Pride rolls a manual

Sunday, November 30, 2003

EXETER, Pa. - Pride Mobility Products, whose Jazzy power wheelchair revolutionized the geriatric mobility market in the mid-1990s, is rolling out its first manual wheelchair, a K0004 called the Stylus.

The K0004 is a harbinger of manual things to come from Pride, including a K0005 in the new LightStream line, and a K0009. The K0005 has actually been in the pipeline longer than the Stylus, but is still idling in the wings as the power mobility giant fine tunes its features.

Modularity is the name of the LightStream’s game.

“We designed the (K0005) chair so a provider could change the chair from folding to rigid, and change the width and depth directly in the unit at the provider’s location without having to go out and order a whole new chair,” said Scott Higley, vice president of sales at Pride’s Quantum Rehab division.

A fold-down back will come standard on the 20-pound superlight alloy chair that Pride/Quantum plans to sell at a competitive price-point.

In the meantime, there’s the Stylus, Pride’s gambit in the very mature, very defined K0004 marketplace that’s now dominated by Invacare with its 9000 and Sunrise medical with its Breezy and Quickie Chameleon.

In recent years, said Higley, the K0004 market has become increasingly price-driven. Pride aims to compete on price, but make its mark in the marketplace with features like adjustable sling upholstery, sealed bearings and adjustable front casters.

The new high-strength lightweight chair also features bolted-through leg extensions and quick release axles that come standard.

Pride intends to compete against the established stalwarts with price (one mobility supplier said he could sell the Stylus at retail for $700) and portability.

“A lot of people are looking for a wheelchair they can put in the trunk of a car,” said Travis Barr, president of T&B Medical in State College, Pa. “With the Stylus, you push a button in the middle of the hub and slide the wheel right off.”