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  • RGK Hi Lite

    I have been measured for an RGK Hi lite today, I would appreciate any feedback on the measurements.

    Seat width 430mm
    Spinergy Flexi rims
    Footrest height 115mm
    Width 320mm
    Rear wheel gap 20
    Camber 2
    Seat length 410mm
    Rear Seat height 400mm
    Backrest height 335mm
    ergo seat
    footrest fixed angle
    fixed backrest
    stroller push handles (removable)
    anti tips swingaway
    aluminium fixed sideguards
    schwalbe marathon plus tyres with car valves
    casters 4 inch soft rolls

    These are what the RGK salesman advised, what do you think? He said I would be better off with a fixed back rest to reduce weight? The build time is 12 weeks. I dont know if its the same for the other chair I was thinking about, the Ti-Lite TR3. I think I will be getting either one of these. I asked if it was wise to get a custom built chair and both guys said it would be ok so not sure if I`m getting good advice or not.

  • #2
    I missed off front seat height 480mm and spinergy spox wheels.


    • #3
      Sprout what did you like about each chair? Also if I had to get a new chair right now it would be either a mikebox or TR3 by tilite but I know what I need in a fixed frame chair now. For a first chair I still think an adjustable one would be best. As purchesing a chair is expensive. And if something isn't working you can not adjust it on a fixed chair


      • #4
        I'm very glad my first rigid chair has some adjustability. Even now that it's dialed in, I know my next chair will have at least adjustable axle position (CoG).

        IMO, you're getting bad advice from the RGK salesman. I believe the RGK Hi-Lite is a great chair for an experienced user, but not for a newbie.
        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."


        • #5
          Have you actually tried a reasonably similar RGK Hi Lite? Because you should be very anxious about getting a non-adjustable chair like this unless you've already found a chair that suits you down to the ground in every respect and are ordering the Hi Lite to match that. This is a custom-made, bespoke, non-adjustable chair. This is what you will be stuck with for years, whether it fits you well or not. I would seriously advise you to FORGET about trying to save on weight until you know exactly what you want and need. A slightly-lighter backrest saves you NOTHING if you find two weeks later that it's uncomfortable and you'd like to change the angle except that you can't because it's welded in place. Find the right chair dimensions, angles, etc, and then start thinking about weight. Remember that the easiest way to save weight is to minimise the add-ons you'll be choosing, and, where possible, to go down in seat size.

          Can I ask why the ergo seat? I know that RGK promote them, but have you tried one? Did you like it better than a standard seat? If so, it's an option you can have on many brands. If not... well, there's not a lot of research on them. If it's not instantly more comfortable for you--or if you haven't been able to try one at all--I don't think you should take the risk. It might not suit you, you can't change it, it will do weird things to your cushion, and you don't know how it will impact on your posture in the long term.

          You've tried several chairs now, so chances are several different camber options. Did the 2 degrees stand out to you as better? Why? If camber made so little difference that you didn't notice it, then you might be better advised to go down to 0 camber to narrow your chair a fraction more. You should enquire whether it's possible to change camber angle in future. With an RGK, it probably isn't. With some other brands, it may be a reasonably simple, reasonably inexpensive matter of purchasing a new camber tube, or sometimes camber plugs or camber plates.


          • #6
            I don't mean to bag RGK, they make some great chairs. But not for beginners!

            So, in rough conversions, we're talking about a 17x16 seat. How does that fit? Can you get your fingers between your hip and the sideguard on the both side? It may be too wide. Do the sideguards 'grip' you so tight that it's difficult to get out of the chair again? It may be too narrow. Does the seat sling reach your calves? Seat may be too long.

            Have you tried different wheel sizes? You've put down Spinergy Flexrims, but you haven't said what size. There's a widespread belief that 24" wheels are appropriate for 99% of adults. I don't believe it for a minute. Try 25"s and maybe even 26"s if at all possible. Wheels are easily changed, but are expensive to replace!

            The TR3 would appear to have a good deal more adjustability than the chair you're looking at.

            It would really help us evaluate the proposed dimensions you've given if you could tell us how the chair felt to you. Could you reach the wheels well? Was it easy to push? Was it easy to tip and control? Could you get up/over small bumps in it? Could you get the wheels on and off by yourself? Did it work well with your cushion? Please remember, there is a whole lot more to this game than just weight! :-)


            • #7
              Oh, and there may be some confusion here. ALL the chairs you are looking at are custom-built chairs. However, some are highly adjustable, some are minimally adjustable, and some are not adjustable at all. General consensus is that newer users like yourself should always go adjustable.


              • #8
                I think I agree with all the above comments. Adjustability such as the back angle is king in the beginning. Also I wonder why you have chosen the Flexrims. I had an opportunity to get some off Craigslist quite cheap and the seller said they were in great condition. However I could not find good reviews of their longevity, only that they tear. In fact take a look at the reviews on Sportaids site: (thumb down)
                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.


                • #9
                  @Nonoise - I really wanted natural fit handrims, but the flexrims were the only ones RGK was offering that were similar, so the guy suggested those. The reason for choosing natural fit handrims - I have tried them before and liked them, and I have a couple of bony lumps in my left palm that makes it a bit difficult to get a good grip on normal rims. I can grip the rims, but its better if I put more weight/pressure through my thumb and the fleshy cushion below my thumb.

                  I was rather dubious about a fixed backrest myself. Even on the helium and kuschall K4 the backrest had to be adjusted. Not so much the angle, just the straps. Plus I would have thought that having a fixed back would be harder to life chair into car? It is quite crucial to keep the weight down at the minute, as well as my back problems I had a torn muscle in my right upper arm about 18 months ago and that muscle hasnt regained as much muscle strength that it used to have. That arm would take a lot of the weight when lifting due to right hand drive cars over here. I will have to do some work on it I reckon. Re wheel size, I did try 25" wheels when the man came who brought the Ti-lite chairs, I did like those. The only thing I didnt try was if they would fit under my dining table. I have tried an ergo seat before and liked it. It was on a top end crossfire T6, but that was a couple of years ago. I thought it might be a good idea to put my pelvis in right position. I have been doing physiotherapy at hospital and they are trying to stop me sitting too straight up. I have to try and relax and let my pelvis rotate a little, letting it roll back a bit. I tend to pull my back upright and it makes too big a curve in my back. I`m happy to get some adjustability as long as I can lift the chair myself, thats the main reason for getting the chair, so that I can go out myself.

                  Regarding sizes, I was measured by the local council as needing a 16" wide seat, but that is too tight, I am squashing up against the side guards, 17" should be just right. The seat length is ok at 16" too as any longer and it rubs against the back of my knees. The other thing bout RGK they didnt specify front frame angle, the guy said it was sorted by frame length? He sat me in a wheelchair and put a book under my feet to measure footrest height or front seat height, not sure which. He was also advising me against 4" soft rolls, saying 5" would be best? I was going to have the small camber 2 degree because all the pavements over here have a camber on them I thought it might help with pushing? I can see what you are all getting at regarding adjustments, it does make sense. If the TR3 has more adjustments that may be the way to go. I found the ZRa too heavy. The man from Ti-lite is coming back on Friday, so I can have another look at that and try putting it in my car too. He has to visit again anyway because he left a stimulite cushion for me to demo.

                  Thanks again for all of your help, it is a BIG help to me and I appreciate it. after all who better to get advice from than someone who has years of experience. I think the RGK guy may be the sort of salesman who being in a wheelchair himself, expects me to fit into what he likes. He was really nice, but the point of the exercise is to get something that suits me. The build time seemed long too, 12 weeks is a long time. Another non important thing that I did like on the RGK chair, they do free machine embroidery on the back of the backrest. You can choose any simple tattoo like Jpeg and they will do it for you. You can have it in different colours, just a clear design. It doesnt make the chair better, but I thought it was a nice idea, especially if you dont have to pay extra for it. You could also choose the backrest stitching colour, and the colour of the RGK log, and the little colour accents on the chair came at no extra cost. The chair he brought in had Topolino wheels on. He also suggested I just have the wheels that come as standard?


                  • #10
                    The other thing I did not like about the Hi-lite was the height adjustable clip on push handles. I am going to have to have some sort of handles on, but they sounded quite obtrusive? They were suggested because having a low backrest would make it hard for my family to help me out pushing me, but I did rather like the fold down ones on the ti-lite? Is the bracket or whatever holds the height adjustable handles on ugly when the handles are not on? Are they easy to take off? I liked that with the fold down ones the handles would always be there just in case. Re anti tips with RGK these would be two swingaway ones, whereas with the Ti-lite they would be the push button ones, that came off and you could adjust the height of them so that you could go up kerbs. What type of anti tips are easiest to use and work well?

                    The build time for the Ti-lite is about 4 weeks, a big difference to the RGK. I know if something is going to be fantastic the wait is worth it, but not sure if it would be or not in this case.


                    • #11
                      In terms of pushing efficiency, the weight of the wheels is supposed to be pretty important. Chances are, all these people bringing you wheelchairs to try will be bringing high-end wheels (the Topolinos certainly are), so that's just something to bear in mind: you might not like the standard wheels so much. Wheels are something you can buy yourself from somewhere else if you like, so by all means get the 'free' wheels but consider getting something better from elsewhere (shop around). The UK situation may be different, but for me I found that ordering rear wheels from SportAid in the USA was cheaper than getting them locally in New Zealand, even once shipping, currency conversion, and tax was taken into account. YMMV. If 25"s work better for you than 24"s, I'd humbly recommend that you consider raising your dining table if it turns out to be a problem. You only use your dining table a few times a day, I'm guessing, and only while at home, but the wheelchair has to get you comfortably through the whole day, up hill and down dale, to the shops and to the doctor's and to the movies, right? It's more important that you be mobile than that you fit under your dining table in its current configuration. Incidentally, you're more likely to have a problem with table clearance for your knees than your wheels! (We have raised our dining table a little by affixing raisers to the legs. It's unobtrusive and harms no one.)

                      If you go with this chair, I'd recommend you either demand that they come up with some Natural Fits for you, or else that they supply standard aluminium push rims and you purchase and fit your own Natural Fits later. Don't pay extra for the Flexrims if they're not magical for you! You could also consider The Surge push rims, which are pretty similar to Natural Fits, and come in two sizes for larger or smaller hands.

                      The official 'transport' weights of the TR3 and the ZRa are less than a kilo different. Were there any obvious differences between the chairs you tried, beyond one being a ZRa and the other a TR3? Because you might be surprised how quickly the weights of brakes, antitips, luggage carriers, footplate covers, and so on can pile up.

                      With regard to push handles, I'm familiar with Quickie bolt on push handles, Colours quick-release height-adjustable push handles, and TiLite quick-release height-adjustable push handles. The Quickie ones just bolt on, and it's one height only. Not a great choice, though the best I could do because every other option for my Quickie was too low for someone of average height to push me comfortably. It's worth taking into account how the antitips work on the particular chair, because if they are not widely enough set that your pusher can comfortably walk between them, your pusher will end up standing a lot further back, and this may mean having to lean forward all the time to reach the handles, which may result in grumbles about sore backs as well as making it much more difficult for you and your pusher to hear each other talk, or in my case before I got the taller handles a pusher who insisted on walking beside me and pushing with one hand, which made me feel really unsafe. (Plan on your anti tips being on all the time, because it can be a hassle to remove them and you may feel less safe if your pusher steps away without putting them back. Doesn't apply if you can reach to fiddle with them yourself, of course.) So I'd really recommend height-adjustable if this looks like being an issue. Built-in push handles are only a little taller than the back of your chair, and that's not necessarily tall enough. The Colours and TiLite quick-release jobs release easily, but they do leave behind a bracket. I'm not sure you'd call it ugly, but it does add weight. One oft-noted advantage of the built-in fold-down ones is that folding them down helps to discourage random strangers from 'helpfully' moving you around like furniture. I imagine a similar effect might be achieved by dropping height-adjustable ones down as low as they'll go--or just leaving them in the car :-)

                      The advantages of more camber are better access to the push rims (which not everyone needs), better knuckle clearance going through doorways, and greater lateral stability (because you have a wider wheelbase). The price is the wider wheelbase, which limits your ability to fit into tight spaces. If you didn't really notice any difference, a conservative option like 2 or even 0 makes sense. (My chairs have 4 and 6 degrees respectively, because my arms don't straighten so camber helps me reach what little I can of the push rims more easily without scraping my inner wrists against the tyres. My Colours is also long and narrow, and thus inherently less stable than a squarer chair, so the 6 degrees camber gives a little valuable stability there.)

                      Tyres. Have you thought much about tyres? These days, a lot of people go with the Schwalbe Marathons because--although they do of course gradually lose air over time--they are as near puncture-free as you're going to get on pneumatic tyres. They have some tread--not really enough for the beach, but enough for most of the environments you're likely to meet on a daily basis. Many of us also prefer smoother tyres, with less tread, such as RightRuns, Primo Racers, etc. It's worth making sure that whatever tyres you put down on your order form, you've tried something like them already. The trial chair for my Quickie (my first rigid) had smooth tyres, but when it came time to do the order form the OT said "oh, you don't want those" and put me down for everyday greys. I didn't know that this was something I should have argued about. The result was tyres I didn't like, that scraped against my wrists when I tried to reach the push rims, and that I just generally hated. Not a big deal to change them, they said. Except that the chair was built for those tyres, so changing them altered my rear seat height and dump and meant that my anti tips were so close to the ground I couldn't do even a small wheelie until the technician had taken a hacksaw to them. Much better to get it right in the first place!

                      You seem to be making excellent progress here. Remember, take your time. Ask to see chairs again if you're not sure. (It might be worth having someone take pictures of you sitting in a demo chair that you're considering, especially side on with your arms extended as if to push. You don't need to share them, but I think being able to see how you're sitting might help you.) This is a big decision, and a lot of money, and the chances are, I'm sorry to say, that as helpful and responsive as these salespeople may be at the moment, you'll probably not find them at all interested in helping you deal with any difficulties AFTER your chair has arrived. That's why it's important to ensure that what you expect is what you're going to get, that everything you like about the chair you like best actually goes onto the order form to be built into your new chair.

                      I know that the RGK custom embroidery is really appealing, but don't get hung up on it. There are people with appropriate gear to embroider your upholstery after the fact, if you want to do so (and if you get an upholstery back rather than a solid one). There's also the option of getting an embroidered patch made (like a Girl Guides badge, only bigger) with a design of your choice which you could then tack or glue on to your new chair. You have a lot of options for personalisation beyond what the manufacturer offers. There's even a lady in the UK who makes custom upholstery, such as union jack backs! Do get a frame colour you can live with, though (the 'polished' option is a great choice, but tends to be expensive. TiLite's satin finish titanium is pretty awesome too. Or you could get pink!), and an anodised parts colour you like, because getting a wheelchair painted after it's made is a bit of a nuisance.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for taking the time to type all that Qtipi!

                        Daft as it may sound I never even thought about raising the height of the dining table. That would be really simple for my husband to do. I found the chairs with 25" wheels on easier to push. I will certainly take note of what tyres are on the chairs. I know a couple had smooth tyres, and some had the marathons on. I will also look again at the ZRa and am going to try lifting both the chairs into my car on Friday. I may email the guy and ask if he has any hand rims he can bring for me to feel too, as I notice even the natural fit ones come in two sizes and different grips. I am not going to rush my decision because spending nearly £4000 which is $6557.20 is a lot of money. I wont get hung up on the embroidery either, I`m thinking quite conservatively about colours now. If I have to have a painted frame, it would either be matt black with yellow or black spoke wheels, or purple frame and black or white spokes. I would prefer an unpainted frame, maybe purple or black anodised parts. A few years ago the chair would have ended up either multi coloured or with camo upholstery lol. The ideal situation would be if the demo guy could actually adjust one of his demo chairs to fit me instead of just measuring with a tape measure, you dont get much of any idea of what your chair would feel like without that. Regarding push handles, I dont know if I`m being too optimistic, but I was hoping to push myself most of the time. Just have a hand when in a tight spot or awkward shop entrance. The folding chair I have is just too hard to push far along a street, but has been easy in a shop, so the rigid should be an absolutely fantastic improvement. I can drive so hopefully I can get quite near to where I want to be going. The hardest place will be when I go to my local book library, where the local council has thoughtfully put the disabled parking at the bottom of a steep slope! It surprising how much that happens, in the next village its the same, disabled parking on two hills.

                        I will have another look at the push handles too, and try to make a sensible choice. I just want a chair thats as "clutter free" as I can get it.


                        • #13
                          I haven't read everything above, but I did catch the comment about the TR3 being more adjustable than the HiLite. I disagree - the TR3 has only one adjustment - the CoG. TR3 is similar to HiLite in that regard; neither is a beginner's chair.
                          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>


                          • #14
                            Have you looked at the icon?


                            • #15
                              "my bad", as the kids say. I had missed that the HiLite has an adjustable backrest option, which the OP has been talked out of, and that the footplate is only fixed angle, not fixed height. I'd also missed the choice of materials (ti or chrome moly) -- I wonder which one the OP was shown?

                              I can't see whether either chair has adjustment on the fork angle. Might have to go looking for the service manuals.