What sets scooters apart from motorcycles?

Once the smallest vehicles available at motorsports dealers, scooters have increased in size to include engines ranging from 50 to 850 cc. The bigger “maxi” scooters offer a more affordable alternative to traditional touring bikes. The step-through design and hand controls make riding comfortable in a range of clothing, while the drivetrain placement keeps the center of gravity low for better maneuverability and keeps the engine heat away from the riders.

Nearly all scooters are equipped with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which eliminates the need to change gears: Simply twist the throttle and the centrifugal clutch engages while the transmission automatically adjust the gear ratio to maintain speed. Add in the wind protection from the leg shield, and you get a vehicle that provides far more comfort than a traditional motorcycle.

What happened to two stroke scooters?

As emissions standards have gotten stricter, it has become harder to get two stroke engines to meet these new targets. The design of these engines leaves a large amount of oil and unburnt gas in the exhaust. As with dirt bikes, new technology is closing the gap between the two engine designs.

Do I need a license to ride a motor scooter?

It depends on local laws. Anything with an engine larger than 50cc is considered to be a motorcycle, and will require the driver have a motorcycle license, while the scooter itself will need to be insured and tagged. There are a few states that put 50cc scooters in the motorcycle category. Everywhere else, scooters with engines sized 50cc or below are legally considered “motorized bicycles,” and will either be exempt from licensing or can be ridden by anyone holding a motorcycle or automobile driver’s license. Regardless of legal requirements, it’s always a good idea to seek rider training and carry insurance on any motor vehicle.

What size of scooter do I need?

Selecting the size of scooter is a trade-off between power and fuel economy. A 50cc four stroke bike can provide 90-100 mpg, but carbureted models will have trouble reaching speeds over 30-35 mph. 2 strokes can hit 40 mph, but at best may only get 70 mpg.

125 and 150cc scooters make good commuters as they can handle city speeds while returning around 70 mpg. 250cc scooters can handle some Interstate travel, but have trouble maintaining 70-75mph with two riders. With an engine over 400cc, a scooter can easily handle long distance travel, even with two riders, but they only get 40-50 mpg.

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