Mert Lawwill prosthetic bicycle riding hand [setup, first test ride]
If you look for more tips about modifying / using a bicycle with a below elbow amputation, check links regarding "bike" (LINK), "biking" (LINK), and "bike mods" (LINK). There is a longer article in German regarding bicycle modification (LINK).
I recently got a Mert Lawwill bike hand and after I found time to fix my bike, mount new tubes and get the Mert hand going, I immediately went for a test ride to see how it'd go.
It is safe to say that there were two improvements for my prosthetic within the last twelve months that definitely knocked the bottom out in terms of empowerment - one was the winter / cold weather modification where I installed mounting heating elements into the socket.
And the second one is the bike riding hand.
Riding the bike
In the video, I use the Mert hand to ride my bike full speed while playing with my cell phone, video-recording the ride. Control is perfect as the ball amount allows free motion for all joints while maintaining stability. The Mert Lawwill hand provides both an easy to mount bicycle modification and terminal device for the prosthetic socket.
Mounting the Mert hand
I attached the hand adapter to a socket. I removed the cable because the cable otherwise would restrict the extension of my shoulder and elbow when enjoying a bike ride.
It does help to have a modular socket and cable mount setup that allows cable parts to come off by simply removing a (one, 1) screw. Well set up : )
I just slide in the socket with the silicone liner and attach to it with the pin lock.
The handlebar adapter can be attached in two ways and at various angles. That is the current position that I used.
There are five screws (black, horizontal inside adapter) that allow tuning of the spring strength. The ball is locked inside the adapter with these springs. The tighter the screws, the harder you can pull the handle bar - the higher the risk of fracture when falling though.
Mert hand in action
The feeling is absolutely fabulous. I can ride and play with the cell phone (here: taking picture), put my right hand in the pocket to warm it up a bit or otherwise enjoy the ride.
Obviously and with that I did extend my circle or radius of action. Going fast, and going to places not so easy to reach just by walking.
Great view during sunset on December 25th.
The manufacturing quality is extremely sturdy. The riding quality is superb. The stability is perfect even though the ball connector has enough degrees of freedom to avoid muscle strain or overstretching. One does not have to lock the hosed arm and elbow into one position and end up with tense pain. And the ride is surprisingly comfortable.
If ever you loved riding bicycles and were slowed down because of a prosthetic that didn't quite work, this gives back a feeling of stability and fluency at the same time that I find unprecedented. It was planned as a Christmas 2011 test but I had not expected it'd be just that great. It just put the biggest grin on my face. Wawaweewa!
Ride bike with a prosthetic arm; Riding bike with a prosthetic arm; How to ride a bike after arm amputation; Riding a bike with a prosthetic hand; Bicycle riding with prosthesis;
Where to order