No legs, no problem

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Motorcycles set up for people who spend their days in wheelchairs have generally been jury-rigged affairs, but now a pair of companies is offering some wheelchair-bound North Americans a sophisticated, good-looking vehicle that should provide most of the enjoyment of riding a trike.

Martin Conquest, a company in the U.K. that specializes in converting motorcycles for use by people who can’t use their legs, and Mobility Works, an American outfit that produces vans and minivans for drivers in wheelchairs, have joined together to form Mobility Conquest and produce wheelchair motorcycles based on BMW Boxer platforms.

The 1170 cc R1200 motor produces 109 bph, but the trike, called a "Conquest," weighs 585 kg, so acceleration is considerably reduced, resulting in a zero to 100 km/h elapsed time of about 7.5 seconds and a top speed of around 170 km/h.

The trike is relatively normal in design, with one front wheel and two rear wheels, but a ramp at the back can be lowered so that a wheelchair can roll onboard, then lock into place. Front and rear disc brakes are operated by a single hand lever and a thumb lever operates the clutch.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but it’s not going to be cheap (a British version goes for the equivalent of $41,000 Cdn), and they promise that you’ll soon be able to book a test ride via www.mobilityconquest.com. Meanwhile, some YouTube video offers evidence that the Conquest wheelchair-motorcycle is manoeuvrable.

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