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Ultralight TiLite Options


The information that follows is about standard options we purchased for the TiLite ZRA rigid chair along with add-on options that we ordered separately online. It is also information from a "newbies" perspective for ordering a chair like we did with both standard and add-on options and a Designs Unlimited modification internationally. Lastly, are the options we purchased along with our reviews, which I hope to update over time.

Our approach to ordering

We took an approach where we ordered the core wheelchair with standard options from a local dealer and swapped the standard options out for the specific add-on options that were needed that we purchased separately online. In most cases, the add-on options were about 30-40% cheaper to purchase online than they would have been to order through our dealer as part of the standard chair, and therefore we were able to get more out of our budget than if we would have ordered the chair complete from the local dealer.

Another reason for ordering in this way was that for a similar price, this allowed us to have to have backup/spares. For example spare wheels, should we have a flat and not have enough time to fix it can be quickly swapped with the standard wheels on both of our chairs. It is also allowing us to use some of the standard options on a TiLite 2GX chair that we bought completely out-of-pocket. For example, the standard back upholstery and brake locks were  swapped  from the ZRA to the 2GX chair.

This did make ordering more complex, because it was necessary to make sure the specs for the standard chair would work with the add-on options and that the standard options we needed to swap also worked with the other 2GX chair. We would have preferred ordering both the core wheelchair with standard options and the add-on options online, but this was not possible because of TiLite's restrictive policy of not allowing people to order online in other countries if there is a local dealer.

Who we ordered from

We placed the order for standard options when we ordered the chair through a local dealer EmCart Sport. Overall they were good to deal with, and helped us to get a good budget from the government.

We placed the order for add-on options with Sportaid, who have been fantastic about answering a lot of questions, and making sure we get what we need. They have also been great about dealing with the hassles of international shipping and the paperwork we need to get the parts funded.

Ordering add-on options internationally

Below are pictures of the 2 big boxes that were shipped via UPS, which contain the boxes shipped by the manufacturers. Sportaid drop ships about 99% of their product, and in our case, they needed to be collected and forwarded on internationally. We were charged $275 for shipping and no brokerage fees from UPS to the Netherlands.

We had to pay for some of this out-of-pocket, but on average, add-on options were  was 40-50% cheaper than ordering locally, and in some cases even more. Although it took a lot of back and forth with orders, I did not find any mistakes on what we received, which is very important when shipping internationally. Kudos to Jimbo, Rochelle and everyone at Sportaid  — your team has been great!

I did not find the shipping to be too excessive, because I know our parts came from about 5 different suppliers (Spinergy, ADI, Varilite, Supracor, D's Locks). We were charged for 6% VAT, which I was expecting, and we would have also paid locally. Luckily, we were not charged the high VAT rate of 21%, because I had asked Sportaid to write that it was wheelchair parts on the shipping papers in both English and Dutch, and they were very good to do that.

This is Jansen our Jack Russell doing quality control of the new kit from Sportaid, and the boxes they contained.

2013 02 27_2484 2013 02 28_2482

TiLite ZRA Options Review

I thought it might help all of the other newbie ultralight chair ordering people like us to have a review of both standard and add-on options, which I hope to update more after using them more. They are listed in the menu's in the order they are provided on the order form from TiLite, with options not available from TiLite listed at the end.

I've included a lot of links, mostly for my own reference, because this is a copy/paste from a gigantic spreadsheet, but maybe it will help others too. Invariably, these links will all be out-of-date at some point soon, but I don't have the time to come back and edit posts.

Frame specifications

We chose a rigid titanium adjustable cantilever frame. I will write more about this later. Here are the general frame specs:

TiLite ZRA Frame Finish: Natural Titanium Satin

Tubing Diameter: 1.25″ /   31.75 mm

Titanium strength

More to come …

Titanium vibration dampening

More to come …

Titanium appearance

We wanted a satin finish …

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Front Frame / Footrests

Custom Front Frame Rigidizer Bar (DU100082)

Most rigid chairs have a solid footrest with a rigidizer bar underneath the footrest. We needed  flip-up footrests which required a Designs Unlimited modification by TiLite (DU100082). This put the rigidizer bar higher up on the front frame to be able to support 2 individual flip-up footrests.


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Transit Tie-Downs / Reinforced Frame

This was a package option consisting of four factory-installed Transit Tie-Down Brackets and a Reinforced Frame.

Transit Tie-Downs

We wanted the Transit Tie-Down option for when Rob uses a taxi. We were not able to convince the government that this was needed, but I’m glad we have it because we would have problems with most …

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Seat Back/ Push Handles / Rigidizer Bar

Folding Titanium Adjustable Height Locking Seat Back and Aluminum Tishaft Back release bar

We are very happy with the Titanium folding back and the Aluminum locking Back release bar. This will allow the seat back to lock in the folded position. We think this will be useful when loading in/out of the car and also …

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Front Forks / Casters

TiLite Standard Fork

We had originally planned on getting Frog Legs Suspension Forks. Unfortunately, we had a hard time configuring the chair so that it would not be too tippy. Neither our supplier or TiLite were able to advise us on what to modify so that the chair would not be too forward tippy, so …

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Rear Wheels / Axles / Tires / Handrims

TiLite Shadow 24″ wheels replaced with Spinergy LX 24” wheels

TiLite Shadow 24″ (540) wheels

The Shadow became the standard on all TiLite chairs in 2012. Here is the OEM website for the Out-Front Shadow. Even in the TiLite Parts Store, they still call it the Out-Front Shadow. The Shadow wheels will be backups for …

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Brakes / Locks

What we decided on…

D’s Locks hub locks

D’s Locks are hub locks (brakes) for manual wheelchairs. They take the place of Push-Pull or Scissor style brakes. D’s Locks work independently of the tire by locking the wheel at the hub. Tire types and air pressure no longer matter. With one lever, both of your …

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Seat Backs / Seat Bases / Side Guards

Velcro Adjustable Back Upholstery replaced with ADI Carbon Fiber Back

Back Upholstery – Velcro Adjustable

We ordered the ZRA with the Velcro Adjustable Back Upholstery. Because we have Fold-Down Push Handles, and it does not support them, we asked them to not install it because we knew we wanted to swap it to the upstairs …

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Armrests / Anti-Tips

Armrests – Swing Away – Tubular 9” to 12”

We had planned to go with the flip-up swing away armrests, but were advised by our dealer that swing away would be stronger. They certainly are lighter weight, but I am not sure if they are stronger. We like both of the swing away and flip-up …

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Seat Cushions

Seat Cushion – Varilite Evolution PSV seat cushion

We ordered the Varilite Evolution PSV seat cushion, 16″x18″, 3.8″ thick, with a mesh cover and extra coated (incontinence) cover.

Overall, we are very impressed with the cushion especially the light weight. We had considered a contoured cushion, but find this to work very well because you …

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Bags / Accessories / Tools

Bags and Other stuff

Travelon Water Bottle and Cell Phone Holder

Easy to mount on the front frame with 3 velcro attachments. I like that it is collapsible, because other plastic holders often broke or got in the way. Note, I have seen this cheaper on Amazon than Sportaid.

Sportaid Adult Wheelchair Backpack

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