FAQ Scooters – The Scoop on Motor Scooters
Scooters are great fun! There’s nothing as exhilarating as hopping on a
scooter and scooting around town. The word “scooter” is one of those words
that’s self-describing. But there are some terms in the scooter realm that
aren’t so easy to understand. That’s why we’ve put together this glossary
of scooter terms and definitions. After you understand these terms, you’ll
really be in the full swing of scooting. So listen up!
A 2-stroke engine is characterized by the fact that it has one power stroke for
every revolution, or cycle. 2-stroke engines have a high power-to-weight ratio,
which makes them good for lawnmowers and scooters – maximum power with minimum
weight. Their downside is that they run on a mixture of gas and oil, which
produces heavy exhaust – not good for the environment.
A 4-stroke engine has one power stroke for every two revolutions, and is fueled
by gas. The scooter industry started building their scooters with 4-stroke
engines because the 2-stroke engine didn’t comply with the high emission
standards in the U.S. And if they wanted a share of this profitable market, they
had to adapt.
CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
The CPSC is the U.S. government agency that sets up and regulates the guidelines
for product safety. Scooter safety is a real focus for them with the surge of
scooter sales in recent years. Check out their reports on scooter safety, and on
injury statistics from scooter accidents.
DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)
The DMV is the governing body that regulates the operation of all moving
vehicles on the street. Their regulations governing the use of scooters varies
from one area to another, because they have varying definitions of exactly what
a scooter is. If you’ve just bought a new scooter, or if you’ve just moved
to an unfamiliar area and you own a scooter, you need to contact the local DMV
to see what you can and can’t do with your scooter.
An electric scooter looks much like the kids push scooter, except it has a small
battery under the floorboards. Electric scooters can reach speeds of around
10-15 mph, with a distance range of about 10 miles, depending on the level of
the terrain you’re traveling on. There are larger models on the market now,
like the new ZAP (Zero Air Pollution) Lepton, which looks more like the original
Italian sleek style scooters. It has a range of about 20 miles, and a speed of
around 25 mph. Of course, the ZAP Lepton costs a lot more than the cheaper
electric motorized scooters.
Engine displacement is calculated by a complicated technical mathematical
process. Since our aim is to make life simple, we’re just going to tell you
that the answer to that confusing formula refers to the volume that’s
displaced during one whole revolution of a motor. The smaller scooters have
engine displacements that start around 20cc. The larger models go all the way up
to 500cc. Those ones can really move!
There are a number of styles and models of gas scooters. The most popular is the
original design of the Italian Vespa scooter, with its one-piece chassis. The
rider sits down on the step through frame, with his knees able to touch. The
handlebars provide easy steering, with the brakes and throttle on the handle
There’s also a gas scooter that looks just like an electric scooter, but with
a gas motor mounted behind the floorboards, instead of the battery underneath.
Most gas scooters run on a 2-stroke engine, but many newer models have a
4-stroke engine, to comply with the high emission standards in America.
A maxi-scooter is a fairly recent addition to the scooter industry. It looks
just like a modern-day Japanese motorcycle, with it’s sleek, sharp lines and
its vibrant colors. But it’s still a scooter, marked by its one-piece chassis,
its step through frame, and its floorboards. You can get a maxi-scooter with a
500cc twin-cylinder 4-stroke engine with fuel injection. Very cool and very
A mini-scooter is just what it sounds like – a much smaller version of a
scooter. They come in either electric or gas models.
A moped is a lightweight motorized bicycle that can be pedaled, as well as
driven by a low-powered gas engine.
Piaggio is Europe's largest manufacturer of scooters. They built the first Vespa,
and have since become internationally known for their superior technology and
great scooter designs. Their scooters have that distinctive, world-famous sleek
Italian style and fuel-efficiency.
Push scooters, otherwise known as kick scooters, were originally designed as a
kid’s toy. However, they’ve really caught on in the adult market. (Is that
because adults never really want to grow up?) They’re a small 2-wheeled
vehicle, consisting of a narrow platform to stand on, with a wheel at each end,
and handlebars that extend from the front wheel, for steering and braking.
As we’ve already seen, there are many kinds of scooters. But the basic
definition of a scooter is a vehicle with two small wheels and a low-powered gas
engine geared to the rear wheel.
Segway™ or Cruiser
The Segway™ Human Transporter or Cruiser is a new and very unique type of
scooter that doesn’t really look like a traditional scooter at all. But it is
classified as one. It merely consists of two parallel wheels, with a T-shaped
handle extending from those wheels, and a platform to stand on behind the
wheels. Fairly simple. It comes in a variety of sizes and prices. It’s
anything but sleek. In fact, many think it just looks “funny”! But according
to reports, it’s very efficient.
The Segway or Cruiser is propelled by a series of tilt-sensors. As you lean
backwards or forwards, the Segway moves in the direction of your leaning. You
steer it like the traditional scooter, with the handlebars. It’s a very cool
invention, and the inventor’s hoping it’ll be the next phase of human
Vespa is the Italian word for “wasp”. The Vespa scooter was the first
scooter ever made. When Enrico Piaggio, owner of a manufacturing company, saw
the prototype of the scooter that his employee, Corradino D’Ascanio designed,
he said, “Sembra una Vespa!”, which means “It looks like a wasp!”
The Vespa has become an icon of classic Italian styling, and many scooters have
been modeled after it. Vespa dropped out of the U.S. scooter market when the
Japanese models appeared, but has recently re-emerged with newer, more
environmentally-friendly models, but still with that sleek Italian design.
ZAP (Zero Air Pollution)
ZAP is one of the world’s best manufacturers of electric vehicles. They
feature a full line of electric scooters and electric bikes. Their newest model
is the ZAP Whiz Bang, “The King of Scooters”. It features disc brakes and a
variable-speed throttle, and it’s handles uphills very well.
As you can see, there’s nothing complicated about scooters. We’ve covered
all you’ll need to know to get online and buy your scooter. Whether you prefer
a moped, an electric scooter, a motorized scooter, a gas powered scooter – it
really doesn’t matter because they’re all there.
And after you’ve decided on your model and style, how about picking out your
color. You can get pretty well any color you like: red, green, blue, black,
white, gray, or any combination of these radiant colors. And most colors also
come in bright metallic finishes to really make them sparkle.
So after you’ve bought your shiny new scooter, you can cruise on home. And
when you hit the neighborhood, you’ll have people staring and whooping and
hollering and carrying on and asking questions and drooling and…well
generally, turning green with envy. So if you want to be the pride of your
neighborhood, get online now and get that special unique scooter that’s made
just for you!