Meet the GRIT Team

A note from the Founders

"We believe that everybody deserves access to the outdoors and adventure, regardless of their physical ability. We met while studying mechanical engineering at MIT and came together around our shared passion to use our skills to make a difference.

Regular wheelchairs are exhausting to push, hard to use off-road, tricky to fix, and like all medical devices, too expensive. We couldn't believe that so many people with disabilities were stuck on the pavement because regular wheelchairs can't keep up.  

So we decided to design something better. But we couldn't do it alone. We enlisted the help of hundreds of wheelchair riders from around the world, as well as seating experts, physical and occupational therapists, and outdoor enthusiasts.

We love to geek out about the technical stuff—we can talk your ear off about torque and rolling resistance—but we'd much rather hear about you and your dreams, whether they involve tackling a Spartan Race, joining your family for a trail ride, or simply venturing out into nature under your own power.

We are motivated every day by the stories that our riders share with us of their adventures. And every day, we are honored to play a small role in their accomplishments.”

- Tish and Ben

Here are a few things we love:

OUR RIDERS

We have said it before and we will say it again: there is nothing better than catching up with our riders. Our riders aren't just our customers, they're the most important voices on our design team, so we love meeting up to learn about how they are using the chair, problem solve any challenges they are facing with the chair, and get their feedback on what we are working on.

…AND LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH THEIR ADVENTURES

Every rider, goal, body, fitness hurdle, solution, terrain, and situation can be different, and that’s part of what keeps our job exciting. We celebrate their milestones, whether that’s completing their first road race or their first family stroll around the block, and we listen to frustrations that may arise and help find solutions. We are grateful everyday that our community is so generous in sharing their big and little moments — it’s what motivates us to do a better job day in and day out.

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TAKING A MOMENT TO ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Whether it’s hiking, catching the views from the top of a ferris wheel, or indoor rock climbing, we love fun and adventure-ing. Sometimes that involves scooters, other times it involves relaxing our feet after a long event and lounging by the pool.

How GRIT came to be

Regular wheelchairs are exhausting to push, hard to use off-road, tricky to fix, and like all medical devices, too expensive. Many people with disabilities are stuck on the pavement: their regular wheelchairs can't keep up.  

While studying mechanical engineering at MIT, we decided to design something better. But we couldn't do it alone. We enlisted the help of hundreds of wheelchair riders from around the world, as well as seating experts, physical and occupational therapists, and outdoor enthusiasts.

This is our story.

Research

What's the best way to use the upper body?

We studied biomechanics and looked at different ways to maximize the power you can get out of your upper body. We learned that push-rim wheelchairs are really inefficient. On average, 90% of the energy a wheelchair riders uses is wasted. We explored all the options and then decided on a lever-drive system. It was more efficient than regular push-rims, easy to fit within the confines of a wheelchair frame, and offered the opportunity to change the mechanical advantage by shifting hand position on the levers.

Design

Prototype. Test. Repeat.

We're hands-on engineers. That means that while we enjoy crunching the numbers, we love building and testing prototypes. We test our prototypes until they break, then come up with even better versions. The absolute best versions become our products, which we proudly sell to riders around the world. 

Our riders aren't just our customers, they're the most important voices on our design team. We reach out to them to learn about their problems and to get their feedback on what we're working on. We work together to collaboratively design solutions to help them overcome their biggest obstacles. It's a collaborative process called user-focused design. It takes longer and is a lot more work, but the results are worth it. Just ask our riders.


Factors we consider

 

Weight

How can we design it to be lighter without sacrificing strength?

 

Portability

How can we make it fold smaller without adding complexity or cost?

Cost

How can we make it simpler and easier to manufacture? 

 

Repairability

Are the parts easy to find? Is how the chair works easy to understand?

Ease of use

What do wheelchair riders think? Can we make it even easier?

 

Durability

How can we maximize strength while minimizing weight and cost?

 

Check out our "Nitty Gritty" blog series to learn more about our design process.

From us to you

Our promise to our customers

We're not your typical wheelchair company. In fact, we don't consider ourselves a wheelchair company at all. We're a group of engineers that's excited to see their designs help people. We're a small team, but we've got grit. We'll do everything we can to ensure you have a great experience.

 

We sell direct to you

The GRIT Freedom Chair is half the price of the competition because we've found a better way to do things: we've cut out all the middlemen.

We listen to your feedback

We couldn't have gotten this far without feedback from hundreds of riders. Our customers are the most valuable voices on our design team.

We stand by what we build

We've tested the crap out of the GRIT Freedom Chair and are confident it'll stand up to everything you throw at it. If something breaks, we're here to help.

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“The GRIT Freedom Chair is an amazing piece of equipment. I have done 5Ks in the chair and I love it. You will wonder how you ever made it this long without the Freedom Chair. GRIT has the most amazing Customer Support who are always willing to help and make your Freedom Chair experience the best it can be! Give the Freedom Chair a try! You will be impressed to say the least.”

-Brandy H