Comparison of Mopeds vs. Scooters vs. Motorcycles

Moped vs Scooter vs Motorcycle
What is a Moped

What is a Moped?

Often they are confused with each other, but mopeds and scooters are different. Let’s define moped first; a moped is a bicycle type vehicle equipped with pedals and a low powered motor which provides for a budget-friendly form of transportation. It was earlier known as a small motorcycle, as it had both a small motorcycle engine as well as pedals. They are typically faster than bicycles and slower than traditional scooters and motorcycles. It has a compact frame like a bicycle, big tires and a 50 cc engine which means in most states you don’t need a motorcycle license to operate, but most important of all it’s got pedals. As the name suggests, the word moped is a combination of the word motor and the word pedal. You take the ‘MO’ from the motor and the ‘PED’ from the pedal and put it together to call it Moped.

A moped can be powered with the bicycle pedals that are provided close to the engine much similar to cycle, or it can directly be powered from the fuel powered single cylinder engine.

When you are pedaling the moped manually, the chain attached to the pedals transfers the energy to the rear wheel which produces motion. On the other hand, the engine utilizes a single piston to undergo an internal combustion that is then used to power the moped. Due to its mechanical constraints this single piston moped engine cannot produce much power. Hence the speed of most common moped’s are generally limited to 25 miles/hour.

What is a Scooter

What is a Scooter?

The scooter on the other hand has no pedals, but what you do see is a flat platform where you could put your feet at. They also have bulkier frames, smaller wheels, and the engine range from 50 to 250 cc or more located above the rear wheel. In almost all the countries you are going to need a motorcycle license to operate.

Unlike mopeds where the driver and driven pulley are of same diameter, which restricts the engine to achieve high speed; a scooter consists of a driver pulley and a driven pulley with variable diameters. A V-belt with fixed length belt runs between these two pulleys to transfer energy. In order to achieve a high rotation per minute, the diameter of the driver pulley is increased. In order to obtain a high torque the diameter of the driver pulley is decreased. This system allows to achieve infinite number of drive ratios by varying the diameters of driver pulley also called as ‘Continuously variable transmission’.

Since it is not possible to simply change the diameters of the pulleys due to mechanical constraints, a variator assembly is installed by using conical plates. One of them is fixed to the input shaft and the other is free to slide along its axis. Same mechanism is also installed on the driven pulley. Now depending upon the requirement, the driver and driven pulley alter their diameters to provide maximum torque and maximum rpm.

What is a Motorcycle

What is a Motorcycle?

A motorcycle often called as bike or motorbike in few countries is a two-wheeled motorized vehicle that is relatively more powerful than a moped or a scooter. It usually has a self-start battery powered switch to ignite the engine and produces enormous amount of power thanks to its fuel injected one, two, three or even four cylinder engine. It is designed to perfectly suit all kinds of traveling including long distance motorcycle tours, off road tours, adventure tours or for everyday commute.

Motorcycles as compared with scooters have an interesting mechanism. The Kick start lever is descended that forces the gear to slide and engage with a freewheeling gear on the main shaft. As the lever is descended further the gear spins on its axis and transfers the power to the clutch hub. The clutch hub then transfers the power to the crankshaft and eventually to the engine. In a self-start system, a battery-powered motor provides initial spin to the engine. Once the engine is started, the starter motor disengages from the crankshaft.

Like every four-stroke engine, motorcycle engines require a source of ignition to ignite the air fuel mixture for power strokes. A spark plug is used for this purpose that produces voltage in excess of 20,000 volts to fire up the engine.

Technical Difference Between Moped, Scooter, and Motorcycle

PriceStarts from $450Starts from $600Starts from $1200
Engine TypeSingle Cylinder EngineSingle Cylinder EngineSingle, Double, Triple, Quadruple Cylinder
Displacement50cc90cc - 250 cc125 cc - 2200cc
Max Torque Starts from 6.5 NmStarts from 9.6 NmStarts from 25 Nm
Cooling SystemAir CooledAir CooledLiquid Cooled
Drive Type ChainBeltChain or Belt
StartingKick StartKick and Self StartSelf Start
Gear BoxSingle Speed Gear BoxCVT4 Speed, 5 Speed or 6 Speed
Length≈ 1895 mm - 1950mm≈ 1770 mm - 2050 mm≈ 1800mm - 2250 mm
Width≈ 670 mm≈ 690 mm≈ 836 mm
Height≈ 1077 mm≈ 1140 mm≈ 1112 mm
Tank Capacity≈ 4L - 6L≈ 6L - 8L≈ 12L - 16L
Ground Clearance≈ 158 mm≈ 155 mm≈ 157 mm
Wheelbase≈ 1228 mm≈ 1290 mm≈ 1453 mm
Kerb Weight≈ 88 Kg - 95Kg≈ 110 Kg - 125 KgMore than 150 Kg
Underseat storage NoYesNo
Wheels TypeSpokeAlloyAlloy
BrakesDrumDrum / DiscDisc
Fuel Economy≈ 140 - 170 Miles/Gallon≈ 90 - 105 Miles/Gallon≈ 60 - 85 Miles/Gallon

Scooters vs. Mopeds

  1. The first difference is the technical difference. Mopeds and Scooters both use small motors however mopeds are designed to assist riders with propelling and providing the portions of local motor power while scooters use motors to provide all the propulsion.
  2. Mopeds are a motorized bike which does not require for you to get it registered however you do as a rider need to have a driver’s license. Scooters are classified as motorcycles which require you to get it registered. Of course you need a motorcycle license and insurance in most states.
  3. A moped relatively has less powerful engine that produces much less energy while throttling as compared to a traditional scooter.
  4. People in the moped community don’t associate themselves as people who ride scooters. However people riding scooter will refer themselves as people who ride mopeds.
Motorcycle vs. Scooter

Motorcycles vs. Scooters

Some of you may be trying to figure out which type of vehicle is going to be best suited for you. Should you buy a motorcycle or should you get a scooter. The answer to this question is going to really be determined by demographics, your place of residence, needs, budget and the distance you have to travel.

Obviously the cost of the scooter in most cases is going to be cheaper than owning a 400 cc motorcycle, the other factor that makes the scooter more economically viable is the registration and the insurance cost. And then of course there’s also the convenience factor of being able to have ample storage underneath the seat area. You can put a bag of groceries under the seat or you can also use the area sculpted out there between the seat and the handlebars where your legs are usually positioned on the platform. You can also buy a top case for additional storage that mounts on the back of the scooter as well.

Scooters tend to be highly fuel-efficient as well and they can get to around town pretty economically. They are sufficiently fast enough and can go up to 40 miles/hour. It is really more practical form of transportation especially with respect to riding in chaotic urban areas.

Is it wise to buy Motorcycle over Scooter?

Unlike scooters, there are many popular brands, variants, and engines for different types of uses when it comes to motorcycle. Would you ride a scooter off-road? Well we would but a dirt bike is probably a far better option. When it comes to cross country tour, a full-sized tourer bike might take the interstates much better. Each bike has a special property that balances of what they do better and a lot of it influences your riding experience.

See also: Types Of Motorcycles

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of having a motorcycle when compared to a scooter.

Number one, they’re just more fun. We don’t think we need to explain on this one as anyone who has ever seen a motorcycle zipping around the road has at some point thought to themselves, “wow, that looks like a lot of fun” and that’s all you need to know because they are more fun. The wind battering your chest and shoulders as you cruise along with that joyous grin on your face, that just seems to happen when you’re on a motorcycle.

Number two, all-important dollar to performance ratio. Motorcycles are hands-down the best return on investment in terms of power, performance, reliability, fun, and excitement. Motorcycles offer an uncanny amount of power for a fraction of the cost it takes to purchase.

Number three, Motorcycles are better while cornering and doing wheelies. Everyone should experience the magic of cornering on a motorcycle, the axis of movement, smooth throttle, controls, intense focus and the rush of adrenaline that comes with it. Basically it’s the equivalent of piloting a land-based fighter jet and come on who doesn’t want to try that?

Number four, If you have never experienced cornering on a motorcycle, you are seriously missing out in life. It’s definitely one of the best parts of riding a motorcycle and it’s something you really don’t get to experience when you’re riding a scooter or a moped.

Motorcycle is best between scooters and mopeds

Bottom Line

Motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are completely different, and we are not talking about the position of gears, pedals, clutch and brake. These are your obvious specifications that are supposed to be different due to their unique mechanism. But what is totally unique and different between these three is the perception. You know how you feel while you are on a sports bike or an adventure bike. Your seating position is also more upright, while on a scooter or moped you’re just sitting on it and accelerating the throttle. Even the wheels on a motorcycle are usually around 17-inches, some BMW motorcycles may even have a huge 20 inch front wheel. On a moped or a scooter these generally vary around 10 inch to 13 inch. This difference in the wheel size really does make a different ride on the road. Their handling is different and you can notice this instantly while switching from a scooter to a motorbike. You also have more control over a motorcycle as compared to a scooter or a gearless moped due to the improved acceleration and braking power.

Riding a motorcycle has proven mental health benefits associated with it. Besides, there are so many motorcycling community out there in case you are looking to hang out with other people. Regardless of what type of bike you ride you’re bound to find a community specific to that group and you’ll be able to find people who are like-minded.

What’s more?

It gives you a breather from the same mundane and old routine of your daily life. A motorcycle never lets you forget that you are alive. What else can you possibly want! Go get a motorcycle today.

Further reading: Which Motorcycle Is Right For Me?