Test Drive of The Amazing Tzora Titan Mobility Scooter
By Bob Aronson
If you have read this blog before read it again. There are important new updates at the end. The most recent was added on December 1, 2016
This report is my opinion. I am not associated with Tzora or any other scooter company in any way nor am I compensated by anyone for anything. I am reporting on the Tzora scooter because it is what I own and we paid the full price for it. Some of my comments, I’m sure, will apply to other mobility vehicles as well.
Before I get any farther into my report this WARNING. There are many stores and internet sites preying on disabled people who need wheelchairs and scooters to be able to get around and take care of their needs. Don’t fall for the ads that tell you that you can get one of these vehicles absolutely free because Medicare will pay for it. They won’t. Medicare will pay for 80% of vehicles that are used only IN THE HOME and they won’t pay for just any scooter or wheelchair you choose. Medicare pays 80% for vehicles that meet their standards not necessarily yours. They will not pay anything for any vehicle that is used OUTSIDE of the home.
The Titan I own and tested adds two special dimensions to mobility scooters, Power and Speed. I fully realize that not everyone needs either of those features and that many people want smaller, more portable and less expensive scooters. I am sorry to say I tested none of them because I wanted one with the power and speed to meet our unique demands. The first demand is for me to be better able to get around. The second is to help wife Robin set up at art shows and that means being able to transport heavy loads over a all kinds of terrain for fairly long distances in the dark. This scooter meets and exceeds all those demands.
I own the Tzora Titan three-wheel model scooter. It retails for about $2,000 and was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law. It is a first class vehicle. That’s me in the picture (top left) and to give you some perspective I am 6’4″ 180 pounds. The scooter carries me easily and has plenty of leg room.
The seat collapses to the floor and the tiller does the same so you can store it at a very low profile. It has a lever in the middle that when pulled separates the scooter into two pieces of just less than 50 lbs each making it fairly easy to get into and out of a standard car trunk.
First let me provide a narrative of how I use it and what I found out about riding a mobility scooter outside of my front yard. Then I will list the pros and cons of this particular scooter. I suspect, though, that my critique will have some application to all mobility scooters.
This report and its updates covers a period of about two years in which I road tested the scooter about as thoroughly as possible and I did so in three ways. One is that I took it the 1.5 mile round trip to our neighborhood supermarket several times. Those trips took me over curbs, uneven concrete, bumpy berms, sand, some mud and speed bumps. They also took me on the street. My second test was when I took it to Disney World and also on aeveral Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas, Key West and Cozumel and…the third test was the toughest. We took it to wife Robin’s art shows where we had to haul a truckload of show equipment (tent, poles, pedestals, boxes of jewelery etc) Before I elaborate on the three tests….a safety tip.
While my vehicle has a big flag on the back and all the lights any vehicle would need I don’t think it or anything like it belongs on the street but sometimes it is unavoidable for two reasons. 1) There may not be any curb cuts, or 2)someone has blocked a driveway with two or three cars and you have no choice but to go on the street to get around them and then get back on the walkway.
My best advice is, get off the street as soon as you can. That’s no place for anyone with a disability scooter or chair. We are just too small and too close to the ground to be clearly visible to all drivers. We are also much too slow. The Tzora is faster than most but it will only get up to 10 mph max. If you must go on the street and you have lights, turn them all on and attach one of those tall flags that lets everyone know you are there but get off the street as soon as possible.
If you need a scooter for things like going grocery or any other kind of shopping here’s what my test drive revealed. When you drive the vehicle into a store be respectful of those who are on foot and only go into establishments that have enough room for both you and the people on foot. Also remember you need room to maneuver. Sometimes you can’t get through an aisle and that means you have to either turn around or back out. If you back out be very, very careful.
You will find that your shopping experience in a supermarket is a lot different when you are in a sitting position and it will take longer. When you are seated you are much more likely to study products than if standing. That means you could be blocking the aisle so watch for other customers. You may save money, too. The basket will only hold a couple of bags of groceries and you can also place something the size of a 12 pack of soda on the floor behind your feet.
If your basket is in the back of the scooter as mine is, it is more difficult to either place purchases in it or to unload it when you are at the checkout counter. Either way you will find that on occasion you will have to get out of the scooter to reach something. Be sure that it is key is turned off when you leave the seat so if you accidentally hit the accelerator lever it doesn’t knock you or someone else off their feet.
Remember, too that your basket has a limited capacity and if you are going to go any distance when you leave the market you had better be sure everything in it is secure or you may leave a trail of tomatoes, apples and other goodies all the way home. I always keep a couple of short bungee cords in the basket so I can tie down loose items.
My second test was taking it with us oto Disney world and on several Carnival cruises and riding it ashore at several ports of call. On our first attempt to get it in the car and we found the advertising to be accurate. It broke into two pieces (not counting the two batteries) and both fit easily in the back of our mini van along with luggage, four adults and a 6-year-old child.
Upon arriving at the cruise ports we unloaded it from the back of the minivan plopped the batteries in place, turned the ignition key and Voila, we were on our way to the ship.
Inside the terminal it was a breeze. Carnival staff were extremely courteous and helpful in making way for the scooter. There were some relatively steep ramps but the Titan climbed them without difficulty. Most mobility scooters are built in a manner that allows it to negotiate steep inclines. If you are going to buy a scooter ask about it’s ability to negotiate steep inclines from a standing start. It must be able to do that.
Our only real surprise was finding that the Tzora Titan was one inch wider than the door to the cabin aboard the Carnival Fascination. But, no problem, once again we pulled the lever that separated the front from the back of the scooter, slid it in sideways and closed the door. It really was a simple as that. The whole scooter weighs less than 100 pounds (minus the batteries which weigh 20 lbs each and are easily removed. We found on subsequent cruises, though, that not all stateroom doorways are the same size and on some of the larger ships we just drove the scooter right into the room.
If it must be taken apart because of a narrow doorway, reassembling it is very easy. Just slide the scooter sideways through the door into the hall, quickly assemble it and ride it off the ship.
Nassau , Key west and Cozumel are accustomed to tourists but like cities everywhere they were not built to be accessible for disability vehicles so there are a number of challenges in getting from the street on to the sidewalks. There are curb cuts but they can be found only where new construction has taken place. On one occasion there was a curb that was well over the 5 inch clearance of my scooter and as we sat there and pondered the situation, three men came by, saw my dilemma and picked up the scooter with me in it to place it on the other side of the curb. Very nice. Otherwise the tour around the ports was uneventful. Pedestrians and drivers alike seem to accept mobility vehicles for what they are and are quite patient with them.
On one cruise I found that upon arriving at the ship to re-board the ramp was not only at a significant incline it was also just a few inches from a curb. I told my wife, Robin, I did not think we could make it up the ramp because there was no way I could get a run at it. I had to approach the ramp, make a sharp right turn and then try to ascend it. We had gone up a few ramps earlier but nothing as steep as this one and I doubted the Tzora would make it. We had to board the ship, though, so we forged ahead thinking the worst that could happen is that we’d have to get someone to give us a push.
Feeling like an Indy driver testing a car for the first time I approached the ramp, turned the tiller to the right, pulled the accelerator lever and expected to stall. Surprisingly the Titan went up the ramp as easily as it crossed the perfectly flat street leading up to it. I’ll never again doubt the Tzora’s ability to make a grade. I have no idea how they engineered this scooter but it has exceeded my expectations.
The third test was easily the toughest. My wife is a jewelry artist and we travel to art shows all over the country. Our Chevy Express 3500 van pulls a 30 foot travel trailer so we can take the comforts of home and our two dogs with us.
The Chevy Van is full of art show equipment and jewelry. Some art shows are easier to set up than others. The one we tested the Titan at was one of the tougher ones. Because of construction there was no way we could get the van near Robin’s assigned tent site. The closest we could get was 3 blocks away where our Travel Trailer was parked. That means we had to “Dolly” everything to the site. That’s a minimum of a dozen loads and it is over grass, sidewalks, curbs, railroad tracks and even some gravel. It also requires crossing busy streets, going up inclines and avoiding the occasional Amtrak train.
I have Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) so my ability to physically pull that dolly is zero. Robin could pull it but It is a tough job — so enter the Tzora. The advertising says it will hold as much as 400 pounds. It says nothing about what it will pull. I figured that at best we probably could pile some very light boxes on the dolly but not much more. Well, I’ve been fooled twice now by the Titan. The first time was when I doubted its ability to make it up the ramp going into the ship and the second time was with its pulling capacity.
To avoid the back breaking work of pulling a fully loaded dolly three blocks through all kinds of terrain we connected a regular four-wheel expandable dolly to the back of the scooter with a chain. Not ideal, but we didn’t have a standard trailer hitch.
We made several trips to the tent site. With each trip we piled more on the dolly and each time the Titan acted as though there was nothing back there. On one load we placed 6 pedestals on the dolly (they are different sizes and fit inside each other) along with other assorted items. I won’t even guess at the weight but I built those pedestals and they are heavy and solid. The sat atop a solid wood table apron. I have to believe the load was at least 200 pounds maybe more. The scooter didn’t hesitate once.
Our final trip was the biggest load — one both Robin and I felt would be way too much for the scooter. It was at least 50 pounds heavier than the previous load. It included a heavy table, the tops to the pedestals, drawers heavy with jewelry components and tools and some pipe for the tent. I mounted the scooter thinking, “You’ve been pretty good, scooter, but I doubt you will even move this load.”
I turned the ignition switch, pulled the accelerator lever and we moved forward once again as though there was nothing behind us. Away we went over grass, sand, concrete, bumps, hills, up inclines and over railroad tracks with not a single hesitation. What can I say? I’m impressed. And … with all those trips and pulling all that weight we still had 3/4 of a tank of electric charge left.
A final note. One morning I had to take a trailer load of goods from the RV to the tent in the dark. I flipped the light switch and was amazed at how bright they were. Many bikes and scooters have anemic lighting systems that are almost useless. Not this one. the lights are really bright which not only means you can see but just as important is the fact that you can be seen.
So there you have my assessment and my tests. Below is a simple pros and cons statement about this particular scooter along with a few updates on other journeys and tests. I don’t know if all scooters will do what the Tzora can, you’ll have to test them, but perhaps after reading this you will know what to ask and what to look for. .
- It has a lot of power and is fast by mobility scooter standards, about 8 mph top speed
- I honestly don’t know what the pulling capacity is but it will pull a lot.
- This scooter will carry about 400 pounds & that’s big plus if you want to use it for shopping. Ask about load capacity when you are scooter or wheelchair shopping. Remember that the distance the vehicle will travel is directly related to the weight it is carrying and the speed at which it is being driven. Weight and speed affect the power of the battery and therefore the range of your scooter.
- Super lighting system. Very bright unlike a lot of battery powered lights.
- It will climb relatively steep grades with ease
- The basket will indeed hold a lot. Not three full bags of groceries as they claim but certainly two and maybe a little more. I also have carried a 12 pack of soft drinks between or behind my feet. The floor offers plenty of room.
- The batteries will in fact give you a range of ten miles and maybe more (depending on speed and weight) but be sure to recharge them. I put my scooter back on the charger after every use.
- The lighting system (head and tail lights, turn signals and hazard flashers) works great but will drain your batteries very quickly.
- The batteries charge quickly and hold their charge for a long time and the gauge on the tiller is quite accurate.
- It is amazingly quiet, you can’t hear it coming
- It has a keyed ignition which is excellent theft prevention
- The five inches of ground clearance is good but I’d like even more
- The ride is ok…a little bumpy but it’s a scooter after all.
- The arm rests on both sides will raise and lower which makes for ease of getting in and out
- The turning radius is superb. I can easily turn a full circle in the aisle of a supermarket.
- It came with a rear view mirror and it should have two — one on each side. They are essential because you use them just as you wold with a car.
- I love the idea of having a cup holder but this one will only hold standard size soda cans…grossly inadequate
- The cane holder is also a nice feature but only if you have a very skinny, round cane. If you have a custom cane as I do or a walking stick forget it. I took apart the one that came with the scooter and remodeled it to fit my custom-made cane.
- The scooter has no switch in the seat which disables it when no one is on it. That means that if the key is on and you are standing and hit the accelerator lever the scooter will move and that could be unsafe.
- There is no backup signal, no beep. There should be
- It can pull a lot, it should come with a ball trailer hitch 🙂
- The tires on my model seem to need air often.. In two years I’ve had three flats so I always carry a spare inner tube. I am not sure if it is just the tires on my scooter or if they are all like that. No matter which scooter you buy get a small bicycle tire pump and attach it to the scooter so you always have it. Nothing worse than finding a tire is flat and no pump or compressor anywhere to be seen.
- The scooter will tip over if you make too sharp a turn at too great a speed at an incline. Three wheel scooters are not as stable as their four-wheel cousins. This is not a criticism but a fact that one should be aware of.
- It has five inches of clearance which is great. After riding it for a while I wish it had more although you will have real trouble finding a scooter with that much, never mind more and if you do you can expect a significant increase in price.
- The horn didn’t work when I got it and the batteries were defective. The company responded quickly to fix both.
- It comes apart easily but when you put it back together you have to be sure you have made the connection or the scooter won’t go. Not a big problem but it doesn’t work perfectly every time.
- There is no noise and no indicator when you use the turn signals so it is easy to forget they are on and drain the battery.
- The company should provide a second mirror, one is not enough.
- There is a “Free wheeling” lever on the back that allows you to push the scooter or its parts when you are not on it (like getting it into a ship stateroom). If the lever is in the free wheeling position when you get on the scooter it will not go. You must remember to take it out of that position when you want to ride it.
- Remember that these vehicles are ELECTRIC and electricity and water don’t mix. If water gets into the electronics you will come to an abrupt stop and may not get going again. If you are caught in the rain, wait until it lets up a bit but if you must ride through it do so slowly to avoid splashing water into the electronics under the scooter. While some mobility rides have sealed the electronic elements fairly well not all do and even so some parts are exposed. High ground clearance helps and is another reason for seeking a mobility vehicle with the highest clearance you can afford. All mobility vehicles carry the water and electronics warning. But…they don’t always offer it in big bold print and they should. Best advice…keep your mobility vehicle away from water.
That’s my assessment of my mobility vehicle. I hope you found some information that was or is useful to you I will close with this. A mobility scooter or wheelchair is a major decision and can be a major investment. Do your homework. You should not only get on the internet and find out more you should test drive those that meet your criteria. You need not pay thousands for a scooter or wheelchair, they come in all ranges. What you buy depends entirely on how and where you plan on using it, but think it through very carefully. This is a big decision.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 17, 2013. Recently my artist wife decided to try a new lighting scheme in her booth…2 12 volt AGM batteries. They work beautifully but each battery weights in at 40 lbs. Now I not only pull the trailers full of art show supplies, weights and tent components I have added 80 pounds worth of batteries to the load and still, no difference in operation. The Titan pulls it all with ease over any terrain and up grades. Incidentally, I carry the two batteries on the floor of the titan and still have enough room for my feet.
Lest I be misunderstood, the Titan is no Jeep. You can’t go off-roading with it and I wouldn’t try to attach a snowplow to the front so you can clear your driveway but it sure exceeds what I expected from a mobility scooter.
Best of all riding on the Titan is like having a bright red Corvette convertible in a neighborhood full of brown Chevrolets. Everyone wants to know about the sports car. The Titan doesn’t look like your average mobility scooter and people notice that. There’s a Carnival Cruise Lines employee at the Jacksonville, Florida Cruise port who does not know my name but recognizes the scooter whenever I drive in and always greets me with…”There’s that super scooter again…welcome back.” It’s nice to be noticed.
UPDATE JANUARY 12, 2014. Yesterday was the first all day endurance test of the Tzora. We went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida with granddaughter Lily Grant. The Tzora Titan had wheels on the ground at 9 AM and traveled through nearly every street in the magic kingdom until 6 PM. 9 hours of almost continuous operation without a hitch. When the day was over the battery gauge registered 3/4 full. The day was made up of a lot of stop and go riding and up and down some fairly steep inclines. I have no idea how long those batteries will last but I would not have been surprised if we had another 4 or 5 hours of charge left….maybe more. After several months of owning the Titan I am more impressed than ever.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 15, 2014. At the Sarasota, Florida Art show the Amazing Tzora Titan was even more amazing as these pictures tell the story. The first shot is of us loading up the dolly to be pulled by the scooter at the campground three blocks from the show. The second picture is the arrival at the art show to the amazement of other artists and — the final, third shot is what made the load even more incredible. Besides the dolly load behind us I was carrying two 40 lb batteries on the floor of the Titan, the batteries are used to power the lights in Robin’s tent. The Titan pulled this load with no sign of strain and did it with the lights on and the hazard flashers blinking so that we could be seen crossing busy intersections very early in the morning. Even with using the extra power for lighting our way we noticed no difference in the scooter’s ability to move the load.
Update, March 6, 2014, I recently had a flat tire n the rear with no load other than me on the vehicle. The inner tube had a hole in it. I watched the repair person closely and he didn’t even need a tool to change the tube, just pulled the old one out, put the new one in, pumped it up and it was ready to go. I now carry an extra tube with me Tires on the Titan are 12 1/2 X 2 1/2 and the tubes are very cheap. Usually available at any bicycle repair shop.
Update June 6, 2014. Yes, i still love the scooter but because of COPD and osteoarthritis I began to have difficult loading and unloading the scooter from the van despite its easy disassembly and assembly. The two 50 lb pieces are too bulky for me to maneuver so we had to find a way to get the scooter aboard our Chevy Express van through the side doors in one piece, batteries, basket and all. There is a wide assortment of devices that are made to lift and transport scooters and wheelchairs and all are expensive. I wanted something that i could handle without costing a small fortune. We did it for about $500 which is approximately a fourth the price of other devices on the market.
First, brother in law Guy Guittar remodeled the inside of the van to accommodate an intact scooter, but with the seat and tiller folded down so we could have storage room on top. Once the opening was built we bought a Superwinch through Amazon for a little over $100. We also purchased a folding five foot aluminum ramp for about $200 and a Jump Starting AGM battery to power the winch for a little over $100. I built a shelf for the winch to sit on and we attached the shelf to the far wall of the van. The two leads from the winch were attached to the AGM battery which sits between the front seats of the van but toward the back wall of the compartment. The winch has a remote control on about a 12 foot cord. We placed the ramp against the open side doors of the van, drove the scooter up about a foot, attached the winch cable, turned on the power supply, released the lever on the back of the scooter to allow free wheeling and pushed the”in” switch. Slick as can be the scooter was pulled into the van in less than a minute. I re-locked the wheels of the scooter, folded the ramp and slid it into the compartment, turned off the power supply and drove away all in less than a couple of minutes with little or no strain.
Update July 27, 2014 The only fault I can really find with the Tzora is inferior tires and tubes. I think the tires should be bigger and better. I have had several flat tires, none while pulling a load and all of them are the result of leaking inner tubes. My best advice to owners is to either buy solid rubber tires or to carry a couple of spare inner tubes. I suggest you buy the thorn proof tubes many bicycle riders use, I got mine through Amazon. They will stand up to almost anything and they are easy to change. If a tire goes flat on the Tzora simply disconnect the two parts of the scooter and turn the part on its side with the flat tire. If the flat is in the back you don’t even have to take the wheel off of the unit, just pull the old tube out, put the new one in and pump it up. If it is in front, the wheel must come off in order to change the tube. And…don’t forget, always carry a small tire pump. You are going to need it.
Update December 1,2016 Finally after almost 4 years of riding the Titan for many miles hauling heavy loads over all kinds of terrain, I had to replace the batteries. You should know that the batteries are contained within the gray case with the handle. Just take out the screws open the case, check on the manufacturer and model number of the batteries and then Google it to find a supplier. I found one that charged me about $115 for both batteries and included free shipping. There are many suppliers so you should do some shopping but I recommend buying the same brand that is in your scooter now. There are lots of aftermarket products that aren’t any good. Buy what the manufacturer buys to be safe.
Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.
You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at email@example.com. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.
Posted on October 9, 2013, in Mobility vehicles and tagged battery powered, Carnival, cruise ships, disabled, electric scooter, haul, lighting, load, Mobility Scooter, Nassau, pull, pulling capacity, road test, safety, scooter, Titan, tow, travel, Tzora Titan. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.