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.
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.