We have worked hard to ensure the Boma is an extremely capable all terrain wheelchair and that it instils confidence in the user. We want you to be happy using your Boma in different conditions and to fully enjoy the experience, regardless of any disability.
Every Boma is provided with a user manual which details basic riding technique together with pre-ride inspections and maintenance advice. We strongly recommend that you read and understand this manual before operating your Boma for the first time.
In this blog we take a look at some of the things to consider when operating a Boma off-road and offer advice on riding in different terrain. Which settings to use; how to ride on different surfaces and how to choose the best route based on the capabilities of the Boma.
When people think of an off-roader they usually think of a 4×4 SUV or truck or perhaps something small like a quad bike (ATV). Although the Boma has 4 wheels it is difficult to compare with 4×4’s since it lacks the weight, power and size of an SUV. Despite being approximately the same size as an ATV, techniques used to ride a Boma are very different, since most Boma riders cannot move their weight to maintain stability.
The aim of these notes is to give some pointers on what to consider when taking rough terrain with a Boma.
Boma has been designed from the outset to be capable off-road, which primarily means; great at crossing obstacles. Large diameter front and rear tyres (the largest of any electrically powered wheelchair) allow the Boma to simply roll over curbs, tree roots and trail debris. When approaching the obstacle, the front tyres will be the first point of contact thanks to good Approach Angles (A).
On standard wheelchairs the first thing to usually hit curb will be the footplate, on a mobility scooter it would be part of the fairing or front bumper.
The Boma also has unique high ground clearance (approximately 10 inches minimum) providing a good Break over angle (B); a feature which is useful when operating in rutted or uneven terrain. Once you have descended a slope or ditch the last contact will be with the rear tyres (C)(Departure angle).
Boma has 2 speed ranges as indicated in the user manual; typically, when operating off-road we would recommend using the high setting which can provide maximum power and torque when needed. It is still possible to operate the Boma at low speed when on a high power setting; simply by control of the throttle or joystick position. (N.b. if using a joystick control we recommend some support to the arm or wrist to take away unnecessary movement and give finer control).
Tips for climbing or descending slopes.
We recommend always approaching slopes straight on. Visually check out a route to the top and identify any obstacles (branches, roots, ruts). Make sure you know what is the top of the slope (nothing worse than climbing a difficult slope and realising there is nowhere to turn around). Climb slopes using the high setting for maximum torque. Choose a route that keeps both rear tyres on good traction.
When descending slopes, check the gradient is within the capabilities of the chair (1 in 6 as standard).
Tips for driving in sand.
Sand can provide extremely varied surface conditions depending on moisture content, particle size and particle shape. Extremely dry friable sand can cause a walker to sink up to their ankles and can pose the greatest obstacle to wheels.
Momentum of a fast moving Boma will always overcome the drag and reduce the traction needed from the wheels. When it is clear that NO obstacle is in the way to cause damage, a fast approach to soft sand can very often be effective.
Check the route you will take; maintain good forward speed and stop when surface conditions have improved.
Tips for obstacle crossing.
A Boma rider is usually unable to move their body to compensate for slopes or to add stability. For this reason we recommend, obstacles such as curbs, steps and ditches are approached straight on, rather than at an angle (unlike typical 4×4 driving).
The excellent approach and departure angles of a Boma allow the chair to approach and roll up and over obstacles without interference from the Boma chassis.
For more information about driving techniques, check out the Boma 7 User Manual.
We hope this quick guide provides inspiration to get you out of about in your Boma. And if you have never experienced what a Boma can do, please contact us and we can arrange a demonstration.