The RGK Tiga FX is an ultralight folding wheelchair. Unlike its competitors, the Quickie Xenon2 and the Kuschall Champion SK, the RGK Tiga FX is a rigid frame wheelchair that folds to achieve a smaller size for transportation and storage. Dominic took a closer look at the Tiga FX to learn more.
What’s the RGK Tiga FX about?
The Tiga FX is a folding wheelchair with a slight difference. Unlike the Quickie Xenon2 and the Kuschall Champion SK, the Tiga FX does not fold up the middle. The folding front frame elements, combined with the folding back, means that the fold is flat and convenient. Because it takes a limited amount of space, you can fit it into a small car boot or in the front of a supermini/SUV car without compromising on space around you. Better still, it fits in overhead lockers on most aircraft and can even be specified with its own transport bag.
It also doesn’t compromise on strength, taking the benefits of the rigid frame and combining them with the folding design to give a sturdy wheelchair that would meet demands of an active user.
There’s a huge options list as well and the one loaned to me for the review came with:
- Carbon folding sideguards
- Carbon footrest
- Leather backrest wings
- Colour coded casters and caster stem caps
- Vented upholstery with pocket
- Chrome paint
If you’re looking for the specifications, they’re here.
RGK make all wheelchairs to measure. Because each frame is built to a user’s measurements, the mountings and welds are unique, within a small amount of tolerance. This means that the COG, back angles and knee angle are all perfect to the user.
RGK also make semi-adjustable frames, with the COG fitted on a horizontal frame element to enable the COG to be adjusted over time. This means that you can have some elements of adjustment over time if you know your disability is going to change.
The frame, in a polished silver, is very striking. The red accents, along with the red casters on the wheelchair I tested, give the wheelchair a little flash of colour. I spent a fair amount of time worrying about the polished frame getting scratched (occupational fear) – it stood up to a lot of muck and snow on its visit here though, so I worried less towards the end.
On the road with the RGK Tiga FX
The Tiga FX handles great on most surfaces, including basic loose gravel, bumpy grass and tactile paving. Because it is a rigid cross frame, it has no flex when moving around odd angles, such as downhill at an angle. It will also hold its own when swerving around trolleys in the supermarket or avoiding small children in the street. It was fairly decent in the last of the snow we had here at the time, although by the time I got the camera out, the snow had gone.
The seat provides a reasonable ride, feeding back basic information from the wheels as you move. The seat can be specified with tension adjustable straps under the canvas, making the seat a little softer or firmer as required. The backrest can also be specified with tension-adjustable straps to ensure you get the right lumbar support.
One nice thing about the folding function of the Tiga FX is that it’ll get really small. So, regardless of if you have a modern SUV, a supermini city run-about or a people carrier, you can fit the Tiga FX in anywhere. I decided to prove this, using my own car – a Seat Alhambra – with both seven seats up, down and in the front.
I did find a small challenge – there is a knack to folding the Tiga FX (something that George from RGK showed me). If you’ve got limited dexterity I recommend getting the additional release clips and backrest release cord (both options) to help with folding. I struggled with the frame on my lap, much to the amusement of those around me. I liked the turn grips though, that would prevent the locks from being disengaged by accident.
The Velcro on the seat means you’re always best grabbing the cushion from the back, pulling forward. I learnt this after around removal number 10, when I suddenly found it so much easier to pull it off by grabbing the back.
The side guards on the Tiga FX loaned to me folded in – a brilliant idea, meaning I didn’t have to try and lift out the side guards (lift out is an option though). It meant I wasn’t going to lose something (hurrah) and it was so much easier than having a fight with something.
The carry bag is brilliant for several reasons. Number one, it’s the size of a small child, so possibly useful if camping and you’ve forgotten a sleeping bag. Number two, it protects the frame when transporting it in the hull of an aeroplane or back of a van. I used the bag in the car which protected both the wheelchair frame and the car seats when it was in the rear of my vehicle.
(I’d like to clarify, I haven’t used the bag to store a small child.)
Options and prices
The base price for a RGK Tiga FX is £3,018. You’ve then got the options list, which is almost endless for the RGK Tiga FX. You can find most of the options (such as wheels, tyres, casters etc) in their online store.
Some of the elements we’d recommend include the Frog Leg coloured casters (£70.10), the compact scissor (£95), fold flat carbon side guards (£217.50), Spinergy Spox (18 Spoke, £289,70), Marathon Plus tyres (£37.70) and rear seat pocket (£49.20). We’d also take an underseat pocket (£20.90) for mobile phones. The wheelchair we tested came with Spinergy CLX 18 carbon blade wheels (£765), a polished frame (£261.40), carbon fender sideguards (£285.60) and backrest leather corners (£66.30).
If you’re a para or tetraplegic, you can get pushrims more attuned to your needs. I’d also recommend looking at a Jay Backrest for better back support if required – the tension adjustable fabric is great for those with core support otherwise.
Personally, I’d also get the Frogleg Suspension unit (£255.30) as I really value mine on my own wheelchair – they do take out some of the jolts of cobbles around town.
A typical Tiga FX, with the recommended options comes in at £4,700 (approximately).
I like the Tiga FX for the different folding mechanism and light weight. I found that the polished frame caught people’s eye and many people in the office commented on the red accents. The rear pocket was invaluable for hiding my keys during the day – I missed the under-seat pocket I have with my own chair though, so I’d definitely get that option if I were buying it. I also like that the vented upholstery is standard.
The biggest issues I have is the folding – it’s very fiddly without any larger push-clips that can be added as an option. The skill required to fold the front means it takes a while and a good bit of practise to get it right, which given the price makes me wonder if it should be slightly easier to fold. My emphasis has to be on the fold, too – it’s the reason that it’s not a standard Tiga, after all.
If you’re looking for that bespoke rigid-frame type chair, built to your needs, that still folds, this is the wheelchair that is going to withstand all that you can throw at it, no doubt. It’ll travel well with you and be comfortable for as long as you have it. The quality from RGK has a strong reputation (and a 5 year warranty) to back this up.
It’s scored 7 out of 10.