Depending on which era you grew up in, the word ‘scooter’ can bring varying images to your mind. What do you think of? A moped type motorized vehicle riding down the busy street, a mobility scooter designed for use by handicapped people, or a manual, foot-operated method of transportation? See what I mean, the word has a broad meaning!
While joining the neighborhood kids for a ride on your Razor scooter can definitely be fun, when it comes to practicality and functionality, motorized scooters are usually the topic of conversation. Mobility scooters are, of course, important as well, but are better evaluated with a medical professional.
As you can probably guess, even the more specific topic of motorized scooters is still pretty vast. Depending on your lifestyle, you will want a certain type of scooter. That’s why it’s helpful to learn about the features of motorized scooters that set them apart from each other.
Size of the Engine
One of the first things you want to be aware of, is the fact that scooters are available with different engine sizes. Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that you need to understand how engines work and what all the jargon means!
All you need is an idea of the different sizes and what that means for your needs. There are engines for scooters ranging from 49cc all the way to 800cc for really heavy duty models. For general use, you’ll probably be searching for a scooter with an engine in the range of 49cc to 250cc, which are the most commonly used sizes.
With the size range in mind, the next thing you need to think about is your purpose for a scooter. What will you use it for? While it may seem like a simple question, there are many factors within that one question which will help you determine which engine size you’ll need. Here are a few things to consider:
- What size are you? Some of the larger sized engines may be too powerful for especially petite people. Seriously, it’s something you need to consider!
- How far will you usually be traveling? There’s a big difference between a scooter that is suitable for typical daily commutes back and forth and one that can withstand long road trips.
- Do you have a need for speed? If you’re someone that really likes to drive fast, then you’ll need to consider that in terms of engine power.
- What’s your scooter aesthetic? Surprisingly, the engine size does have bearing on the look of your scooter’s design (think ‘Vespa’ style versus hardcore off-roading).
When you have answered these questions pertaining to your lifestyle and the purpose for which you want a scooter, you’ll be able to narrow down your search field and go into the search game with more knowledge.
Here’s a quick overview of different size engines and their ideal uses:
- 49cc and 50cc: This is the engine size for you, if you plan to use your scooter mostly for easy transport around the neighborhood or city. These engines can power your scooter up to around 50MPH.
- 125cc and 150cc: These engine sizes are some of the most commonly used and may fit in the scooters that you generally think of. They can reach speeds up to 65MPH and are safe for daily commutes and slightly further distances.
- 250cc: Engines of this size are found in larger, sturdier scooters. They are often called ‘performance’ scooters and will safely carry you on highways at appropriate speeds.
Review the engine sizes and their uses, think about your scooter needs, and you’ll be on the right path to finding the best scooter for you.
How Your Scooter is Powered
The scooter world is a lot bigger than you would think. Another difference that you will find among scooters, is the way they are powered. There are two main ways of powering your scooter, which offer different benefits.
The most common way to power a scooter, is with gasoline, as you would any other vehicle. While the gas tanks of most scooters tend to be on the small side, you won’t feel like you have a hole in your pocket. Scooters are very fuel-efficient and depending on how much you ride your scooter, you might only need to fill it up once a week!
The other type of scooter you will come across is the electric scooter. Slowly, but surely, more and more street legal electric scooters are making their way to the market. While electric scooters previously described mainly the mobility type, there is now a much wider electric scooter range.
As street legal electric scooters are a newer phenomenon, you may not be aware of what incentives exist for using them. To sum it up simply:
- Cheaper than gas-fueled scooters. You plug them in for recharging.
- Quieter and less maintenance (No oil changes!).
- More environmentally friendly. Including less dangerous emissions.
Both electric and gas-powered scooters offer advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to decipher which type is right for your lifestyle.
How Will Your Scooter Be Used?
You may be thinking, ‘well, I’ll be driving it.’ This is true, obviously, but there are different reasons for driving a scooter. Depending on where, why, and how you want to drive your scooter, you will want to search for specific types.
There are 3 main, popular categories of scooters — road scooter, off-road scooters, and touring scooters. Each type serves specific purposes and will serve you best when chosen for the right reasons.
Road Scooters are the ones you commonly see driving around your neighborhood or the city. That being said, they can vary of course in terms of engine size. Road scooters tend to have engines ranging in size from 49cc to 150cc, and maybe even 250cc if you plan to drive on highways a lot. The main thing to keep in mind is that a road scooter is sturdy and dependable enough to be used as a daily transport vehicle, safely.
Off-road Scooters are not banned from being driven on regular roads, that’s not what their name means. It simply means that these scooters are more suitable than standard road scooters for use on different terrains. Think about driving on dirt roads and other rough terrains. This is what off-road scooters are specifically built for. So if you’re planning to do a lot of outdoor exploration, this may be the best type of scooter for you.
Travel/Touring Scooters can refer to different things. For some people, a travel scooter may refer to a scooter that can be folded for easy transport. That is one possibility. The other meaning of a travel, or better-named, touring scooter, is that it is one that can withstand road trips of long distances.
As you can see, each type of scooter is good for a different purpose. They are all reasonably flexible for use outside of their main purpose, of course, but it helps to have a frame of reference to begin with.
Starting Your Search
Whether you knew about the variety in the world of scooters, or not, you are now much better informed and prepared. Take some time to really consider how you plan to use your scooter before starting your search. With your lifestyle in mind and this extra knowledge in your back pocket, you’ll find the right scooter for you in no time!