  #9
                  The comments above would suggest to someone unfamiliar with wheelchairs and camber that there's a significant difference between 0 and 2 degrees camber. It's really quite subtle.

                  You can play around with this chair width calculator to get actual data.
                  stephen@bike-on.com

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                    #10
                    I have never seen the dwelling of the afflicted that is without evidence of wheelchair action and unless a person is fortunate enough to have a purpose built home, try as you might, it happens.
                    It is part of the decor and in time should become quite fashionable, a bit like ripped or cut-out jeans.
                    For advice and direction, consult with your preferred interior decorator .

                    BTW, I like that calculator Stephen, except it does not give the option to calculate or read in metric.
                    When is the USA going to catch up?[IMG]/forum/images/smilies/smile.png[/IMG]
                    A bit of trig is good exercise too.
                    Last edited by slow_runner; 30 Jan 2020, 5:41 PM.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
                      The comments above would suggest to someone unfamiliar with wheelchairs and camber that there's a significant difference between 0 and 2 degrees camber. It's really quite subtle.

                      You can play around with this chair width calculator to get actual data.
                      Subtle maybe, but using the preset example and changing it to 0 camber changes the width by 1.4 inches narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. Before this thread I too had been considering making a change to 2 degrees on one of my chairs, but not now.
                      I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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                        #12
                        Also makes a difference in being more critical measuring toe in/out. Not much but drag is drag.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by nonoise View Post
                          .... and wider at the top.....
                          Where do you see this? I've been considering changing mine from 4deg to 2deg but that would be a deal killer for me.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by August West View Post
                            Have used camber a long time ago. But the problems outweigh the benefits. Camber adds lateral stability. You can speed around turns easier, like ramp switchbacks. But who cares? The real benefit for camber in everyday life is that you're less likely to tip while picking stuff up from the ground on a steep incline. But how often does that happen? Just have to be more careful. Would never go back to camber. There are places that I can barely make it through the doorway. If I had camber I couldn't go to these places. That's far more important to me than performance. Besides, how much performance is gained with camber? It's negligible off the court. The exception may be if you're pushing all day. Then you may see some benefit. But if your shoulders are feeling it already, then you need a SmartDrive not camber.

                            My solution to prevent scraping my knuckles is to be more careful. After all, if you're scraping your knuckles and you add camber, then you're scraping your wheels and destroying the doorways. Better to destroy doorways than knuckles. But still unacceptable IMO. After all it's possible to be careful. It's impossible to make it through a doorway that's narrower than your chair.
                            I agree that width is very important, but for me personally, even with two degrees of camber my chair is less than 21" wide. I could drop an inch and a half off of that, but it would make minimal difference. In the US the smallest (standard) sized interior door is 24" (so say 22" to account for the width the door itself takes up when open). I can get through that with my camber and even if I somehow managed to get down to a slender 19" it would still be hopeless to get through the next standard door size which is 18" (so probably 16" or so accounting for the width of the door as above).

                            Using the calculator someone stephen posted, the camber on a 15 or 16" wide chair may well be the difference between getting through some doors or not getting through them, so I'd agree zero camber is the way to go in that case.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
                              The comments above would suggest to someone unfamiliar with wheelchairs and camber that there's a significant difference between 0 and 2 degrees camber. It's really quite subtle.

                              You can play around with this chair width calculator to get actual data.
                              Either you make it through the doorway or you don't. Not subtle when you can't because of camber.

                              Keep in mind that when you add camber two things happen: 1) the distance between wheels increases at the bottom of the wheels, and 2) the distance between wheels decreases at the top of the wheels.

                              For example, you have 16" seat width, 1" wheel spacing, 0 camber, 25 inch wheels and long tabs. The result is that the width of the wheels is 23" at the top and bottom. Now, let's say you add 2 degrees camber. The results are as follows:
                              1. width at the bottom of the wheel = 24.5"
                              2. width at the top of the wheel = 21.5"

                              You're not done. Because the top of the wheels are closer together, they are rubbing against your thighs. To restore the same clearance you had before, you have to increase the axle spacing by 3/4". The results are as follows:
                              1. width at the bottom of the wheel = 26"
                              2. width at the top of the wheel = 23"

                              Going from 23" wide to 24.5" is bad enough. You just eliminated clearance through a standard 24" doorway. Going to 26" is ridiculous IMO.

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