Mopeds, Scooters, and Motorcycles – How Do They Differ?

Mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles are all two-wheeled vehicles that can carry at the most two persons, who remain completely exposed to the element and environment they ride in, unlike cars or other four-wheelers that afford some degree of protection. The difference between these three two-wheelers is mainly in the engine capacity and size of wheels.


The Basic

There many types of bikes but these three types of bikes are the most popular ones. They occupy very little road space, allowing easy maneuverability that can be a significant advantage in heavy traffic. A moped, the smallest of the three, has a small 50cc engine that even has bike pedals that can be used by the rider to propel the vehicle, even if the engine is not working. This can be a great advantage when the moped runs out of fuel, and pedals are also used to propel the vehicle so that it can help to start its motor. Their small engine restricts their top speed to about 28 mph, making them unsuitable for riding highways. Most states legally ban their movement on highways, restricting them to use only in city, town, or other roads. The wheel size of mopeds can vary from small to big and can be as large as a bicycle tire.


Mopeds do not require a license for driving in some states, whereas others may need you to have one. A moped can be considered more of a bicycle-type vehicle and is more of a motorized bicycle with pedals. Hence the name, motor, and pedal. They have a basic electrical system with an engine that can help you when you pedal. Riding mopeds require you to wear protective gear as laid down in most state laws, as even with the low maximum speeds they have, their basic instability because of the balancing required on two wheels can lead to injuries and accidents on spills. As a motorized vehicle, these mopeds do require to be registered and have number plates for identification.


Scooters have small wheels, though you will find scooters with a wheel size akin to motorcycles. Still, this is rare. They have a step-through chassis and a platform for resting the feet. Their engine size can vary from 50 to 200 cc, though most vehicles have engines that are not as powerful as those on motorcycles. They require to be kick-started, like motorcycles, though many modern versions do have an ignition self-starter, like in cars. Even in these vehicles, the option to kick start remains. The clutch and gear changing controls are on the handlebar, and this is the one coordination that is required to be mastered while learning how to drive the vehicle. Scooters are considered more fuel-efficient than motorcycles are relatively lightweight, which makes them easier to handle. It is easy to handle them at low speeds, and this makes them more maneuverable. Some of the models have an automatic transmission, making it easier to learn to ride and drive. Most scooters will have storage space under the seat that can take even helmets, which are mandatory when driving scooters. The fuel tank in the scooters is also below the seat. 


Motorcycles are the two-wheeler vehicles with the longest history, going back to over a century, and thus have many historic brands. It has no pedals, has powerful engines that can vary from 250 cc to much larger capacities. They have 16-inch wheels, though the more powerful motorcycles have larger and broader wheels that make them safer to ride. Most motorcycles have a manual clutch on the handlebar for the shifting of gears. They will require you to use your right foot to activate the rear brakes. Engines are located in the middle of the frame, with fuel tanks just above it and in front of the rider. 

Final Word What then are the key differences between mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles? Mopeds and scooters are smaller than motorcycles. Motorcycles are heavy and thus harder to ride and require more care in maneuvering them. All of them need to be registered, and you to have a license to drive them, though you may not require a license for driving a moped in some states. Top speeds on mopeds are restricted to 30 mph, scooters to 85 mph, though in motorcycles, speeds have been as high as 250 mph. The world record for motorcycle speeds is over 350 mph, achieved on motorcycles with very powerful engines. Scooters are the most fuel-efficient. Mopeds are the cheapest, with motorcycles being the most expensive to buy, run, and maintain. Motorcycles are also the most expensive to insure. All have storage capacities, with those on motorcycles being the ones that can be most upgraded. Scooters are considered the most convenient for use and are also very popular. Ease of riding is best with scooters that have automatic transmission.