Last Wednesday I test drove the Dragon chair from Dragon Mobility. I was interested in the feature where it lowered you to the ground, as I thought it would make getting back up easier, but I wasn’t sure about my weight as I am right at the max end of the weight limit.
It has a weight limit because of the way the seat is mounted onto an ‘elevator’.
The Dragon is built by a man called Dan Everard, who made the very first one for his daughter Ruth who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, you can read more about how the Dragon came about by clicking on this link.
The Dragon is an excellent chair, I love the idea of been able to get down to the floor and rise up to reach in cupboards. Around the house, the compactness of the Dragon and its FWD maneuverability meant I could get directly out of my bedroom door into the lounge (which is L shape – 90 degree angle) which I can’t do with my Vibe electric chair.
However I did struggle with controlling it outdoors, maybe because it was torque controller and it was more responsive to movements and pressure put on it, maybe partly cos I also never driven a FWD before and I now understand the term ‘fishtailing’! (back end tends to swing left to right at higher speeds as there’s no weight over the castors).
As the seat is kind of ‘perched’ on the elevator rather than on top of the base it did move more which I found a little unnerving, the seat also seemed to respond more to twitches and if muscles tensed and relaxed which I never relaised mine did it as much until I sat in this chair. I am only used to driving a mobility scooter or my Vibe which have solid seats that don’t move if you move unintentionally. It may have been partly cos I was at the top end of the weight limit as well. I don’t think a small light child or adult would have the same issues.
The chair is designed to be very agile and respond to the person in it and I think its better suited to children or small adults. Its great for indoors if you are small and need a chair to get you around school/college/workplace where tight spaces. It easily fitted in my bathroom and I could even get out of my double doors into bedroom with it, which is a tight squeeze cos chest of drawers is behind one of the doors and end of the bed in front.
I also loved the seat riser function and it made things so much easier and safer getting things out of kitchen cupboards without having to balance with one arm and try to get item out with other. Whichever chair I go for next needs a seat riser on it to help me in kitchen, but I also want it to be able to get me out in the snow when my scooter can’t.
I relaise this may be somewhat impossible, even cars get stuck in snow! But I’m thinking of trying an ‘all-terrain’ chair next. My biggest issue is getting it through this swing gate where I take Inca everyday, the dragon only just fitted
I was worried how the small back castors would handle things like grass, but they have been designed by the inventor himself. If you can see what looked like ‘grey stripe’ in middle of back castor on picture above? That is raised.. when you are on flat, that part is touching floor and gives the chair its maneuverability. On softer grass where castor will tend to sink into ground a bit the full surface of the castor is then in contact with the ground. Very clever design!!
Overall it is an excellent chair and if I was a little smaller and needed it for mainly indoors areas – college, work etc too I would be very tempted to try and get one. The kids version ‘snapdragon’ is great for young kids who want to be playing on floor and to be able to get down to floor to play with other kids etc
To read more about Dragon or SnapDragon click below: