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Thread: Buying New Wheelchair_in freak out mode

  1. #1
    Senior Member Domosoyo's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Minneapolis, MN

    Buying New Wheelchair_in freak out mode

    Hey, I'm just gonna say I've had a large glass of wine first off and omg, I have to write that label down because it is super tasty.

    All right. Paying out of pocket for a manual wheelchair for my 14 year old daughter who is now functioning at around C6. Yeah, the insurance won't pay for another chair because she already has a powerchair that they paid for.

    She likes the TiLite colors and tatoo stuff on the frame so TiLite it is.
    We have quotes on the AeroZ and the ZRA. I know the ZRA is that a good thing for a growing teen? I don't know if the "adjustable" has to do with growth or comfort? She also likes the pink Spinergy wheels. I don't know if these are worth getting? What's the big deal with Spinergy? At this point, I'm kind of burnt out on research and just need to stop.

    Hard to say where she will use this chair or how often. We are completely thrilled that she is able to move to this option and so was she when she demo'd the chairs. She said she was "all jacked up" and can't wait to get the new chair. (She also demo'd the Crossfire and the Q7.)

    (I know I can get both chairs for a lot less at Spinlife or Sportaid but I'm a novice and my DME vendor is just a couple miles south. When things don't work out I just show up and bitch. Works SO much better than a phone call. I just don't have the time to educate myself on this right now, so it is worth keeping it local. Maybe next time we'll do the online purchase.)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2011
    Mesa, Arizona
    I'll answer up. spinergys are well worth the money. they are lighter and IMO more sturdy and easyer to fix than stock ones. I am not too experianced with tilite so I'll leave that to someone else. whats your daughters specs? as far as adjustable , had she ever used a manual chair? if not they maybe the adjutable one is best. have you look at The Icon? Icon Wheelchairs are fully adjustable and I think that this may be inportant with a growing teen. just a suggestion. icon does not come in all kinds of fangdangled colors. but the adjustablity is far more inportant with your growing teen. hope you find your answers!

  3. #3
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    Second vote for spinergys ... definitely worth it. D's locks or surelocks too.

    Those are two things I will not go without in future chairs.

    Thinking about moving on from my sling-back as well .. it's been 26yrs and I'm starting to see the potential benefits of the air or gel back.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #4
    "adjustable" has to do with small tweaks to get things right, like backrest angle, camber, center of gravity. It does not specifically address a growing user.

  5. #5
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    BC Canada
    2,710 This would have been ideal if was under 14. If you look in Tilites Youth section they have a new youth size chair called the twist which is a cantilver frame like the ZRa or Aero Z.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    for someone functioning around the C6 level and just starting out in a manual chair I wouldn't spend alot of money, especially seeing as she is still growing. It's hard to know if a manual wheelchair will suit her needs. Granted, for some social functions a manual wheelchair is beneficial because it can be bumped up stairs and taken into smaller bathrooms.

    One thing you will need to figure out is width and length of the frame. Then from there I suggest looking at Ti-Lite's eBay offerings - such as this - e49c

    If you start with something cheap and adjustable like that it would be better. Then if it doesn't get used alot before she outgrows it you could probably re-sell it without losing alot of money. The adjustability of the center-of-gravity, dump, and caster angles will really help. You can really dial it in for her changing needs and the chances of her staying healthy longer from the exercise done propelling a manual wheelchair increase exponentially if it is configured properly. By that I mean if she can push it herself comfortably (all in due time) she will enjoy a better quality of life in the long run.

    You should do your best to convince her that tattoo'd frames and Spinergy's can come later in life when she has grown enough to be in one chair for more than a few years at a time.

    One thing I will suggest, assuming she has limited hand function at the C6 level, is coated hand-rims. Foam-coated (not vinyl) or "PushBlax" are a quads' best friend. I recommend the foam-coated available from SportAid.

    I can understand the wanting to use a DME. I was the same way when first injured. I thought it best to leave it to the pro's. But the quicker you (and her) learn that a manual wheelchair is a simple machine to own and maintain the better off you will be. The adjustments of an AeroZ or ZRa are easily made, and it will soon become apparent that performing them yourselves will be much more satisfying and in the long-run lead to a full understanding of the relatively simple wheelchair geometry.

    The wheelchair users I know that are happiest are the ones that know the most about their mobility device. It won't happen over-night. But you will be able to save tens of thousands of dollars throughout the course of her life if you know what she needs without relying on a DME.

  7. #7
    TiLite makes great chairs. I've had my AeroZ for 16 months now, and I love it.

    That said, adjustability (like rryan says above) is for tweaking not for growing. For growing, TiLite makes the Twist.

    Brand new to the market is the Icon, which is unique; it's fully configurable within a wide range: seat width, seat depth, front and rear seat height, wheelbase, etc are fully and infinitely adjustable within their ranges. But, it's black only for now; any auto or cycle paint shop would be able to apply a new paint job, though.

    If my growing teen needed a chair, I would seriously consider the Icon. (But it's pricey.)
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    I purchased a ZRa for my son just over a year ago (he's now 8 and a half). Good chair, no complaints, and I can even vouch for their frame warranty (the back frame failed at the weld between the back rigidiser bar and the upright, but that's probably the subject of a separate post!). TiLite replaced the damaged section with no questions asked - all good.

    My son previously used a Quickie II, which was ridiculously heavy.

    I purchased the ZRa out of pocket, so looked at both purchasing through a dealer (we're in Perth, Western Australia) and online. The online quote was about a third of the price of the cost via a dealer here, so I would strongly advise comparing prices, which is easy to do (ie get a quote from the dealer, then go to, fill out the order form as best you can, then look at the price quoted. If there is a large difference between the two quotes, then it's time to do a bit more work on the measurements so that you can order it yourself).

    As people have said already, yes the ZRa is adjustable, but no, not for (significant) growth. For example, we have adjusted the footrest height (downwards) over the last year to accomodate my son's rapid height growth (he's the tallest in his class...), but the adjustment is nearing the maximum limit, so I am already considering other chairs. Also there is no width adjustment, which may need to be a consideration.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasmengr View Post
    If my growing teen needed a chair, I would seriously consider the Icon.
    Totally agree...the Icon allows for all sorts of adjustment (including width), so it's pretty high on my list to consider for my son's next chair. Yes, it's only in black, but I'm sure appropriate decoration can be added to suit a 14 year old girl!

    Now back to the important topic...what's the label of that wine you're recommending?!?
    Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.

  9. #9
    Just a note to add regarding the Icon - it is fully adjustable, which provides a lot of benefit to the user, but this specific situation demonstrates another benefit that people don't often think about.

    You can re-sell an Icon very easily. There are graveyards of old and not so old custom wheelchairs out there, that are pretty much un-useable, and un-sellable because they don't fit. Trust me, if the guy who owns this pile of wheelchairs could find people to buy them, he'd sell them.

    Attachment 43778

    I never want to see a pile of Icon wheelchairs, jumbled up in a heap because a dealer can't find someone who fits. It's the other way around with us - it's not the person who has to fit the chair, it's the chair that fits the person.

    If your daughter gets a custom or quasi-adjustable chair but at the end of the day decides that a manual chair just isn't going to work for her, it will be difficult to find someone who also fits her chair, and happens to be in the market to buy a chair. Most of the chairs out there don't adjust (or adjust with great difficulty) in a couple of critical measurements - seat width, and front seat height are two of them. So if your daughter gets a X" wide chair, she/you cannot re-sell it to anyone who needs a chair wider than X" - unless the chair adjusts for width.

    This is a photo of Mark Marrott (our NorthWest rep) and I. Mark is significantly over six feet tall, and I'm clearly not.

    We're sitting in the same chair. Exactly the same chair, just reconfigured for each of us.

    Attachment 43777

    That means that if Mark had purchased an Icon, and for whatever reason decided that he wanted to resell it, he wouldn't have had to find someone his size to sell it to. He could have sold it to me, and I could have reconfigured it to fit. We hope that people recognize that the way the Icon was designed and built translates to significantly less "risk" of purchasing an Icon compared to other offerings in the market.

    Pink Spinergy wheels will also fit on an Icon.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Domosoyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Minneapolis, MN
    Awesome info as always! The Icon is really flexible and I might give Jeff a call to find out more on that. We have to decide what we are going to do soon. I came to the realization that we can make changes to the chair after getting it and now I'm not quite so stressed about it being perfect. We'll keep educating ourselves on becoming experts at adjustments, measuring etc about manual chairs so next time it will be an online order. She'll know more about what she wants too...another reason why I don't want to give her the moon right now.

    The wine for Gordy1.........has the chocolate jammy velvet taste I love and it is unbelievably priced. I picked it up for around ten dollars.
    McManis Petite Sirah 2010
    Attachment 43779

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