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!

2-stroke engine

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.

4-stroke engine

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.

Electric 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

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!

Gas scooters

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 grips.

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 fast!


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 scooter

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 transportation.


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!

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