Grit Freedom Chair

Lever drive

Learn about the benefits of this revolutionary approach to mobility

Lever drives combine efficiency of handycles and small footprint of manual wheelchairs. They amplify your force, making it easier to self propel, especially outdoors on grass, sand, and rough terrain. Scientific research shows that lever drives are ergonomic and a great source of low-impact cardio exercise. While lever drives have been around for decades, new products on the market like the GRIT Freedom Chair make the advantages of lever drives accessible for everyone.


What are the benefits of using a lever drive?

Easy to push
The GRIT Freedom Chair’s lever drive has a mechanical advantage between the lever and the wheel, making it easier to push the chair forward than on push-rim wheelchairs.
Low impact
Lever drives use an ergonomic motion that engages large muscle groups in the chest and shoulders. They can help eliminate the shoulder issues that plague push-rim wheelchair users.
Clean hands
Lever drives keep your hands far away from the wheels and everything they are rolling through. They also provide easy braking, since you don’t have to try to grab slippery push rims.

Built for the trail
The rugged and lightweight steel frame is stable like a tripod, keeping you grounded and in control.

Fun to ride
Lever drives take the physical stress out of pushing yourself around, helping you to focus on enjoying your environment and the friends and family you’re exploring it with.

A mountain bike, for your arms
Every moving part is an off-the-shelf bike part, for easy maintenance and infinite customization.

Heart healthy

The ergonomic lever motion is easy on smooth ground, exercising your heart and lungs rather than just your arms. Many GRIT Freedom Chair riders love the low impact cardio workout.
Lever drives are compact, especially when compared to crank-drives on handcycles. For example, GRIT Freedom Chair easily disassembles to fit in the the trunk of a small car.

Who is it for?
Lever wheelchairs have been around for a while, but new designs like the GRIT Freedom Chair have introduced them to a much wider audience! With over two hundred GRIT Freedom Chairs in parks, at beaches, and on trails around the US, it’s clear that all kinds of riders can benefit from lever drives. Members of the GRIT community include:
Anyone with difficulty walking
Outdoor enthusiasts
People who want to exercise


People with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, leg amputation, traumatic brain injury, and other disabilities can use lever drives. Since lever drives are easier to push, and don’t require grip strength to operate, riders who cannot self-propel in a regular push-rim wheelchair may be able to push themselves in a lever drive chair. Many people who do not typically use a wheelchair, but have difficulty walking outdoors or for long distances, can enjoy the benefits of lever drives.

Outdoor enthusiasts with limited mobility who miss the freedom and adventure of the outdoors can also benefit from lever drive chairs like the GRIT Freedom Chair. It’s also a great choice for wheelchair riders who are looking for a form of low-impact exercise to keep in shape.

Easy to push

Less shoulder strain. More fun.

Our MIT-designed patented lever drive is easier to push than regular wheelchairs, but is way more powerful. We use the properties of levers to give you the benefits of shifting gears on a bike. This means that the GRIT Freedom Chair lets you cruise faster than walking speed on smooth ground, but also gives you the power you need to climb over hills and roll through grass, dirt, and sand. Ready for a break? Pulling backwards on the levers applies the brakes.


King of the hill
Grabbing the top of the levers gives you a lot of torque, making it easy to overcome obstacles.

Win the race
Grabbing the bottom of the levers lets you cruise efficiently on sidewalks, bike paths, and roads.

Built for the trail

Finally, a chair that can keep up with you.
The GRIT Freedom Chair was designed by our world-class team of MIT engineers to handle any terrain. The 26” mountain bike tires give you superior traction, especially compared to regular wheelchair wheels. Coupled with our lever drive, it’s an unstoppable combination. The GRIT Freedom Chair’s lightweight steel frame is extremely strong and provides a smooth ride over bumpy terrain. The big front wheel doesn’t get stuck and the three-wheeled footprint is stable like a tripod.

Roll over anything
The 9″ inflatable front wheel absorbs shocks, distributes your weight on soft ground, and never gets stuck. It offers an unparalleled smooth ride on all kinds of terrain.


The right tread for the job
The GRIT Freedom Chair tires (in the middle below) offer great off-road traction without slowing you down on the pavement. At 1.75″ wide, they are almost twice as wide as standard wheelchair wheels (on the left below). While the regular GRIT Freedom Chair tires do fine on soft ground like sand and snow, if you’re a beach bum or snow bunny, you’ll want to check out our Sand/Snow tires (on the right below). At 2.25″ wide, they float over the soft stuff.

Take it anywhereWith quick-release everything, the GRIT Freedom Chair packs light.

The GRIT Freedom Chair is the first all-terrain wheelchair that’s just as easy to get to the trail as it is to use on the trail.  The wheels, seatback, and footrest are all quick release, enabling the GRIT Freedom Chair to fit into the trunk of a small car. We designed it to disassemble in less than a minute, and the more you disassemble the lighter it gets (as opposed to folding chairs, which stay the same weight regardless). The weight of the heaviest part to lift into the car is just 25 pounds.

 A mountain bike, for your arms

Easy to use and even easier to own.

Every moving part on the GRIT Freedom Chair is an off-the-shelf bike part. This makes maintenance, customization, and repairs easy and inexpensive. Taking care of your GRIT Freedom Chair is as simple as keeping the tires inflated and occasionally greasing the chain. Feeling adventurous? Standard bike interfaces make it easy to install custom tires or change the gearing. Need to make an adjustment? Your local bike shop will know just what to do.


Intelligently designed

Eight years of MIT R&D at your fingertips.

We came up with the initial concept for the GRIT Freedom Chair in 2008, while we were students at MIT, and we’ve been working on it ever since. We designed it with the help of hundreds of wheelchair riders around the world, and tested it in some of the harshest conditions imaginable: the plains of East Africa, rural Nepal, and Haiti.

The levers store on the frame, allowing you to move just like in a regular wheelchair. This helps with transfers and using the GRIT Freedom Chair indoors.

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The adjustable height footrest helps you ensure a comfortable fit in the GRIT Freedom Chair. Slots are included to accommodate optional foot straps.


The easy-to-use parking brakes keep you locked in place when transferring into and out of the chair.


The pad supports your back, so you can push hard, even without trunk strength.


Pulling backwards on the levers activates the powerful friction brakes, slowing you down.


vs Manual Wheelchairs

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Easier to push
Studies on wheelchair propulsion found that lever drives don’t require as much strength as push rims.

Lower impact
Ergonomic studies found that the lever motion doesn’t stress your shoulders and wrists like push rims do.

Keep your hands clean
The padded levers keep your hands away from trail dirt and street grime.

More stable on uneven terrain
Lever driven chairs, like the GRIT Freedom Chair, can have a larger footprint than traditional wheelchairs, increasing their stability.

vs Handcycles


Upright seating position
You can sit comfortably at a normal wheelchair height, rather than inches above the ground.