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MotorScooterShopper.com - The Motor Scooter Buying Guide 
50cc - 150cc - 250cc                                    Information, Resources, and Tips to Help You Buy the Right Motor Scooter  
Motor Scooter

How to Choose a Motor Scooter:

Motor Scooters are usually offered by manufactures in three engine sizes: 50cc; 150cc; and 250cc (“cc” stands for “cubic centimeters"). Some manufactures have other engine sizes like 125cc, or more than 250cc (which are sometimes called “Maxi-scoots”). But to keep things simple, by discussing the basic three sizes (50cc, 150cc, and 250cc) we can set a framework to help determine how big of an engine you need.

The size of the scooter’s engine will determine how fast your scooter can go. So your choice of engine size should be based on how fast you need to drive.

50cc scooters typically have a maximum speed of 35 to 40 miles per hour (heavier riders will likely experience a lower top speed). If you will only be using the scooter to drive on roads that are 40 MPH or less, a 50cc scooter will give you the best gas mileage, sometimes more than 100 MPH.

150cc scooters typically have a maximum speed of 50 to 60 miles per hour (again heavier rides will likely experience a lower speed). If you may have to get on a highway every now and then, then a 150cc will fit your needs better than a 50cc scooter. But the larger engine will produce less gas mileage, probably around the 70 MPG range. And while a 150cc can handle the occasional highway run, it shouldn’t be used on highways for many miles (especially if the highway experiences uphill climbs), or even short trips on crowded highways. Your presence will likely upset the other drivers who want to go faster, and in vehicles much bigger than yours. But for many people, the 60 MPH top speed is enough and the 70 MPG saves them a lot of money. So a 150cc model provides a lot of bang for the buck.

250cc scooters typically have a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour and sometimes more. This will help you tackle those highway runs. And if you are a heavier rider, this would be the engine you prefer the most. But the big engine will keep gas mileage down below 60 MPG.

Electric Scooters and Motorized Kick Scooters:

We could break the motor scooter market into more categories. But for simplicity sake we’ll talk about the rest of the market as those “other” scooters. Doing so isn’t to discount their prevalence, as electric scooters may just be the future of scootering. The Vectrix is a fully electric bike that can run at highway speeds, go from 0 to 50 in 6.8 seconds, and has a battery range of 70 miles or so. But with a price tag of $11K and up, it’s not really an option for people looking to save a few bucks on gas, as it would take tens of thousands of miles of driving before the gas savings would pay for the scooter. We've also found that the marketing of the Vectrix Electric Scooter is misleading.

There are other electric bikes that consumers can use and easily afford, but their speed and battery range are very limited. These types of scooters would work for the student needing a quick way to zip between campus buildings, but that type of student probably isn’t looking for a way to save gas money. The same can be said of the motorized kick scooters. Whether they are electric or gas motorized kick scooters, their speed and range are very limited, so using it to commute for significant miles really isn’t an option. But they are fun, and cost very little compared to a regular motorized gas scooter.

A mobility scooter is also a motorized scooter. But for most people, picking up a mobility scooter would be for nothing more than a fraternity prank. Mobility scooters are great for individuals who need assistance walking for extended periods of time. You see them available for use in malls, airports, zoos, and theme parks. Their speed is very limited, as well as their range.

Which model to choose:

Now that you know what size of engine you need, you’ll likely see there are several models to that offer your size of engine. The model you choose should reflect your style. And by style, we mean more than just the look and color, but also how you plan to drive.

For many scooter enthusiasts, riding a scooter that looks and feels like the many scooters tooting around Italy is what scooting is all about. Nothing less than the Italian Vespa scooter look will do. But with a MSRP price of $3299 for the cheapest 50cc Vespas, this just isn’t an option for those looking to save money on gas. But the Italian retro look can be had without the $3299 price tag. Italian retro looking models come from many different scooter manufactures in both 50cc and 150cc sized engines. And the 150cc engines start at just over $1000... not $3299.

A more modern and sleek look can be had in both the 50cc and 150cc sizes, and quick racing looks as well as more rugged looks can be had in the 150cc sizes and larger. When you're choosing a 150cc scooter, assuming you're not going for the Italian retro look, there's really two questions to ask yourself: 1) Would you rather go fast, or save gas?; and 2) would you rather pay for luxuries or pay a lower purchase price? The answers will determine if your 150cc should be a gas saving basic model, a fast basic model, a gas saving touring model, or a fast touring model.

In the 250cc size, how you drive needs to be considered as well. With the larger engine, the engine can be timed to produce different types of performance. A racing model can go as fast as 85 MPH at the top end with a single rider, but could likely struggle somewhat to accelerate from a dead stop with two people on it. A touring model however can easily accelerate from a dead stop with 2 people, but has a top speed with a single rider of 75 MPH. And for the person who needs everything, there are models loaded full of features like MP3 players and anti-lock brakes. The price of the scooters in the 250cc range really boil down to how loaded they are. As such the prices can range from $1900 to nearly $7000 for a 250cc scooter.

So choosing your motor scooter is two simple steps: 1) pick the engine size to provide the speed and gas mileage you want to obtain; and 2) reflect your style and driving habits.

If you are following this Motor Scooter Buying Guide in it's natural order, proceed to "Where to Buy a Motor Scooter".

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