Motorcycle Buy

Buying a Motor Scooter

Buying a Motor Scooter

When I used to see someone tooling down the street on a motor scooter, I’d just smirk and figure that they couldn’t afford a “real” bike, didn’t have the nerve to ride a motorcycle, or was a librarian. My opinion is changing rapidly.

After reading about and looking at the soon to be introduced BMW C 650GT, I am starting to eat my smirky words. The 650GT has a 60hp engine, ABS, ASC (automatic stability control), amazing motorcycle style and the comfort and speeds to take on a road trip with some distance.

BMW C 650 GT - Scooter

Photo credit:

I think eventually this next generation of maxi scooter will narrow the gap between motorcycle and scooter. If you think you want to dip your toe in the water and buy a scooter or add a scooter to you garage that already houses a motorcycle here are some definitions and tips.

Displacement and Need

The first thing you have to figure out is how you will be using your scooter. Is it for some of the same reasons you buy a motorcycle like exhilarating speed, the idea that you can crank up on any given day and travel a few dozen or a few hundred miles from home or are you buying to stay around town or drive a short distance to work or a train station?


Photo credit:

Small scooters that are 50cc’s will keep you local with speeds that range from around 30-50mph.

Mid-sized scooters with a displacement of 125-170cc’s add enough power to keep up with traffic on back roads and slower highways letting you travel between 50 and close to 70mph.

Once you move up to 250cc plus you can keep up with many motorcycles with speeds comfortably ranging up to 70mph. I emphasize comfortably because you can ride a white knuckle and shaky 70 or a smooth and easy 70.

Ride what best suits your needs. Anyone can get a 50cc scooter cheap either new or used. Are you looking to save money to sacrifice style, size and speed? That’s your decision to make.


The scooter market is still relatively small. There are not exactly a dizzying number of manufacturers who produce dozens of models in different styles like sport, cruiser, off road, etc. New scooters run between $1000 and $6000 on average, sometimes even more.


Photo credit:

There are two types of scooter manufacturers. The first are the tried and true mainstream brands that are also into building motorcycles like Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha or BMW, or the specialty brands of high-quality scooters like Vespa and Piaggio.

The other tier is dominated by more cheaply made scooters with low depreciation like Kymco, Genuine, PGO and SYM. These scooters from Taiwan and China are still fun but will not be fun if you think you will make out well on an eventual resale.

Most new scooter I see on the road today are in that 250cc sweet spot and look like sports bikes. But like I said different strokes for different folks.

Happy scooting!

Reading next

What to Buy When Riding Through the Winter
The Most Dangerous and Best Roads for Bikers

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.