By Tom Reardon / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Pinal County, AZ) Vapor Wheels, a Tempe, Arizona-based company that creates a new breed of wheelchair wheels has built an OEM partnership with 360 Fabrications in the United Kingdom.
The partnership is the first of its kind for Vapor Wheels and will provide wheels to 360 Fabrications who specializes in building active day, basketball, tennis, and fencing wheelchairs.
The Tempe-based Vapor Wheels began operations in 2020 with a goal of helping users have greater access to high quality wheels at affordable prices that could be easily serviced. Lyle Rusanowski is the CEO and founder of Vapor Wheels has made it his mission to provide not only an affordable alternative to the typical high prices of wheelchair wheels, but also a product that is ready to evolve as quickly as other technology evolves.
“With more than 131 million wheelchair users around the world, most consumers are relying on the same decades-old technology and for most, the wheelchair in general has changed very little over the course of the past generation,” says Rusanowski.
“Technology is shaping the new norm and has the potential to make substantial improvements to people’s quality of life, including bringing existing mountain bike technology to the industry. For us, Vapor can help solve major challenges that people in wheelchairs face, including customer service, and a multitude of choices, pushing wheel performance to levels previously unattainable. Having dealers like 360 Fabrications come on board to support, is just the first step in showing we are doing our job right from ideation to manufacturing and distribution,” he adds.
One of the challenges faced by those who need wheelchairs is difficulty in getting their wheels repaired if something goes wrong. Vapor Wheels aims to put a stop to this challenge.
“We entered the market to offer more variety, but along the way we wanted to improve convenience for people by using commercially available bike options. Our builds use bike technology, which means our wheelchair wheels can be serviced by anyone that understands how to service and maintain bike wheels. A wheelchair user can simply order parts and take their wheel to a local bike shop for repair the same day rather than ship their wheels somewhere and wait for weeks to get them back,” says Vickie Florschuetz of Vapor Wheels.
The partnership with 360 Fabrications will allow Vapor Wheels to gain visibility across the Atlantic Ocean and provide citizens in the United Kingdom with a product that can be serviced, as Florschuetz pointed out, in a much more accessible and rapid manner. The addition of new companies, such as these two partners, in the wheelchair industry will provide new opportunities for wheelchair users to explore options and technological advances they may not have thought possible.
“For wheelchair users, their wheels are like their shoes. For our market, the wheelchair is an extension of their body, and the wheels play a crucial part in how our customers move through the world. There is a general feeling that it's too much effort to maintain a wheel with proprietary technology, so users will often live with damaged wheels until they can afford to replace them. We are always looking into partnering and supporting various organizations in creative ways to help make equipment more affordable and accessible to people. Overtime, it is our hope to grow our partnerships and offer resources for people who are in need,” says Ryan Baker, Director of Marketing for Vapor Wheels.
For more information on Vapor Wheels, please visit their website.