Differences Between: Moped vs Motorcycle vs Scooter

Best Modular Motorcycle Helmets

In simple terms, a moped features an engine displacement of 100cc. It has no manual gearshift and cannot exceed 30 mph on a smooth surface. A scooter is simply defined by its size, and so could be either a moped or a motorcycle. A vehicle is defined as a motorcycle if it does not meet all three requirements that define a moped. 

You’ve always admired a lot of people riding on two-wheeled vehicles on the road, and have desired to join the clique one day. But here’s the challenge that you often confront: knowing the difference between a moped, scooter or motorcycle. 

Legal permissions to ride any of the vehicles are different; aesthetically, too, the three command uniqueness. In terms of their physical structure or engine power, never mistake one for the other. Naively, a lot of people use the three terms interchangeably. That’s wrong and inappropriate!

We’ll consider the differences based on what these vehicles are, what they look like, who can ride them, and how powerful they are. We shall also look at the legal limits on their use.

What is a Scooter?

In simple terms, when you see a vehicle with a step-through frame design, floorboard footrest chassis, and small wheels, then you’re looking straight at a scooter. What’s more, scooters aren’t defined by the swing-your-leg-over riding system as you would find with a motorcycle rider.   

We have scooters with less power and so they are built with wheels smaller than those of motorcycles or traditional mopeds. 

Essentially, scooters are fuel-economical, weight-efficient (lightweight), easy to ride, maneuver and handle because of their low speed. 

Scooters, even though they look like mopeds, are distinguishable by the size of their engine and speed limit. Typically, most scooters are a continuous variable transmission. Scooters can be operated via manual or automatic gear changing. The automatic or CVT is the most popular among new models of scooters. 

Power and Capacity of Scooters

Typically, a scooter is powered by a small engine. The engine has a displacement range of 50cc to 250cc (although you can find scooters with engine capacity in excess of 850cc). Scooters are built with small 10-inch wheels. 

The engine operates on the principle of an electrical charging system. The system is responsible for powering the lights and ignition system, while also restocking battery life. 

Riding a Scooter: Does it require Licensing?

Absolutely! As with motorcycle, a scooter’s rider is required to obtain a riding license subject to passing a CBT training and test. Depending on the jurisdiction, you must be 17 before you’re permitted to ride a scooter.

What is a Motorcycle?

A motorcycle is defined by its two wheels, no pedals, and powered by a motor. They are essentially built for high speed, including speed that a moped or scooter cannot reach. 

Capable of slow commutes and highway speeds, motorcycles offer wind protection and built-in storage to keep cargo. They are known for their increased and better acceleration.

Power of Motorcycles

Motorcycles have a displacement engine power of 250cc or even larger engines. Unlike a scooter, a motorcycle doesn’t have a step-through frame or any demand for a platform to mount before riding. The engine of a motorcycle is attached to the frame rather than sitting on the rear suspension, which you find with a scooter.

The gas tank sits right in front of the rider who in turn is sitting astride the engine. The rider only needs to swing one of his legs over the chassis to mount the motorcycle. Unlike a scooter or moped, the wheels of motorcycles are usually larger (about 16″ in diameter). 

Almost all motorcycles have a clutch,(that is untypical of scooters, which operate on a principle of “twist and go” auto-transmission). The clutch helps the rider to shift the gear.

What is a Moped?

History tells us that a ‘moped’ is a hybrid of two words ‘motor’ and ‘pedal’. From that, we understand that mopeds were motorbikes with bicycle pedals which can be used to propel yourself forward or ignite the engine into action.

What that means is that mopeds are large wheels with thin tires. They serve as vehicles for emergencies. As early as the 70s, the use of this vehicle declined and has since become a rare sight on the roads.

How powerful is the moped?

Legal provisions allowing mopeds on the road have given a new definition to the pedaled bike. Mopeds these days refer to any motorcycle with low power and an engine capacity no greater than 50cc or 100cc, depending on the jurisdiction. 

Traditionally, the maximum speed of a moped is 28 or 30mph. but as technology increases, many moped riders are now allowed to speed as high as 60mph. 

Are there legal limits?

They are allowed on the road with the Learner (L-plate) plate, but that will mean that the rider has obtained every requisite license having passed CBT training. Mopeds have zero restrictions in terms of power.

It has to be said that not all mopeds are scooters, even though what you find nowadays on the road as a moped is likely to be a scooter. It is often regarded as the most economical means of transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Moped vs Motorcycle: What are the differences?

In simple terms, a moped features an engine displacement of 100cc. It has no manual gearshift and cannot exceed 30 mph on a smooth surface. A vehicle is defined as a motorcycle if it does not meet all three requirements that define a moped. 

Q: Scooter vs Motorcycle: What are the differences?

A scooter is simply defined by its size, and so could be either a moped or a motorcycle. A vehicle is defined as a motorcycle if it does not meet all three requirements that define a moped. 

Q: Moped vs Scooter: What are the differences?

In simple terms, a moped features an engine displacement of 100cc. It has no manual gearshift and cannot exceed 30 mph on a smooth surface. A scooter is simply defined by its size, and so could be either a moped or a motorcycle.

Q: Riding a Scooter: Does it require a license?

Absolutely! As with motorcycle, a scooter’s rider is required to obtain a riding license subject to passing a CBT training and test. Depending on the jurisdiction, you must be 17 before you’re permitted to ride a scooter.

Conclusion

Now you know the difference between a moped, scooter and motorcycle. The next time you like to go and buy, there shouldn’t be any issues. 

Featured Image By: Motorcycle.com