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Scooter vs. Moped vs. Motorcycle: What’s the Difference?

scooter vs moped vs motorcycle

If you are thinking of buying a two-wheel vehicle but are uncertain about which one to pick, you’ve come to the right place. This article will cover what makes scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles so different from each other, their main characteristics, and their uses.

car and road divider

Overview of Scooters:

Two electric Scooter
Image Credit: Trinity_Elektroroller, Pixabay

Scooters are two-wheeled vehicles that have become popular and widely used around the world. People of all ages love these vehicles because of their easy handling and convenience for driving in cities with high-volume traffic. They are very fuel-efficient for shorter rides and easy to maneuver in dense traffic. Scooters usually have a platform for the drivers to rest their feet, sitting in a natural, upright position, like in a chair. Scooters can have an automatic and manual transmission, although automatic shifting is more common.

You can also choose between an electric scooter and a scooter that runs on petrol. Even though petrol scooters are the more conventional type, electric varieties are slowly gaining popularity because of their environmentally-friendly features.

Specifications

Scooters are generally faster than mopeds but slower than motorcycles. A scooter has an engine usually between 50cc and 250cc in size, while some bigger models may go up to 750cc. While a two-wheel vehicle that big may be categorized as a motorcycle, the critical difference that makes up a scooter is the step-through design and foot platform. Even though scooters are much less powerful than motorcycles, they also have lower prices and fewer maintenance needs.

What are scooters best used for?

Scooters are primarily used for shorter drives or commutes around town. They are best for maneuvering your way easily in dense traffic and are very fuel-efficient. Although the same laws and rules apply to scooters and motorcycles, scooters are much easier to handle, making them favored mainly by younger people, especially women.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to handle
  • Great for high-volume traffic
  • Low prices
  • Easy and cheap to maintain
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Lower speed
  • Less stability than motorcycles
  • Not suitable for longer travels
  • Not as much storage capacity as motorcycles

car and road divider

Overview of Mopeds:

Moped Vespa
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

A moped is a less common type of motorized two-wheel vehicle. It is defined as a low-powered motorcycle with an engine size of no more than 50cc.

The name moped is derived from the original name motor-pedal, referring to how this vehicle starts and runs. The moped is considered somewhere between a bicycle and a scooter. It is a motorized two-wheel vehicle, but it requires pedals to activate the helper motor. The earliest models of mopeds were similar to motorbikes, which allowed them to run both on gas and by running the pedal manually like a regular bicycle.

Specifications

A moped may seem like a scooter to an untrained eye, but these differ significantly in how they function. While both are two-wheel vehicles, the moped is more of a bicycle-type vehicle because to start a moped, you would need to use the pedals to propel the vehicle. Mopeds have a much smaller engine, up to 50cc, making them unable to keep up with traffic and convenient only for shorter rides.

What are mopeds best used for?

Mopeds can achieve a maximum speed of about 30 miles per hour, making them unsuitable for driving on a highway. Because of that, they are ideal for shorter rides and commutes in the city. In some states, you do not require a license to drive a moped, and since they are much cheaper than scooters, they are perfect for younger people that make shorter trips around town.

Pros
  • Can run as a bicycle in emergencies
  • A license is not necessary in some states
  • Easy to maintain
  • Cheap
  • Great for beginners and young people
Cons
  • Low power
  • Not suitable for driving on the highway
  • Not convenient for longer travels

car and road dividerOverview of Motorcycles:

motorcycle parked in pathway
Image Credit: Piqsels

A motorcycle is defined as a two-wheel vehicle, motorized but without pedals. Motorcycles are designed to achieve much higher speeds than scooters or mopeds and are suitable for longer rides. Motorcycles have a vast culture and history behind them. From the famous Harley Davidson chopper to the sports bike, there are many incredible types of motorcycles to choose from.

Specifications

Motorcycles are characterized by an engine larger than 250cc. They are significantly larger and faster than both the moped and the scooter, which allows them to travel long distances. Some motorcycles come with built-in extras that add to comfortable traveling. Even though they are larger, heavier, and equipped with extras, motorcycles are much harder to drive and more expensive to buy and maintain.

What are motorcycles best used for?

Depending on what you are planning to use the motorcycle for—whether you will compete in racing competitions, have fun riding off-road, or travel the country—there is a type of motorcycle suited for almost everyone. Since motorcycles are designed to achieve incredible speeds and distances, they are best for people who enjoy traveling. You can even go on a camping trip with your motorcycle since they usually come equipped with a great storage capacity.

Some common motorcycle types include:

  • Standard motorcycle
  • Sportbike
  • Motocross
  • Chopper
  • Cruiser
  • Adventure
  • Dirtbike
  • Touring
Pros
  • Great for longer travels
  • Large storage capacity
  • They can achieve much higher speeds
  • Come with many built-in gadgets
  • Some models are suitable for off-road riding
Cons
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Difficult to ride
  • Expensive to maintain

car and road dividerWhich is Right for You?

Choosing the correct type of two-wheel vehicle can be a difficult decision. Depending on your needs, there are many models within these types to choose from. Whether you are planning to use them for sport, entertainment, or simply as a means of transport, you can find a motorcycle, scooter, or moped to fit you precisely.

Motorcycles are great if you are an adventurous type of person that frequently travels since they can achieve high speeds and have a lot of storage capacity. If you are looking for a perfect vehicle for rides around town, then a scooter or a moped is the right choice. They are not as powerful as motorcycles but are very practical for maneuvering traffic.

man riding in motorcycle
Image Credit: SAVA86, Pixabay

Cost

Motorcycles are certainly the most expensive to buy and maintain when it comes to costs. Scooters, and more so mopeds, are much more affordable to purchase as well as in fuel economy. Even though motorcycles are more expensive, they can serve you for many years if maintained properly.

Safety

When it comes to the safety of these three vehicles, they are not the same, mainly because of how they are built and how they run. Motorcycles can be considered dangerous simply because they can achieve very high speeds, and many inexperienced drivers cannot control them with enough confidence. If you are not experienced enough or confident in your driving skills, it is very easy to lose control of this vehicle and end up causing an accident.

While mopeds and scooters are much smaller and lighter, they are also not safe at times. Since they drive at lower speeds, they tend to be unstable and can also be dangerous in certain situations. Wearing proper protection when driving any of these vehicles is a crucial step, no matter the size, power, or distance that you are planning to travel. Wearing adequate head protection, not speeding, and being aware of your surroundings is the best way to ensure your safety and the safety of everyone around you.

Characteristics Scooter Moped Motorcycle
Engine size From 50cc to 250cc Less than 50cc Larger than 250cc
Speed Up to 155 mph Up to 30 mph More than 155 mph
Suitable for highways Yes No Yes
Travel range Shorter trips around the city Ideal for short commutes Ideal for long trips

car and road dividerFinal Thoughts

When buying a motorcycle, moped, or scooter, it is essential to consider the primary purpose it is going to have. After reading this article, hopefully, we’ve helped you gain the knowledge necessary to decide which type of two-wheel vehicle is right for you.

You may also be interested in: Are Wheel Spacers Safe? Are There Different Types?


Featured Image Credit: (L) Pixabay, | (C) 12019, Pixabay | (R) Jimwalkster, Pixabay

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