UBC 3rd year design course


The TrailRider™ is an off-road wheelchair of sorts designed to provide accessibility to the wilderness for those with limited mobility. It was developed by British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) and is intended for one rider to be accompanied by two assistants. The device has seen success, and has been to the summit of Kilimanjaro and Everest base camp twice. BCMOS currently runs a day hike program that has allowed thousands of disabled people to experience the wilderness with the help of volunteers. Feedback was given from TrailRider™ passengers and volunteers in order for new improvements to be made.

Original Black Diamond TrailRider Design

Revised TrailRider Design


As a team of seven mechanical engineering students at UBC, we were tasked with the following conceptual design challenge.

"Expand the range of both riders and assistants who can ride safely use the Black Diamond TrailRider™."

Design Improvements

  • Adjustable handles to accommodate a wider range of users; currently the rear assistant needs to be taller than the front assistant for easy maneuverability
  • Rechargeable electric drive; provides provide assistance for short-mid range hikes extending the range of physical fitness required to assist the passenger
  • Two wheels allows one volunteer to utilize the TrailRider on less rugged terrain
  • Optimized linearly damped suspensions to reduce unwanted shock and vibration
  • Memory foam seats to mitigate the development of pressure sores on passenger
  • Modular design for 1 or 2 wheel configuration

To view the previously mentioned report, a link to the PDF on OneDrive is given below. Also below are links to a UBC newspaper article and an interview with Eric Molendyk, the program administrator for BCMOS, who discusses the positive experience he has had with the day hike program.

Team Achievements

  • Awarded the highest presentation among all teams
  • Produced a 428 report detailing design conceptualization, failure analysis and calculations
  • Received highest mark on report calculations

Personal Contribution

During this project I had several important responsibilities; they are summarized below.

  • Lead mathematical simulation (suspension, dynamics, heat transfer, motor control, technical presentation)
  • Lead 3D Modelling and general CAD conducted in Solidworks
  • Calibrate, synchronize and utilize an array of gyroscope accelerometers to collect vibration/dynamics data