Updated on February 29, 2024


Created on June 7, 2014

Leveraged Freedom Chair

Upcoming Update

Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) is a 3-wheeled, wheelchair designed for use on rough terrain with push levers to allow movement.

Tested By
  • Global Research, Innovation and Technology
  • MIT D-Lab
Content Partners


Product Description

Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) is a 3-wheeled, wheelchair designed for use on rough terrain with push levers to allow movement.

Target SDGs

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Public Sector Agencies, NGOs

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

GRIT distributes the LFC via partners organizations, such as NGOs, government health units, hospitals, and others.

Competitive Landscape

Manufacturing/Building Method

LFC kits are centrally manufactured and then distributed for local assembly through partner networks.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

The LFC is sold in bulk (quantities of 100+) to NGOs, governments, and aid agencies serving the disabled in developing countries.

Distributions to Date Status

Over 1,500 LFCs have been distributed worldwide through partner organizations in 17 countries.

Maximum rider load (kg)


Seat widths (min-max, cm)

33 – 46cm

Seat depths (min-max, cm)


Adjustable seat (yes/no)


Frame type (folding/rigid)

Rigid mild-steel

Frame type (material)


Seat angles (degrees):

90 degrees between seat bottom and back, seat pan tilted back 11 deg

Footrest heights (min-max)


Repairable with universal components (yes/no)


Chair weight (kg)

22 – 24kg

Fatigue tested (yes/no)


Fatigue test results (cycles)

200,000 cycles

Design Specifications

Components: - - Rigid mild-steel frame - - Three wheels - - Adjustable rear axle position - - 26 inch pneumatic bicycle tires - - 8 inch solid rubber front castors - - Adjustable footrest with straps - - Fixed armrest with mudguard - - Comfort cushion - - Seatbelt - - Chest and foot straps - - Bicycle ball bearings on all bearing surfaces - - Storable lever drivetrain and pushrims - - Variable mechanical advantage from 1:1 to 3:1. Measurements (standard size): - - Seat depth: 14 inches - - Length: 44 inches - - Width: 26 inches - - Seat width: 15 inches - - Weight: 51 pounds.  

Product Schematics

Technical Support

LFCs must be properly prescribed for individual users. This requires support from local distribution partners, who ensure the LFC is correctly sized and appropriate for its user.

Replacement Components

LFC is built from bicycle parts that are widely available around the world. LFC owners have reported using local bicycle shops to repair punctures, change bearings, and tune up their chairs.


LFC is designed to be easily repairable across the world to promote repairs rather than replacement.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Able to travel 5km/day on variable terrain; small and maneuverable enough to be used indoors; locally repairable using local tools, parts, and knowledge; provides good posture support.

Vetted Performance Status

Field tests show that compared to a conventional wheelchair on a dirt road, the LFC is about 78% faster, 41% more efficient in terms of metabolic effort, and able to put out 51% more torque.


A wheelchair that is not properly fit to the needs of an individual user can result in discomfort or injury (such as scoliosis or pressure sores) due to insufficient support or improper cushioning. There is also a risk of tipping while using a wheelchair.

Complementary Technical Systems


Academic Research and References

The Design and Fabrication of the East African Trial Leveraged Freedom Chair (RESNA Annual Conference, 2010)

Stakeholder-Driven Design Evolution of the Leveraged Freedom Chair Developing World Wheelchair  (Proceedings of the ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, 2012)

Compliance with regulations

ISO International Standards for Wheelchairs, International Organization for Standardization.

Evaluation methods

Biomechanical Testing (field testing) Static, Impact, and Fatigue strength testing using a 200,000 cycle double-drum test (lab testing)

Other Information

Empowering People Award winner

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