Ultimate Guide to 50cc Scooters (aka Mopeds)
Motor scooters are a cheap form of transportation that also adds fun into any commute or errand. 50cc scooters in particular are like a gateway to this fun.
Many states do not have the same licensing requirements for those restricted in speed which makes them easier to imagine yourself on.
That’s the point of this information. I want to share everything you need to know to get going on a 50cc scooter.
What does 50cc mean?
50cc is just referencing the engine size of the scooter. The ‘cc’ specifically is referencing the cubic centimeters. The motor moves fuel and oxygen, and the 50 is just a guide to how much of that movement (aka displacement) occurs with that motor.
cc stands for cubic centimeters and is the unit of measurement for the engine’s displacement process.
Much in the same way a calorie represents your own body’s fuel.
When you see a cc, just know that the higher the number, the more displacement that can happen.
Oh. And a 50cc scooter is NOT a moped. A moped literally means motorized pedals, so an e-bike is more like a moped than a scooter.
Oh. And a scooter is just a class of motorcycles. Is your mind blown yet?
49 vs 50cc
Some scooters will be advertised as 49cc, but you are welcome to consider them the same.
A 49cc vs 50cc scooter is a 1cc difference in the engine size and does not materially impact the power of the scooter.
A 1cc difference between an engine size will not make or break how fast or slow that scooter is.
That 1cc difference can matter to regulations on them, though.
50cc Scooter Fuel Mileage
It’s not uncommon to get over 100 miles to a gallon of gas on a 50cc scooter. As the smallest engine size, they certainly win by default!
That said, there are a few that come in under 100, so you’ll still want to double-check the scooter you want gets the mileage you’re aiming for.
50cc Motorcycle License Requirements
Since scooters are motorcycles, they generally fall under those license requirements. Just like other transportation, most rules are set at the state level.
As a general rule of thumb, you will need a drivers license in order to ride a scooter. However, there are some states that do not require a special endorsement to ride.
You will want to double check with your state’s department of transportation (DMV, BMV or whatever yours is called). The laws change and definitely vary by state!
50cc Scooter Price
50cc scooters are the smallest & therefore the cheapest. In general, motor size does dictate price. However, brand does come into play, and there are other engine sizes that have some overlap with the 50cc scooter offerings.
In general, a new 50cc scooter will cost on average $2,297 before the taxes and fees.
Best 50cc Scooters
As far as scooters go, there are more to choose from in the 50cc segment than any other one, so you will definitely have fun shopping for a 50cc.
Or you’ll be overwhelmed, so check out the article for the best scooters across the options.
Pros and Cons of 50cc Scooters
We’ll talk about the size of the motor, but even without that part of the conversation, there are a lot of pros and cons to getting a moped or a 50cc scooter.
Some of the pros and cons that factor into obtaining a 50cc scooter such as finances, convenience, safety, and more.
Accessories and Gear
50cc Engine Type Matters
2-stroke vs 4-stroke
Fewer and fewer scooters are coming out that are 2-stroke, but they do still exist but only on 50cc range of scooters.
Let’s keep this high level, but 4-strokes are more common as they are more fuel efficient, don’t require the addition of oil with gas, and they are certainly quieter.
On the flip side, 2-strokes are lighter, simplified, and have a lot more of a torquey feeling on the low side.
Carburetor vs Electronic Fuel Injection
Another thing to note on 50cc scooters is how the fuel is sent to make the scooter move.
Think of the carburetor as the older, more manual way whereas the electronic version is more optimized through sensors and such to have the right amount of fuel when you’ve asked for it.
No scooter likes to sit up, but you’ll get a bit more buffer in this regard with an electronic version, but a carbureted 50cc scooter is cheaper. If I exclude the Vespa brand (electronic), you’ll spend ~$200 less on average for a carbureted 50cc scooter than an electric fuel injection one.
50cc Engine Size Matters
50cc vs 150cc
When we’re talking cc, we are simply talking measurements on how much power the engine can produce.
In general, the higher the number, the more power the scooter will produce & the faster you’ll go.
If a 50cc is restricted to 30 miles per hour, know that the 150cc doesn’t have a set limitation & will get up to about 65 miles per hour (mph) depending on the weight on the scooter and the terrain.
In general, a restricted 50cc vs 150cc scooter is about a 35 miles per hour top speed difference. An unrestricted 50cc will be 20-25 miles per hour difference in top speeds.
Modifications can be made to a 50cc to get more power, but the same can be said of a 150cc, but there’s more to this story. Read this 50cc vs 150cc so you don’t throw your money away on a a scooter that doesn’t fit your life or too much scooter for your life. It’s a balance!
The key is to not keep any scooter running at its maximum speed range for long periods of time or you’ll wear your scooter out faster.
50cc vs 125cc
The same can be said for a 125cc compared to the moped.
In general, a restricted 50cc vs 125cc scooter is about a 30 miles per hour top speed difference. An unrestricted 50cc will be 15-20 miles per hour difference in top speeds.
I have taken my 125cc fuel injected Buddy Kick up to 63 miles per hour, and you can tell it doesn’t love that speed. If you’ll be on 45 mile per hour roads consistently, as 125cc or higher will most likely be a better fit.
Can I carry a passenger on a 50cc scooter?
If you can fit a passenger on your scooter, then yes, you can carry a passenger. In particular, you’ll know if the scooter is more equipped for a passenger if you look for foot pegs that generally fold out.
Note that your scooter is likely to go more slowly with the additional weight, and you’ll want to make sure you aren’t exceeding the weight that the scooter was designed for.
Can I ride a 50cc scooter on a freeway?
In general, 50cc scooters are not legally allowed to be on a highway.
I’ve heard stories of people putting in 150cc engines on a 50cc frame to skirt licensing requirements. A good rule of thumb regardless is that it isn’t ok to go more than 15 miles under the speed limit of the road you want to be on.
It isn’t safe to not keep up with traffic. Keep that in mind as you look at routes and your scooter engine size needs.
Can I ride a 50cc scooter on a sidewalk?
Motor scooters are not allowed on sidewalks. This can vary by jurisdiction, but around me, nothing that can over 10 miles an hour should be ridden on a sidewalk to maintain safety for the narrow strips of concrete.
In general, you’ll want to keep your scooter on the roadway.