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Aero T vs TRA questions for new wheelchair user?

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    Aero T vs TRA questions for new wheelchair user?

    Hello all! I'm new, and I hope it's okay I've joined and am posting - I have no SCI but when googling around for wheelchair info this forum kept coming up so I figured I'd cut out the middleman and join!

    I've got a genetic connective tissue disorder that, while not technically degenerative, does make me more susceptible to damage and accumulating damage and it gets worse all the time. The biggest things affected are my joints, skin, and cardiac/autonomic nervous system. The pain, partial joint dislocations, and dysautonomia are bad enough now when walking short distances that I'm in the process of getting my first wheelchair, and I'm extremely excited for it and for the quality of life increase that will hopefully follow.

    I've gotten all the way to the ordering process, and demoed chairs last week. The one I liked best, and we're in the process of ordering and getting approved, is a TiLite Aero T with several titanium upgrades (to reduce weight, I'm guessing?). When I got home, of course I did more research, and it seems like a TRA is basically the all-titanium Aero T. IIRC the TRA would be a K9 and the aero T a K5, but other than that, the cost difference associated, and materials I have a few questions about their differences:
    • Is the construction and geometry similar and the only difference really just materials?
    • One of the things I liked best about the Aero T was the kind of stiff, responsive, sporty feel - is this the result of the aluminum, or could it just be that it was the dual/box type frame and best fitting chair to me that I tried that day?
    • TiLite's website says a main difference in titanium vs aluminum is vibration absorption and energy efficiency (efficiency in the wheeling, I'm not sure how to put that in technical terms). We selected frog leg caster forks for my Aero T - would these negate most of the difference in vibration absorption between titanium and aluminum? I'm sure I wouldn't notice the difference either way but my faulty collagen might, lol!

    If it's relevant
    • I'm around 5'5" and fluctuate between 120-140 - thanks comorbid gastroparesis! (and yes, I mentioned the fluctuation in my eval)
    • We're also looking at trying to get me a SmartDrive power assist due to my shoulder and finger pain/subluxations and a possible shoulder impingement.

    I'm sure at this point I wouldn't call up my DME place and ask them to cancel the Aero T and look into the TRA instead, but these questions are gonna keep bugging me unless I get them answered somehow! Thanks everyone, and again I hope it's okay I'm posting!

    Oh, and one unrelated question - on the demo Aero T the cushion/front of the seat came up to about 3 inches behind the back of my knees, and when ordering we added an inch on to that measurement just because it felt okay but I felt like I could use a little more stability there. I can't find anything on what the optimum is and my DME said it can vary from person to person - is that probably a good way to go, though?
    Last edited by bendyviolin; 14 Nov 2015, 1:12 AM. Reason: formatting issues
    Not spinal-injured - have a genetic connective tissue disorder with cardiac compliations. Also bendyviolin on the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation forum.

    I'd go with a titanium frame. I think they are stronger and the plain polished ones can be kept new looking with a little elbow grease.
    Frog legs must work because of their popularity. But the pair I had did not. They were second hand and I think they were too stiff for me.
    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.


      You're right, the TRA and the AeroT are identical except for the frame material. IMO the only reason to save money on by buying the aluminum frame would be if you plan to buy a TR (fixed) as your next chair after dialing in the AeroT.

      (Medicare recently eliminate the K009 nomenclature, and manufacturers are transitioning to the change. Therefore a titanium upgrade to the AeroT is a TRA; TiLite hasn't (or doesn't plan to) fully transitioned yet.)
      Last edited by chasmengr; 15 Nov 2015, 9:37 AM.
      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."


        Thanks for the elucidation! And I am not trying to save money, I'm on cobra continuation of my recently deceased parents' very good health insurance (high DME limit and 80% coverage) and I'd like to get as much wheelchair from them as possible before I have to go on a medicare supplement plan, lol.

        You say titanium upgrades to the AeroT is a TRA, but what about partial titanium upgrades? I can't remember exactly which ones we picked but i think it was most of them available, as well as carbon fiber footrest, but I think some parts are still aluminum.

        Based on what you say I'm definitely going to call my DME place about it tomorrow, but I don't know if the letter of medical neccessity and sign-off from my PCP that took all of last week would have to be re-done for a new order, and since we're trying to get this by the end of the year I'm concerned about what re-doing my order with a TRA would do to that timeline. Thank you for the info, though!
        Not spinal-injured - have a genetic connective tissue disorder with cardiac compliations. Also bendyviolin on the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation forum.