These are the smallest, lightest, and easiest models for a novice rider to handle, and the most efficient, returning cruising fuel economy of as much as 100 mpg in our testing. Small scooters (engines 50 cc or less) are also among the least expensive to buy. All have automatic transmissions and electric start, and they offer a more chair-like seating position than a motorcycle. But with top speeds of only 35 to 45 mph, they cannot be ridden on highways and are best suited for putting around town. Registration and licensing requirements vary by state, with some states not requiring license plates at all. To see regulations by state, check the MSF website.
Scooters in the 125-to-150 cc range provide more power, making them better choices than 50cc models for keeping up with traffic, carrying a passenger, and for all-around use. Even so, they should not be ridden on freeways and interstates. Like smaller models, they’re easy to maneuver and ride, with electric start and automatic transmissions. Fuel economy is not as good as that of smaller models, but some midsized models returned close to 80 mpg in our tests.
Combining the seating position, shift-free driving and on-board storage of a scooter with the highway capability and range of a cruising motorcycle, large scooters (engines 400-650 cc) can be a good choice for travelers who prefer the look and feel of a scooter. While larger, heavier, and less maneuverable than smaller scooters, they provide brisk acceleration and easily can carry two at highway speeds.