Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wheelchair-accessible motorcycles becoming available worldwide

From the Manchester Evening News in the UK:

A specialist manufacturer of three-wheel motorcycles for wheelchair users is looking forward to massive overseas growth.

Hyde-based Martin Conquest builds the world's only high-per formance motorcycles which come equipped with an automatic ramp, enabling users to ride directly from their wheelchairs.

The latest Conquest trikes - which are made from the type of alloy used in the manufacture of aircraft - include a high-performance BMW R1200R series Boxer

Since the company was established 18 months ago, it has sold five trikes through its Internet site to Australian bikers - on top of selling 35 trikes to British bikers.Martin Conquest has also signed distribution deals in Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands, where the vehicles have been selling well.

Marketing manager Greg Daly said: "These bikes revolutionise the biking opportunities available to wheelchair users.

"It really is as simple as rolling yourself onto the vehicle and driving off and they are exceptionally high performing trikes.

"We are delighted to have signed up with dealerships across Europe now - and our hope now is to move into the US market in the near future.

"We also want to move into Canada by the end of the year and the trikes are undergoing a series of tests which will allow them to be used on their roads."

Martin Conquest has also signed an agreement with a dealership in New Zealand.

The company has 15 full-time employees - four of whom have been recruited over the last 12 months.

The original concept for the trikes was patented by Hyde-based engineer Alan Martin - who is no longer linked to the company - in 1998 after his son Martin ended up in a wheelchair following a skiing accident.

Each of the vehicles has an electronic six speed gearbox, an anti-roll bar and twin, heavy duty adjustable sports shock-absorbers. All the hand controls, wheelchair ramp and secure mounting point for the driver's chair are designed to fit the purchaser's needs. A wide range of factory-fitted accessories - such as state-of-the-art music systems, parking sensors and customised paintwork - are also available.

The R1200R series was launched by Stalybridge and Hyde MP James Purnell this month (pictured).