A Companion's Review of the Atto Mobility Scooter
My wife has had multiple sclerosis for over 30 years. In recent years a combination of back pain and fatigue have made it difficult for her to walk distances more than a city block. Just that walking uses up her energy. A mobility scooter has been the answer to allowing her to be mobile and, extend her daily stamina. As her carer/companion I am the one who deals with putting the scooter in the trunk of the car and having it ready for her to use. During the last few years, we have actually bought three mobility scooters. A sad fact about these scooters is that local dealers, even in a city as large as Los Angeles, where we live, only carry a few brands and models. Online there are hundreds to choose from, and many are much more portable than those available locally. So all three scooters were purchased online. Because we like to travel, I wanted us to have a scooter that could fold, or be broken down to fit in the trunk of a car, and also to be able to be transported by the airlines. The first one fit that description, but it was a bit awkward to fold and would take up all of the room of an average car trunk. The second one was much lighter, and, if broken down into about 5 pieces would take up a lot less room in a car trunk. I thought that would be our final scooter purchase. However, while doing some online research to help a friend find a scooter for his wife, who is a lot less mobile than mine, I ran across photos and a video for the Atto Mobility Scooter by MovingLife. (www.movinglife.com).
After a couple of years experience with other scooters, I could immediately see that the unique design of the Atto scooter solves many problems that no other scooter does. This is because in less than a minute the scooter can be folded from a full-size to the configuration of a rolling suitcase, not much larger than a carry-on size rolling suitcase. I read that the designer of the Atto came up with the idea for this scooter when using a conventional scooter in New York. Taxi cabs would not stop to pick him up! Waiting for a taxi with the Atto, it looks like you are waiting with a rolling suitcase. On a recent trip to Toronto and London, we used taxis many times, and the Atto worked out easily, just as I hoped it would. Folded into it's smallest configuration the Atto still weighs about 66 lbs (29.9 Kilos) with the battery installed. I'm 68 years old, and this is a bit heavy for me to lift into a car trunk alone. However, in seconds it can be broken down into two parts, one weighing about 36 lbs. (16 Kilos) and the other about 30 , (13.6 Kilos). I can lift these into the trunk with no problems. Putting the two parts back together, and unfolding it for use, can be done in less than 60 seconds.
Traveling with the Atto Mobility Scooter
At restaurants with the other scooters, it was often difficult to ride it into a small restaurant and find a spot to park it. The Atto could just be rolled in with us in Trolley Mode (rolling suitcase size), and in the park, the configuration would often even fit under the end of the table. At worst it would not take up too much room parked next to, or near, our table. No elevator available? In trolley mode, it can be pulled up or down steps (with a little effort, rolling up or down one step at a time), and can be taken on an escalator in the same way as a rolling suitcase. If an extra small elevator is encountered, again, it can be quickly folded into Trolley Mode to take into an elevator. We also put it in trolley mode to get on buses and the underground. We have been very pleased with this scooter for both travel and local use. The quick folding and unfolding make it very transportable even in a conventional car trunk. In an intermediate size rental car that we used on a recent trip, we got the Atto in the car trunk in two pieces, and still had room for three airline carry-on size pieces of luggage, a computer briefcase, and a full day-pack. Taking it on an aircraft for travel was also quite easy. When checking in the airline issued special tags for the scooter. Then my wife rode the scooter to the aircraft gate. I folded it into the park position and removed the battery (it weighs a little under 4 pounds or 1.75kg, and even has a fold-out carrying handle). This is also a nice feature. The battery easily pops in and out with the push of a button. Airlines require that the lithium-ion battery is carried with us in the cabin. After removing the battery they took the scooter away to put in a special storage area. After arrival, they brought it back to the gate. We unfolded the scooter, put in the battery and were ready to go! Another travel bonus is that because there is a large flat area under the seat, there is room for two legal carry-on size pieces of luggage to be transported while riding the Atto scooter. A final nice feature about the small size, when folded in the park position, is that it takes up a lot less room for storing it at home. I have not seen a mobility scooter with a better design for portability and ease of use, and it met all of our expectations on our recent overseas trip! As much as I think the Atto is the best and perfect mobility scooter for me and my wife, some people may have requirements that may make the Atto not a good choice: If you are alone and do not have a carer/companion to help with the scooter, you have to have enough strength to be able to fold, unfold, and lift the two parts of the scooter into a car trunk.
Also, as with any mobility scooter, you have to have a reasonable amount of personal mobility to be able to use it. Otherwise, an electric wheelchair would be more suitable. In order to be able to fold the way it does, the seat is thin and curved for comfort but does not have much padding. A perfect fit cushion kit is available that will solve the problem for anyone who wants extra padding on the seat and seat back. The back of the seat is low. If you need full back support, this would not be suitable. The speed is controlled by a lever pressed by the right-hand thumb. My wife likes this better than a rotating grip throttle, which is harder on her wrist. However, if you have problems with your right thumb this could be a problem. I believe there is a left-hand throttle conversion kit available for those who cannot use their right hand. For more information about the Atto Mobility Scooter, or to order one, see the manufacturer's website www.movinglife.com.