The effect of different handle angles on work distribution during hand cycling was determined. Able-bodied subjects performed hand cycling at 20% of maximum power level (mean (SD) power level: 90.0 (25.8) W) at a cadence of 70 rpm using handle angles of +/-30 degrees, +/-15 degrees and 0 degrees. The handle angle had a significant effect on work during the pull down (p < 0.001) and lift up (p = 0.005) sector, whereby the highest work was performed with handle angles of +30 degrees and -15 degrees respectively. The cycle sector had a significant effect on work (p < 0.001) and significantly (p = 0.002) higher work was performed in the pull down sector (25% higher than mean work over one cycle) as compared to the lift up sector (30% lower than mean work over one cycle). Therefore, a fixed handle angle of +30 degrees is suggested to be optimal for power generation. The results of this study help to optimise the handbike-user interface. A more pronated handle angle compared to the one conventionally used was found to improve the performance of hand cycling and thereby the mobility of disabled people.
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