You’ve made the decision to purchase a motor scooter.
Affordable, economical, and eco-friendly, there are countless benefits to scooter ownership that virtually no other form of transportation can rival. Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on a car to get you around town, wasting countless paychecks on expensive insurance, weekly gas tank fill-ups, and pricey repairs, you can get where you need to go easily on a scooter. Scooters are street legal in most states around the country, and do not require the stringent licensing requirements necessary to drive a motorcycle. Able to go 100 miles or more on a single tank of gas, scooters can take you farther and faster in a way that’s almost entirely unmatched.
With so many makes, models, colors, sizes, and speeds to choose from, finding the RIGHT scooter is the challenging part.
Differentiating between the specs, stats, and models available requires a lot of planning and research; after all, no big purchase should be made hastily. With this complete guide, you can determine what matters, what doesn’t, and what you need to get the best possible experience out of your motor scooter.
How fast a scooter can go is often one of the most important determinations for buyers to consider. While most scooters are legal to ride on the road, this does not mean that all scooters can keep up with the pace of traffic in commuting situations. The most basic scooter models cannot generally go more than 35 to 40 miles per hour, depending on the weight of the driver. Scooters with larger engines, on the other hand, can go much faster, ranging between 50 to 75 miles per hour. If you anticipate highway driving on your scooter, a faster model might be a better choice for you and your commuting needs. On the other hand, if you don’t anticipate leaving your neighborhood often or traveling largely in a downtown city setting, a slower, more affordable model might be a better fit.
Most scooter engines come in three sizes: 50 cc, 150 cc, and 250 cc. Cc, or cubic centimeters, refers to the size of the engine itself. As logic may imply, larger engines can generally go faster and work harder than smaller engines. In general, the more ccs an engine is, the faster a bike will go and the more weight it will be able to support. If you are looking for a fast bike that is able to properly support you, your passengers, and your personal belongings, a higher cc engine may be a requirement. 250 cc and 150 cc bikes are generally more expensive than 50 cc bikes, however, and generally require more fuel on a regular basis. Weigh the pros and cons, and consider things like fuel capacity versus miles per hour in making your choices.
One of a car’s largest advantages is its ability to hold almost everything you need to carry, from lawn mowers to groceries. A bike, on the other hand, is not generally a great way to transport heavy equipment, and carrying capacity is often limited. Many scooters come with trunk or under-seat storage compartments, making it easy to transport small loads, like groceries and school supplies. In addition, attachable trunks can also be secured onto the back of many scooters, providing additional space. Storage space may not be important if you don’t care many items, but if you do, consider a bike that can handle your possessions or can be outfitted with add-on trunk space if necessary.
Scooters, like cars, come in dozens of different brands such as Honda, Piaggio, and TaoTao scooters. To some people, performance and reviews are more important than the name on the box, but for others, a brand association is very important. Before choosing a brand based on name recognition, do your homework. Read reviews, try different models, and work with shop owners or industry experts to learn more about what brands are most suitable for you and your unique needs. Choosing a name like Mitsubishi because you know it may work out in your favor, but it also may not; only you can determine what you are looking for in a bike. Don’t be afraid to look into brands you don’t know well if they have strong, highly regarded products and can offer the features you need.
Do you want to know how fast you’re going? A mirror to see behind you? A radio to listen to music? Hand brakes? The controls on the front of your bike can make a big difference in the ease of use and convenience of the tools available to you. While most bikes will offer the same general features, some may not, so it’s important to review what is available on the bikes you are considering. Many controls can be added or adjusted, but it’s better to review what you need than to have to add it later. If you aren’t sure what you need on your bike, check reviews and talk with knowledgeable vendors to make sure you’re considering scooters with the appropriate options. Not having a radio isn’t the end of the world, but no speedometer might be.
Most scooters have seating for one person. For most, this is not a big deal; many scooter riders do so alone, or use their scooters to get to individual places, like work and school, that would not require another rider. If you have a spouse, partner, roommate, or close friend that travels with you, however, more seating may be essential. Although not as common as single seats, two seat scooters do exist and can be a great solution when it comes to traveling with friends and family members. If you are not sure you will need seating for more than one person, add-on seating is available for some bikes, giving you the option to bring a rider along when you need to. Keep in mind that weight can slow a bike down, so extra seating should only be a consideration for higher powered bikes.
Many bikes do the same thing, but they don’t always look the same. In general, performance and appearance don’t go hand in hand, giving you many ways to get the look you want. Most scooters try to look sporty, mimicking the appearances of motorcycles, dirt bikes, or racing bikes. Others are retro in style and color, creating a vintage look and feel that can accommodate a less intense outer appearance. Other scooters, like the Vespa, appeal to a sleek, minimalistic, and European aesthetic, giving riders of all ages, genders, and style preferences a perfect fit. While style is not always the most important qualification in vehicle purchases, it can be a vital qualifier for many drivers.
While electric scooters exist, they are not often the most popular choice. Most scooters are fueled with gas like cars, making the process of getting around familiar, quick, and easy. In general, fuel capacity on scooters tends to be excellent, with 50 cc models getting more than 100 miles per tank. Most tanks are only a gallon or two, but with a range that far exceeds most cars, it’s fairly easy to get from place to place. The more powerful a bike is, the more fuel it takes, however, so if you frequently take long, fast trips, you may end up spending more on gas than you initially thought. Fuel capacity is different from bike to bike as well, making it important to know exactly how far you can go and what it takes to fill your tank.
Bikes don’t have to come in boring, basic shades like black, white, and gray. Like cars, scooters are produced in a wide range of hues, from sporty silver to fun and flashy fuchsia. Whether you want a scooter that looks just like a motorcycle or one that fits in with your bubbly personality, there’s a little something for everyone. Scooters come in every color under the sun, from fire engine red to pastel lavender, giving you everything you need for a fully customized look and feel.
Countless elements can affect a scooter’s price, from the brand to the engine size. Base model scooters often start around $300 and up, with high powered options from the best brands coming in at $5,000 or more. Your budget can affect everything from the models available to you to the upgrades and other features you can afford. Don’t scrimp on quality in favor of price; if you can’t find a good bike in your price range, it’s time to lower your expectations and consider what you may be willing to sacrifice in exchange for a bike that will transport you safely for years to come.
Finding the right scooter can be a long, labor-intensive process. It often takes time to research what you need, evaluate what’s indispensable, and decide what you can live without. By taking into account everything that goes into the process of determining what kind of scooter you need, you can make sure no stone goes unturned. Factors like top speed, fuel capacity, storage space, and appearance can all be highly influential in helping you find your perfect fit, making it important that you take all of the time necessary to thoroughly research your available options.
Choosing the perfect a motor scooter won’t happen overnight, and proper preparation can be the difference between success and failure. A great scooter will be worth it in the end, however, providing you with a fun, effective, and affordable way to travel.