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What Are Scooters?
For someone with little to no exposure to vehicles of the two-wheeled variety, answering the question “what is a scooter?” may be a little tough.
While the legal definitions vary from state to state, a scooter generally meets the following guidelines:
- Step-through frame – Instead of swinging your leg over the tail end like you would with a regular motorcycle, scooters generally have a gap where the gas tank would be, with floorboards instead of bars or pegs, allowing the rider to quite literally step through the frame.
- Automatic transmission – Rather than shifting, a key feature of scooters is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This frees up the left foot to relax and enjoy the finer things in life. Not only that, but the left hand lever (which would normally be the clutch lever) is now used for the rear brake. As the rear brake is normally worked with a foot lever on regular motorcycles, scooter riders normally don’t use their feet for anything but stopping.
- Smaller displacement – As most scooters are designed for mostly running around town, they just don’t need a Harley-sized motor on them. The normal range for engine displacement is from 50cc to about 200cc. Larger scooter motors are becoming quite popular, however, and generally anything 250cc and above (as high as 600cc!) are known as maxi-scooters. While the sporty 50s limit you to about 35mph around town, the maxis can hold their own to varying degrees of comfort out on the open road, as well as highways.
What are scooters not? Scooters are not mopeds, that’s for sure. Setting aside whatever certain state laws may say about the matter, mopeds are bicycles with a motor on them, as well as pedals. Scooters weigh ten times as much and go ten times as fast. If you ever call a scooter guy’s ride a moped, he’s bound to die a little inside.
I know I did. *sniff*
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