Despite not seeing a ton of scooters on the road in the United States, we still have a surprising amount of options to choose from . However, there are still brands that should be avoided if you want to spend more time riding instead of working on a clunker.
Finding reliable information specifically on scooters is tricky. Much less in a way that allows you to compare your options. That said, how are you supposed to know which is best?
Check out this Scooter Buying Guide when you are ready to think through how to pick the right scooter for you. In it, you will find each feature described at a high level, and if you scroll to the bottom, you can access a spreadsheet I put together that lists each scooter within these brands AND MORE that will super-charge the buying process for you.
Vespa fans are die-hard, and rightfully so! Vespa scooters and mopeds are the original and launched in 1946. With over 70 years of producing scooters, there is a solid market for vintage models and plenty of Vespa specific scooter clubs abound. Read here for more Vespa brand specific facts.
Many people not familiar with scooters aren’t even aware that Vespa is a brand. They just see the iconic styling common to Vespas as the term for all scooters that have a similar design. I was one of those, so I get it!
Let’s throw in another layer of confusion – Vespa scooters are a subset of the Piaggio Group (that has multiple brands internationally).
Beyond the history and popularity, Vespa has the history, popularity, and mass appeal, so what do you get with the Vespa brand if you’re looking for a new one?
- Steel frame
- LED lighting
- Remote to unlock under-seat storage box
- Bike Finder & Bluetooth incorporated on some models
- ABS in some form on all scooters at the 150cc engine size & higher
- 12″ wheels as a balance between agility and stability
- 24-month warranty
- Vintage market means parts may be easier to get your hands on as your scooter ages
- Not speed restricted unless you choose one that is
I know other scooters do some of these things, but Vespa does them consistently. In addition, it seems that other brands follow the scooter leader here before offering the same.
If you have any Vespa specific questions, you can always contact a local dealer, but don’t forget to check out this All About Vespa guide first.
So the Piaggio Group manufacturers Vespa scooters, but as far as what is sold in the US, they also sell Piaggio labeled scooters, as well. Internationally, the Piaggio Group has 7 different scooter brands.
Piaggio scooters are not as expensive compared to similarly featured scooters as Vespa can be to its competing scooters, and all of the Piaggio scooters are more in the sporty camp instead of the classic Italian style. I mean, have you seen the 3-wheeled trike scooter (MP3)?!
Genuine Scooter Company
Genuine Scooter Company is based out of Chicago, Illinois, but no, the scooters are not manufactured in the US. Genuine was founded in 2002 starting with the popular Stella, so while not new, they don’t have quite the history that Vespa has.
Genuine Scooters are affordable, dependable, have a broad selection of scooters (and colors) and solidly maintainable.
For the base 50cc scooter from Vespa, you’re looking at an MSRP of $4,000. For a 50cc from Genuine that is also electronically fuel-injected, you’ll be spending less than half at $1,899. Genuine throws in 1 year of roadside assistance through their dealer network, as well.
So they are half the price, and their warranty is solid. Many scooter brands have jumped onto the 24-month warranty bandwagon, but Genuine was the first in its’ class.
Have you seen the line-up of Genuine Scooters? They are quite impressive because you can find the classic Italian style in the Buddy versions (especially the Buddy Kick) yet go rugged with the Hooligan. I mean. That name?! 2-stroke vs 4-stroke. Carburetor vs electronic fuel injection. 10-inch to 16-inch tires. Find the feature you care about, and then pick the scooter.
The sheer number of choices the Genuine Scooter Company offers is a compelling reason to look at these scooters if you are in the market.
Additionally, if you move beyond some of the big scooter names, finding parts can be a pain. You can get parts through Scooterworks.com, and a full accessory line-up on the new Genuine Scooter Company scooters. Try to find a rack for a Kymco easily….
What I don’t like is that they do not have much in the way of a larger scooter, so if you want to go over that 200cc engine size, Genuine Scooter Company isn’t for you. They do offer a 400 motorcycle now, though.
3. Suzuki Cycles
You won’t find classic Italian styling, rugged, or a giant selection with what Suzuki offers. However, you will find the most luxury-feeling scooter on the market.
Currently, the Burgman 200 and Burgman 400 are the only scooters they offer, so you won’t find mopeds here. What they offer is what is called maxi scooters.
If you aren’t sure of the different types of scooters, check out this guide to the different types of scooters to help you. Just know these scooters are quite large compared to a moped and can handle higher speeds much easier..
The Burgman scooters have an excellent rating for highway riding for comfort and for its storage, and I rate the Burgman 400 as the best scooter for highway riding.
The storage you’ll find in the under-seat compartment and the front compartments is unparalleled!
However, Suzuki does not offer a 24-month warranty, the scooters almost seem like an afterthought to Suzuki and the price. Oh, that price! The only scooter that is more expensive than a Suzuki is the 3-wheeled Piaggio.
Lance is another manufacturer with a ton of variety at an affordable price point, and it was a surprise find for me. They offer a variety of scooters The most expensive model is the 200i models: Cabo, Cali Classic, PCH, and Havana at under $3,000.
Notice those 4 model names? What is cool is that Lance has all 3 called the 200i that are 170cc. Then they have the same 3 in the 125cc. THEN they have 3 of the same in the 50cc range. No matter what size engine you need and style you like, if you like their scooter they have a version ready for you.
Lanco also has a couple of other models sprinkled in that do not repeat through their line-up like the Italia Classic (my fav based on looks only) and the Soho.
They also have that 24-month warranty, so you don’t feel like you’re taking as big of a gamble if you haven’t heard of this brand before.
While they have a nice spectrum of scooters to choose from, I’m personally a fan of electronic fuel injection, and only the 200i models have it. All of Lance’s scooters are 4-stroke. So plenty of looks and engine sizes, but I know plenty of die-hard 2-stroke fans that would not be a fan of Lance for this alone!
You may have caught my jab at Kymco earlier here. However, I actually like Kymco as a brand of scooters and mopeds, so Kymco has landed at number 5 in the list of scooter brands I recommend. They are a good value for the features they offer for their price point, and they are a good quality scooter.
You can probably tell that I’m a fan of longer warranties, and Kymco has a 24-month warranty, too.
The line-up of Kymco scooters are more sporty and rugged with no true classic Italian styling. The Like is the closest to the Italian styling, but it is distinctively not all in the same breath. Here’s the Like 150i for reference. It’s a great looking scooter with a bit of a sporty looked mixed into the traditional scooter style.
So they are a solid scooter, but did you know for $3,000 you can get electronic fuel injection, ABS brakes on the front AND rear? Did you know you can get up to almost 300cc in their line-up (X-Town)?
When you compare the other scooters in the ranges of what they offer, Kymco comes up significantly under their competitor with the same features.
Parts is a huge reason that I don’t have this scooter ranking higher. I do not ride the Kymco Like 150i as much as I do the Buddy Kick because I can’t store as much. I don’t want to tote around a backpack to go get some groceries, so I’m just a tiny bit jaded about what this might mean when I need parts down the line.
I feel like Ruckus riders will hate that Honda scooters are my #6 ranked brand, but hang in there! I have them here when there are many brands not on the list at all!
Honda has been making scooters for the US market since the 1980s, and they have developed a loyal following through their scooters – particularly the Ruckus and to a lesser degree the Metropolitan.
What I like about the Honda brand scooters is that they are quality scoots that offer features normally found in higher-end scooters, but they are in the middle of the pack in regards to pricing.
Take the Metropolitan 50 for example. It’s the cheapest 50cc scooter that has electronic fuel injection, AND it’s the cheapest scooter that also has liquid cooling (instead of forced air cooling).
The same goes for the PCX and ADV sporty looking scooters. They are the only scooters in the 125-150cc sized engined that have a liquid-cooled motor, and they are the cheapest scooters that have the CBS or ABS brakes, as well. They are electronic fuel injected, have larger wheels for added stability, the charging port, and the ADV has a smart key. Both are solid offerings if you like the style, and they are the cheapest 150cc scooter of the brands I recommend.
Why aren’t Honda’s rated higher? They just don’t excite me in what they offer. If you want a 50cc, they offer the Ruckus and Metropolitan. One choice of rugged versus classic scooter styling. If you want 150cc, you can get the PCX or ADV which both look very similar to a motorcycle than a scooter. And that’s it.
Also, Honda is offering the 12-month warranty which by now… you get.
Fav Scooter Brand Closing Thoughts
As I said before, I understand that scooter preferences are personal. These are just the brands I’d run to first. While I didn’t include them on the list, I’d also be willing to try out Sym scooters. I just do not have enough experience to feel solid in the brand yet.
I do hope you have walked away with some thoughts to explore which brand will work best for you, but if you’re still on the fence, check out the Scooter Buying Guide.