I visited Lifestyle and Mobility in the Victoria Shopping Centre in Southend-on-Sea and took the Excel Galaxy 2 mobility scooter for a test drive!
The Excel Galaxy 2 Scooter is a very capable and impressive piece of kit, that will not only get you from A to B on the pavements or roads, but it will also claims to be able to handle bumpy roads, grass and even gravel plus it has an impressive ground clearance of 13cm. It has 4 wheels, chunky tyres and anti-tip bars fitted as standard.
At 146cm in length and 65cm wide and weighing 127kg it is in the large category of scooters and is registered as a class 3 scooter (see notes at end)
The 4 wheeled Galaxy 2 is a very stable scooter and so if like me, it takes a lot of effort to transfer into it, you have got no worries about things going wrong. The seat, is 51cm wide and 46cm deep, is 65 cm high and using the lever it turns 360° making it easier to get on safely. The seat is also height adjustable!
The Galaxy 2 has a maximum user weight of 160kg which is 25st 2lb and so even for a big bloke like me, it will have no problems with regards to comfort, power and of course stability. Choosing a scooter with the right maximum weight range, will mean that you will get the performance and the range stated and it won’t struggle on inclines.
Once I was seated in the Galaxy 2, I was able to adjust the angle of the tiller to move the handlebars to a comfortable distance with a simple squeeze of what looks like the left brake handle.
The seat which is a captain seat style seat with headrest was very comfortable, it has flip back width adjustable arm rests not only for comfort but also safety, it also has a lap belt for added safety.
I have a cushion on my wheelchair that was selected to reduce pressure sores and because of my pain levels to make sure I am as comfortable as I can be. So, I was very surprised at how comfortable I felt sat in the Galaxy 2.
The footwell with its non-slip floor mat was very ample even for my size 11 feet!
And then I was off!
The keys to switch on the scooter are on the right-hand side of the tiller.
As you hold the tiller, there are two paddles or levers, one by either hand and this is so easy to use even if you have reduced mobility or strength in your hands. You can also operate it going forwards or reverse with either hand.
The paddles are spring loaded and always return to the neutral position when released, this means the Galaxy 2 will come to a stop even without using the brake which can also be used by pulling the brake lever on the right-hand side.
It is fitted with a large multi-function LCD display on the tiller that is very easy to read even in sunlight and what I liked is that the display and the layout of the controls are very easy to understand and use.
You will not need to worry about learning to use it, it is very easy to understand and feels natural to use.
The LCD displays not only your speed that can be set to show miles per hour or kilometres per hour, but it also displays the current battery charge, time, temperature and total miles covered.
The top right button switches the Galaxy 2 between its two speed modes. When it shows a picture of a tortoise on the display it is limited to 4mph, and the hare means it is 8mph and so very useful for different environments. However, the turn knob at the bottom in the middle gives you further control over your top speed.
As I left the Victoria Shopping Centre, I went out the south ground floor exit which is down a considerable slope and so whilst in tortoise mode, I turned the knob to the left and limited the speed right down and so no matter how much you push or pull the paddle depending which hand you use, your speed will never go above what you have selected with that knob. It is akin to the amazing downhill descent found on modern 4-wheel drive cars such as Range Rover.
Once out of the Victoria Shopping Centre and onto the high street, I rotated the speed control knob to the right, selected Hare speed and off I went, but in the high street, you only need the slower speed setting. It is quite surprising how fast these things are in that setting!
I was on the high street during the day and so I didn’t need to use the lights, the indicators, or the horn but of course I couldn’t resist trying them out. As the Galaxy is a Class 3 scooter, it can be used on the road and so the indicators and the side mirrors are crucial. The indicators unlike those on a vehicle do not auto cancel and so you will have to remember to turn them off again, I imagine I would be going down the road with them still on!
I was impressed at how easy it was to steer this large scooter through a high street and shopping centre, but with the ability to control the max speed and its turning radius of 161cm, I wasn’t concerned at all, and the large scooter handled perfectly.
I took the Galaxy 2 for a short spin to test the ride, familiarise myself with the controls but it has a range of 56 km (35 miles) depending of course on terrain and weather. Batteries never function as well in very cold weather!
The Galaxy 2 has a removeable front basket for your shopping, but you can also purchase a scooter bag that goes on the rear of the seat for more secure and extra storage.
It is powered by Battery: 2 x 12V/90Ah batteries and is charged using a 24V/8Ah charger and it is recommended to charge it for 12 hours. The charging port is very conveniently located under the handlebars, so no having to try and plug in via a low charging port.
I have reviewed many products, but this was my first try of a mobility scooter and even though I am a full-time wheelchair user, I felt a bit conspicuous as we all do when we first use mobility related equipment. We think everyone is looking at us, but the truth is that even though we may get a few looks, most people are too busy going about their day!
Despite my previous hesitancy about mobility scooters, I would happily use the Galaxy 2 to get from A to B, the only thing that stops me is that I need my wheelchair when I get to where I need to go!
But what really amazed me was that despite its size and capability, the Galaxy 2 is priced at £2,295.00 (exc VAT), £31.26 pw on Motability and in my opinion that is a lot of kit for your money.
Class 3 are the only types of mobility scooter or powered wheelchair that can be used on the road. They must have the following features:
- a maximum unladen weight of 150kg (or a maximum unladen weight of 200kg when carrying necessary user equipment, for example, medical supplies)
- a maximum width of 0.85 metres
- a device to limit its speed to 4mph
- a maximum speed of 8mph
- an efficient braking system
- front and rear lights and reflectors
- direction indicators able to operate as a hazard warning signal
- an audible horn
- a rear view mirror
- an amber flashing light if it’s used on a dual carriageway