Moped Vs Scooter [What Are the Differences Between Them?]

Motorized two-wheeled transport options are quite popular among the masses since they cost less, consume less fuel, are nimble, and require less maintenance. Among the options are scooters and mopeds. Moped vs scooter – what are the differences between them?

A moped is a two-wheeled vehicle with bicycle-like pedals and a helper motor/engine to propel the vehicle forward. A scooter is also a two-wheeled vehicle. It has a step-through chassis and a platform that serves as a footrest. It has no pedals but only an engine. Both vehicles have smaller engines compared to the bigger and stronger engines of motorcycles.

Mopeds have smaller engines compared to scooters. Usually, their engines are no bigger than 50cc. Meanwhile, scooters are usually propelled by engines with sizes that range from 50cc to 150cc. In addition, mopeds are less expensive than scooters.

Read on to learn more about the difference between mopeds vs scooters.

Moped Vs Scooter

moped vs scooter

Mopeds and scooters are both two-wheeled vehicles. Mopeds have pedals similar to the pedals of bicycles. The pedals are used together with a small engine no bigger than a 50cc engine to move the vehicle forward.

A scooter, on the other hand, has a step-through chassis with a footstep platform. Typically, the engines of scooters are bigger than the engines of mopeds. Their engine sizes range from 50cc to 150cc. Some scooters have even bigger engines of up to 250cc.

With bigger engines, scooters can go faster and longer than mopeds. A typical moped with a 50cc engine can only go as fast as 25 or at most 28 miles per hour. Meanwhile, it is not uncommon for scooters to achieve faster speeds that are greater than 30 mph.

Being bigger and having a framed chassis, scooters are generally more expensive than mopeds. You can equip them with manual or automatic transmissions. Mopeds are more bicycle-like in form because of their pedals.

Many people confuse mopeds with scooters. They are not as common in the U.S as they are in Europe, that’s why. Since they look the same, with the scooter slightly bigger than the moped, most people assume they are no different. But there is indeed some difference between moped and scooter.

Key Differences Between a Moped and Scooter

The table below will show the primary differences between a moped and a scooter:

CharacteristicsMopedScooter
CategoryTwo-wheeled vehicle with bicycle-like pedals and small engine. Rider uses the pedals and the engine to move the vehicle forwardTwo-wheeled vehicle with a step-through chassis, a footrest platform and a small engine. This engine is the vehicle’s sole propelling power.
Size of EngineNo bigger than 50ccFrom 50cc to 250cc
Maximum Speed28 mphVaries with engine size, but certainly more than 28 mph
Size of WheelsVaries10 in. to 16 in.
Legal Age Allowed to Drive15 to 16 years old14 to 16 years old
Motorcycle License RequiredVaries by StateYes
Allowed to Ride on HighwaysNoYes

Other Differences Between Scooters and Mopeds

Aside from the key differences, there are other differences that you need to know between these two vehicles:

1. Mopeds Are Cheaper to Insure

Generally, mopeds are cheaper to insure than scooters. The majority of insurers consider mopeds as a lower risk. The reasons are obvious:

  • They have smaller engines.
  • You cannot use them on the highway.
  • Not as fast as other vehicles on the road
  • Less costly to buy, operate and maintain

2. Mopeds Get Better Mileage

On average, mopeds can cover more mileage than scooters. This is due to their smaller engine sizes. All things considered, smaller engines, in general, consume less fuel than bigger engines.

3. Mopeds Offer More Flexibility

Since standard mopeds have two motive powers (two pedals and one engine), a rider can choose one from the other. If the vehicle runs out of gas, the rider can still take drive it to their destination. Once a scooter runs out of gas, you won’t be able to take it anywhere.

4. Frame Design

Scooters only come with a step-through chassis. Mopeds can come either with pedals or step-through frames. Standard mopeds have pedals. Modern mopeds have a step-through frame similar to scooters. 

5. Mopeds Offer More Economy

Mopeds are more applicable to those who are looking for a means of transportation on a low budget. Their initial price is generally lower than scooters because of their smaller engines. These engines also consume less fuel. So, you can cover more miles with mopeds than scooters.

6. Scooters Are Faster

Scooters are faster because they have bigger engines with larger displacements than the engines usually installed on mopeds. That is why they can go faster and can help your reach your destination earlier.

What Are Mopeds?

scooter vs moped

Mopeds are usually equipped with pedals. That is why they are similar to an ordinary bicycle. But they are different from bicycles because instead of just pedal power, you can also propel them by engine power, though their engines are small.

Motor-Pedal

The term moped was a shortened version of motor-pedal. There are two pedals in a moped that are used similarly to the pedals in a bicycle. But these pedals only provide partial power to the moped. Aside from the pedals, the moped also has a small engine designed to propel the vehicle.

Engine

Engines of mopeds are usually no bigger than 50cc. The fastest it can move the moped forward is about 28 mph. As such, you cannot take them on the highway. They will not be able to keep up with the normal vehicle speeds on the highway. You can only drive mopeds in the inner-city streets.

The engine of a moped is designed to assist the rider while they pedal the vehicle forward. It only provides partial, not full, power. With an engine in its system, mopeds must use electricity. That is why they also have a basic electrical system.

Classified According to Engine’s Size

Concerning state laws, some states have classified mopeds according to the size of their engines. Other states classify them based on their maximum speed. Most states define mopeds as two-wheeled vehicles with engines of 50cc or less and a top speed of 28 to 30 mph.

Kansas is the only state that considers a two-wheeled vehicle with a 130cc engine as a moped. In this state, a two-wheeled vehicle that does not use pedal power is classified as a moped if it is small and slow enough.

Moped Driving Restrictions

As far as moped driving restrictions are concerned, there are different ages, gear, licenses, registration, and insurance requirements in every state for moped drivers. The majority of the states require motor vehicle license endorsements. In this respect, a person should at least be 15 years old.

Some states allow motorcycle endorsements in place of motor vehicle endorsements. Other states require both, while other states don’t require either. About half of the 50 states require mopeds to be registered if they are to be ridden legally when it comes to vehicle registration.

Moped Insurance

Around half of the states also require moped insurance. Some states also require wearing personal protective gear, while some do not. But you have to wear protective gear whenever you are driving a moped, even on city streets. This vehicle is small and has a chance of being overlooked by other drivers of bigger vehicles.

Today, most two-wheeled vehicles that are classified as mopeds don’t have pedals anymore. They are classified as such because of the smaller sizes of their engines, their power outputs, and their speeds. Since they are smaller, they are less expensive than scooters and less costly to maintain.

Again, what is the difference between a moped vs scooter? A moped is a two-wheeled vehicle with bicycle-like pedals and a helper motor or engine to propel the vehicle forward. A scooter is also a two-wheeled vehicle.

It has a step-through chassis and a platform that serves as a footrest. It has no pedals but only an engine. Both vehicles have smaller engines compared to the bigger and stronger engines of motorcycles.

What Are Scooters?

At first glance, a scooter looks like a moped. In the issue of scooter vs. moped, it is the sizes of their engines that primarily set them apart. Bigger engines usually propel scooters. They also come in different engine sizes. Some mopeds have high and low-powered powertrains.

Scooters’ Engine

The smallest engine that you can find in scooters is 50cc. As you go higher on the scale, you will find scooters with 750cc engines. Some scooters also have big capacities. But primarily, if a two-wheeled vehicle has a platform where you can rest your feet, that vehicle will qualify as a scooter.

More Expensive than Mopeds

In general, scooters are more expensive than mopeds. This is due to the larger engines, larger capacities, and larger frames of scooters. But usually, the wheels of scooters are smaller than the wheels of mopeds. However, scooters can come with manual and automatic transmissions.

Scooters Are Common in the U.S

Scooters are two-wheeled vehicles commonly seen in the United States. They first saw the light in the early 1900s and sustained their popularity up to this time. The most popular brand of the scooter in the world is Vespa. It was developed in Italy right after World War II.

These two-wheeled vehicles come with small engines that range from 50cc to 250cc. The engine provides all the propulsion of the vehicle. There is no help coming from pedals, unlike mopeds. Typically, scooters run on wheels that are 10 inches in diameter. Their power is provided by a battery that uses an electrical charging system.

In Western markets, it is possible to find a scooter powered by an 850cc engine. Even with this big-sized engine, you may think that it already qualifies as a motorcycle. However, if the two-wheeled vehicle has a step-through frame, it will still be technically classified as a scooter.

Scooters Can Come with Manual or Automatic Transmissions

Scooters can come with manual or automatic transmissions. The latest models have automatic or CVT transmissions because they are easier to use. They are also more fuel-efficient, easy to maneuver, and lightweight. These scooters are also more capable vehicles for daily commuting.

Moped and Scooter Driving Requirements

difference between moped and scooter

To drive a moped or a scooter, you need to have a driver’s license. Your state has specific regulations in this regard. You should check these regulations before driving a moped or a scooter on your local public roads. 

Regulations in one state may not be the same as in the other state. So, be sure to check your state’s regulations. For example, the moped license age in your state may be different than the scooter license age. It may also require you to pass a skill test before driving either of these two vehicles.

AM Moped License

You need to pass the first motorcycle license practical test or the AM Moped test to have the AM Moped license. The minimum age requirement for this test is 16 years old. When you are issued this license, you will be allowed to ride with a 50cc engine or less with a top speed of 28 mph.

This is the only license you will need if you are not thinking of riding real motorcycles and bigger scooters. However, if you want to move up to bigger and more powerful motorcycles, you need to pass the A1 or A2 practical test.

The A1 Motorcycle License

You need an A1 Motorcycle license if you want to ride motorcycles with 125cc engines or less. To take the practical test, you have to be at least 17 years old. It has almost the same requirements for the Moped license. The only difference is that you are going for a more powerful engine.

But if you are planning to ride motorbikes with bigger engines than 125ccs, then the more practical route is to get the A2 motorcycle license instead of the A1. But always remember that whatever license category you are aiming for, you have to take the CBT or Compulsory Basic Training. This is s prerequisite to taking the practice tests for mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles.

Conclusion: Scooter Vs Moped

Mopeds and scooters are two-wheeled vehicles. A moped is like a bicycle with two pedals. These pedals are used as a motive power. But this vehicle also has a small engine that is also used to propel the vehicle forward.

A scooter, on the other hand, has a step-through chassis. It also has a platform that the rider uses as their footrest. A scooter also has an engine that provides its sole motive power. Both the moped and the scooter use smaller engines compared to the bigger engines used in motorcycles.