The user's verdict

James Foster, 36, right, who works for GE Money, has been using his Trekinetic K-2 wheelchair for 18 months. He was one of the first customers.

"The Trekinetic is an awful lot faster than a standard wheelchair and a lot better once you get off paved surfaces as well. I'm always camping, fishing and kayaking and I'd never get to some of the places I go without it. In a conventional wheelchair you are always looking down at the ground, taking care to spot possible obstacles such as stones or tree roots, but in the Trekinetic, you don't need to bother. The drum brakes are great for holding the chair back and steering it when going downhill. The chair is good at getting over kerbs, as well; with the large wheels at the front, you don't need to use the "wheelie" technique you would in a normal wheelchair to get the small wheels over the kerb. It also helps break down a lot of barriers. People won't normally approach someone in a wheelchair but everywhere you go in the Trekinetic, it leaves a wake of turned heads and quite a few people come up to ask you about it. At the Isle of Wight Festival last year, I could hardly move because of the interest in it. I for one wouldn't go back to using a conventional wheelchair."

The expert's verdict

Jonathan Hollins, medical device product consultant

"While many wheelchair users are now experiencing improved quality of life in areas ranging from building access to sporting opportunities, when it comes to wheelchair design, they can often feel like second-class citizens. It is therefore great to see companies tackling the engineering and design challenge of creating an innovative and fit-for-purpose wheelchair. Of course the design must be modern and stylish, but not at the expense of performance, weight, durability and its ability to support the medical needs of the wheelchair user. For many users the choice of wheelchair comes down to two key points – price and pressure care. A wheelchair is a precisely engineered piece of clinical equipment, often the result of years of expensive R&D. The price of the wheelchair I believe represents good value for money in terms of the style, innovation and practicality it affords. In terms of pressure care, inherent design features, including an inclined posture angle, will provide latent benefits. Combined with the use of specialist pressure reducing cushions, users should experience a new dimension in wheelchair mobility. The wheelchair looks like it has managed to break the mould."