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Wheelchair Rear Wheel Setup 101

Optimal Rear Wheel Access

The Wheelchair Rear Wheel Setup 101 is a guide aimed at correctly positioning the rear wheels to give the user optimal access to them. When sitting in a well-adjusted wheelchair, you should be able to reach the wheel hub with the tip of the middle finger. This indicates that the centre of mass is well-positioned over the wheel hub, with elbows at around 100-120 angles when holding the top of the handrails.


When building a custom wheelchair, achieving optimal rear wheels position is done by making horizontal and vertical adjustments to the wheels. Many of those adjustments are made by the assembly technicians, while some will also be made by your healthcare professional upon receiving the chair.

Horizontal Rear Wheels Positioning

Adjusting the rear wheels horizontally forwards or backwards affects the centre of gravity. Adjusting the centre of mass and centre of gravity will have an impact on stability as it influences the weight distribution between the rear wheels and the front casters. The rear wheel’s horizontal position is of great importance to the wheelchair’s performance and overall manoeuvrability.


Back wheels adjusted forward are usually the most efficient as they position the centre of gravity rearwards and reduce the weight on the front casters. However, it’s also important to note that this adjustment will make the wheelchair less stable as the back wheels take more weight. Users with this type of configuration will have to be more comfortable with their wheelchair skills.


When the back wheels are adjusted rearward (as shown in the right image), the wheelchair will be a lot more stable by a more even weight distribution between front casters and rear wheels. However, the arms will have to give more effort as the elbow is excessively flexed. The stability gained can benefit some types of users, but inefficient strokes could cause pain and injuries.

Vertical Rear Wheels Position

The vertical position of the back wheels affects seat-to-floor height, which is key to the user’s comfort and avoiding upper-body injuries.

When seat-to-floor distance is too high, access to the surface of the handrails is reduced, resulting in more repetitions needed to cover a certain distance. But if the distance is too low, meaning the user is closer to the floor, it can cause shoulders to be elevated and elbows to be excessively bent, eventually causing injuries.

Precise rear wheel Adjustment Solution

With the user’s comfort and well-being in mind, Motion Composites develops wheelchairs with some of the most precise wheel adjustments in the industry. Certified healthcare professionals will have the knowledge and skills required to calculate the specifications that are ideal for the patient’s measurements, lifestyle and condition.

Our Wheelchairs

We offer a complete range of manual wheelchairs, folding & rigid, for adults and children. If you purchase a wheelchair, we offer to set it up for your individual requirements! We are the sole distributor of some fantastic brands.

Click here to see our Manual Wheelchair Range.