I've been riding these aluminum and carbon fiber bad boys for about a month now and so far, I'm loving every second of it.
First things first, they look amazing. Seriously gorgeous, with matte black wheel rims and semi gloss black push rims. These are the wheelchair equivalent of the LBD and they look right at home on my fabulous Lasher sport yellow and mirror chrome wheelchair. Add that to the fact that they ride like an expensive sports car and they're better for you medically and you'll see why I love them.
The magic of the Softwheels comes from the offset auto-adjusting shock/spoke and hub assembly which makes up the Adaptive In-Wheel Suspension System. On flat surfaces, the shocks stay rigid. On rough surfaces the shocks instantly adjust and absorb the rattle and impact of cracks and curbs.
They are heavier than my Spinergy carbon spoke wheels. A lot heavier actually, and at first I had reservations about that, since we've been on this quest for lighter chairs for decades but surprisingly the weight combined with the design of the spokes adds to the stability of my chair.
The difference on smooth floors is noticeable. The rigidity of the wheels and the position of the spokes transfers the energy of each push to the lower part of the hub, so you're actually getting more leverage with the same energy.
It's the same with bumping down curbs. You land with a strange sort of "non-thump" that absorbs the jolt without compression or bouncing. Like the perfect combination of comfy fat under inflated tires and the precision of high pressure skinnys.
They're a bit wider at the hub than other wheels, so your current axles may need to be adjusted or you may need new ones. The axles from my XTR fit perfectly so I'm using those. Overall my chair is about 3/4 of an inch wider with the new wheels, which hasn't caused any real issues.
The push rims are very smooth, to the point of not having any traction, so if you are used to using skin / contact friction from your hands on your rims to control your speed you'll probably want gloves. It's also a factor if you use your push rims to transfer.
It took a few days to get used to the new position of the push rims because the wheels are a bit wider at the hub than my spinergy wheels and an inch smaller, I usually ride 25 inch wheels and these are 24 so it's bit different feeling in my chair but that will be addressed when I move my front wheels up a spot on my casters.