In a Nutshell:
The Golden Alante is a surprisingly great electric wheelchair, offered by a little company that makes awesome products. Recommended for anyone on a budget who weighs up to 300 pounds.
- Almost everything is liked about Golden Technologies Alante Sport
- Generally a great machine
- Minor complaints, specifically about top speed and range
- Desire for model upgrade to improve limitations
Do you suffer from some type of mobility issue that sees you spending at least part of each day in a wheelchair? Are you interested in upgrading away from your current manual wheelchair to something that doesn’t require you to strain your muscles to get where you want to go?
Or perhaps you’re shopping for your very first wheelchair and know you want an electric model, rather than a manual one?
Whatever the case, you’re going to like what you read in this Golden Alante review. Golden Technologies is a small brand, so you may not have heard of them.
The Alante Sport is well worth a closer look, especially if you’re on a budget.
In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything this model has to offer, and we won’t shy away from pointing out its weaknesses and limitations. Even if you ultimately decide this isn’t the right model for you, we think you’ll be impressed! If you’re curious to know more, read on, and let’s jump right into the details.
An Overview of the Golden Alante Electric Wheelchair
Before we begin our Golden Alante review, there’s an important detail to make a note of. Here, we’re reviewing a slightly older model – the 205F, rather than the “updated” 208.
These are practically identical machines that cost the same amount of money, but interestingly, the 205 has a better range (better by 1.5 miles). It’s not a huge difference, but in our view, if you’re paying the same price, why not get the model with the superior range?
That said, the 205 is older than the 208, and it might eventually be retired from production. If and when that happens, everything we have to say below will still apply to the 208, except the range isn’t quite as good. That said, let’s take a closer look!
The first thing to say about the Alante Sport, and really all of the products offered by Golden Technologies, is the fact that they have a very polished, “finished” look about them.
The polished look is a marked departure from the products that most small brands offer, which tend to have a Spartan, minimalistic look. You won’t be disappointed in the least by the look of the Alante. It bears broad similarity to the chairs offered by Drive and Pride Mobility, and that’s a very good thing.
Before we say more than that, however, we should pause long enough to look at the core stats that define the Golden Alante Electric Wheelchair so we can begin to get a feel for it.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 25” (W) x 41.5” (D)
- Seat Dimensions: 18” or 20” (W) x 18” (D)
- Top Speed: 4.3 mph
- Maximum Range: 15 miles
- Maximum Climbing Angle: 6 degrees
- Wheel Size: 9” x 3” and 6” casters
- Ground Clearance: 2.25”
- Chair Weight: 104 pounds without batteries. 146 pounds with batteries.
- Turning Radius: 28”
- Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
These are generally good numbers with only a couple of surprises and disappointments. It is perhaps slightly larger than its peers offered by the bigger brands, but the company took care to keep the width as modest as possible, which allows it to slip with relative ease through a standard-width door frame.
Another way that Golden is different from other small brands is that most don’t offer any variety where seat size is concerned. Small brands tend to offer “what you see is what you get” type products. Here, you get some choice where the seat width is concerned, and that’s a point very much in Golden’s favor.
The top speed is decidedly underwhelming. At just over four miles per hour, someone walking at a brisk pace is likely to pass you by. If you’re not in a great hurry to get where you’re going, that’s not going to be a big deal for you, but if you’re looking for something with some zip to it, then this isn’t the model you want.
The range is on the high side of average. There’s no such thing as a chair with too much range, so of course, we’d like to see more here, but fifteen miles is enough to be of genuine use, so we have no real complaints about that.
At 28,” the turn radius for this machine isn’t best in class, but it’s not horrible, either. Unless you live in a tiny home or an efficiency apartment, you should still be able to navigate through your home with relative ease.
The Golden Alante Jr’s slope handling capabilities are average and on par with most of the models sold by the big brands, and the ground clearance is also comparable.
The ground clearance, however, marks this as a chair that’s designed for use indoors or on a pavement.
It’s fine inside your home, in stores and shopping malls, or in parking lots and on sidewalks, but if you take it into your yard, it’s probably going to struggle.
You’ll be okay if your lawn is relatively flat and the grass has recently been cut, but 2.25” isn’t a lot of room. Even large roots can cause you to get hung up, so you’ll need to keep a sharp eye out for that kind of thing if you do venture into the yard.
The 300-pound weight limit is average. Although there’s no formally established standard on that front, that’s the figure that most companies have centered around, and it makes this chair useful to some 95% of the market.
Finally, there’s the matter of weight. At first glance, the Alante Sport doesn’t appear to be particularly travel-friendly.
The reality, though, is that it’s much easier to take this chair on the road with you than you might think. We’ll have more to say about that later on in this review. For now, just be aware that although heavy, you won’t struggle much to travel with this model.
Adjustability and Comfort
Most smaller brands don’t offer much in the way of adjustability either, but again, Golden isn’t like most small brands. You’ll find the Golden Technologies Alante Sport to be every bit as adjustable as products offered by the best-known brands in the industry.
For starters, the seat swivels and the armrests flip up, making transfers into and out of the chair a simple matter. The seat is also height adjustable in a range that starts at 18.75” at the low end, and can be raised as high as 21.75.”
The Alante also has a height-adjustable headrest, and the armrests are both height and width adjustable. If that wasn’t enough, the seatback also reclines.
Taken together, this gives you all sorts of options in terms of customizing your seating experience, and again, this is on par with what the major brands offer, and better than many.
Kudos to Golden for that!
Comfort-wise the news isn’t quite as good. The Captain’s style seat is generously padded with conventional block foam, with vinyl upholstery stretched over it.
The seat itself is comfortable enough for about 4 hours sitting in the chair, but the vinyl is problematic. After about 4 hours, because the vinyl isn’t breathable, you’ll start getting hot and sweaty. That may happen significantly sooner if you live in a hot climate.
Vinyl also suffers from the limitation that it tends to start showing its age quickly, so after about 18 months, you can expect it to start peeling and cracking.
Given that the frame on the Golden Alante Scooter comes with a 5-year warranty (once more, on par with what the big brands offer), you’ll almost certainly have to have the chair re-covered before you’re ready to trade up to something else.
That’s not the end of the world, and when the day comes, the expense won’t be too bad because there’s really not all that much upholstery to contend with. Just be aware that it’s something you’ll pretty much have to do.
There is a way, though, that you can increase the comfort of the seat and help preserve the vinyl.
Invest in a seat and seatback pad.
Doing so gets you off the vinyl, which solves both the breathability issue and the fragility, helping to prolong the useful life of the original upholstery.
Extras and Options
This is yet another pleasant surprise because most small brands don’t offer anything in the way of extras. Although the base model doesn’t have any extras built into it, the company offers a surprisingly robust list of accessories you can use to customize and personalize your machine. These include:
- Swing-away leg rests
- Stump Support
- A Tube Cane Holder
- An Oxygen Tank Holder
- A Walker Holder
- Deluxe Pack N’ Go
- A Rear-Mounted Basket
- A Scooter Cover
- A Lap Belt
- And a Safety Flag
Most of these are excellent, high-value additions. However, if that’s still not enough for you, then you can always venture into the aftermarket where you’ll find a virtually unlimited number of customization options offered by a raft of third-party vendors.
Portability & Ease of Use
Electric wheelchair control systems are pretty standardized, so there really aren’t any surprises here.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an especially tech-savvy person, you’ll be able to master the basics in just a few minutes’ time, and thanks to the decent turn radius, you’re unlikely to get hung up often, which is a good thing!
Early on in this review, we pointed out that the Alante by Golden front-wheel drive power chair weighs just over a hundred pounds without batteries and nearly 150 pounds with batteries. At first glance, that doesn’t seem like a very travel-friendly model.
Fortunately, the Alante was designed to be disassembled quickly and easily. Once it is disassembled, it can easily be stored in the available trunk space of most full-sized sedans, which makes storing it in a truck, van or SUV an even simpler proposition.
Bear in mind, however, that even when disassembled, the heaviest piece is still 66 pounds, which may be too heavy for you to store on your own.
The other problem is that it takes time to take the chair apart and put it back together again. If you’d rather not take that time, there are two good options available.
The first is to buy a ramp.
That works if you drive a truck or a van and makes things simple. When you want to go somewhere, deploy the ramp, and drive the chair onto the bed of your truck or into your van. Secure it and hit the road. Then, when you get where you’re going, all you have to do is drive it back down the ramp.
If that’s not an option for you, the other alternative is a lift. Lifts are designed to fit on the back of most vehicles and allow you to simply carry your chair behind you. Again, no need to take the Golden Alante power chair parts apart. Just lower the lift when you get where you’re going and start using it.
Unfortunately, both of those options require an additional investment, but since this is a modestly priced model as electric wheelchairs go, both might be within the realm of possibility.
Air travel with this unit, however, is a daunting, expensive proposition. Although the batteries are approved for air travel, airlines charge by weight. When you compare the cost of the 150-pound Alante to a 30-40 pound manual wheelchair, the difference can be downright painful.
If you have your heart set on taking this model with you on the plane, you can usually do that, though you’ll still want to call the airline you plan on flying with just to make sure there won’t be any problems. Just be aware that it will be an expensive proposition.
Pros & Cons of Golden Alante Scooter
We like almost everything about the Golden Technologies Alante Sport compact power wheelchair, and what complaints we do have about the model tend to be minor ones. We’d love to see a model upgrade that improved the top speed and range, but honestly, this is a great machine even with those limitations.
Golden Alante Review Conclusion
This is a seriously good chair. In fact, if you’re not brand conscious and remove that dimension from the ranking equation, we’d say here in our Golden Alante review that this chair would rate a solid 4.625 stars out of 5. If you decide to invest in one of these, it won’t disappoint. We highly recommend it.
References & Resources:
- Golden Technologies, Official Brand Website.
- Picking the Right Wheelchair, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
- 1.4. A Guide to Wheelchair Selection, United Spinal Association.
- Power Wheelchair Range Testing and Energy Consumption During Fatigue Testing, Journal of Rehabilitation Research.
- 10 Easy Ways to Make Your Wheelchair More Comfortable, The Mobility Resource.