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Thread: Questions About Wheelchairs/Components in General, and Specifically for TiLite Aero Z

  1. #1

    Questions About Wheelchairs/Components in General, and Specifically for TiLite Aero Z

    Hey all. Short time reader, first time poster.

    In an effort to keep this opening post relatively short, I will skip some of the back story and just say that I have had my current chair (A QUICKIE GTX) for 8 years. The way everything transpired was less than satisfactory; in fact, I just recently found out that the chair is actually customized for an amputee -- which I am not (my "injury" -- due to Neurosarcoidosis causing an intramedullary spinal cord tumor at T-11 - T-12). I always knew the chair wasn't right, and haven't been comfortable in it from the start, but I needed it to be able to leave the hospital, and now at least I know why I haven't ever enjoyed it.

    I say that to say this: I am currently in the process of getting a new (my second) chair, and I couldn't be more excited. Also, given what happened, it is even that much more important to me that this goes well. Again, leaving out the unnecessary back story, the DME with which I'm currently dealing (NOT the same as the first time) isn't being very forthcoming with answers to my questions, and I have already "caught" the MPT/APT and DME changing things in their report/order plan without first consulting me.

    After that, and my questions being answered with -- and I mean this literally -- "Just trust us," I took it upon myself to look through TiLite's website, comparing things with the order form that can be found on said site, and used that to come up with a list of components I would like. I know that some of these may not be completely covered by my insurance, and am willing to cover the leftover costs out of pocket; though it would be nice to have an idea of how much it might be before hand, given that it could change my decision. That is yet another question they wouldn't even attempt to answer, but I digress.

    For reference, the chair will be a TILITE AERO Z. Some of my questions will pertain to that model and make specifically, but many are more generalized questions that could be answered by owners of other chairs as well.

    1. Do you any of you have the AERO Z? If so, overall, do you enjoy it? If you'd like to list pros and cons, that would be great. On the order form, there are two types listed. One is more expensive, and then the second specifies that it is Titanium, and it's less expensive. I don't know what the first is made out of, but according to the report from the DME, that more expensive version is the one I'm getting. Does anyone know what that is?

    2. Regarding add-ons such as handles (which I 100% do not want, but they keep trying to include them anyway, ugh), anti-tippers, and side guards, are they completely removable? Meaning, the part(s) of the chair that hold those things in place (I don't know the terms for those, sorry), can you remove those as well and have it look as if they were never on the chair in the first place?

    I ask this because while I don't necessarily want any of those things, this chair is going to be drastically different than my current chair. The wheels are going to be moved almost six inches forward, for instance, and I wonder if the anti-tippers would be helpful until I get used to the changes. But, after that, I want no sign of them. If it comes down to it, I will have to choose aesthetics over a non-cracked skull, haha.

    3. Those of you who have used this particular chair, are the side guards necessary? In person, Do you think it looks better with or without them?

    4. Have any TiLite users gotten their chain in the "Black Lava" (for other brands, it's basically a matte black) color? Does it look good in person?

    5. If you have your chair in any color other than silver, does it drive you crazy if you weren't able to have the bars of the footrest painted in that same color, as it seems is the case with TiLite? Or, am I wrong, and you can in fact have it painted as well?

    6. I'm going for a basically all black look, and to get all black front wheels, I will have to upgrade to the 4?x1.5? LITESPEED BILLET ALUMINUM WHEEL W/SOFT ROLL TIRE. Anyone have those, and if so, thoughts?

    7. This is one I'm expecting to be rejected by my insurance, but for rear wheels, I really would like the SPINERGY LX. Do any of you have either of them, and if so, do you enjoy them? Were they worth the extra money?

    Also, and particularly if you have a black chair, does that fact that the hub is silver bother you at all? Or, are you able to get the hub colored the same as the spokes? I'm thinking that even if the hub has to be silver, it may look kind of nice against the black.

    8. I also enjoy the TWIN-STAR EXCHANGE wheels (though I am leaning toward the LX's), and those would fit the all-black motif pretty well, so, do any of you have those? Do you enjoy them? Were they worth the extra money?

    9. Given that I don't need much support, they want to put a J3 BACKREST on it. Are you comfortable with yours? Does it look presentable on the chair, from all angles?

    10. Along with the support statement, the MPT/APT suggested that my cushion is more of an issue of comfort, and suggested the VARILITE ZOID refillable cushion. Does it work well for you?

    11. SCISSOR LOCKS, yay or nay? Keep in mind I have no issues with my hands/arms.

    12. TIRES. These I know next to nothing about. The ones on the chair I tried out were thin and had very little tread, and I was told they were solid. Given the all black look I'm going for, I would like these to be black as well. I'm told I'm getting 24'' wheels. I don't see an option for colors on the order form, so the ones that come in black (and are solid and come in 24'' with minimal tread) are the HERRINGBONE TREAD. How are they? Do you know of others?

    While it probably doesn't need saying, I plan on getting black pushrims as well.

    13. I don't know that this will matter much, but I want the solid panel foot rest. Is that the FLAT ABS COVER? Any cons to it?

    14. In lieu of the handles, as I mentioned earlier, I would like the bar that goes across the back of the chair. Is that called the Rigidizer Bar? Have any of you had any problems when being helped up a step with this?

    15. Any random bits of info you'd like to share, or wish you had known going into your last ordering process?

    I apologize for this being so long, but as I said, I can't get anyone involved in the process to answers these. I know I have more questions, but I will stop here for now and update as necessary. In advance, I very much appreciate those of you who take the time to read and respond to this. You're lifesavers.

    The rest of you? Meh...

    Haha.
    Last edited by User Name; 08-10-2014 at 01:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Mesa, Arizona
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    To your questions

    1. I don't have and aero z.. I have an Icon A1
    2. Yes anti tippers are removable. Yes some of the side guards are remove able. Handles are remove able. Fold down are great.
    3. Yes side guards are helpful. They help keep your clothes clean.
    4. Yes matte black looks good
    5. No foot rest color doesn't matter to me
    6. Soft fools are awesome
    7. Spinergy spot hVe a better chance of getting approved. I like the silver hub.
    8. No I have never tried twin star
    9. I have a varilite Icon back and love it
    10. Varilite zooid is a great cushion. Stimulate is also a great cushion.
    11. I like scissor locks. But d's locks are better
    12. Shawlbe marathons are great tires
    13. Yes it's a flat abs cover. I use skateboard grip tape.
    14.no it don't hurt the chair for people to help with the rid giddier bar.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    I'm just going to reply to a couple of your things real quick because I have a headache, but didn't want to not reply at all.

    For all black tires you might be interested in the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. They're really nice, though do add a bit of weight which I didn't like. I have a Jay3 back and love it, but it seems odd you DONT need much support and they are recommending one, I need a lot of back support and custom support so I have a mid thoracic Jay3 with lumbar support block velcroed in. If you're willing to pay, you can get black spoke spinergy LX with black hubs but black spokes usually come with silver hubs so you have to pay an upcharge for the special order. I don't have any silver on my chair, and would have been annoyed with black spokes and silver hubs but thats just me. My chair is blue, and then most everything else is black except my soft rolls casters have yellow tires with the black hubs.

    I would put more consideration into cushion choice and try to sit on the cushions first. But I'm on my first wheelchair and you've had one for 8 years, so you probably have it worked out what cushions work for you? So, what have you been sitting on and do you like it? I've had a lot of issues with cushions myself.

    Of the items that you asked about being removable, I believe everything but possibly the push handles can be completely removed. With push handles it depends on what kind you get, one option is integrated into the frame and so not removable. Another option is fold down push handles, which I have on my chair and really like them. But I plan on getting no push handles on my next chair, and if you don't want them I'd push the issue and demand no push handles. Its YOUR chair, YOU have to live with it and if they said "trust me" again when you try to get things the way you want, tell them to go fuck themselves literally or figuratively and get what YOU want.

    For flat footrest you should be able to get either the one with the abs cover, or the angle adjustable one. The flip up option also has a flat solid footrest as opposed to an open tube frame.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

  4. #4
    I love my AeroZ Series 1 (with a Jay3), which Tilite doesn't make anymore. The current AeroZ (once known as the Series 2) has different hardware, and in my opinion it's better - especially the fork-angle adjustments. It's late tonight, and I'm headed to bed, but I'll respond more tomorrow. I've posted on CCC a lot about my chair, so search my posts if you like.

    Welcome to CCC

    Oh, because I'm ignorant, can you stand and walk any? Do you have sensation in your legs and/or bottom? What terrain do you normally travel on? Inside, outside, paving, cobble stones? Are you subject to leg spasms? Do you have access to a seating clinic? What backrest and what size have you been using?
    Chas
    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."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    SW Florida
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    1. Don't have the Aero Z. Have tried it and it seems like a really well put-together chair. I have owned aluminum chairs and have 2 titanium ones now. Titanium is more expensive, but for me it's worth it. I keep my chairs for 10-15 years. Aluminum dents, paint chips and scratches too easily for me. Titanium is very hard and durable, and it doesn't fatigue as easily as aluminum. Plus, if you do scratch it, it can be buffed to a beautiful shine.

    2.
    I gave up on armrests, push handles, and anti-tip bars long ago. Paraplegics don't need them. They add extra weight and cost. Damn armrests always break off for me. Both removable and folding side guards can be permanently and completely removed if you want to. Just unbolt the mounting clamps from the frame. But I like side/clothing guards. They save my pants and shirts. I keep my chairs as narrow as possible.

    3.
    The chair will look better with side guards because you will look better with them holding you and your clothing in away from your wheels.

    4.
    N/A for me.

    5.
    I never really considered it important to have it painted this way. With titanium you can get titanium, footrest, backrest, camber bar, axles, front fork shafts, and pushrims.

    6.
    I have this size LiteSpeed, soft roll, Slipstream forks on one of my chairs. I think they lose a little in responsiveness over std forks with hard rolls, but they let me glide over transitions and rough patches.

    7.
    I have TiLite Shadow wheels, standard wires, and Spinergy LX. The LXs look really cool (So do Round Betty Dinos). Other than looks, I don't notice any performance difference. I think tires affect performance more.

    8.
    N/A for me.

    9.
    N/A again. I always use cloth.

    10.
    Comfort my ass! Your cushion is about survival. Surviving pressure related sores, for one thing. It's a very personal, important choice because everyone's rear-end forms a different pressure map. That's why people get pressure mapping done.

    11.
    I used to always get scissors. I liked that my wheel locks were tucked away under my chair. Now, I don't want them. I like the TiLite standard composite locks. There so easy to lock and unlock. I use them all the time to keep from rolling, when working on the car, sweeping the floor, transferring, pushing stuff, pulling stuff, kissing my wife...you get the picture. Just about everything causes an efficient chair to roll and turn--even the wind. If you don't like the way the handle/levers stick up, mount them upside-down so the levers point down and out of the way; they're still easier than scissors.

    12.
    I like solid tires like Shox (no flats). They come in several colors. But Schwable Marathons are king when it comes to pneumatics. 24" wheels are good. I have several pairs. But, depending on your size and fit, don't count out 25". Bigger wheels=faster push. Smaller=more power. I have 26" on one of my chairs and I can fly with them.

    13.
    [This is fun.] The ABS cover and adjustable angle footrests are both "flat."

    14.
    They all have rigidizer bars. The 4" option is for a deeper bar so you have more room for fancy backrests.

    15.
    Double and triple check everything yourself. Ask questions. And request a CAD drawing.
    Last edited by ala; 08-10-2014 at 01:55 AM.

  6. #6
    I see I've already gotten some replies, and I am very excited to read through them tomorrow (it's just about 2:30 AM here and I will be heading to bed in a few minutes). Thank you so much. I will reply after reading them.

    One thing I wanted to add is that the DME said he would just call me and go over the order before he placed it. Is it normal to do that over the phone? It would be the one and only conversation we had beyond "I like this particular chair" and it seems to me that should be done in person so I could see what we're talking about. Am I wrong?

  7. #7
    "...and I have already "caught" the MPT/APT and DME changing things in their report/order plan without first consulting me..."
    TiLite has a unique method to guarantee you get what you agree to. All you have to do is ask for the CAD computer aided drawing of your submittable. They will want you to sign off on it, don't let the DME sign on off for you.

    Are you being seen by a seating specialist? It's pretty important to get this thing spec'd correct.

    As for add ons, if in doubt about immediate need, ask here if its an item that is easily found on the open market as anything purchased through your DME will be priced as if insurance is picking up the tab.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  8. #8
    I don't have that chair but I'm on my third manual chair as a quad. I'm using a quickie Q7 at the moment because that's what my insurance would cover, it's very adjustable and really light. Getting the right cushion is extremely important. I've had several sores because of problems with my cushions. I would look for someone to do a seating evaluation with pressure mapping. Pressure mapping shows where the most pressure is on your bottom and helps you determine which is the best cushion. They can also get the right sizes on the wheelchair as far as width, depth, seatback height, seat to food rest length, front and rear seat heights from the ground and any other measurement you can think of. This is important, DEMO DEMO DEMO DEMO! Try out what you're interested in before you put all that money into it. Through insurance you can only get a new chair once every five years I think. Hopefully this will help you grow in the right direction
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  9. #9
    Here's a picture of what pressure mapping looks like.
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    If you don't want push handles, don't get them. DO NOT let them talk you into it.

    Good luck.
    Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

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