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Thread: Titanium vs Aluminium.

  1. #1

    Question Titanium vs Aluminium.

    After much research I've narrowed down my choice to either an Aero T, or a TRA. Both are to all intents and purposes identical chairs but there is a ?500 ($750) dollar premium for the TRA.

    The reason for my choice is that,

    1) I want full adjustability.

    2) I need a 70 degree frame angle and feel a dual tube chair will be more rigid than a mono tube chair.

    There is negligible weight difference between the chairs, about 1 pound.

    I've done some internet research but have never ridden in a titanium chair, any demo chairs at my local all have a 90 degree frame angle and I can't get my feet on the footrest.

    From what I've gleaned from the web...

    Titanium is lighter as the tube wall thickness can be made thinner, it is stronger, it is more flexible and better at absorbing vibrations, it doesn't have to be painted, and a satin finish chair can be easily buffed up like new.

    Aluminium has the opposite of the above qualities, but being stiffer it can be more energy efficient as the material has less flex. Aluminium sounds more boring/common than titanium! but it's still a good material for making chairs out of.

    I lean towards the Aero T because my current chair is aluminium and the vibrations don't bother me. My current chair is a box framed and I like the rigidity of the chair. The price saving means that I can afford to bling the chair up with some anodising and backrest stripe, and still have some cash left.

    But I can be persuaded the other way, like I said I've never owned or ridden in a titanium chair.

    All opinions welcome.

    NB: In case it's relevant I'm 5' 9" and weigh about 115lb.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sowseng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    I have titanium and aluminum chair, some how I feel that the titanium is much stiffer than the aluminum chair. Weight concern, aluminum is much more lighter than titanium.
    Life is meaningles, though you create the purpose.

  3. #3
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Vancouver WA USA - - Male T4 ASIA B incomplete
    I've had both, and am currently rolling in a titanium chair, if I were you at your weight I'd be happy with an aluminum chair.
    I'm 200lb +, and flex the aluminum chair when I catch the casters etc.
    If you want vibration absorption (I also roll a Marvel) go with a chair that has a shock... like the ICON. The absorption titanium gives is negligible.

    In no way trying to sell the ICON, never ridden in one, but at your height and weight it would work well if it was going to work at all.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    SW Florida
    I've had both aluminum and titanium, and I prefer titanium, hands down. But then, it's all up to your needs and the way you use your chair. For me, unpainted titanium is the only material that will last as long as I need. Paint scratches and chips too easily for someone who uses a chair daily and keeps it for more than 10 years. And that's me.

    I am rather neglectful and rough on a wheelchair. I have dented, gouged, and cracked the aluminum parts on my other chairs (even cracked a camber tube in half). Aluminum will fatigue much faster than titanium. And the paint looks like crap after a few years on those daily chairs, no matter how hard I try to stay careful. Titanium is a forever metal. Well, at least a lifetime metal. It has a very hard surface and is not malleable.

    Don't get me wrong. Aluminum is a fine metal for a wheelchair. They make planes, jets, motorcycle frames, and exotic cars out of the stuff, even truck frames. But I'm afraid those things don't get the same kind of abuse my wheelchair gets. If you're careful, easy on your chair, and don't need to keep it for decades, then by all means save some money and buy aluminum.

  5. #5
    how much does an icon wheelchair weigh compared to the tr3, zra etc? as with adjustable wheelchairs they carry more weight due to the parts needed for adjusting things, if its alot it might be worth considering the weight of your chair especially if your lifting it in and out of your car multiple times a day.

  6. #6
    Hello Again,

    Thankyou for the answers you've helped me make up my mind. This will be my first 'made to measure' chair, and my first Tilite. I would eventually like a TR but it's too risky going for one this time as I'm not totally sure on seat heights, frame angle, or even width. This time round I'm going for a 15", but next time I may end up squeezing myself into a 14" chair. Our National Health Service helps with the funding of a new chair every 5 years.

    Re Aluminium getting scratched. It shouldn't be so much an issue for me as I only use a chair outdoors, and load it complete with wheels on into the back of a Golf Estate, I think what you would call a Golf Variant? (I sit on the boot sill and drag/roll the chair up and over the bumper into the boot, castors first), then hang onto the roof bars and shuffle along 'crablike' to the drivers door.

    Also I plan on going for the powder coating option which should hopefully be more durable?

  7. #7
    Senior Member sowseng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Powder coating is not durable too.
    Aluminum is too soft, nor matter what kind of paint, once knock, it scratch deep to the metal, not just only paint.
    Life is meaningles, though you create the purpose.

  8. #8
    I take it you don't like aluminium! Lol

    My Quickie GPV is still fine after nearly 12+ years. If anything it's the upholstery rather than the frame that belies it's age. If it was a better fit for me I wouldn't even be looking for a new chair as I like it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sowseng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    I like both, their character serve for difference purpose.
    If travel, I will bring my titanium chair, feel much safe.
    Life is meaningles, though you create the purpose.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Auckland, New Zealand
    The way I see it, if you meet some or all of these criteria, and you have the budget, you should get titanium:

    - you are hard on your chairs, but have a job or lifestyle where you need to be able to look highly presentable (at a black tie event, or cross-examining a witness in court, you don't want the wear and tear on your chair to show). (If you are hard on your chairs but DON'T need to look fantastic often, then there's an argument to be made for aluminium in that almost any welder can repair the frame for you. Welding titanium takes more skill and different equipment.)
    - you are confident that your major body measurements will not change much over the chair's lifetime. You're looking at adjustable chairs, but you're stuck with the seat width and depth* even if you lose or gain weight.
    - you are confident that your physical needs won't change much during the lifetime of the chair, that there won't be some change in your disability that requires more radical adjustment than an adjustable chair allows. (Or, in my case, I'm confident that this is the last manual chair I'll own, because when my needs next change I'll require either a power chair or a coffin.)
    - your life is about to change in such a way that you don't foresee having the means or opportunity to get another chair for a long time

    *on many chairs you can shift the backrest forward or backwards to change the seat depth a little. I don't believe this is the case with a TiLite unless you order the "depth-adjustable frame".

    If you don't tick most of those boxes, then I think it makes a lot of sense to save your money now and get aluminium.

    Just my two cents' worth. From my non-adjustable titanium Melrose Piranha.

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