In case you want to be equipped with the best knee walker scooter money can buy, we recommend that you read one of our articles on this topic. You can find more info here and decide what model suits your needs best.
Since we mentioned scooters, we heard a lot of people referring to scooters by calling them motorcycles or vice-versa. We decided to dive deeper into this subject and see what the differences between the two are.
It is true that the US Department of Transportation defines a scooter as a motorcycle with a platform for the rider’s feet or with integrated foot-rests, that has a step-through architecture. However, there are many differences between scooters and motorcycles.
What is a Scooter?
The term scooter is used to define a child’s vehicle that is usually equipped with two wheels and a low footboard between them. The unit is steered by a handlebar and it is propelled by pushing one foot against the ground. The other foot rests on the footboard.
Of course, there are models that can also be used by adults. Electric scooters have also become popular in the last period, and they are not foot-propelled.
A motor scooter, on the other hand, is a larger and heavier vehicle that is made for adults. It has a saddle-like seat that is mounted on the footboard. This vehicle is propelled by a motor.
It is also a style of a two-wheeled motor vehicle that is defined by features such as wheels less than 16 inches in diameter, a step-through frame, and an engine that is positioned below the rider and to the rear.
There are other types of scooters as well, like water scooters, knee walker scooters, and others, but we are not going to discuss them here.
What is a Motorcycle?
A motorcycle is a motor vehicle that is similar to a bicycle but it is much larger and heavier. These vehicles are usually made for one rider, but they can also have two saddles. There are also many models that can have a sidecar for passengers attached.
A lot of people also call them bikes, while the riders are called bikers. The wheels are also larger, over 16 inches in diameter, and the engine is attached to the frame.
Both motorcycles and scooters allow riders to enjoy low fuel prices as well as fast navigation through town. Still, these two-wheeled vehicles have significant differences in body design and engine size that can mean the distinction between the ability to remove yourself for fast-moving, dangerous conditions and safely riding at highway speeds.
Both motorcycle and scooter riders need to take rider training courses that teach appropriate riding techniques and problem-avoidance tactics. In the next part of our article, we are going to discuss the main differences between scooters and motorcycles.
People who wish to navigate on roads using two-wheeled gas-powered vehicles will find that scooters are much easier to learn to ride than motorcycles. The main reason for this is the two distinct types of transmission on each vehicle.
A motorcyclist needs to learn to accelerate by operating the manual transmission of the vehicle and, at the same time, use a clutch lever and shifter pedal. A scooterist, on the other hand, can enjoy an automatic transmission, as he or she needs to simply twist the hand-grip throttle in order to increase speed.
Moreover, since the motorcycle is much heavier than a scooter, it is a bit challenging to learn safe maneuvering methods at slow speeds. A scooter is lighter and offers the rider the possibility to go slower without the risk of tipping over.
Power and Acceleration
The engine of a scooter is much smaller and less powerful than that of a motorcycle. A standard scooter engine size varies between 50cc and 150cc, while the smallest motorcycle engine normally starts at 250cc.
Even though some of the largest modern scooters can have 250cc engines, they definitely cannot compete with the acceleration and speed abilities of a regular motorcycle. You should take into consideration that attempting to do so puts the rider at high risk because the scooter’s lightweight body is not as stable at high speeds as a much heavier motorcycle.
Despite the scooter’s smaller engine size, you can still ride it safely on roads with little traffic. However, riding a scooter in heavy congestion or at very high speeds poses a serious risk to the rider. In short, scooter engines cannot keep up with the flow of traffic at the same rate a bike can.
Tires and Wheel Base
Motorcycles are much safer at high speeds than scooters, but the latter are better at handling slower speeds due to the distance between their tire sizes and wheels.
Motorcycles have longer wheelbases of up to 70 inches and larger tires as well, depending on the model. A longer wheelbase means that the vehicle can safely ride on fast-moving roads and has better stability and balance compared to a scooter.
The shorter wheelbase, on the other hand, as well as smaller tires, offer riders better turning and maneuverability at slower speeds. However, it also creates an unstable situation when the rider attempts to accelerate to highway speed.
Furthermore, larger tires like those of a motorcycle also enable the vehicle to move over railroad tracks, potholes, or metal road surfaces much safer and with fewer chances of falling over.
The engine of a scooter is located in front of the rear wheel. This creates a large space over the rear wheel where you can securely store helmets or other cargo. Except for the largest touring motorcycles, most models lack built-in storage space.
Therefore, riders need to attach soft and hard-sided saddlebags to both sides of their bike in order to store their belongings. Top cases are also available on the market, that can be attached to the back of the vehicle, following the saddle.
When it comes to cargo trailers, the lightweight design of a scooter prevents the rider from towing any kind of trailer. The larger touring-style bikes can tow such a trailer with ease.
In order to get on a motorcycle, you need to swing your leg over the back of the seat which you then saddle. Often, you need to lean forward, except for choppers, like Harleys, while your feet are resting on pegs on each side of the frame.
Scooters provide step-through access due to the open space between the seat and the handlebar area. You can actually step through this space in order to sit on the seat. The sitting position on a scooter is upright, similar to sitting on a chair, with the rider’s feet resting flat behind the front carriage, on the horizontal floorboard. Your legs are better protected as well.
Which is Better?
Actually, this is more of a rhetorical question, because there is no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to each rider’s personal preference and needs. As you have seen so far, there really is no way to compare the two, due to the many differences between them.
If you want to start moving around town on a two-wheeled vehicle, you need to consider your budget, types of traffic you are going to ride in, and the speeds you are most likely going to ride at. If you can and want to, you also have the possibility to purchase both.