Difference between a Moped and a Scooter

By: | Updated: Dec-6, 2017

When you’re planning to get a motor vehicle, there are certain considerations you have to take into account. Apart from the physical features, the engine displacements and speed factors also come into play. The moped and the scooter are among the types of motor vehicles that are available. Some tend to interchange the two and consider them as the same type of bike. This article will let you know more about mopeds and scooters and help shed light on the differences between the two.

Summary Table

Equipped with pedalsHas no pedals
Smaller frame but bigger wheelsBigger frame but smaller wheels
Has an engine displacement not greater than 49 ccEngine displacement is 50 cc to 150 cc
Reaches maximum speed of 30-35 mphMaximum speed is generally 50-90 mph
Less expensiveMore expensive


Peugeot moped
A Peugeot moped

A moped is a bike that has a combination of both motorized and pedal power. The term “moped” originated in 1952 from Harald Nielsen, a Swedish journalist. Physically, mopeds resemble bicycles, also having big wheels. Apart from being equipped with pedals, other details characteristic of mopeds are a small engine size and lower top speed relative to other motorbikes. Mopeds generally have maximum engine displacements of 49 cc. Those classified as mopeds can reach maximum speeds of 30-35 miles per hour. Having pedals, though, is currently not a strict requirement for a bike to be classified as a moped. Any motor vehicle that has a small enough engine displacement and slow enough velocity is considered as a moped. In terms of cost, mopeds are at the lower price range of motorcycles.

A Vespa scooter
A Vespa scooter

A scooter is a motor vehicle which looks leaner than a motorcycle. Certain elements of the frame and design of scooters have been made as early as the 1900’s. Its popularity started after World War II when the Italian brands Vespa and Lambretta were introduced in the market. Typical scooters are equipped with small wheels and have a platform where the driver can rest his feet on. Engine displacements for this motor vehicle are around 50 cc to 150 cc. This enables scooters to attain high top speeds and more power on the road. Scooters can reach maximum speeds of around 50-90 miles per hour. Cost-wise, they are in the mid price range among motor vehicles.

Moped vs Scooter

What is the difference between a moped and a scooter? A moped is usually equipped with pedals while a scooter has none. Mopeds look generally smaller but have bigger wheels compared to scooters. A moped has an engine displacement not greater than 49 cc and reaches maximum speeds of 30-35 miles per hour. The scooter, on the other hand, has an engine displacement of 50 cc to 150 cc, reaching maximum speeds of 50-90 miles per hour. Mopeds are less expensive compared to scooters.

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