The Invacare Top End Excelerator XLT
This is an Invacare Top End XLT handcycle. I rode it for six months or so and enjoyed it immensely. It has seven gears that are housed internally in the hub of the front wheel. You can shift while the handcycle is not moving - something you can't do with a derailleur shifter. It has coaster brakes. Coaster brakes are activated by pulling the crank "backwards" instead of forward - the pedaling direction.
The chainguard helps keep oil and dirt from getting on your shirt, especially if you lean forward.
The back wheels on this model are "quick release" wheels. You just press a button in the middle of the wheel and it pops right off.
The shifter is to the left of the seat and can be shifted while you are moving or even while you are stopped. Anyone who has a derailleur shifter and forgets to shift into a low gear before stopping knows how nice a feature this is. (They get stuck trying to start in high gear.)
This picture just shows the shifter up close. You can see the seven gears listed as numbers 1 through 7.
Your legs sit comfortably in these little slings which you can adjust forward or back depending on how tall you are.
There is a parking brake that is supposed to keep you from rolling around when stopped. It's on the right hand side of the seat here. I find these parking brakes to be somewhat ineffective. I have to wrap a Velcro strap tightly around the brake handle to get it to hold adequately.
The cranks shown here are a little too close together for my liking. You can get cranks that are a little wider and can also get hand grips that are bigger and more comfortable. Interesting to note: You can also get a Mountain Drive that fits into the center of the crank. This gives you seven more, very low gears for climbing hills. This XLT does not have the mountain drive, but, it really does need it for those steep hills.
The back wheels are cambered (tilted) for better stability. It gives you a wider base which makes it harder to tip over sideways when you go around a corner fast. Believe me, you don't want to go over sideways.
The seven gears are contained in an internal hub. They are easy to use and don't get dirty since they are enclosed in the hub.
If you are lucky enough to have good arm control, you can develop great arm strength just by cycling consistently - three to four times a week. It helps your cardiovascular system, your circulation, and your mental outlook. It's great getting out in the sun and moving rapidly under your own power. New riders average around 7 miles per hour, while cycling addicts can average over 20! You can easily cover twenty to thirty miles if you're in good shape. Have fun!