Founding a company and designing wheelchairs was the last thing on my mind as an Agricultural Engineering student in 1995 in darkest Shropshire, but as everyone knows, you can never tell what is just around the corner. In my case it was a serious neurological condition which after 3 ½ years of full-time rehab left me as a tetraplegic wheelchair user.
Fortunately I was able to return to University to begin my engineering studies over again but this time with a very different perspective on things. For a start, running around campus and fields in a standard powered wheelchair quickly highlights its shortcomings when it comes to, well, not even the rough stuff. Grass, gravel, wet concrete, and even a few centimetres of mud could easily cause the chair to get stuck; particularly with casters dragging as they turn. What was needed was something with large diameter wheels to roll over difficult surfaces and obstacles…
First attempts at off-road vehicles ranged from adapted quad bikes, adapted mountain bikes, adapted kids bikes welded together and even an eight wheel amphibious buggy which didn’t float exactly; rather it sank extremely slowly. Each project brought me closer to realising that there was a definite need for a specialist truly off road wheelchair. Of course, in the late 90s there were a few chunky powered wheelchairs on the market but all seemed to be compromised by the need to use them indoors and outdoors. Perhaps a fresh approach was needed?
Throughout University it became clear my days of driving tractors were behind me, but my love of engineering and problem-solving remained; the question was how to make a future out of it. As with most good ideas, Molten Rock was born from a Friday night conversation in the pub. When describing the concept for an all terrain wheelchair to a friend, he said simply, “why don’t you start your own company?”
That was back in 2004, and over the following years we scraped together enough funds to make a couple of prototypes, exhibited at a couple of shows and made our first sale in 2007. Moreover, I’m pleased to say that Boma 0001 is still going strong with its owner all these years later.
So why Boma? Well, when I was a kid the coolest bike was a Raleigh Bomber; so what better name for the coolest wheelchair? We just rearranged the spelling; so now you know.
Molten Rock now has a dedicated team focused on providing a high quality product to our customers, together with a personal after sales service. We have developed the Boma based entirely on what customers want from an all terrain wheelchair in terms of accessibility and performance. We pride ourselves on producing the most accessible, capable all terrain chair currently available.
Please get in touch if you would like to see and try a Boma for yourself, and do stop by if you are passing junction 13 of the M1 (although best to call first so we can get the kettle on).