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TiLite quality control: I really have my doubts

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    #31
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...&id=1438695097

    This is an illustration of my last comment.

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      #32
      How many other threads were posted with a problem and Mr. Tilite rep never answered. Quite a few.

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        #33
        They definitely won't respond on a Sunday. If they don't respond by Monday at 5:00 PM PST, begin the crucifixion proceedings.

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          #34
          Originally posted by radio_buddha View Post
          Has everyone gone mad? :-)

          Okay, Stephen, just need to say… Don't sound like a crank. :-)

          CF is durable but there is no microscopic surface like aluminum or titanium for glue to keep a grip.

          The TI engineers should've seen that one from a mile away.
          A crank is someone who makes baseless or trivial complaints. Mine is neither.

          Another anecdote regarding my recent TiLite components order. In addition to the CF camber tube which had to be returned because they failed to cut it to the proper length, I ordered a new open toe footrest. I had requested to have it made 1" deeper (for a total depth of 7") but when I was told that it would be a $360 custom fee!! to accommodate this, I opted for the standard 6" depth. Lo and behold the footrest arrives and it's 7" deep. So I wound up with what I wanted but only as a result of another Johnny-can't-read slip up.

          And here's an anecdote from an acquaintance of mine, who's vastly knowledgeable about wheelchairs, and his experience ordering a TiLite:
          When I got this ZRc, I had specified a minimum "wheelbase" distance to make sure that the front casters weren't too far back. Well, the specs I provided were overlooked, and I ended up with a chair that would endo if I leaned forward.
          He's now back to using Top End chairs because even despite their shortcomings he "appreciates all the effort that Top End has put into their business/products over the last few years."

          Originally posted by radio_buddha View Post
          http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2074057&id=1438695097&saved#!/photo.php?pid=31615778&fbid=1625535045115&id=14386 95097

          This is an illustration of my last comment.
          Carbon fiber camber tube cut length, sans angle plugs.

          This CF camber tube available has the plugs glued. That is careless and stupid. If this piece of equipment fails, riders become severely injured or die.

          Aluminum and titanium have surface textures that lend themselves to glue. Carbon fiber is absolutely smooth.

          My solution is to bolt angle plugs as you can see on the picture. Perhaps two holes on each side to withstand the stress of this area.
          RB, I assume this is from your FB page. The sentence I bolded captures why I am so pissed off. I don't want to be one curb jump away from a trip to the ER.
          Last edited by stephen212; 3 Oct 2010, 2:14 PM.
          stephen@bike-on.com

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            #35
            Originally posted by mattblan View Post
            yeah, TI-Lite makes a great chair. Why not use your momentum to make change instead of starting a brush fire?
            I wholeheartedly agree that they're capable of making a great chair.

            And I'm not starting a brush fire, I'm calling attention to one.
            stephen@bike-on.com

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              #36
              Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
              A crank is someone who makes baseless or trivial complaints. Mine is neither.

              Another anecdote regarding my recent TiLite components order. In addition to the CF camber tube which had to be returned because they failed to cut it to the proper length, I ordered a new open toe footrest. I had requested to have it made 1" deeper (for a total depth of 7") but when I was told that it would be a $360 custom fee!! to accommodate this, I opted for the standard 6" depth. Lo and behold the footrest arrives and it's 7" deep. So I wound up with what I wanted but only as a result of another Johnny-can't-read slip up.

              And here's an anecdote from an acquaintance of mine, who's vastly knowledgeable about wheelchairs, and his experience ordering a TiLite:
              When I got this ZRc, I had specified a minimum "wheelbase" distance to make sure that the front casters weren't too far back. Well, the specs I provided were overlooked, and I ended up with a chair that would endo if I leaned forward.
              He's now back to using Top End chairs because he "appreciates all the effort that Top End has put into their business/products over the last few years."



              RB, I assume this is from your FB page. The section I bolded captures why I am so pissed off. I don't want to be one curb jump away from a trip to the ER.
              Yes, it's from my FB page. I put my google sketch up drawings there. A kind of poor man's copyright.

              As for the crank turnabout, I completely sympathize with you and it's hard to maintain decorum when it comes to a screwed up wheelchair. For a few months, and probably still, everybody thought me as angry and I thought of care cure as the TI fanboi club.

              Let's get on the same sheet of music…

              Why do they use glue? It's rhetorical. The glue is not for your safety or quality of each side matching. It is the fact that if they are glued it is "good enough" and a few dozen percentage points more profitable than a stronger and safer bolt. Additionally, and probably more importantly, somebody at TI wants complete control of camber tube construction.

              God forbid… How much does it cost for the metal tubing? Definitely not $150. If all we bought were the plugs, I think everybody would buy 2°, 4°, and 6°. Seeing the forest for the trees is not one of TI's strong points these days.

              It's a case of very bad business decisions. They will respond to you. They have to. Google loves care cure. Anything written about any company goes immediately to the world. This thread will hurt them badly if they don't provide an explanation to you and the community.

              If this was a car, there would be a recall.

              Not to mince words. Every single customer of a CF camber tube held together with glue should put their metal one back in asap and TI should do a voluntary recall.
              Last edited by radio_buddha; 3 Oct 2010, 2:43 PM.

              Comment


                #37
                Originally posted by radio_buddha View Post
                Has everyone gone mad? :-)...
                ...Holy cow… I must have died last night crossing the street or from alcohol poisoning because I read like the voice of reason.
                I don't know my being in agreement means you have died from alcohol poisoning, but I strongly agree with you.

                This thread reads like TiLite instantly went from one of the the manufacturer's of choice CC members consider straight to the bottom. While Stephen's problem needs to be taken seriously, TiLite's wheelchairs are some of the highest quality out there.

                I have criticized many aspects of their business model, but TiLite does, in fact, manufacturer high quality products. New options and new models are almost always plagued by design flaws since the quantity sold is relatively small (we are not talking Toyota Camry-like numbers here). As a result, some problems are not identified until products are already out in the field.

                That said, when options are fairly new and involve more-exotic materials, they should be particularly vigilant with their QC on key structural components to prevent this very issue from occurring.

                Foolish,

                I can appreciate your frustration with your TR's fork, but as one who has firsthand experience with double bearing forks from TiLite, Top End, and Quickie, this isn't a problem unique to TiLite. With my own chair, I've decided it is more practical to replace my forks than replace my bearings (it can be difficult to replace bearings without damaging the top surface of the fork which must remain free of imperfections to cleanly swivel). The Top End Crossfire forks I use on my ZR were about $110 a pair through Sportaid. I've replaced them once already, but will probably switch to UniTines the next time around. Not only are they more economical, they look better.

                That said, TiLite's I feel their MSRP for replacement parts is higher than it should be, and I believe they could make it easier for end users who have the ability to service their own chairs to obtain replacement parts.

                I think it also builds customer loyalty when a company is willing to recognize a design flaw and responds by providing a means for owners of existing chairs to take advantage of updates when they are still compatible with an existing chair.

                An example where TiLIte could be doing better in this respect are the new titanium stem studs for the ZR/ZRA Series 2. The standard steel stem stud is prone to corrosion which can run down into the fork and foul the bearings. Additionally, the more they corrode, the less-efficient the forks will swivel. I replaced my stem studs when I replaced the "original" Invacare forks a couple of years ago (I think the stem studs cost ~$20 through SpinLife).

                Unfortunately, TiLite now requires chairs to go back to the factory to address any stem stud issues, so upgrading to the new titanium stem studs or even getting new steel stem studs is no longer an option. As a result, anyone who didn't order titanium stem studs on their new chair who runs into a corrosion problem after a couple of years won't be able to fix the problem without incurring the substantial cost and inconvenience of having to have their chair sent back to the factory for service. In my own case, this means I will have to routinely refurbish them and will become a little less content as the tolerances deteriorate. Might some end users damage their frame? Possibly, but if I decide the benefits of replacing them outweigh the risks, let me assume that risk and deal with any possible warranty issues. At a minimum, TiLite should allow their dealer network to perform this service locally.

                Issues such as this only rise to the level of being an aggravation (partly because it is difficult to comprehend the logic), but TiLite's products are still built with a high level of quality.

                Many non-CC members will stumble upon this forum if they Google any TiLite model, so let's be careful to control our emotions. The fact of the matter is that we have become a large enough presence on the Internet to actually have an impact on their sales if we are not careful.

                Sure they should listen to us more, but let's make sure they will be around to listen.

                Comment


                  #38
                  Originally posted by radio_buddha View Post
                  If this was a car, there would be a recall.
                  Toyota. . .Toyota. . .Toyota was buzzing in my head even before you posted this.
                  stephen@bike-on.com

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Originally posted by radio_buddha View Post
                    They will respond to you. They have to. Google loves care cure. Anything written about any company goes immediately to the world. This thread will hurt them badly if they don't provide an explanation to you and the community.
                    Then what is stopping other manufacturers from replying?
                    C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982

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                      #40
                      Originally posted by SCI_OTR View Post
                      Sure they should listen to us more, but let's make sure they will be around to listen.
                      Amen. I would like to add, let us treat the TiLite rep(s) that partake here with respect so we continue to have their presence.
                      C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Originally posted by SCI_OTR View Post
                        That said, when options are fairly new and involve more-exotic materials, they should be particularly vigilant with their QC on key structural components to prevent this very issue from occurring.
                        Many non-CC members will stumble upon this forum if they Google any TiLite model, so let's be careful to control our emotions. The fact of the matter is that we have become a large enough presence on the Internet to actually have an impact on their sales if we are not careful.

                        Sure they should listen to us more, but let's make sure they will be around to listen.
                        To your first point re using new and more exotic materials, I couldn't agree more. A camber plug that's dislodging in a matter of weeks suggests to me that it wasn't tested very rigorously.

                        I know by now I've probably become a broken record, but the emotion that this product defect has aroused in me is commensurate with the potential physical hazard it poses. A sloppy back hinge or a poorly swiveling caster fork, while surely aggravating, doesn't quite sound the same alarm. (I get even more apoplectic when I'm crossing the streets here in NYC and drivers are constantly running red lights, which happens ALL the time.) Where matters of personal safety are concerned, I perk up.

                        I've detailed my firsthand accounts of TiLite screwing up order measurements. Part of the frustration is knowing that while they're capable of building among the very best chairs available they seem to be taking their eyes off the ball more than occasionally. It's as though they need to call a team meeting and schedule an extra practice or two to drill fielding ground balls, catching routine pop ups, and hitting the cutoff man.
                        Last edited by stephen212; 3 Oct 2010, 5:51 PM.
                        stephen@bike-on.com

                        Comment


                          #42
                          Originally posted by SCI_OTR View Post
                          Many non-CC members will stumble upon this forum if they Google any TiLite model, so let's be careful to control our emotions. The fact of the matter is that we have become a large enough presence on the Internet to actually have an impact on their sales if we are not careful.
                          got bias?

                          Comment


                            #43
                            ^^ +1

                            Comment


                              #44
                              Originally posted by Brianm View Post
                              Amen. I would like to add, let us treat the TiLite rep(s) that partake here with respect so we continue to have their presence.
                              I did not spend all summer slamming TI so I can be thankful for their presence. Tell me you're not always that passive.

                              TI is here because one or more of their employees knows that it makes good business sense to have an internet presence. It allows them to perform damage control as I expect they will do on Monday morning PST. It allows them to get a read on what their customers are thinking. It allows them to get a feel for what their buyers want and where the real price points are.

                              People who have a problem with TI would slam them regardless of their presence.

                              It is TI who should be thankful that they can reach their customers as they do. As to your question about why other companies don't respond… In the specific, this thread is not their problem. In the general, they are fat and happy and they hate us.

                              Think about that for a minute.

                              TI has exactly two wheelchairs which qualify for government cheese on K0005. They have a lot more wheelchairs that do not qualify. Consequently, they are compelled in a Darwinian sense to engage their customers.

                              To recap: the thankfulness is from TI to us, not the other way around.

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Originally posted by -scott- View Post
                                got bias?
                                The issues I discuss in my posts hardly represent unconditional praise. If you read the first page of posts by members other than those of stephen212 and DaleB, you would think all TiLites are crap and that nearly all recent posts have been negative. That seems to be a bit out of proportion to me.

                                Patrick's and Foolish's fork stem/bearing issues can happen on any of the double bearing forks from the "big 3". Even Mark Chelgren mentions in the UniTine section of the Frog Legs web site that bearings will need to be replaced regularly due to wear. Unfortunately, when your pressing bearings into billet aluminum machined to precise tolerances, damaging the fork when replacing them will always be a risk. The bearing issue is the price we pay to eliminate traditional caster barrels from the frame. Quickie's double bearing forks also have the infamous splines.

                                TiLite's are not exceptionally difficult to work on (if you can afford the parts, that is).

                                On the other hand, it is well known that the brass axle sleeve on the Invacare A4's camber insert is notorious for corrosion and the axle seizing inside of it. The fasteners for backrest & armrest receivers also require frequent re-tightening, and it is more-expensive than its competition. I haven't spec'd one out in almost three years now. OK, I'll admit I have some biased against that particular model. (FWIW, the veterans who have been using them have generally opted for cantilevered frames, Terminators, and, on a couple occasions, TR's for their replacement chairs).

                                It seems like Stephen's very legitimate issue snowballed into an "all TiLite's suck" theme by a couple of other members who happened to be having a bad day.

                                When a manufacturer makes a perfect chair that suits the needs of every end user, I'll undoubtedly become biased. Until then, I try to be objective and fair when I provide my personal opinions about various products on this forum.

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