If you’re looking for a kick scooter, check our article about Lucky Pro scooters. There’s very little difference between mopeds and scooters. A scooter is more powerful, it usually needs a driver’s license to ride and it’s a bit more expensive. Although similar, the two vehicles have a different history, so let’s find out more about it.
Mopeds and scooters were all labeled as motorcycles at first, or in some places, they were called cyclemotors. They were all developed at the same time at the beginning of the 19th century.
At first, mopeds were simple bicycles that had an engine installed on them over the front wheel. Those 2 stroke engines were light, pretty economical, and that also helped the mopeds have the same qualities, being easy to purchase and cheap to maintain.
But when the mopeds were first created, the engine was designed to help the user rest his or her legs for a while, rather than providing continuous power. Starting a moped was a hard task, as you would first have to start the engine, then use your legs to get the bike to a speed that was fast enough to start the engine.
You could only manually engage the engine with the front wheel, and after you managed to do that you could stop using your legs to power the bike. However, that only worked on flat surfaces or when going down a hill. Uphill you would still have to pedal to help the engine get you there.
Furthermore, you would sometimes need to stop the engine, particularly when the hill was too steep and that caused the engine to stall. So, as you can see, the moped was more of a choice for those economy-minded people, but it wasn’t that performant.
Over time, the concept of moped kept its idea of using a few resources to get good results, but the design became a bit more complicated. New things appeared on mopeds and those were the much-needed lights. Furthermore, the engine was moved on the rear wheel, or in the middle, supported by the frame.
Centrifugal clutches made to send engine power to the rear wheel were also added to the design of the moped. Those modifications allowed the person on the moped to engage the engine faster because the pedals were moving faster too. The engine would now disengage by itself when braking hard or when going up a steep hill.
One additional modification that the moped suffered over the years was the introduction of the step-through design which was popular on scooters at the time. This allowed the person riding the moped to get on and off much easier. Some mopeds even had kind of a backseat for a passenger.
In the beginning, the word moped actually didn’t exist and the mopeds were considered bikes with engines. But in 1952 a journalist from Sweden combined the words motor and pedal and that’s how the moped was born.
Today the moped has certain characteristics, and you could define this vehicle like a motorcycle that has two wheels, it’s light, and it has a combustion engine that doesn’t exceed 50cc. It should also produce less than 2 horsepower. Also, most mopeds have pedals and they require you to pedal them uphill, but not all.
Nopeds are the ones that come with no pedals, and that would mean that they are technically scooters but with lower power. Moped users try to increase the speed of their ride anyway, so many countries around the world need to deal with this issue.
And that’s especially important considering that mopeds are believed to be the better alternative for teenagers, due to their limited power. So, with the mopeds being modified so much, governments may be forced to put them in the scooter category and the rules would change for teenagers.
Nowadays many people use the term moped interchangeably with the one for scooter, and in the USA the largest seller of mopeds is a company in NY called Tomos America. They also sell e-bikes, so the confusion is even bigger.
Because mopeds are so economical, they are great for those people looking for some means of transportation on a low budget. Mopeds can also help you get a bit of exercise during your commute if you’re looking for that.
That’s why they are great vehicles for those students that want to save some money. They also work well in large cities where the traffic is too heavy and you need something light and quick enough. Because they are so light and have low power they don’t reach great speeds, and you can’t carry much with them, unlike what you could do with scooters.
At first, the scooter was like a motorcycle; there were very few things that set the two apart and that was mainly the technology used. They evolved in parallel with the mopeds, but they had a different design which helped them be more aerodynamic.
The scooter was more like the futuristic vehicle, with its style and way of working. While the mopeds were basically bikes with engines, scooters were designed to be comfortable and that’s why they had a wide seat. They also featured protective and stylish features such as wings that went outwards, similarly to what you can find on some motorcycles.
These modifications made them more performant. They had the step-through design which allowed users to get on and off them fast. Despite that, they weren’t that popular, and people only really started buying them after the Second World War.
That was when aircraft manufacturers didn’t need to produce so many planes anymore and they turned to creating scooters. Maybe that’s why the scooters also got the more futuristic and dynamic look. The vehicles were made of tin frames covered in body panels, just like airplanes. That’s why many countries involved in the war, including the USA, produced really good scooters at that time.
Due to their technological advantages, scooters could be as fast as motorcycles and between 1940 and 1980 they even took part in the same racing competitions. Vespa was one of the most popular scooter brands and it managed to stay on top of the competition for many years.
Some racing scooters were able to maintain a speed of more than 100 mph, which was impressive at that time. The 17.2 hp engine of a racing scooter was capable of delivering huge power. However, during the 70s the technology for motorcycles advanced and they eventually became better and faster than scooters, in racing competitions at least.
Scooter’s in today’s society
But the scooter was never really made for racing. It was better suited for transporting people in busy cities, without having them to spend too much on the investment. Although in the USA scooters aren’t used that much, due to their style, because they require little maintenance, they are very popular in highly-populated Asian cities. You will see a lot of them in China, India, or Thailand.
There was a time in American history when the scooters were a fashion statement. And that was when Vespa entered the market and it launched an ad campaign with Audrey Hepburn riding on a scooter. Everybody wanted a scooter because of that. This is one of the reasons why Vespa is one of the most popular scooter brands around even today.
One good thing about scooters is they have all the advantages of mopeds and seemingly no disadvantages, although they are slightly more expensive. They don’t consume too much gas, they’re light and thus easy to drive. They are also more powerful than mopeds and they can have engines reaching astonishing capabilities of 850cc.
Maybe one disadvantage is that with all that power you need to have a driver’s license to ride them, and that’s why they can’t be used by teenagers. Scooters don’t require you to pedal them at all and they are equipped with something called Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to help with that.
A scooter works like a motorcycle, as you only have to twist the throttle for it to start moving. In recent years scooter companies didn’t really sell much in the West, but some big names like BMW, Honda, and Yamaha are building some new models that should be able to compete with other types of vehicles.
While mopeds are the cheaper alternative used if you want to save some money and also exercise a bit, scooters are there to help you when the traffic is too dense and they will be more powerful.