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Best 50cc Scooters 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and ReviewsLast Updated March 1, 2018
Best 50cc/49cc Scooters of 2018 for Sale
Check out the Top 10 Best 50cc mopeds of 2018, which are also the latest bestsellers. When you choose one of these scooters you not only choose the best, you also get the best price.
Scooters are two-wheeled vehicles that are unique in the fact that the engine is usually under the seat and directly attached to the rear axle. This allows the rider to not have to straddle the engine but puts a limitation on rear suspension quality. Scooters, in contrast to many other classes of motorcycles, have bodywork to conceal all the mechanicals. These make for great runabouts in the city and are amazingly prevalent in Europe and Asia.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – Thunder 50cc Gas Scooter – Best Overall New Moped Whith Under 50cc Motor
Why did this 50cc scooter win the first place?
It is mounted really tight and reliable. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
№2 – 50cc Gas Scooter ATM50-A1 – Most User-friendly Cruiser Moped
Why did this 50cc scooter come in second place?
I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
№3 – Zummer 50cc Sporty Scooter – Cheap Speed Racer Gas Powered Moped
Why did this 50cc scooter take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
№4 – Avanti 150Cc Scooter Sport Style
The Avanti 150cc Scooter Sport style is our best choice for a smooth ride of all scooters for sale. It has a front disc brake and a rear drum brake. It uses 13″ alloy wheels 13″. It has a powerful braking system and a smooth acceleration. It has a low center of gravity which provides excellent handling so as to guarantee that the rider’s excitement does not stop. This scooter is DOT/EPA certified. Overall you get the best value for your price with this scooter while being safe due to its improved features.
№5 – Taotao Scooter Power Max 150cc
Taotao Scooter Power Max 150cc is our second best choice. It is fully automatic street legal scooter. It is much cheaper compared to the other brands and models. This scooter is not only capable of keeping up with the traffic but it is also suitable for freeways. With a speed of 55+mph, you will feel like you are riding a motorcycle. It also features technical upgrades such as an enhanced gauge cluster complete with a tachometer. If you are planning for a longer distance ride then the TaoTao Powermax 150 is an excellent choice.
№6 – Gigabyke Groove Electric Moped Scooter
The Gigabyke Groove Electric Moped Scooter is our third best choice. It can travel up to 35 miles per charge. It is ideal for all types of commuters who are searching for a reliable scooter without the stress of mixing oil and fuel. It has a charging time of 6 hours. It is street legal in most states that do not require any license, insurance or registration. It features a digital Speedometer, LED Headlight and Turn Signals, Front Disc Brakes, and Smart Battery Charger. There are different colors to choose from. GigaByke Groove Electric Scooter is the ideal scooter for short distance travel or for a fun ride anytime!
№7 – TaoTao ATM50-A1 Street Legal Scooter
TaoTao ATM50-A1 Street Legal Scooter is our fourth best choice. It is street legal and gas powered. It can get you wherever you want to go with its fuel efficiency. The TaoTao ATM50-A1 Street Legal Scooter can keep up with any traffic in different situations. It features an automatic transmission and an electric start. With the TaoTao ATM50-A1 Street Legal Scooter, you can enjoy a high performance and stylish scooter at an affordable price.
№8 – Razor Pocket Mod Electric Scooter
The Razor Pocket Mod Miniature Euro Electric Scooter is our fifth best choice. This is a vintage-inspired scooter. It is being run by a chain-driven electric motor. It uses large 12-inch pneumatic tires to give you a smoother ride. It also features rear suspension system. The built-in battery of this scooter can run up to 10 miles on a single charge. It is recommended for kids who are 13 years old and above. This product is HAZMAT, non-returnable. It has a storage compartment under the seat. This scooter is designed for girls, however, there are various colors which are suitable for guys. It has a sleek and Euro design. It is popular among teenagers which make it a perfect gift idea. It is ideal for riding around the neighborhood especially for teens which are not old enough to drive.
№9 – Icebear Moped Scooter Gas Powered
The Icebear 49cc/50cc Street Legal Moped Scooter PMZ50-4 is our sixth best choice. It is gas powered and includes a windshield and a trunk. It uses 3.5-10 wider tires with aluminum rims for a comfortable ride. It is legal in California. This scooter is fully automatic with a gas mileage of up to 120 MPG. The PMZ50-4 model is one of the nicest IceBear scooters on the market today. It has a superior gas mileage as well as a 1.4-gallon tank for longer rides. It features front disc brake, front and rear suspension and electric start. If you want an easy and comfortable ride then the PMZ50-4 is the perfect choice for you.
№10 – Tao Tao USA Inc Renegade TPGS-805 Scooter
TaoTao USA Inc Renegade TPGS-805 Moped Scooter is our seventh best choice. It is one of the best Moped street legal scooter on the market today. It has an electric start and a kick start backup. It features a fully automatic transmission drive. It is a perfect transportation for shopping or for fun.
№11 – Tao Tao Quantum 150
Tao Tao Quantum 150 is our 9th best choice. It is a fully automatic 150cc street legal scooter. It features electric start with keys as well as a kick start back up. It can change gears automatically because it has an automatic CVT Transmission with a GY6 engine. This is one sexy scooter which can make your friends ask where you got it.
A Man’s Guide to Scooters
Scooters. In America, where we tend to associate manly two-wheeled locomotion exclusively with motorcycles, they sometimes elicit a bit of a snicker. But for men around the world, and even not so far back in our own history, scooters have been prized as economical, stylish, and fun to ride.
Today we’ll talk a little bit about that history, discuss what makes scooters a viable and enjoyable mode of transportation, and offer some tips for picking the right one.
The History of Scooters
Men have been riding scooters since 1894 when German manufacturing duo Hildebrand & Wolfmuller cranked out a motorized bicycle with a step-through frame. But scooters weren’t embraced with much enthusiasm until two manufacturers, Salsbury and Cushman, jumped into the game in the 1930s. They soon found an untapped market for scooters: military bases. Sprawling military bases around Europe had need of messengers on fast and cheap transportation to quickly relay communications. Both Salsbury and Cushman soon found their factories overwhelmed with military orders.
Ironically, it took a world war for scooters to move from the military to the civilian market. Severe gas rationing after WWII made the scooter’s fuel economy extremely attractive to people around Europe. Two Italian manufacturers — Piaggio and Lambretta — also entered the game, bringing that classic Italian aesthetic and sex appeal to scooters.
Piaggio had manufactured Italian airplanes during World War II, but its factory was completely destroyed during air raids. After the war ended, Enrico Piaggio changed the focus of his company from airplanes to lightweight, economical scooters. In 1946, the first Piaggio-made scooter rolled off the factory line. Upon seeing the prototype, Enrico declared “Sembra una vespa!” or “It resembles a wasp!” And so the Vespa was born and scooters soared in popularity around Europe.
As the home of both Vespas and Lambrettas, Italy quickly became the cultural heart for scooter aficionados in other European countries. The sleek Italian scooter rider — tight-fitting suit, sunglasses, shaggy hair — became the fashion icon for a burgeoning counter-cultural movement in Great Britain. By the 1960s the streets of English cities were streaming with these “mods” — disaffected youth decked out in Italian suits riding their heavily customized scooters and brawling with the motorcycle riders — “rockers.”
Today, scooters are embraced by a wider spectrum of people, particularly city commuters who use them for their daily ride to work. With the steady rise in gas prices over the past 15 years, scooters have become increasingly popular with their hard-to-beat 85-100 mpg. Owing to their affordability and fuel economy, scooters are used across the globe. In fact in some countries, scooters are the primary motorized transport owned by families and scooter sales far outstrip automobile sales.
Scooters Vs. Motorcycles
If you’re in the market for a motorized bike, you might wonder whether you should purchase a scooter or a motorcycle. For most people, it’s an instinctive choice — they either respond to the culture and aesthetics of scooters or to the culture and aesthetics of motorcycles. Despite their similarity to the layman, scooter riders and motorcycle riders inhabit different worlds, with unique mindsets, cultures, and practices. At some points in history (I’m looking at you 1960s Britain) scooter riders and motorcycle riders scorned each other and would even fight on sight. That doesn’t happen (much) anymore. While there is occasionally some lingering animosity between the two camps, overall there’s a spirit of friendly collegiality between fellow travelers on the motorized two-wheel highway.
Beyond their instinctive appeal, scooters have other pros as well:
Price. While prices vary widely on the used market, most new scooters are cheaper than most new motorcycles.
Automatic shifting. The majority of modern scooters don’t require changing gears. This makes learning to ride a lot easier. By contrast, motorcycles require agile use of a clutch. Note: vintage scooters do require manual shifting.
Gas mileage. Motorcycles can’t compete with the 90+ mpg you can get on scooters.
Personalization. Part of the fun of owning a scooter is playing around with modifications to the body. Watch the film Quadrophenia for some serious inspiration. You can add racks, mirrors, windshields, chrome cowl protectors, hell, even a sidecar. Check out Scooterworks and ScooterWest online for parts.
Storage. Scooters have ample under-seat storage, plus they are easily fitted with a variety of additional storage options. Do a Google image search of scooter riders in India to get a real sense of the endless possibilities here. For starters, you can add a rear rack and attach a top box. Some scooters also have what the British call a “curry hook” which is a simple hook to hang a bag between your feet. It’s called a curry hook because it’s frequently used for curry take-out on the backstreets of London. It’s equally useful, however, for that quick stop at the corner store on your way home from work. You can fit a six-pack under your seat and a bag of groceries between your feet.
Licensing. For smaller-engined scooters, you don’t need a special license to operate. You can buy it off a lot or from someone’s garage with no special classes or certifications.
The best reason to buy a motorcycle instead of a scooter, on the other hand, is highway riding. Even expensive scooters with big engines are not as well-suited for highway riding as motorcycles. If the call of the open road resonates in your heart, you might follow in the footsteps of a good scootering friend of mine who rode a Vespa for years before selling it one day and switching to a Yamaha motorcycle. He was ready for some long-distance road trips and never looked back.
A Guide to Buying Your First Scooter
If you decide that you want to get yourself a scooter, you’ll find that there are a ton of options out there. A wide variety of motorcycle and automobile manufacturers have dipped their hands into the scooter market, creating a vast range of products available for the discerning consumer. The following tips will help you navigate this complex market.
When choosing your very first scooter, start with something used, small, and cheap, and consider upgrading later.
Scooters have a wide range of engine sizes, represented by the number of cc’s. The smaller the engine, the slower the scooter, and the better the fuel economy. (The reverse is also true.)
An inexpensive scooter will typically have a 50cc engine, meaning you’ll be maxed out at about 35 mph. This is a nice limiter for a beginner so you’re not tempted to ride on highways or fast roads in town while you’re still getting your feet wet. Cheap scooters also won’t have the comfort or aesthetics of the more expensive options, but they will help you decide if riding a scooter is for you without spending a small fortune.
Inexpensive scooters abound on the used market and can be found for a few hundred dollars on Craigslist or through a local dealer. My first scooter was a Roketa, a Chinese model that I bought with a few hundred miles on it for $400. While I only kept it for one riding season, it was a great introduction to scooters and helped me decide what I wanted in my next one. In my case, I wanted a bigger engine, a more reliable manufacturer, and a sleeker look. I went with a Yamaha Vino 125cc the next year. Check your local Craigslist listings, especially in the spring when people start cleaning out their garages.
Scooters and motorcycles run the gamut from lightweight, fuel-sipping putt-putts to 200-hp pavement-ripping monsters, with a wide variety of styles and performance levels in between. Some are built for specific types of riding, like models designed for modest off-road use or those meant specifically for long-distance highway cruising. Others are meant for a combination of purposes.
Beginners may find scooters more novice-friendly than motorcycles, thanks to their lighter weight and automatic transmissions. Scooters can also make errand running easier, because most have some on-board storage–something that can’t be said for all motorcycles.
If you’ve decided to seriously consider a two-wheeler of your own, the next step is to figure out which type is best for you. Start by thinking about where and when you will ride, and if you’re looking for daily transportation, weekend cruising, or somewhere in between. Then consider:
- Will you be riding on highways, secondary roads, around town, or some combination of the above?
- Does the bike need to have sufficient power and seating for a passenger?
- Do you need storage room for gear or groceries?
- Is fuel mileage a priority?
- How much do you want to spend?
Next, give some thought to some features that might make for a more enjoyable, and safer, ride:
• Saddlebags or racks Thanks to their enclosed designs, most scooters have at least a small storage compartment, and many have a lidded and lockable space large enough to swallow up a helmet or small bag of groceries. To carry anything on a motorcycle, you might want to consider saddlebags, rear “trunk,” or a rack, usually mounted over the rear wheel behind the seat. Your dealership can discuss options with you.
• Antilock brakes Although this important safety feature is now found on all new cars, it has been slow in coming to cycles. ABS is commonly offered on large, expensive models, but it has been spreading to several entry-level sport bikes and midsized bikes, adding at least $500 to the cost. ABS is can be money well spent. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has reported that motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than models without ABS.
• Windscreen or fairing These can help protect you from the wind and rain, and they can make highway riding less fatiguing.
Automatic transmission Learning to ride a motorcycle is complicated by the myriad controls that have each foot and hand playing an active role. Honda has been introducing midsized models available with an automatic transmission that could make riding more approachable for beginners.
• Crash bars Hoop-shaped bars mounted on the frame can help protect riders in a spill by keeping the weight of the bike off the rider’s body.
Here’s a quick rundown of model types available to help narrow your selection.
Motorcycles & Scooters
With a relaxed riding position and seating for two, cruisers combine the look of a traditional motorcycle with a more stylish, custom appearance and typically longer wheelbase and forward foot pegs. Available in single and multi-cylinder designs, cruisers run the gamut from small, fuel-efficient models to big, large-displacement bikes. Price range: $4,000-$18,000.
Dual Purpose Motorcycles
Designed to be ridden on or off-road, dual-purpose models can also be good choices for city dwellers who appreciate their higher ground clearance, all purpose tires, and extra suspension travel as much as trail riders do. Completely street legal with lights, directional signals, and other road-going equipment, dual-purpose models are lightweight and well balanced, and available in a wide range of sizes. Price range: $4,500-$7,500.
Electric motorcycles have been gaining in popularity, especially with city dwellers who can appreciate their economical operating costs, low maintenance, and don’t mind their limited range and top speed. A rechargeable battery is included, and it can be charged using household current. Range is typically no more than about 50 miles, and less if ridden at their top speed. Price range: $8,000-$14,000, but government tax credits are available.
Sport Bike Motorcycles
With aggressive bodywork designed to slice the wind, high-performance engines, lightweight frames, and a crouched riding position, sport bikes are all about performance. These are not the most comfortable or practical models for novice riders; they are best suited to those with a lot of experience in varied conditions. Models span from affordable, and fun, 250 cc entry-level sport bikes up to exotic performance legends best suited for true expert riders. Price range: $4,000-$16,000.
Designed for long distance travel or day trips, touring bikes are powerful and comfortable enough for two people to spend a full day in the saddle. They can range from basic models with a minimum of frills to decked out bikes with saddlebags, fairings, windshields, stereo, and even cruise control and heated handgrips. Price range: $14,000 to $24,000.
These are the most well-rounded street motorcycles and the most conventional-looking designs, with an upright riding position. Good for commuting and all-around use, traditional models range in size from economical, lightweight designs with around 250 cc engines to powerful models in the 1500 cc range. Price range: $4,000 and up.
These are the smallest, lightest, and easiest models for a novice rider to handle, and the most efficient, returning cruising fuel economy of as much as 100 mpg in our testing. Small scooters (engines 50 cc or less) are also among the least expensive to buy, with prices starting at about $1,000. All have automatic transmissions and electric start, and they offer a more chair-like seating position than a motorcycle. But with top speeds of only 35 to 45 mph, they cannot be ridden on highways and are best suited for putting around town. Registration and licensing requirements vary by state, with some states not requiring license plates at all. To see regulations by state, check the MSF website.
Scooters in the 125-to-150 cc range provide more power, making them better choices than 50cc models for keeping up with traffic, carrying a passenger, and for all-around use. Even so, they should not be ridden on freeways and interstates. Like smaller models, they’re easy to maneuver and ride, with electric start and automatic transmissions. Fuel economy is not as good as that of smaller models, but some midsized models returned close to 80 mpg in our tests. Tested models ranged in price from $2,800 to $4,400.
Combining the seating position, shift-free driving and on-board storage of a scooter with the highway capability and range of a cruising motorcycle, large scooters (engines 400-650 cc) can be a good choice for travelers who prefer the look and feel of a scooter. While larger, heavier, and less maneuverable than smaller scooters, they provide brisk acceleration and easily can carry two at highway speeds. Prices range from about $7,500 to $10,000.
Which Scooter Should I Buy?
This is the questions I get asked more than any other. I wish I could say that there is an easy answer…. there isn’t. Many factors come into play, but I hope this information will help to narrow your field of choices. I’ve included some my opinions on specific models as well.
The “Coolness” Factor – Vintage vs. New
Nothing, I mean nothing, is as cool as a vintage scooter (opinion). That being said, most vintage scooters are nothing like as practical as modern scooters. Sure, there are vintage scooters that are fast enough for freeway use, that have adequate storage capacity, that are reliable…. but the odds are stacked against you. Dealing with manual shifting, two-stroke engines, tube-tires, and just plain AGE can add up to more work than a lot of people are will to put into their scooter. If you are not prepared to either “do” or “have done” frequent mechanical work, a vintage scooter is probably not the best choice for you. There are a few options that will give you a metal body, manual shift scooter that is new, or at least “newish”:
The Vespa PX – Last produced for the US market several of years ago, the Vespa PX is still available in the previously owned marketplace.
The Genuine Stella – This scooter became an instant cult classic when it was introduced by Genuine Scooter Company. Manufactured by LML (a former Piaggio Licensee in India), the Stella is still available new at Genuine dealers. As of 2011, the Stella is available with a 4-stroke engine and a 4-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. I suspect that before long it will be ONLY the auto-Stella. There are still some 2-stroke Stella in the market.
The Bajaj Chetak or Legend – Another company from India, Bajaj makes a very nice metal-body, manual shift, FOUR-stroke that is more environmentally friendly than the traditional two-stroke engine. This model is no longer available new, but is out there in the previously owned marketplace.
Ask Yourself a Few Basic Questions
Before you do this, two things: be honest with yourself and understand that your answers may change over time.
Do you have or are you willing to get a motorcycle endorsement?
In order to (legally) operate a scooter that has an engine larger than 50cc, or more than two horsepower, or can go faster than 30 MPH, you will need to get a motorcycle endorsement added to your driver’s license (in many states including Minnesota). Before we leap ahead to your plans for how you will use your scooter, this needs to be addressed. Here in good ol’ Minnesota, one can get a motorcycle permit with a written test that is good for one year which should give amble opportunity for training and practice before taking the road test for a full endorsement.
How are you planning to use the scooter?
Are you going to ride alone or with a passenger? Will you be on city streets in an urban area or will you need to have highway capabilities? Will you need to be able to ride on unpaved surfaces? How much storage/hauling capacity will you need? These are the elements that will likely change over time. I know MANY people who started out thinking that they would only ride in town and after a year or two ended up with touring maxi-scooters.
How much are you willing to spend?
Your “scooter budget” should include not only the cost of acquiring a scooter, but things like accessories, riding gear, insurance and maintenance. As a general rule, scooters are VERY cost-effective modes of transportation (the idea of 50 to 100 miles-per-gallon can be quite appealing). If you are looking for a new scooter that will be reliable daily transportation for $1,000…. you’re going to be disappointed. Check our podcast archive for several “What Do Scooters Cost?” episodes.
No, REALLY, how much are you willing to spend?
Recently, a fair number of you have been emailing me with horror stories of maintenance costs on scooters. Apparently, some newer scooters from the land of the rising sun need fairly frequent valve adjustments and performing said adjustments requires several hours of labour removing body panels to get at the valve-train. I have also heard of high costs for other regular maintenance items that require a lot of labour. Ask about future maintenance costs BEFORE you decide which scooter to buy. If you want to do some or all of your own maintenance (good for you), be sure you can get a complete shop manual, NOT just the owner’s manual for the scooter you are considering.
How much “grief” are you willing to put up with?
If you are planning to use your scooter for daily transportation and the model you buy has parts availability issues or reliability issues, you will be unhappy with your purchase.
Find a Good Local Dealer
This is probably the single most important factor in selecting the best scooter for you. The ongoing support of a good dealer can go a long way to making scooter ownership a pleasant experience. All other elements being equal – go with a scooter model that is supported by a good dealer.
Make Sure the Scooter is a Good Fit
Sit on the scooter, if you will be riding with a passenger, take that person to the scooter dealership with you. Make sure that the ergonomics of the scooter fit you. There are a lot of very fine scooters that just aren’t a good fit for some people. I really like the Buddy scooters from Genuine, but they probably won’t work for you if you are very tall. Conversely, the Kymco Xciting is a very nice maxi-scooter, but shorter riders might find it uncomfortable or intimidating. Even the best quality scooter from a great dealer won’t be a good choice if it doesn’t fit YOU. If allowed by your dealer, test ride the scooter prior to purchase. There are certainly lots of things that can be done to customize a scooter, but be sure and add the cost of those modifications to your budget.
Do Your Homework
Find out about things like warranty coverage, parts availability, and known technical issues BEFORE you buy your scooter. Check out local scooter clubs and groups as well as online forums for first-hand information. There are some wonderful “enthusiast” sites like www.modernbuddy.com to help you in your homework.
Do You Like the Scooter?
Yes, a scooter is practical. Yes, a scooter can be reliable. It’s also supposed to be FUN. The best scooter for you is one that will meet your needs, is within your budget, is well-supported…. and that you LIKE! No question about it – a scooter can bring a big smile to your face.
Scooter buyer’s guide
Scooters are popular because they are easy to use. You don’t need to swing a leg over it to climb on, your feet can rest on the ground when you’re stationary and, most important of all, there are no clutch and no transmission to worry about.
A scooter almost drives itself.
Furthermore, you can go virtually anywhere with it in town, since it’s easy to park and cheap on gas. The cowl protects you from wind and rain, so whether you are wearing a pair of jeans, a fancy jacket or even a skirt, you can ride a scooter and look proper when you arrive.
For such a small vehicle, you get lots of small compartments so even shopping is on the can-do list.
Forget all about the blue-smoking, 2-stroke engines of old Vespas and Lambrettas. Today’s machines have come a long way since; nowadays, you get fuel injection, a muffler and even disc brakes standard with pretty much any scooter.
Don’t Make the Big 50cc Scooter Mistake
Is a 50cc scooter the right choice for you? Avoid one of the biggest mistakes made by scooter newbies – buying a scooter that doesn’t have sufficient power for your needs.
50cc scooters are the entry level into the world of scooting. But is a 50cc scooter right for you? Avoid one of the biggest mistakes made by scooter newbies – buying a scooter that doesn’t have sufficient power for your needs. Here’s how to assess your needs fully so you can make an informed decision on the size of your new scoot.
Measuring Scooter Power
Scooter power is determined mainly by the engine displacement, which is measured in cc’s (cubic centimeters). The more cc’s you have, the more power you have. The more power you have, the faster you can go and the quicker you can get up to speed. More power also allows you to carry more weight, in human or cargo form.
As the engine power increases, so does the physical size and purchase price of the scooter. The majority of scooters on the road are between 50cc and 250cc, but a few models now come in 300cc, 500cc – or even more! These scooters on the high end of the cc range are often referred to as “maxi scooters.”
Maxi scooters aside, scooters are generally available in 50cc, 125cc, 150cc, 200cc and 250cc. There are a few oddballs out there, like the 80cc Honda Elite CH80 and the 300cc Vespa GTS. The 125cc scooter was less common until Genuine started making the popular 125cc Buddy.
How Much Power do YOU Need?
To decide how much power your scooter needs, ask yourself:
- How much you weigh?
- The more you weigh, the more power your scooter will need to carry you.
- How fast you need to go?
- Will you be sticking to city streets, or do you want to be able to take the highway? Or will you traveling those routes in between?
- The terrain you’ll be riding on
- Is it flat where you’ll be riding, or do you have lots of steep hills?
- Ability to carry cargo or passengers
- Will you eventually be carrying passengers? Do you plan to do a lot of grocery shopping? Camping? All cargo adds weight to your scooter, increasing the need for power.
- Ability to avoid obstacles
- After you’ve considered all the other factors, you still need enough power left to be able to quickly accelerate when necessary.
The Big 50cc Mistake
50cc scooters are the entry level into the world of scooting. If you’re lightweight and will be sticking to 25 m.p.h. city streets, a 50cc may do the trick. But getting a 50cc scooter because you don’t want to bother getting a cycle endorsement on your driver’s license is not a smart move.
You should get a 50cc scooter because you’ve assessed your needs and found that it meets them, not because the license endorsement is waived.
States vary in their licensing laws, but most require a cycle endorsement to operate a two-wheeled vehicle. Some states waive this requirement for scooters 50cc’s and under. This implies, incorrectly, that 50cc scooters are safer than 125cc scooters because they are slower, and therefore don’t require training to operate.
This is a dangerous fallacy. Most scooter collisions are not directly caused by speed – they are caused by oncoming vehicles turning in front of you at an intersection. This is true of 50cc scooters, 150cc scooters – and even 1200cc motorcycles.
Every rider should take the cycle safety course, regardless of the size of their scooter. Riding a scooter can be significantly more dangerous than driving a car because little mistakes can be deadly. There are no “fender benders” in the world of two-wheels.
The safety course will teach you how to avoid obstacles and stay as visible as possible to other vehicles. Assuming you pass the course, you’ll be awarded your cycle endorsement at the end of it anyway.
Take the safety course, whether or not it’s required.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s assess your needs.
Adequate Power Can Save Your Life
A scooter that provides you with adequate engine power is essential. How much power you need depends on you and your riding conditions. I may need 250cc, while 125cc may be more than enough for your circumstances. Your scooter should provide you with enough power to get you where you need to go, and to:
Keep up with the flow of traffic
Think about the speed limit of the roads you’re likely to travel on. You need to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic to ride safely. If you are riding significantly slower than the cars on the road, you increase your likelihood of being passed unsafely or being struck from behind.
Don’t forget that many of the cars around you will be traveling much faster than the speed limit. The fewer cars that pass you in your lane, the safer your trip is. Nothing is more terrifying than riding open-throttle, as fast as you can, with SUVs whizzing past you on either side.
Accelerate out of danger
A good rule of thumb: whatever roads you’re riding on should allow you to travel 10 m.p.h. under your scooter’s maximum speed. This leaves you enough accelerating power to dodge obstacles or zip out of the path of a vehicle.
I have been saved countless times by the pick-up power available to me on my 250cc scooter when a car changed lanes without seeing me and I was able to zip out of the way. Likewise for avoiding enormous potholes or litter in the road.
Adequate Power Can Increase Enjoyment
If you know you have enough oomph in your engine to keep up with the flow of traffic (including when you take a wrong turn and accidentally end up on a major artery), accelerate out of the way of danger, and deftly whisk you and your passenger up any hill your city throws at you, you will relax and enjoy the ride.
You will also have more fun if you choose to participate in group rides knowing you can keep up with everyone. Having a scooter with enough power to meet your needs is simply more enjoyable to ride.
Personally, I think 125cc is a good starting point for most people. Add more zip if you’re carrying passengers (150cc or more), and if you’ll be traveling on roads with speed limits of 45 – 50 m.p.h. If you want to get on the highway, you’ll need at least 200cc. On the highway with a passenger, 250cc.
But remember that larger engines are heavier and tend to come with physically bigger scooters, so keep those points in mind.
Also, I don’t recommend carrying passengers until you’ve had quite a bit of on-road experience.
- How About an Example?
- To give you an idea of how to assess your situation, here’s how I chose my scooter engine power.
My first scooter was an 80cc. I could carry a passenger, but there were spots along my normal routes when my friend had to dismount at the bottom of a hill and meet me at the top if I wanted to make it up. So when I decided to upgrade, I knew I needed at least 125cc’s (the next step up from an 80cc scooter).
First, I assessed my cargo load:
- I am six feet tall and I weigh 165 pounds
- I frequently carry passengers heavier than me
- I do grocery shopping and carry weighty items like bags of potting soil and cases of bottled water
- This puts me at a minimum of 150cc.
Then I assessed the roads I travel on:
- I live in Seattle, where some of the hills are so steep there are stairs built into the sidewalks
- I travel on state routes with a speed limit of 50 m.p.h., so I need to keep up with traffic going at least that fast
- I participate in frequent group rides and want to be able to keep up with everyone without any trouble
Figuring these three points into my heavy cargo load, I could probably get by with 200cc. But I want enough power left over to accelerate out of danger and get on the Interstate if I have to. So my optimal engine size is a minimum of 250cc.
My Vespa GTS has a 250cc engine, and I use every cc of that with glee. I feel safe when riding that scooter and I don’t worry about keeping up with traffic. I can ride 2-up on the state routes and still have enough zip to keep me and my passenger out of the way of trouble.
Because I’m confident in the ability of my GTS to deliver when I need it most, I relax and enjoy the ride. That said, I’m looking forward to upgrading to the 300cc GTS soon!
I also have a 150cc Genuine Stella scooter that I only ride when I know I won’t be pressured to perform, and I keep off the freeways. Riding solo, the Stella’s maximum speed is 50 m.p.h. — with the throttle wide open, the wind at my back, riding in the direction of the Earth’s rotation.
My maximum speed riding 2-up on the Stella is about 45 m.p.h., and it takes us a looong time to get up to that speed. We’ll make it up that hill, you may just want to grab a cup of coffee while you wait for us. So I stick to roads with a speed limit of 40 m.p.h., which leaves me enough oomph to dodge a bullet should the need arise.
Give it some thought when deciding what size engine you need. If you choose wisely and get the scooter that meets your daily needs, you’ll be scooting safely and happily for a long time to come.
ARE THEY CHEAP TO KEEP?
Four-stroke scooters are cheap and easy to maintain – it’s basically an annual service (oil/filter/plug) and sometimes a drive belt and rollers (these last 6,500 miles or more, depending on the model). Two-stroke scooters are reliable when kept standard but are more fragile if they’ve been tuned, so if buying used ask about any modifications.
WILL I SAVE A LOT OF MONEY?
One of the biggest reasons for buying a scooter is to save money. You’ll benefit from free and convenient parking in most places, cheaper insurance, low running costs and high miles per gallon. There aren’t many cars that can beat a scooter for economy.
WHERE DO I PUT ALL MY BAGS?
Modern scooters have storage beneath the seat, although the amount or room available for luggage depends on capacity and wheel size. Most 16in wheel scooters have limited space, while maxi models can fit a weekend’s worth of gear. Flat floorboards and the bag hook are great for carrying extra luggage/shopping as well.
HOW DO THEY HANDLE?
The smaller your wheels the more you’ll notice potholes. Most modern scooters have 12in wheels or larger. Don’t worry though, because whichever model you choose you’ll soon get used to the way it handles.
DO I NEED A BIG ENGINE?
Size does matter when it comes to scooters. If you’re just planning on using it for a few miles a day a 50cc will suffice; for longer journeys a 125cc is perfectly adequate; and if you want to cover a few hundred miles the 300cc class is ideal – or opt for a maxi-scooter (400cc-plus).
PICK A STYLE TO SUIT YOU
Scooter style and choice is endless and it comes down to personal preference. Sit on a few different models in a local showroom to make sure you can touch the floor easily and that you have enough legroom. Don’t dismiss lesser-known brands but make sure they have a full dealer network and spares back-up. Avoid cheap ‘internet only’ sellers who sell scooters in kit form.
So, which 50cc scooter?
I just sold my TGB 101s. Myself and three mates decided to buy them about 6 months ago.
We did our research into various models, and at only $2,300 new they were a steal. They also have a very “grabby” clutch so are quick off the line, and are one of the quickest 50cc’s around. Good ground clearance so kerb hopping, not an issue.
I just sold mine with 2,600 on the clock for $1,500.
Literally nothing came close for price/features, and there was a 3 year warranty. All the features, injected 2-stroke, disc brake, electric + kick start, etc.
Top speed for me, weighing about 80kg, was 70kph. Got up to 60kph easily. Note, they are legally “Restricted” to 55kph, but like anything theres easy ways around this.
Long distance? My mates and I used to travel 120km round trips easily. Scooters tend to be very comfortable, but i wouldnt suggest any travel on roads with a speed limit greater than 60, and they aren’t made for the twistys. Although, yes, they do hammer, its hard to drag a rail on a scooter as they are so light, the slightest bump gets you airborne.
You have NOT lived till you have been airborne on a scooter, sideways, at 60kph, and landed it into a perfect drift.
SCOOTER SAFETY: STAYING VISIBLE IN TRAFFIC
If you use a scooter for transportation, you are not alone. Scooters are a fun and economical form of transportation. Scooters are also environmentally friendly, which means you won’t leave a big carbon footprint on the planet. However, scooters do fall into a category much like bicycles and motorcycles where they aren’t as likely to be noticed by car drivers. It is often not entirely the fault of the other driver, but also relates to how the brain and eyes work together. To address this problem, you should do everything you can to make yourself more visible so you will be noticed by other drivers.
Scooter-Safety – Ride With Traffic
You are riding a motorized vehicle, so you need to adhere to the rules of the road. This include riding with traffic. You need to stay in a place in the lane so you will be noticed and stand out. Don’t stay over near the curb or cut around cars in bike lanes. Instead, place yourself in the center of the lane to let drivers know that you are there and holding your own spot in traffic.
When you are riding your scooter on the road, you don’t want to weave and out of traffic. If you are weaving, drivers don’t know where you are headed and you are much likely to not be noticed and be hit. Instead, stay visible in the lane so you will be noticed by drivers as they maneuver on their way.
Ride at a Safe Speed
Most scooters won’t travel at excessively high rates of speed, but you need to travel at a safe speed. Pedestrians might not see your scooter and they are quiet, so you need to make sure you can stop fast enough if a pedestrian steps out in front of you. Be prepared for pedestrians or animals entering your path because either can cause a crash if you don’t get stopped in time.
Fluorescent Clothing and Gear
You need to stand out in the crowd. One way to do so is by wearing fluorescent clothing or a brightly colored helmet. Traditional colors such as blue, black, brown, or gray just blend in with the surroundings. You want to go with hot pink, lime green, neon yellow, or orange so drivers will see you. These colors can definitely make a difference when you are out and about.
Riding After Dark
If you are out before dawn or after dusk, you need to make sure your bike has the proper gear to make it visible. Your white headlight and red taillight are just the start. Don’t remove reflectors from your scooter to make it look cooler. Rather, add reflectors to the scooter and your clothing. This is most easily done with Scooter-Safety – 1reflective tape, which is cheap and can be placed almost anywhere. These reflectors come in particularly handy if one of your lights burns out. You can also wear an LED light to help you stand out even more and get noticed by drivers.
You want drivers to be able to know where you are going. This means you need to always signal and well in advance. If your scooter is equipped with signals, use them. If it is not, use hand signals so drivers will know where you are going and when you are going to make a move. Do everything you can so drivers will know your intentions.
Most accidents occur at intersections. You want to make sure you stand out so you need to do everything you can to be noticed. Follow traffic signals and don’t roll through stop signs. Make eye contact with drivers so you will know that they saw you. Always have your hand near the brake so you can stop, slow down or ride defensively if you need to do so.
Other Safety Tips
By knowing the traffic regulations and familiarizing yourself with the roads where you will be riding, you can help protect yourself when you are out on the roads. By understanding the laws of the road and proceeding with the proper caution, you can make sure you are less likely to be involved in a crash when riding your scooter on the road. Staying alert is the key to making sure you are noticed.
Scooter Market Sales
The USA scooter sales figures for 2014 are in from the Motorcycle Industry Council. The faint recovery from the 2009-2010 recession seems to have stalled in the USA as sales were flat at 33,528 units. That’s down 1214 machines or 3% from 2013 (34,742 scooters) and about half of the pre-recession sales.
While a full recovery would be great, the 2006 – 2008 period was an unusual spike in scooter sales second only to the mid-80’s boom. The current level of sales at 30-40k units is about the historical norm for scooters, as similar volumes were sold from about ’88 to 2004.
What is the best reliable 50cc scooter for its price?
“Best for the money” is a hard thing to quantify. Things such as ride quality, vibration, storage space, braking ability, and so forth are aspects that you should decide how important they are to you. This is needed in order to decide what’s the best value for you.
I’d like to vote against the Ruckus. The small front drum brake, lack of storage, and the awful rear suspension make this a bad choice for urban use.
These are not in any particular order, but these models stand out for sure… I had a Kymco People 250 for 3 years and it was great. Right now I have a Piaggio MP3 250 and I love it.
Since you asked abut the best scooter “for the price” you should look at used scooters first. A used 50cc will most likely not have a bunch of miles on it. You can’t go wrong with Honda, Yamaha, Kymco, Piaggio, Genuine, or SYM. I have 2 modern Vespas and in my opinion the 50cc Vespa with its metal body is too heavy for a 50cc engine. The Italians also cost more to maintain.
If you find a used one, you can go back about 10 years before parts become harder to find.
Also when buying used, you may have to have a carb clean and new battery.
These same brand recommendations apply if you are buying new, with the Kymco, Genuine and SYM being more affordable.
Having tested lots of scooters I would say top 50cc brands in terms of reliability are; Kymco, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Peugeot, SYM (Taiwan) Piaggio, PGO ( Taiwan) and AJS – chinese scooters, but with UK parts/warranty back up.
Common problems affect the electrics and variator gears, which make the `twist n go’ transmission work. Steering and brakes can suffer in winter weather, exhausts corrode easily, in general.
All scooters are built down to basic price and in my opinion have an economic life span of 3-5 years for 2 strokes, and 5-7 years for 4 strokes, depending on use/maintenance/mileage
2 strokes often suffer engine problems due to owners not putting 2 stroke oil in, or using cheap oil in high performance engines, like say Aprilia 50cc scooters. It’s a user error, nothing to do with reliability 90% of the time…many 50cc scooter owners are teenage idiots, who are experts at breaking them.
In terms of value for money, I would buy a SYM or Kymco. Cheaper than some other brands and equally as reliable and frugal on petrol. Choose a four stroke motor, not a 2 stroke. Much cheaper to run.
Personally, I think the best value is NOT a 50cc bike. They don’t go fast enough to keep up with traffic on many streets, tempting drivers to pull into the bike lane (which is illegal in CA)… and they’re only a few hundred cheaper than the 125cc models at most.
For value, I recommend the SYM/Lance PCH 125cc or the Kymko Like 200cc.
What is a 50cc?
Motorbikes and scooters are usually classified in two ways: by their style (sports, touring, off-road etc.), and by their engine size. The CC measure stands for ‘cubic centimeters’, and relates to both how large an engine is, and its power output.
50cc scooters and bikes have some of the smallest engines available and are usually built with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) system, better known as twist-and-go, meaning no gear-changes are needed
They also generally have their top-speeds limited to between 30 and 40mph, to keep them within various government guidelines. Their safety and simplicity mean they are cheap to buy and insure and make a great choice for young and inner-city motorists. You can find more information in our guide to the 7 basic types of motorbikes.
Riding a 50cc legally
One of the most appealing aspects of 50cc bikes is that in most cases in the UK, they can be ridden from the age of 16. You can find a detailed breakdown of the regulations and restrictions around riding motorbikes on the Gov.uk website, but in short:
Many 50cc bikes and mopeds are legal in the UK for road use by riders aged 16 and up.
The minimum legal requirement is completion of the CBT (Compulsory Basic Training), theory and practical tests.
If you’re aged 16, you’ll need to display L plates on your bike at all times, until you reach 17 and complete the practical and theory riding tests.
Remember that it’s also a legal requirement that you tax and insure your vehicle before riding it. You’ll find a full breakdown of the tax bands applicable to motorbikes on the Gov.uk website, though 50cc bikes and scooters generally fall into the cheaper groups.
Finding the right bike for you
The main selling point for 50cc bikes is that they can be ridden from 16 years of age. Since they are designed to be cheap, low-maintenance vehicles, there tends to be a rather limited range to choose from; most 50ccs are in the scooter style, or small sports-type bikes.
When choosing your bike, your main concern should be that you meet all the legal requirements to ride it. Other than that, you may also want to check:
with friends and family who have ridden 50cc bikes before, and what they have to recommend;
that your chosen bike can be easily serviced, and replacement parts are readily available
the price differences between new and second-hand models. In some cases, the additional expense of a new model may be worth the peace of mind and reliability that comes with it.
When purchasing any vehicle, it’s important to consider the full costs before you buy:
You should make sure to look into yearly tax costs, though these are generally quite cheap on small-engine bikes.
You’ll also want to check the prices of any riding equipment you need, such as a helmet, which must be worn as a legal requirement.
Often, one of the biggest expenses associated with motoring is the yearly insurance premiums. The cost of insurance makes it essential to shop around and compare prices to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make will be the level of cover to opt for. This will be one of the many factors that will impact your premium, and you’ll usually have the following three options to choose from:
Third party only – covers the costs payable to the other person/vehicle involved in an accident, but none of your own, meaning any damage to your bike will often have to come out of your own pocket.
Third party fire & theft – offers the same level of cover as third party only, but with additional peace of mind if your vehicle is damaged by fire or stolen.
Fully comprehensive – is usually the highest level of cover available, and should pay out the cost of any damage to your vehicle, as well as any third party claims made against you following an accident.
The Motor Scooter Buying Guide
The Motor Scooter Buying Guide can assist you in finding the right brand of motor scooter, the right model, at the right price, and from the right dealer. Finding the right scooter for you can be a daunting task, as with OVER 50 BRANDS to choose from the scooter industry is (for lack of a better word) “crazy”. The intent of this guide is to make the process of buying a scooter that’s right for you as simple as possible.
This site maintains a list of motor scooter dealers in all 50 states, as well as a list of online motor scooter dealers. Before contacting these dealers, read a few of the articles on this website so that you are better prepared for this “crazy” market.
Buying a Motor Scooter – Getting Started
To get started, we recommend reading the articles “Brands of Motor scooters”, “How to choose a Motor Scooter”, and then “Where to Buy a Motor Scooter”. If you are like most people who are new to motor scooters, the process of talking to scooter dealers about what to buy can quickly turn into a “soup sandwich”. Just by reading those three articles and perhaps a few others on this website, you will be able to get a grasp on the current motor scooter market, and be able to use the scooter dealer resources on this website to find the right scooter for you.
Gas Motor Scooter Information
Gas motor scooters have been around for many decades. While their use has always been extremely popular throughout Europe and Asia, the U.S. scooter market has traditionally been very small… until Americans started paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump. With these new gas prices the use of gas motor scooters in America is sky rocketing. The majority of this website currently focuses on gas motor scooters, but as technology changes in the motor scooter market, so will this site.
Pros & Cons Of Motorized Scooters – Before You Buy A Scooter
With the high gas prices these days, you might be considering purchasing a scooter to get to and from work, go to the grocery store, or just run errands close to your home.
Many people are. And why not?… You can get over 100 miles per gallon on a scooter!
While the idea of buying a scooter is a sound one, there are few things you should know before running out and purchasing your first scooter.
Here’s what you need to know before you buy a scooter for the first time.
Check out these pros and cons, as well as tips from scooter owners who’ve previously owned or sold scooters…
Scooters get wonderful gas mileage. Some scooters even get 100+ MPG, which is great when compared to a car. If you’re willing to sacrifice the ability to get on the freeway and you decide to purchase one of the smaller scooters, then you can get even better gas mileage.
Scooters can be inexpensive. A word of warning here though… some of the newer scooters with all the bells and whistles (such as larger wheels, ability to go on the highway, and stylish designs) can be quite expensive — costing upwards of $5,000. If you are concerned about the environment, you can even get a hybrid scooter or an electric scooter for around $11,000. However, on the low end, you can get a nice new scooter for about $825. So, all in all, scooters aren’t that expensive. If you buy a used scooter, you may be able to get one of the more expensive scooters for even less. And since scooters tend to not be used much, it is nearly like getting a new one!
Scooter insurance is cheaper than motorcycle or car insurance. Scooter insurance costs approximately $120 a year for all the bells and whistles (such as coverage in case someone steals your scooter, which is common). This is way less than car insurance where liability can cost hundreds of dollars, if not more, each year.
In some states (such as New Jersey), scooters are treated the same as motorcycles. That means that there are all kinds of fees that you have to pay before you can take your scooter on the road. So it behooves you to find out what scooter laws are on the books in your state. You may find that buying a scooter is actually not going to save you any money at all.
Not all scooters are highway worthy. If you’re thinking about purchasing a scooter to get to and from work, and you have to travel a highway to get to work, then a scooter may not be the best option. No matter what a scooter manufacturer may say, scooters have small wheels, and at the high speeds that you would need to travel on a highway, your scooter could be difficult to control, making accidents a definite possibility.
Depending on which city you live in, you could have trouble parking your scooter. Best as I could tell from my research, most cities in the United States are not scooter friendly yet. Many times you can end up paying almost as much (if not the same amount) to park your scooter as you would pay to park your car. Also, in some cities like my own, Seattle, car owners have been known to move scooters out of parking spaces, and even knock them over.
So, TOP10 of 50cc scooters:
- №1 — Avanti 150Cc Scooter Sport Style
- №2 — Taotao Scooter Power Max 150cc
- №3 — Gigabyke Groove Electric Moped Scooter
- №4 — TaoTao ATM50-A1 Street Legal Scooter
- №5 — Razor Pocket Mod Electric Scooter
- №6 — Icebear Moped Scooter Gas Powered
- №7 — Tao Tao USA Inc Renegade TPGS-805 Scooter
- №8 — Tao Tao Thunder 50 Gas Powered Scooter
- №9 — Tao Tao Quantum 150
- №10 — TaoTao Gas Powered Scooter ATM50-A1