How Much Power?

Green Scooter

Image via Flickr by Marshall Vandegrift

The amount of power you need depends on how you use your scooter. Consider the following factors for deciding how much power you need:

  • How much weight will your scooter carry?
  • How fast do you need to go?
  • Are you driving on city streets or highways?
  • Are you riding on flat roads or steep hills?

The more weight you carry, the more power you need. Going uphill takes more power, too. Plus, you need enough power to quickly accelerate when necessary.

Most accidents involving scooters are not from driving too fast. Instead, the danger comes from oncoming vehicles turning in front of you at an intersection because they didn't see you. Your scooter needs the acceleration to get out of the way quickly. Even a small hit causes significant injury on a scooter. Taking a safety course is a good idea. It teaches you to avoid obstacles like potholes and stay as visible as possible when on a scooter. Check with your local DMV for information on safety courses.

50cc Scooter

To be honest, 50cc is not much power. If you plan to ride in any type of traffic, this size engine is not enough. If you are just riding bike paths and staying off regular streets, then this scooter does just fine. Add a second rider or a few grocery bags, and the 50cc scooter slows way down. So, if you need a scooter for running errands or getting to work, the small 50cc engine is not for you.

Our 50cc models

150cc Engine

Making the step up to a 150cc scooter means a slightly bigger bike. However, the 150cc scooter lets you comfortably drive in city traffic up to 40 mph. Some riders might hit 55 mph on a flat road. You won't get the 100-plus miles per gallon of the 50cc, but you still get around 80 miles to the gallon. Let's see a car top that.

The 150cc scooter drives easily, so even beginners feel comfortable. Grocery bags or a passenger are fine with this size scooter, but remember that adding weight slows you down. If you plan to do a lot of highway driving, then you need a bigger motor. If you use your scooter for neighborhood errands or an easy commute to work, this size is great. This engine also handles uphill well without a big drop in speed.

Our 150cc models

Bigger is Better

Driving a 150cc scooter keeps traffic from clogging up behind you and reduces the chances of a car passing you or, worse, being hit from behind. With a 150cc or above engine, you won't face the nightmare of riding open-throttle, as fast as possible, with SUV's whizzing past and scaring you. A good safety rule to follow: The speed limit on the road you're traveling should be 10 mph under your maximum scooter speed.

If you choose a scooter with enough power to keep up with traffic and accelerate to avoid problems, then relax and enjoy the ride. You might spend a little more on the scooter, but the peace of mind is worth it.

Electric Scooters

With environmental concerns mounting, scooters come in an electric version, too. Some of the electric versions easily drive on highways and go from zero to 50 in less than 7 seconds. The drawback is that the battery range is only about 70 miles. Electric scooters are more expensive, too. But if the environment is your number one concern, then electric might work for you.

Different Models

Depending upon your needs, choose a model style that fits your lifestyle. Some people want a scooter like the ones that zip around Italy. Many manufacturers offer Italian retro look scooters at various price levels. Other styles are modern and sleek, like a racing version. If saving gas is your main goal, then a basic scooter is best. If you want speed, then a fast touring model with a 250cc engine is for you. Remember, the larger the engine, the larger the scooter. If you're the type of person who wants a fully loaded scooter, some models come with phone chargers, grocery bag hooks, under-seat storage, and anti-lock brakes.

Plus, you can always add accessories. Of course, the number one accessory is your helmet. Not all states require helmets, but it's always a good idea to wear one. Make sure you choose a helmet that meets the government safety standards. Eyewear or a face shield is a good idea too. Not all scooters come with windshields, and even low speeds cause debris to blow in your face.

Do you need extra storage? If so, purchase a scooter rack. The rack attaches to the back of the scooter and offers ample space for large parcels, bags, or luggage. Make sure the rack you choose fits your scooter model. Another good purchase is a scooter lock. Most scooter owners recommend buying two locks, a chain and a U-lock. Placing a U-lock around the rotor prevents thieves from rolling the scooter away.

If you park in a high crime area, a scooter alarm is worth its cost. Many scooter locks have the alarm built-in, and it will sound if someone tampers with the lock or removes it. Some alarms even notify the owner when the scooter is tampered with. Also, protect your scooter from the elements with an all-weather cover. Make sure to get a cover the correct size for your scooter.

Whether you get a scooter for recreation or transportation, they are fun to drive, get great gas mileage, and cost much less than a motorcycle or car. There are no gears to shift or a clutch to work, and scooter owners claim they are easier to ride than a bicycle. So, grab a helmet and find a scooter that fits your lifestyle.

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