What is a Scooter?

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 A scooter is usually a motorized type of motorcycle that allows the rider to sit in a normal sitting position with a step-through frame. It doesn't nearly have as much power as a motorcycle but is much easier to maneuver. Scooters are often seen in Asia and in certain countries in Europe and South America. If you’re thinking of a Vespa, you have the right idea. The Vespa is an Italian scooter manufacturer.
scooters parked on the sidewalk

Everything to Know about Scooters

Where are They Seen?

Scooters are often seen in these regions of the world because they are easier to control and weave in and out through traffic. While this can be dangerous, they are also a more affordable option. They save on gas and are easier to park in countries with limited parking.


In Asian countries, 50 to 250cc scooters are the most commonly seen on the streets. The roads in Indonesia or Vietnam are a lot smaller than those in North America, so the small size is economical and convenient. Since North Americans love larger vehicles in general, maxi-scooters, ones that exceed 250cc have been developed for their tastes.

What Makes it a Scooter?

To start the scooter, all it takes is your key in the ignition and a simple twist of your wrist on the throttle. There has been some debate as to what constitutes a scooter. Is it the “twist and go” automatic system, engine size, or is it simply the step-through frame?


A step-through frame is a motorcycle design that doesn’t require you to swing your leg over the seat. All you need to do is step onto the little platform between the seat and the head. Chances are if your vehicle possesses all these characteristics, then it's a scooter. 


You can find scooters with manual and automatic. Maxi-scooters even have double seats, and they sometimes even come with a windshield or cover.

man driving a scooter

Benefits of a Scooter

Cost

The cost of a scooter is significantly lower than the cost of a motorcycle. They perform just as well as a Harley Davidson and some can even be driven on a highway. However, gas-powered scooters cost differently from electric scooters (cost here). 

Fuel Efficiency

Automatic transmissions in any vehicle save on gas. If you factor in the smaller engines and lighter bodies of the scooter, it is a much more cost-effective option compared to other motorized vehicles.

Maintenance

All you need is the basics to maintain a scooter. A mechanic can change the oil once in a while and fix any other slight issues by hand.

Space

A scooter saves space and takes up less room in a garage. It's easier to park the scooter in certain countries and might not even require extra licensing to drive.

Big Scooter Brands

While a lot of car brands and big bike brands such as Harley Davidson and BMW also produce scooters, we’re going to look at some brands that produce smaller more cost-efficient scooters.

Yamaha

Yamaha is a well-known brand that produces trusted engines for many vehicles. Established in 1955, you can rest assured that this major brand is a reliable company when it comes to producing anything from scooters to unmanned helicopters.

Suzuki

Suzuki specializes in larger scooters, and ones without a stepping platform. You can find 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines with this brand. A Japanese company, they produce products from cars to scooters to wheelchairs.

Lexmoto

They specialize in 50 to 125cc scooters in a wide range of styles. Lexmoto scooters are affordable and reliable. Even novice riders can find something to their liking within their showroom.


For a person considering purchasing a scooter for the first time, Lexmoto’s scooters are all lightweight and easy to control.

Vespa

Vespa has become an iconic brand in the scooter industry. It's a subsidiary of Piaggio and was founded in 1946 in Italy. Their compact design makes them great options for everyday commutes (not too far of course).


They are lightweight and the seated position in which the rider is in is much more comfortable compared to some maxi-scooters.

Honda

More widely known as a car brand, Honda also produces scooters. Since it’s a leading Japanese company, they have a wide selection of scooters much like Yamaha.


From maxi-scooters down to 125cc, they have it all. Honda is the largest motorcycle and scooter manufacturer in Japan, beating out all other competition. If you’re looking for a reliable scooter that will last, look into Honda.

Kymco

If you have ever been to Taiwan, you know that scooters rule the streets. Kymco is a Taiwanese company that manufactures scooters and motorcycles. It was a subsidiary of Honda but came into its own after splitting from the automotive giant in 1963. Since they learned from the largest scooter company in Japan, you can be sure Kymco produces quality products as well.

photo of two scooters

Types of Scooters

Other than the traditional two-wheeled options there are other types of scooters out there.

Three-Wheeled Scooters

Sort of like a tricycle, the three-wheeled scooters have three wheels. Most of them are larger, with two wheels at the front and one in the back - the opposite of a tricycle.

Maxi-Scooters

As mentioned above, maxi-scooters are larger options ranging from 250cc to 850cc. Some might even include a windshield, a small storage box masquerading as a trunk, under-seat storage, and more sitting room. Aside from all that, they also possess more power than the traditional scooters.

Enclosed Scooters

These are exactly as you would picture, a scooter with a windshield and a roof.

Two and Four-Stroke Engines

Due to emission regulations in certain countries such as the US, more companies are adopting the four-stroke engines. This just means there are four cycles instead of two when you crank the crankshaft. 

Electric Scooters

Last but not least and definitely the most environmental, are the electric scooters.

If you’re environmentally conscious and eco-friendly, we suggest these options.


As the Tesla of the scooter world, they do require charging and do run the risk of running out of juice, but the advantage is less pollution. A great brand for electric scooters is Gogoro.

Conclusion

A scooter might not be your first option for commuting, but it sure does beat regular cars and public vehicles in the convenience department. They can also be a delightful toy for kids. Read our review of the best scooters for kids to see some great models.

Hopefully, we've answered some of your questions about this alternative form of transportation.

Ari James

Engineer

Up to date : With the recent update, we took out all the items that did not meet the minimum requirements to be in this chart . Moreover, we deleted the information which we felt that was outdated and we added the products that have been released recently and we believe that should be added to this list.

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