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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Scooter Is A Scooter Is A Scooter, Or Is It???

It would seem to be true. After all they all have a seat, a handlebar, three or four wheels, a motor and transmission and one or two batteries, (usually two).  So it would seem to be true, if you don't look too deep. It's just like saying a bicycle is a bicycle, or a car is a car, or a guitar is a guitar, or a girl is a girl, or a friend is a friend, on and on and on. But, unless you're the person that thinks a Timex is no different than a Rolex, (they both keep time, right?), or there's no difference between a Playboy Bunny and the girl you see at the Walmart checkout, (she may be good looking, but...), still it's just not true.  There are similarities, and while it would appear that one is pretty much the same as another, if you've ever found one car or bicycle better than another, or you're a guitar player that prefers a Martin over a Taylor,  you just know that it's not true.  You may prefer a different scooter than I do, or than that person over there does, which in itself pretty much proves that I'm right.  If I wasn't, there'd only be one kind. Instead there's dozens. Each brand has it's strong points and weak points. For instance an example of one for me is the actuator, on a Rascal they are finger actuators meaning you pull back with your fingers which is easy, on a Pride they're thumb controlled, meaning you push with your thumbs, which when turning sharply is difficult. Another example is the front basket, on most Rascals it's mounted to the frame and has no effect on steering, on most other scooters it's mounted on the handlbar and can if you put too much in it make the scooter hard or dangerous to steer. So you have to look at the various features and specs to make sure your scooter is right, right for you that is.
Another way to look at it is that any scooter will get you around, and yes, that happens to be true. If you can put up with or ignore the negatives. A 350 lb man can ride a small scooter, even though the weight limit is 250-300 lbs or so,  he might get away with that, at least for awhile, but most are 20-21 inches wide with 9" or smaller tires. But, is him being squeezed into a small seat, uncomfortable, the handlebar right in his chest or belly, or that he would constantly be in danger of tipping over  a real concern?  The other side of the coin is the little 90 lb lady who gets a bariatric scooter with a weight limit of 500-550 lbs. Yes it's unlikely she'll ever wear it out, or stress it too highly, but frankly it's just too much scooter. Too big, too hard to get around in, she'd be more suited to the smaller or ultra-light scooter in the pevious example. 
There are many things to consider, among them are: what you want it for, indoors/outdoors/or both, weight capacity, losing weight or gaining weight, scooter length and width, anti-tip wheels, correct seat width/depth, how wide are your doors, turning circle, stability, speed, how tall or short are you, where will you store it, travel distance per charge, battery life, tire size, rural home or in city, tippiness or likliness to tip over, carrying capacity, does the basket interfere with steering, power, ability to go up a hill, acceleration,  break down for transport, need a lift for vehicle, need a ramp for your home, and more, any of which can make one machine better than another....for you.
So yes, if you look just at the surface, it can look like a scooter is a scooter. But if you go into it in depth, make your salesman do his job right, and get the one that's right for you, you'll quickly see that it's not true.

Lee Murray

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