Updated on February 29, 2024


Created on June 7, 2014

Rough Rider Wheelchair

Upcoming Update

Rough Rider Wheelchair is a wheelchair designed to handle rugged terrain with ease.

Tested By
  • Whirlwind Wheelchair International
Content Partners


Product Description

Rough Rider Wheelchair is a wheelchair designed to handle rugged terrain with ease.

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

RoughRiders are purchased by international NGOs, governments, and individuals engaged in local wheelchair provision. This list of field partners is available.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Components are mass produced  in regional factories.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Can be purchased directly from the designer. BOGO program available. RoughRiders are distributed by community organizations based on predetermined needs in developing countries.

Distributions to Date Status

End users are identified by community organizations engaged in wheelchair provision in local communities. Whirlwind has reached users in over 40 countries.

Maximum rider load (kg)


Seat widths (min-max, cm)

32 – 47cm

Seat depths (min-max, cm)

35.5 – 46cm

Adjustable seat (yes/no)

Yes – Back Height

Frame type (folding/rigid)


Frame type (material)

Malleable (mild or low- carbon) steel

Seat angles (degrees):

Lower Back: 8 degrees, fixed Upper Back:12 degrees, custom

Footrest heights (min-max)

30.5 – 43cm below seat

Repairable with universal components (yes/no)


Chair weight (kg)


Fatigue tested (yes/no)


Fatigue test results (cycles)

200,000 cycles

Design Specifications

Detailed design specifications are available in the Research and Standards.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Simple assembly instructions on paper and video are provided with each order for the distributing organization to use. Each RoughRider chair comes with a 60-page User Manual which gives instructions on assembly, adjustment, and use. These instructions are for the wheelchair provider and for the wheelchair rider. Whirlwind assists with capacity building for local professionals and paraprofessionals in order to establish and maintain a sustainable infrastructure for wheelchair services such as assessment, fitting, rider training, and repair.

Replacement Components

Whirlwind is expanding its franchise program  with the development of Wheelchair Provision and Assembly Centers (WPACs), which will serve as local hubs for continuous in-person service for the RoughRider and its users.


Although life cycle is not indicated, users have been know to have the chair over 20 years.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Works on rough terrain; easily repairable; composed of readily available components for simple repair around the world; adjustable to accommodate individual needs; maximum load 100kg; affordable in developing country contexts.

Vetted Performance Status

Whirlwind conducted tests  found the RoughRider to pass the ISO Standard tests, including the minimum 200,000 cycles on the two-drum durability tests P10.4, and 6,666 cycle horizontal 50 mm (2 inch) drop test P10.5. Passing the static strength and impact tests is a good indicator of a chair's ability to also pass the ISO Standard durability tests.


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

William Armstrong, Kim D. Reisinger, William K. Smith. Evaluation of CIR-Whirlwind Wheelchair and service provision in Afghanistan  Disability and Rehabilitation, 2007, Vol. 29, No. 11-12 : Pages 935-948

Whirlwind Wheelchair, “Partners“, 2023

Whirlwind Wheelchair, “Research and Development“, 2023

Whirlwind Wheelchair, “Design Specifications“, 2023

Whirlwind Wheelchair, “ISO Standars“, 2023

Whirlwind Wheelchair, “Strength Testing“, 2023

Compliance with regulations

ISO International Standards for Wheelchairs. Extended ISO standards- developed by Whirlwind as a more appropriate measure of the forces a wheelchair will be subjected to on rough terrain in developing countries. Simplified Strength Testing of Manual Wheelchairs in Developing Countries-- developed by Whirlwind from ANSI/RESNA standards to allow for tests to be performed using simple, readily available tools when elaborate and expensive testing equipment is not available.

Evaluation methods

Static, Impact, and Fatigue Strength (ISO International Standards for Wheelchairs)   Footrest Rolling Impact, Caster Wheel Rolling Impact, Caster Force Bending Strength, Wheelie Drop Off Inclined Curb, Rear Axle and Mount Bending Strength, Upward Force on Push Handles, Inward Force on seat and Seatback Tubes, Seat Back Tube Bending Strength, Downward Force on Armrests, Wheelie Drop Off Level Curb, Frame Twisting Strength (Simplified Strength Testing of Manual Wheelchairs developed by Whirlwind).

Other Information


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