A Brief History of the Difference of Mopeds and Scooters

… as told by YouMotorcycle.

Many people use the term “scooter” and “moped” interchangeably. Whenever this happens, those of us who know the difference shudder, gag, or find other ways of venting our frustrations or disgust with the ignorant big bore boneheads of the world. If you don’t know what the difference between a moped and a scooter is,or have ever thought about riding a moped or riding a scooter, read this.

A moped is a motorized bicycle. At the dawn of the 20th century the bicycle was immensely popular. Viva la Industrial Revolution, baby! Rural agricultural life was changing: millions had flocked to the city, and back then a million was still a lot because no one knew what was going on in China! Those poor shmucks didn’t have cable TV or the internet, man had to go out. Being the inherently lazy bunch that we are, mankind at some point sat around an alley way sipping beer, a la King Of the Hill, when suddenly mankind said “wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to peddle to ride?”. Yep, yep, yep was the reply (back then they said “Aye”). Later that week, an ingenious sloth by the name of Moe Ped strapped an engine to his bicycle and the rest was history. Today mopeds are considered peddle-assisted motorcycles, or LSMs (Low Speed Motorcycles). The top speeds of mopeds are roughly 30 mph or 50 km/hr, which makes them good for just about nothing by North American standards, but perfect for everything everywhere else in the world.

A scooter is more like a motorcycle with a step-through design. It too dates back to the early 20th century. Mankind, who would eventually birth fiends like Evel Knieval and Steve-O, and being the inherently daredevilish fiends that we are, sought ways of riding not only without peddling, but faster than ever before. Along came a man named Scott Err. The townspeople would never forget his name. He made a rocking moped that actually didn’t suck, called it the “scooter” and all of the town’s wives left their husbands for a chance to ride his machine. Of course, no husband would ever catch Scott, as his scooter was much faster than their little mopeds.

Scooters had gears but the general trend for the past few decades has been the switch to Automatic Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT). Acceleration is as easy as twisting the throttle, there is no shifting required. Today’s scooters are essentially automatic transmission motorcycles with a step through design. Scooters sometime feature more advanced performance technology than their motorcycle counterparts. For example, a KYMCO Xciting 500Ri features fuel injection, braided brake lines, and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) not found on many current 500cc motorcycles. Some scooters can exceed 200 km/hr while many smaller scooters are still comfortable at highway speeds.

You won’t find that kind of technology or speed in your moped, but if you stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, you’ll find out why you should ride a scooter!

As a final note, here’s a Moped (left) and a Scooter (right):