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Travel Mobility scooters are more specified than just the general scooter purpose of other devices in the transport device family, which are simply there to provide mobility to people who otherwise would not be able to get from one place to another.
What happens when a disabled person needs to transport the very vehicle that moves them around? The need for such devices to be taken along with you as baggage on some form of transportation is extremely common. In these cases, it is highly important that your mobility means is of the travel kind and that it has specific portability qualities.
There are three main advantages to portable disability scooters over other designs. These units are:
able to easily disassemble into smaller, more manageable parts.
All traveler power scooters will have at least one of these major transport qualities, some might have two but almost none have all three. It’s usually a choice between folding designs and disassembling ones. Below is an explanation of each factor in more detail to help you know what to look for and expect in these devices.
Lightweight Mobility Scooter Material Composition
An item meant to be taken along when traveling will invariably need to be lifted, carried or pulled along in some way. All this would be awfully difficult and impractical if made-for-travel scooters weighed more than people could cope with.
Bear in mind that these devices are made for people struggling with physical limitations, often including back pain, difficulties bending over and yes, difficulty lifting weights!
This has forced designers to look for materials lighter than the industry standard to build super-light electric scooters. Where steel may be used in similar applications, a true travel model will likely use aluminum. Aluminum’s tremendous strength per unit of weight has made it the ideal material for airplanes - where high strength for little weight is paramount, and has similarly enabled travel scooter manufacturers to put these qualities to use in a situation that asks for the same properties.
To put things in perspective, scooters made from standard metals, such as steel, weigh a minimum of around 100 lbs - excluding batteries. Compare that to Drive Mobility’s ZooMe Flex scooter at 59 lbs, batteries included. The difference might not seem so dramatic, but 100 lbs is well beyond the lifting capabilities of many users. While 59 lbs isn’t a bag of feathers, it’s definitely within the reach of a great number of those people needing to lift such items.
Mobility Scooters that Collapse for Travel
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature in the portable range, the magical effect of a scooter collapsing into a compact shape is an appealing option to disabled people looking for hassle-free vacation-oriented scooters.
With these popular travel models, you get a scooter large and strong enough to carry an adult weighing 250 lbs and yet ends up in a suitcase-style shape that can be rolled around, stored in narrow places, all in a few easy-to-execute moves.
Whether you have a compact living area, small car trunk or need to fly with your scooter, the procedures to make your scooter compact are remarkably simple. One minute you’re riding through the airport, the next, after a push or two, your neatly compacted scooter is standing upright, ready to be sent as baggage or to roll around as a carry on.
A word of advice: While generally handicapped scooters for travel have lower maximum weight capacities, the weight limits of these particular types get even lower. These are almost always going to be lifted as one piece, so the overall weight of the scooter as a whole must be kept low. Seniors and people with disabilities would otherwise have no way of lifting the scooter.
This results in a less material-intensive design, which in turn means travel-friendly scooters that collapse are less capable of supporting heavy users.
To bring this to life in measurable terms, it’s rare to find such a power scooter with a weight capacity above 300 lbs, and those models are the ones with the best weight capacities. Most are actually closer to the 250-lb mark. If an overweight user requires a mobile scooter that is portable, pay careful attention to the maximum weight capacity on any vehicle that comes into question. In this case, a mobility scooter that disassembles is likely to be a more suitable match. We will discuss this kind of scooter in the next part of this article.
Easy Disassembly Lightweight Mobility Scooters
For a balance between the practicality and travel friendliness of the scooters mentioned above, and the high performance of non-travel oriented scooters, look no further than easy-to-disassemble disability scooters.
There is a question that comes to people’s minds when they hear of a lightweight mobility scooter that disassembles. Many wonder how a device meant for disabled people lacking strength and dexterity could demand dismantling and putting together as part of day to day use. That would be inconvenient enough a setup for anyone to deal with, let alone for people with limited abilities in bending low and/or dealing with fine machinery parts!
These are valid concerns in theory, but in practice, modern modular scooters for mobility are far from what they are imagined to be.
There are no nuts, bolts, screws or tools involved in the assembly or disassembly of such compact disassembly scooters. Aware of the limitations facing the people using them, designers of easily-disassembled mobility scooters have ensured the actions needed for assembly and disassembly are simple, easy to understand/remember and require minimal strength or bending over. Lightweight units involve no screwing or bolting, instead they use systems composed of handles, buttons and release levers to facilitate an assembly/disassembly process not all that different from Lego building!
Most such scooters with light pieces boast wireless disassembly, meaning there are no wires or electrical components to detach as part of the disassembly process, apart from the battery boxes which slot in and out of their docks with remarkable ease.
Here’s an example: a set of disassembly instructions as shown on the Golden Technologiessell sheet for the Buzzaround EX. The original GoldenTech instructions are shown in bold, with our comments in regular font.
Wireless Disassembly in 4 Easy Steps
Step 1: Pop off the seat
Grip the sides and pull firmly up - this releases the seat, allowing it to slide right off the seat post
Step 2: Pull out the battery pack
The batteries themselves are kept within handy plastic cases that slot in and out of built-in docks with the greatest ease - no wires involved at all
Step 3: Fold down tiller and lock in place
Twist the tiller knob, push the tiller down and click into place
Step 4: Pull forward on the drivetrain release lever to separate the front and rear frame sections!
The drivetrain has a release lever that needs to be pulled up. This unlocks the front and rear frame sections. You then simply pull the front section up and away from the drivetrain. The great thing here is that with this model - and many others like it - the action required to separate the front section from the drivetrain requires the use of only one hand. This is intentionally so, to allow those who only have the use of one hand the ability to disassemble their device without an additional person to help.
As far as weight is concerned, the critical factor in the portability of an easy-to disassemble scooter is the heaviest of all the pieces once disassembled. This is the maximum you would need to lift when transporting your device. If you can cope with the weight of the heaviest piece, all the other lighter pieces will be manageable too.
Look out for “heaviest piece” in travel electric scooter specification sheets. Due to the importance of this factor, many providers list the weight of the heaviest piece right along with basic scooter specifications such as range and speed.
The heaviest piece will be a part of the base - either the wheels including the motor, or the scooter deck and front wheels as one piece. See the picture below for an idea of how the different parts might compare.
Mobility Scooter Lightweight Structural Design
Though it isn't as pronounced as the three main easy-to-travel-with factors that have been discussed, the structural design seen in travel/lightweight mobility scooters does deserve a separate mention.
In another bid to reduce overall weight, newer vehicles economize with the total material used overall. This means less metal is used in almost all parts of the structure, and where it is used, care is taken to go for designs that maximize strength for a smaller amount of material.
To be sure, safety is never sacrificed to achieve any goal. All easy-to-carry mobility scooters sold in the United States must undergo rigorous testing before they qualify for use by disabled people or seniors.
Having said that, lighter structurally designed scooters mean that, in order to stay 100% safe, the maximum load these models can bear is noticeably lower than that of standard types.
Taking the Drive Medical Ventura range as an example, we see a weight capacity of 400 lbs on both standard and deluxe models. With easy-carry mobility scooters, don't expect more than a 300-lb weight capacity on folding scooters, and 350 lbs on those that disassemble to light pieces.
Should I Get a Lightweight or Easy-disassembly Mobility Scooter?
When it comes to choosing between the two main kinds of scooters intended for practical travel, we at Scooters 'N Chairs want you to be able to make an informed decision. Ask yourself the following questions. They can act as a general guide to help you see which type would suit you best.
Do I need my scooter to be the smallest size possible when traveling or storing?
Am I fine with lifting around 55 lbs on my own? If not, will someone be available to help me lift this weight when necessary?
Will I only need to use the scooter on indoor, or well-paved outdoor areas?
Do I require no more than 300 lbs in weight capacity? Remember to take into account not only your body weight but all other weight you plan on loading on your scooter, for example, shopping bags or an oxygen tank.
Is the range provided by one lithium-ion battery (often under 10 miles) sufficient for my needs? If not, am I prepared to pay for an extra battery (at approximately $800) to boost my range?
If your answer to many of these questions is yes, it’s likely a one-piece lightweight scooter is your best choice.
In the next set of questions, if you find yourself often answering yes, an easy disassembly model would probably suit you better:
Will I regularly need to travel over grass or gravel?
Is a 55-lb scooter too much for me to carry on my own?
Am I able to bend down to release parts of a scooter from each other?
Do I need a scooter battery range of over 10 miles at a reasonable price?
Is extra seat comfort important to me?
Do I need a model that has the best weight capacity - one that can handle more than 300 lbs of weight?
Am I above average in height, width or weight?
Best Lightweight Mobility Scooter - Pride Go-Go Elite Traveler Plus
If we had to pick one amazing light-component scooter that is the best in its range, we would pick the Pride Mobility Go-Go Elite Traveler Plus. It features Pride’s famous feather-touch disassembly - one of the best and easiest take-apart processes on the market. With the use of one hand, you can break this model down into five lightweight pieces that allow for practical transport and storage.
The heaviest piece of the Go-Go Elite Traveler Plus is 34 lbs which is light even for top-of-the-range lightweight disability scooters, some of which have their heaviest pieces weighing in at close to 60 lbs.
Some travel-friendly scooters for the handicapped can only go for shorter distances per charge, but this scooter can do 14.5 miles - an excellent asset for when your vacation involves more than just going through an airport or station.
As for extras, the Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus comes with modern energy-saving LED lighting, an ergonomic delta tiller for comfortable steering and a package of interchangeable shrouds to change the color of the scooter’s panels for a fresh look.
Best Scooter for Airline Travel - EV Rider Transport AF Travel Scooter
The top two travel modes where people want to be able to take their scooter along are car and air travel. To find the best scooter to fit in your trunk is relatively easy as there is such a huge variety of top mobility scooters that can be taken apart for easy storage. The Scout/Spitfire travel Range by Drive Medical are a good place to start looking as are many other US-brand scooters in this very reasonable collection.
Finding the best scooter to take with on an airplane is slightly trickier as all components must be FAA approved, and due procedure must be followed. You also may want something that is light enough to be rolled around like a suitcase.
With this in mind, our best FAA-approved airline travel scooter is the Transport AF by EV Rider. It also has excellent ratings on travel scooter reviews.
With a touch of a button on a remote, the Transport AF goes from full size to a super compact shape.
At 44 lbs total weight, and measuring as little as 28.7" x 17.3" x 16.5", the Transport AF is light and small enough to be lifted into almost all car trunks and storage areas.
We hope the information above will help guide you in finding the perfect portable disability scooter for your very own circumstances, needs and abilities. Scooters 'N Chairs wish you good luck with your newly found independence in long-distance travel!