Cheeky checking out the box with my TiLite ZRA Series 2 wheelchair.
I was informed two Fridays ago that the wheelchair that I ordered with Bike-On had arrived at the shop from TiLite and that it would be sent to the shipper in the morning. Someone from FedEx called me last wednesday to ask what was inside the box for customs declaration at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. I told that him it is a wheelchair. He said he would declare it as such and there should not be any tax.
FedEx Shipment Travel History – Where the wheelchair went before it arrived in Malaysia.
After five nail-biting days wondering about the status of the shipment, it was finally delivered this morning. (I did not have the tracking number to follow the process.) I have installed the brakes and wheels and am now waiting for Wuan to help me with the rest. The backrest angle needs to be adjusted. I specified 95 degrees but this looks like 90 degrees. Other than that, the wheelchair looks good. I cannot wait to get on it and do a few spins around the neighbourhood.
It is five o’clock now. That means I have been sitting here for the past ten hours fussing over the specification for the TiLite ZRA Series 2. Having decided on the measurements, now I am juggling the parts list to get the best bang for the buck. There are expensive performance parts that are esoteric and lighter and there are cheaper standard parts.
Should I opt for the Spinergy Light Extreme (US$589) over the Spinergy Spox Everyday (US$485)? Should I go for 5 X 1″ or 5 X 1.5″ front casters? If 5 X 1″, I have to decide whether I want the standard plastic wheel with poly tire at no charge or should I pay US$148 for the Performance 5 Spoke 2-Piece Billet Aluminium Wheel with Softroll Tire? If 5 x 1.5″, should I go for the Frog Legs Epic Aluminium Softroll (US$83) or the Lexan Softroll (US$38.99)?
I am trying to put together a ride that is within my budget and at the same time lightest possible. A light chair is easier on the hands, arms and shoulders when pushing. A good-fitting one improves sitting posture and prevent backaches. It also reduces the risk of repetitive stress injury which I am already suffering from for overworking my weak fingers on the mouse buttons.
I guess I will be still be here configuring the parts for the next few days, switching one for another, until I am absolutely satisfied that the final specifications fulfill my needs. I have never realised that buying a wheelchair can be such a complicated affair and that one can be built to exact specifications according to the user’s requirements. In this area, I have a lot more to learn.
I spent a good part of today going through the measurements of the wheelchair I am about to order after receiving feedback from specialists well-versed in customising wheelchairs in the CareCure forum. The specifications are close to being finalized. A big thank you to SCI_OTR and everyone who has given me valuable advice.
There are many factors to be considered to make a wheelchair good fitting and work like it should. The critical areas are seat depth, front and rear seat to floor heights, seat dump, seat back angle and centre of gravity. Each has to be right for me to be comfortably seated for the entire day, and for the chair to be well balanced and easy to push.
Most importantly, I need to get it right because it is going to cost me about US$3,000. The good thing about the TiLite ZRA Series 2 is that it is very adjustable. Minor mistakes in the measurements can be easily rectified. Still, I want it to be done properly in the factory to reduce the hassle of having to do adjustments it when it arrives.
Apart from the wheelchair, I am also ordering the Supracor Stimulite Classic cushion, an extra pair of wheels, spare spokes and inner tubes. The cushion is crucial for preventing pressure sores to the buttocks. The extra set of wheels is cheaper to buy separately than upgrading from the standard wheels provided with the chair.
I hope the TiLite ZRA Series 2 will last longer than the Max Pleasure Synergy that I have been using for the past three years. It will cost JPY25,000 to have the broken cross brace replaced, excluding shipping and other charges. This is equivalent to about RM970. I will just have the fractured tubed welded back later and use it as a spare chair.