The TiLite TR is a bit like an iPhone — when someone says they have one, you have to ask, which version? Indeed, the TiLite TR — now on its third series — has been an industry leader in high-end ultralights for years. However, even the newest version continues receiving weight-reducing refinements, bringing today’s TR in at 16.9 pounds in a 16-by-16-inch seat size, with a transport weight of 9.3 pounds. That’s astoundingly light for also being among the toughest, strongest rigids on the market.
The TiLite TR’s ultralight weight is mostly due to its titanium frame. Its strength-to-weight ratio is higher than aluminum, so you can decrease the weight of the frame itself without compromising strength. However, that doesn’t tell the real story as to why the TR is so light. If you look at the current TR, you’ll note that it’s not a mono-tube frame, but a unique swept-in box frame, meaning there are both top and lower tubes, seemingly doubling the frame material. So, how does this create a lighter chair?
In order to create strength and durability in a mono-tube frame (with one frame tube per side) thicker-walled tubing is required, which adds weight. By going to its dual-tube design, the TiLite TR actually reduces weight by creating a super-strong reinforced structure using extremely light, thinner-walled tubing. It sounds counterintuitive, but more tubing equals less weight based on how it’s applied.
TiLite hasn’t just focused on making an ever-lighter frame. Its newer “bullet caster housing” removes even more weight in this typically bulky area. To drop weight even further, TiLite offers an optional carbon fiber camber tube along with an all-titanium backrest and footplate for an unbelievably ultralight package.
The TiLite TR Series 3 isn’t the most funding-friendly ultralight. However, if you have exceptional insurance or are paying out of pocket, the weight savings warrants the steeper price tag.