WHERE TO START AND COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Shouldn’t buying a scooter be fun and simple? Yes, it should be! We’ll explain here what you should be looking for when buying a motor scooter, aka a moped or gas-powered scooter. Read all the way through as you won’t want to miss any of these important points!
1. Price Point
Are you looking for an inexpensive economy motor scooter, under let’s say $1500? Maybe a mid-range scooter, between $1,500 and $3,000? Or perhaps a luxury scooter, over $3,000 (and yes all the way upwards of $10,000…Cha-Ching!).
That would be your first decision to make. Your budget! In my opinion there is no such thing as a cheap scooter though, as it will end up costing you way more in parts and repairs, lost work or school time, and are potentially unsafe to ride on the road with cars going over 40mph all around you! I mean I wouldn’t be caught dead (no pun intended) on a blow-out “wholesale” internet scooter for $699… no thank you! All of the reasons above cancel out the word “cheap” when referring to a motorized vehicle. The added expenses will bring you up to the price of a good quality economy scooter anyways. So you may feel like you’re getting a great deal upfront but in the long run it truly isn’t. You should consider buying a scooter somewhat of an investment, as you will be able to resell your scooter someday, right? With a super cheap scooter, it will probably be falling apart (if it even runs anymore) and you won’t get much for it if anything at all. A scooter in good condition will sell for about ½ the original price depending on age and mileage, etc. So please do yourself a favor and stay clear of those internet specials. Deal with a real local dealership, preferably one that is a scooter specialty shop who knows all about scooters and has good reviews. They will PDI your scooter (pre-delivery inspection) to make sure all the nuts and bolts and nooks and crannies are tight and secure and that the motor scooter you are about to ride all over town is safe and ready for you to ride.
2. 50cc (aka 49cc) or 150cc Scooter? Which is right for you?
The main factors when deciding on what cc to buy are- budget, licensing requirements, speed requirements and traveling distance.
A 50cc scooter, also called a 49cc scooter (same thing, they just rounded up) because the engine on a 50cc is truly a 49.6cc engine (cc stands for cubic centimeters, referring to the actual measurable size of the engine). Some say 49cc and some say 50cc. Tomato (Tuh-MAY-to) /Tomato (Tuh-MAH-toh). A 50cc scooter on average does 40mph, give or take. They are good for short distance rides, beach cruising, campus cruising, inner-town travel, etc. and in most states, you do not need a motorcycle license just a regular drivers license, and in some states you do not even need a driver’s license, but that’s rare. In some states you do not need to register your motor scooter or carry insurance on a 50cc either. On average a 50cc will also cost anywhere from $200-$600+ less than the same model in a 150cc.
A 150cc scooter, generally does 55+mph and can travel anywhere a small cc motorcycle would. In most states you will need a driver’s license and most likely a motorcycle license to drive anything over 50ccs on public roads, and you will most likely need to register and possibly insure your 150cc motor scooter as well. Costing a few hundred dollars (around $300) depending on your state fees. State laws are constantly changing and so we cannot determine exact rules for each of the 50 states. But in general, with some exceptions of course, these are the most common laws. Check with your local DMV or scooter shop as to your state’s exact laws regarding licensing, registration, and insurance for your motor scooter.
Now that you know the price range you’re in, and the cc you want to buy, here is a list of well-known reputable brands you can rely on (and ones to walk away from).
Quality Economy Scooters
The most popular economy price point scooters are Wolf Brand Scooters, starting at just $1,099 they are a steal of a deal (and no we’re not being partial here). These scooters have been made at the same top scooter factory for nearly a decade and are sold in the largest industry leading scooter shops across the nation, with an extremely low warranty claim rate, excellent online reviews, a two-year warranty and super low prices, these scooters can’t be beat! Talk about value! Check out College Magazine’s Top 10 Scooters for Campus Cruising… it’s no wonder, Wolf Brand Scooters were ranked #1 by College Magazine.
Wolf is a best-seller at top scooter shops in the nation, like New Scooters 4 Less in Gainesville, Florida (the scooter capital of the nation) NS4L raves that these scooters are so well priced, and so well built that they even use them in their rental fleets (and those rental scooters get beat on all day long).
Mid-Price Range Scooters
My all-time favorite mid-price range scooter is the Genuine Scooter. The Founder Philip McCaleb poured his heart and soul into creating a truly great scooter company (with a cult following may I say). With names like the Buddy, the Roughhouse and the Stella… who wouldn’t fall in love? These adorable scooters have a very low warranty claim rate, an excellent warranty to boot, and a fair price tag! The 50cc Buddy will cost you around $2,199.
A few other mid-range brands include: Honda, Yamaha, Kymco & Piaggio.
Luxury Brands (or Brand we should say).
Vespa- the king of scooters, the scooter OG, the Rolls Royce of scooters- ok enough horn tooting- here we go…
If you are not limited by budget, love classic Italian styling, and want to look like a movie star while scooting around, a Vespa may be in the cards for you! They even have an Armani branded Vespa costing over $10,000… so you can really take your unlimited spending to a whole new level! Or opt for a 50cc Primavera, around 4K. Downsides are only cost. Parts and repairs on a Vespa are the same as on an Audi or Mercedes. However, they don’t usually require them. It just plain costs more!
Other Luxury Brands… there really are no others. Vespa wears the crown.
Cheap (not-so-cheap) Scooters:
Tao Toa, Peace Powersports, Ice-Bear (yes that’s a real name) and the endless array of under $900 gas powered motor scooters found on-line for a Blow Out Deal of Your Life (that you DO want to miss) are all Brands you’re better off walking away or clicking away from. Don’t do it. Just say NOOOOO. Get the few extra hundred dollars from Mom, from uncle Bob, from your neighbor Joe, from whomever you can and opt minimally for a quality economy scooter at just a few hundred dollars more! These are the brands that have earned Chinese scooters blogs and blogs, threads and threads and forums and forums of slanderous, insult ridden, angry claims against Chinese made scooters. No parts, no support, no nothing. You get what you pay for! And you sure will pay for getting one of these.
Get a product with a good warranty. That means they stand behind what they sell. No warranty means they don’t want to be financially responsible for your piece of crap. A good warranty is minimally 1 Year on all parts, preferably 2, and labor coverage a huge bonus but will usually cost you more of course.
5. Buy Local (not on line)
With a motorized vehicle you will need to have regular maintenance work done, like an oil change, valve adjustment on the motor, a new belt, maybe a battery (if you like to let your scooter sit for long periods) and other normal wear and tear items like tires. If you buy on line and not locally, you don’t have recourse. What if you get the scooter shipped to you from an online website and it doesn’t work? Do you think they will pay to have it returned to them and ship you a new one? Or will you have to get it towed to a local shop and have it repaired? Probably the latter.
Good scoter shops, and that’s why I said to do your homework on where you decide to buy, will support the products they sell and honor the warranty work included with your purchase and be able to do maintenance work for you. It’s a MUST when buying a motor vehicle like a scooter. Some of us with scooters, using them as a second vehicle, like to let them sit around during the winter, or only use our scooters recreationally from time to time which will lead to a gummed-up carburetor or dead battery, flat tires, and other problems. You’ll need to be able to get it serviced and ready for riding. Finding the best local scooter shop will give you good recourse for all your scooting needs!