In a Nutshell:
The Viking 4×4 is an amazing machine, especially given its modest price tag. It’s not perfect, but it is incredibly capable. Recommended for anyone on a budget who’s looking for a go-anywhere power chair.
Ease of Use
Is your mobility issue bringing you down? Do you miss the days when you could hit the road with family and friends on the weekend to enjoy a camping or hiking trip?
Have you been itching to have an outdoor adventure but feel trapped indoors because you can’t move around as easily or freely as you once could?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above and have been looking for a way to remedy that situation, you’re going to love this review. The Viking 4×4 Wheelchair might be just what you’ve been looking for in a mobility aid.
We’ll be quick to point out that it’s not a perfect chair. It’s got two flaws that might give you pause, but in our recent roundup review of the best hiking chairs being sold today, the Viking placed a respectable fourth.
In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you all about it, so you’ve got all the information you need to decide if this is the model you want or if you’ll need to continue your search. Let’s jump right in and see what the mighty Viking can do!
An Overview of the Viking 4×4 All-Terrain Wheelchair
First impressions mean a lot, and what you get from the Viking 4×4 Wheelchair is that it’s one tough customer. It looks like an adventure chair. It’s big and rugged and gives the appearance that there’s not much it can’t handle. A closer look at its specs bears that out.
In More Detail…
There are several things worth talking about here. First, this is a big, heavy chair. That’s a good thing in some respects because it adds to the Viking’s stability, but it also works against it in terms of portability, which we’ll talk more about later.
The top speed is underwhelming, but the range is on the high side of average, which is good. Plus, it’s got an impressive 22.8” turning radius, so in a pinch, you could use it indoors. Although if you were to do that, you’d want to take those rugged all-terrain tires off and swap them out for something a bit more indoor-friendly.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick and easy way to swap the wheelchair tires out, so in practice, it’s probably not something you’ll do unless you have to. Given that, it’s best to assume that this is an outdoor-only chair that happens to have an impressive turning radius.
Adjustable and Comfortable
The Viking 4×4 offers a delightfully comfortable ride with a racing-style seat padded with memory foam, which is a cut above what you usually get in such chairs.
Additionally, you can adjust:
On top of that, the company offers an innovative tilt system in place of a standard reclining seat. This allows you to adjust the angle of the backrest up to 105 degrees. The claim is that the tilt system is better for your back, but as far as we can tell, there’s no firm evidence of that either way. Still, it stands as an interesting innovation.
Although the tilt feature may or may not wind up helping your aching back, it does serve one very important, practical feature. It allows you to tackle terrain inclines that would be flat-out impossible if the chair was fixed in its position. Thus, it is truly an outdoor adventure chair and well-deserving of its “go anywhere” reputation!
The bottom line is, it’s a comfortable chair, and the tweaks available help to make it even more so. You could easily press pause on the day and take a short nap in this model if the mood struck you.
Storage, Customization Options, and Extras
We have mixed feelings about this here in our Viking 4×4 Wheelchair review. On paper, the company offers a variety of extras, most of them high-value. On closer inspection, though, you notice two things:
One, many of the “extras” are free, so why wouldn’t you take them, even if you’re not 100% sure you need them? And two, some of their extras are things we regard as essential elements in the chair’s design.
This is one of those cases where we think the company took this approach to give you the feeling that you’re deeply customizing your chair as you select the options to include on the model you’re ordering.
It’s a little gimmicky, but it doesn’t take longer than a few seconds to check all the free options, then contemplate which of the premium options you want to include. We’ll have more to say about those premium options in just a moment. For now, let’s look at the freebies on offer.
See what we mean? Who would order this power wheelchair without the batteries? Without the safety belt or the lighting package? Those things, in our view, are just no-brainers, especially since this chair was designed with outdoor use in mind, and yet, when you order the Viking 4×4, you’ve got to be sure you check those boxes.
As for the other freebies listed, all are good, and since the company is giving them away, why not take advantage of them? The saddle bag is generously sized and will allow you to haul a good assortment of gear in with you, wherever you plan to go.
We should also mention the color choices in the freebies section. This is broken into two parts. You can specify the color of your seat:
Then specify the color of the frame:
Finally, note that the joystick mounting is free, and you can specify it to be mounted on the left or right side at the point of sale. If you want to pay a little extra, you can also select a left-side/right-side flip-back mount, and we recommend this so it’s not in the way when transferring into and out of the chair.
Now, let’s have a look at the premium options. There are three, and two of them leave us scratching our heads in puzzlement. They are:
This seems strange to us. This is a four-wheel drive machine designed to be used on rough terrain. Why aren’t the all-terrain tires and rearview mirror standard? We honestly don’t know.
Of course, the fact that you have to pay extra for these options is offset by the freebies mentioned above and the relatively low price of the Viking 4×4 All Terrain Wheelchair to begin with, but still…it’s curious.
Note: Although the website says you can order a Viking with a 19” seat width, at the point of sale, only 18” and 20” options are available. The company has not responded to our request for clarification on this point.
Low Marks for Portability
While we readily admit that the Viking 4×4 chair is an impressive machine, one thing the company hasn’t figured out how to do is keep the weight down. This is one of only a handful of mobility aids we’ve ever reviewed that supports less weight than the device itself weighs.
It’s heavy, and it’s big. If you have a gigantic SUV and a ramp, you might (emphasis on might) be able to cram it into the back somehow, but for most people, your options are going to be:
You’ll need to factor one of those solutions into the total cost of the machine to give you an accurate picture of the total cost of ownership.
Simple, Intuitive Controls
We were a little skeptical on this point because sometimes, products made in China have control systems that range from cumbersome to downright baffling.
That’s not the case here. It’s clear that the company carefully studied the Western market before designing their product, and their effort paid off.
The control system is simple, elegant and entirely intuitive. You’ll want to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with it and getting the feel of the craft’s handling, but you’ll be off to the races in no time!
Pros & Cons of the Viking 4×4 Wheelchair
It’s probably clear that there’s a lot we like about the Viking 4×4 so we won’t rehash its numerous positive attributes here.
Instead, since we’ve already spent a fair amount of time heaping praise on the model, we’ll zero in on the two things about this product that might give you pause and decide it’s not the right mobility aid for you.
Those items are:
As long as you are okay with both of those and take them into account before pulling the trigger on your purchase, we think you’ll be pleased.
Final Thoughts on the Viking 4×4
Observer Mobility had to work a little harder than some companies to impress us because we’re always a little leery of the quality of products manufactured in China, but this one is well deserving of its high ranking on our recent roundup review.
The Viking 4×4 Wheelchair is a solid machine, offered at a great price. Sure, it has shortcomings, but honestly, considering the price it’s being offered at, we don’t regard its two principal weaknesses as deal breakers. We recommend it.