What Do Mobility Scooters Consist Of?
By Scootamart Staff
Mobility Scooters usually consist of a base unit, the drive chain, the seat, and tiller, as well as the batteries and wheels. The base unit is the chassis that the other components are attached to. This chassis provides the area where the feet go in between the tiller and the batteries or drive chain. The drive chain is the part that powers the scooter. The tiller is the handlebar that steers the mobility scooter.
Front wheel drive mobility scooters have the drive train just over the front wheel. These sorts of scooter have a smaller weight capacity and are much more suited to indoor use than outdoor use compared to a rear wheel driver mobility scooter. They directly drive the front wheel, and so are not as good up hills as rear wheel drive scooters. Front wheel drive scooters also tend to be small/boot scooters rather than larger pavement or road legal scooters. Rear wheel drive mobility scooters use a chain, belt or transaxle mechanism to drive the rear wheels. Rear wheel drive scooters "push" the rider whereas front wheel drive scooters "pull" the rider. This offers more power and efficiency and so provides a better ride, and allows the scooter to go up steeper hills.
Mobility scooters use electro magnetic regenerative brakes which work by slowing and then stopping the scooter as soon as the user releases the controls. When the brakes are applied, the batteries are recharged by the excess power from the motor. This type of brake means that a separate hand brake is not necessary, and that the scooter can be left on a slope without fear of it rolling away. Most mobility scooters have a freewheel mode so that the scooter can be moved with out it being switched on, perhaps for storage, or in case of an emergency.
The batteries on a mobility scooter are not the same as car or motorcycle batteries, and should not be substituted. Car and motorcycle batteries are starter batteries, designed to provide short bursts of power. The batteries should be charged and looked after as per the mobility scooter manual.
The number of wheels and size and type of tyre affect the stability and ride quality of the mobility scooter. Smaller scooters tend to have small solid tyres, which don't offer the same ride quality as bigger scooters with larger pneumatic tyres. Three wheel scooters offer more legroom and a smaller turning circle compared to a four wheel scooter, but the stability can be compromised.
Mobility scooter seats often have folding armrests, and swivel to aid getting on and off the scooter. The seat is often padded to provide more comfort. Some models have a larger Captain or Admiral seat, which is more like a car seat, and may offer more adjustment than a standard seat. The larger, more comfortable seats are normally found on the larger scooters as the scooter has a larger range, so the distance travelled could be almost double that of a small scooter. Almost all seats are adjustable for height, some adjust for reach, and some even recline like a car seat.
The tiller controls the direction, and speed of the mobility scooter, and is like a bicycle handle bar. The scooter moves by either pulling or pushing the lever on the tiller (called a wigwag). Some models of scooter have a Delta tiller meaning that the user can either pull with the fingers (like a bicycle brake) to make the scooter move, or push with the thumb. This tiller is ideal for people with limited hand mobility or who have one hand much better than the other. This means they can use the same hand for both moving forward and reversing. The control panel on the tiller includes the battery gauge, the speed control, and the horn and light controls, where fitted.
The scooters speed is usually controlled by a rotary control, which ranges from low speed to high speed. On some 6 and 8mph mobility scooters there is a switch that lowers the top speed from 6/8 mph to 4mph to make it pavement legal.
Mobility Scooters are designed to be simple to understand and operate, and so shouldn't be intimidating.
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