A Scooter is a Motorcycle… A Motorcycle is not a Scooter.

So many people are confused. The different variety of two wheeled vehicles we see lately certainly does not help with that confusion. The term “Scooter” gets kicked around the most being in between things like Motorcyles and Mopeds. This article will try to sort it all for you. I am your host, Marbles Mahoney. President & Founder of The Hornets Scooter Club (est. 1999). I have been riding Scooters & Motorcycles for a long time or & been around for 60 years so far…

We will get the whole “Moped” question thing taken care of first. If it has PEDals and a MOtor, it is a MoPED. That is all, no further discussion needed, you can thank me later. I know that your State government (and mine) can classify your Scooter as a Moped regardless of it has pedals or not. This only applies to Scooters with Motors the same size and performance as a Moped. Usually 50cc or less, sometimes 49cc. This makes it easier for them to classify your machine by your limited speed. It also is easier for you to realize where your place is on the road. Stay out the way of Traffic, you are considered a hazard to them and usually they are right. Not all 50cc bikes are incapable, but it is the speed that is actually capable of that usually determines whatever classification, your Country, State or City decides it is.

Moving right along, let us get to the nitty gritty here. What is a Scooter anyways? First of all we are talking about Motor Scooters today, not anything you push to provide power.

Definition of motor scooter

Mr. Webster keeps it simple…

a 2- or 3-wheeled motorized vehicle that has a low seat and a bottom platform for resting the feet.

Lets see what Google says…

a light two-wheeled open motor vehicle on which the driver sits over an enclosed engine with legs together and feet resting on a floorboard.

Wikipedia says it best…

scooter or motor scooter is a motorcycle with an underbone or step-through frame and a platform for the rider’s feet, emphasizing comfort and fuel economy

Now, lets splain out for yous guys…

All those definition mention a place for resting the feet on a platform sometimes referred to as a floorboard. They are not talking about Pegs or individual Floorboards either, so do not get silly on me by saying your Harley has Floorbords. Plural, “Floorboards”. Sorry, that does not count.

The plot thickens with the frame. Here is where the difference become obvious. Above is a mention of a “Step Thru Frame”. Similar to a Ladies Bicycle. It lets you pass your legs from side to side to get on and off. This leaves a large open area or cockpit for the rider. Unlike a Motorcycle where you get on and off by lifting a leg over the whole machine, kinda like a horse. This large open area is where a Motorcycles engine is. Simply look between your legs, what do you see? Do you see a gas tank, a frame or a motor? Guess what? You are on a Motorcycle! Do you see your feet> Guess what? You are on a Scooter! I do not want to discuss what else is between your legs, thank you…

When riding a Motorcycle you straddle the engine and place your feet on individual pegs or floorboads. You “sit” on a Scooter, you “get on” a Motorcycle. This single feature settles what is and is not a scooter once you get all the government descriptions off the table, and they are. This article is based on reality after all and so is your author.

The Aprilia Mana is just one of many Motorcycles with an Automatic Transmission. It doesnt not have a Step Thru Frame or Floorboard either. Just like a Honda Grom or Navi…

Another thing to speak about is Transmissions. An Automatic Transmission does not a Scooter make. Automatic Motorcycles have been around a long time. Just because it has an Automatic or a CVT (Continually Variable Transmission) it is not a Scooter by default.

Mini Bikes, Pocket Bikes, Groms and other Small Motorcycles are just that. Small Motorcycles. I know many want to jazz up our classification of “Scooter” by including them. Despite their many similarities, the basic facts described above excludes them from being called a Scooter. Denial of the facts is described as ignorance. Please do not make me write an article about that. LOL. All of these bikes are welcome to come ride with the Hornets. I hope this helps settle things for ya.

Scoot On… Marbles Mahoney

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kristina says:

    Great article.


  2. Mark says:

    I like it.. great article. Personal peeve.. my majesty 400 was stolen.. police called it a.”moped” (arrrrgh!) But again my morphous 250 and majesty 400 (sadly deceased. Having crossed the black sands in Oct 2018) are not, by your definition, a scooter. They have floorboards on either side of the tank, which is mounted in the middle on the floor.
    I have had 3 “scooters” none of which had flat floors.


  3. It does not have to be a FLAT floor…


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