Mopeds generally refer to 2-wheeled vehicles with lower power, but there are 2 distinctive types of vehicles called a moped. Confusing, huh? I get that! What’s funny is that some version of a moped dates back to the early 1900s. Keep in mind as we dig into whether a moped requires a title that a moped intended to be ridden on the road exclusively also fits into the motorcycle territory. I didn’t know this when I started learning about mopeds personally.
In general, mopeds that are issued license plates will have a title whereas those. Those mopeds that have pedals and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour do not have titles.
First, we’ll dive into what makes a moped a moped and dive into the details a bit more on whether a moped needs a title.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn a commission, see my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.
What is a Moped?
Let’s talk about what a moped is in the first place. This gets confusing as there are 2 types of 2-wheeled vehicles that fit into what people refer to as a moped.
Mopeds are a type of bicycle or scooter-style transportation with 2 wheels. The bicycle type has pedals and a maximum speed of 20 mph powered by human propulsion and a small motor whereas the scooter style has a max speed between 30 and 40 mph powered strictly by a motor.
Mopeds originally were vehicles that had an engine, a shaft and pedals. There were no street legal adult mopeds until about the 1970s. These vehicles could have a maximum speed of 20 mph and also had to have some kind of steering (kick, twist, or push). So, it sounds a bit like what we have now in the motorized bicycle space, but the modern motorized bicycle is now electric. Some mopeds with the pedals will have a step-through design similar to what classifies a scooter as scooter whereas others look more like motorcycles.
The term moped is recently more often used when talking about motor scooters with a 49 or 50 cc engine size. They tend to be restricted at about 30 miles per hour. There are unrestricted models that will have a top speed of about 43 miles per hour. Motor scooters have a step-through design and fit into the motorcycle category.
So a moped with a 20 mile per hour max is not well-suited for road travel as the one that can get up to 30-40 miles per hour. This is important distinction.
Do Mopeds Have Titles?
Mopeds are titled in many states, however, the rules and regulations vary from state to state. To know if your moped has a title, you can use a rule-of-thumb until you can reach out to your state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS).
- If the scooter is a motor scooter with a license plate, assume this moped has a title.
- If the scooter has a motor that allows it to travel at around 30 miles per hour, it will be titled.
Each state has its own rules, but those with pedals and act like a motorized bicycle will not have a title.
Most states title mopeds that are part of the motorcycle class of vehicles that are street ready whereas those that are motorized bicycles fall into a category without a title.
When in doubt, look into your own state’s regulations, but yes, mopeds intended for full street use are required to have a title.
Do 49cc Mopeds Have Titles?
Whether you are looking at 49cc or 50cc, the difference is tiny. You probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference on either assuming both are restricted engine sizes.
49cc mopeds require titles as part of being street legal.
A 49cc moped is intended to be used on the street and is a form of a motorcycle also known as a scooter. If it is intended for the street, your state wants it to be titled to pay all the right taxes and such.