Highway Scooters: More Power for the Open Road

Make a purchase using a link? We earn with qualifying purchases through Amazon & similar programs. Read more: Affiliate disclosure

Highway scooters are a popular choice for riders who want a comfortable and efficient mode of transportation for hitting the open road whether for your day-to.

Designed for travel on highways and high-speed roads, these highway-ready scooters come with larger engines, bigger wheels, and better suspension systems than standard scooters. As a result, they offer safety, comfort, and performance for users who need to navigate at high speeds.

When it comes to buying a scooter that can handle freeways, there are plenty of options available on the market. From more budget-friendly options like the Kymco X-Town 300i ABS to more powerful models like the Vespa GTS 300 HPE, you’ll want to choose a scooter that best suits your preferences and needs. Let’s walk through the ins and outs of highway scooters, what factors to consider when buying one, and a helpful buying guide to make your decision easier.

Key Takeaways

  • Highway scooters are designed for comfortable and safe long-distance riding at higher speeds.
  • There is a wide range of options to choose from, suitable for various preferences and budgets.
  • This article will cover essential factors to consider when purchasing a highway scooter.

Understanding Highway Scooters

Highway scooters are a type of motor scooter designed for longer distance riding on highways and other high-speed roads. You’ll hear them called maxi scooters, too. They have key benefits, distinctive features, and have their fair share of common misconceptions.

Benefits of Highway Scooters

For me, highway scooters offer several advantages over standard motor scooters. Some of these benefits include:

  • Larger engines: Most highway scooters have engines that range from 200cc to 600cc, providing more power and speed for long trips.
  • Better suspension systems: These scooters often have improved suspension systems, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable ride, especially on bumpy roads.
  • Storage capacity: Many models come with ample storage space, allowing you to carry luggage or essentials for your journey. The under-seat storage can fit full-size helmets & 2 helmets in some cases!

Distinctive Features of Highway Ready Scooters

Some common features that I noticed in highway scooters are:

  • Larger wheels: Larger wheels are particularly helpful for highway rides for safety and comfort. You’ll find more stability and traction while riding at high speeds, but it makes them less agile like smaller scooters. Larger tires also help with comfort. The potholes you might encounter are a smoother experience courtesy of generally improved suspension, but also because the tires are just bigger.
  • Aerodynamic design: With streamlined bodywork, highway scooters reduce air resistance, increasing their speed and efficiency. This design is prominent in all two-wheeled scooters over 200cc except the Vespa GTS.
  • Advanced braking systems: All scooters in this class come with advanced braking systems, like ABS or disc brakes, for responsive & reliable braking essential for high-speed riding.
  • Comfortable Seating: Highway scooters often come with ergonomically designed seats with some adjustable elements to help with your comfort during long rides. The Kymco AK550 comes to mind with a pad on the seat that can be moved.
  • Powerful Engines: Engine capacity and tuning are tailored for sustained high-speed rides, offering a balance between performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Additional Storage: Some models offer extended storage options for luggage, making them suitable for touring or extended trips.

You’ll find many scooters in this class have additional features that you just won’t find on many of the lower engine sized options. Not all highway scooters have all of the features, but here are some to look for if you find them important for your ride:

  • Adjustable windshield
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Heated grips
  • Lights in the box under the seat
2022 Kymco AK550 side view in matte gray
2022 Kymco AK550 in matte grey

Common Misconceptions About Highway Scooters

Scooters have a lot of misconceptions, and how they play into highway riding can really cloud people’s understanding of capabilities & limitations. Let’s clarify some truths about highway scooters.

  • Not all scooters are allowed on highways
    Contrary to popular belief, only scooters with engines larger than 200cc should be used on highways. Smaller scooters, often called mopeds, are not suited for high-speed roads.
  • Scooters can be fast
    Many think that scooters are slow. Even the slowest scooters can get some speed. While not highway appropriate, even a 50cc model like the Vespa Primavera 50, can reach speeds of up to 40mph. A 500cc option like the Kymco AK550 tops 100 mph.
  • Highways are not for inexperienced riders 
    Riding a scooter on the highway requires skill and experience, so just because you can hop on a highway doesn’t mean you automatically should. It’s important to practice on local roads before you decide ride on a freeway where your reaction time changes with higher speeds.

Highways aren’t automatically for the faint of heart! If you’re still reading, I’m betting it is for you, so let’s dive into key factors to consider when choosing your highway-ready maxi scooter.

Key Factors to Consider

I’m excited to help you find the perfect scooter for highway riding! We will discuss key factors that every rider should consider when selecting their ideal highway scooter. To make things simple, let’s break it down into five crucial aspects.

Safety Features for Highway Riding

Safety is my top priority while cruising on the highways. I can’t control other drivers on the road, but I want the safety features that will help me handle situations that might come up.

When choosing a scooter ready for highway-riding, confirm that it has advanced safety features like ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), traction control, and bright LED headlights.

You’ll also want to consider your gear like a helmet with a great fit and other protective gear like a jacket to keep flying insects or random debris like sand that feels much worse than you’d think!

Engine Size (aka speed needs)

The size of the engine translates pretty well to the speed you’re going to be able to get to. And on a highway, that means your ability to travel at the speed of other vehicles around you which is critical for your safety on any roadway.

For highway speeds, I wouldn’t touch any scooter that doesn’t hit at least 200cc, but I highly recommend scooters with at least 300cc like the Yamaha XMAX and the Vespa GTS 300 HPE. You’re going to have more oomph to do what you need to do in more situations with at least 300cc with more of that potential with an even larger engine.

green yamaha xmax in a parking lot

The other thing to consider with the engine size is that the top speed of any highway-ready scooter doesn’t mean that the scooter will love being held at that top speed for a long trip on the highway. It can reach that speed, but it would be a strain on the engine for a long time.

So you’re going to wear out your scooter faster than if you could hold a speed about 20% less. Wanna know what is high mileage for a scooter?

Comfort and Ergonomics

As someone who enjoys long rides, comfort and ergonomics are significant factors for me. And my behind. Look for scooters with comfortable seats, adjustable windshields, and spacious legroom.

Scooters like the Suzuki Burgman 400 and the BMW C 400 GT are great examples of comfortable highway-ready scooters as is the Kymco AK550 where I enjoy being able to move my foot position from a more upright to more relaxed. Read my Kymco AK550 review. Sometimes just being able to switch positions can help you get another 50 miles out of a ride with more comfort.

Woman on a Burgman maxi scooter with feet on standard platform
My feet flat on the bottom in an upright position. My feet could be moved to the slanted platform behind the wheel for a different position if I were to get uncomfortable.

Fuel Efficiency and Emissions

I found scooters in an effort to be environmentally conscious while recognizing that it’s tough in a place without solid public transit. Plus who doesn’t want to save money when it’s time to fill up?! There aren’t currently electric scooters available in the US with the power to handle highway speeds that I’ve seen yet, but until then, you’ll find no less than 55 miles per hour possible for maxi scooter options.

Maintenance and Long Term Costs

Finally, I always consider the long-term costs, including maintenance and reliability. Look for scooters from reputable manufacturers known for their durability and low maintenance needs. Researching warranty options and easy availability of spare parts can also help reduce expenses in the long run.

Kymco & Vespa have 2 year warranties where as many of the other manufacturers like Yamaha and Honda have a 1 year. On the flip side, if your scooter isn’t a commonly found one in your area, it can take weeks to get a part in, so you’ll want to be aware of that if you’re taking a gamble on a brand as scooters in this price range are considerably higher than a beginner scooter.

I dive into my favorite options for highway scooters in this Best Scooters for Highway Riding article.

Keep these factors in mind as you search for the perfect highway scooter, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying thrilling rides!

Buying Guide

Choosing the Right Highway Scooter

When I’m looking for a highway scooter, there are certain features that I pay attention to in order to make an informed decision. One of the most important factors is the engine size, as larger engines generally allow scooters to reach and maintain higher speeds more easily. Scooters need to have engines of at least 200cc to effectively handle highway speeds and conditions [^1^].

Another key consideration for me is the scooter’s suspension system. A solid suspension helps provide stability and comfort when riding at high speeds on the highway. It’s also essential to look into the scooter’s brakes, as stopping capabilities are especially important when traveling at highway speeds.

Additionally, I prioritize the range and fuel efficiency of a highway scooter. Longer rides and highway commutes require a scooter that can travel far without frequent refueling or recharging.

Lastly, I think it’s crucial not to overlook the overall comfort and how you fit on the scooter, as this can greatly affect the overall riding experience on highways. The seating position, handlebars, and footrests should all be taken into account when choosing a scooter for highway riding.

Layer in your height and weight & whether you see yourself having a passenger are all important things to consider. For example, I thought I would not be comfortable on the AK550 because it’s so large, but it’s excellent for my 5’6″ frame. That said, my husband that’s just under 6′ loves it in the same way. I blame the low seat height with excellent center of gravity, but you may be surprised at what is or isn’t comfortable. Give them all a sit & ride if you can!

By prioritizing these features and getting on as many as you can, you’ll find the best scooters for highway riding that cater to your needs.


Choosing the right highway scooter involves weighing factors like speed, power, and comfort. I’ve found the Suzuki Burgman 400 and the Kymco X-Town 300i ABS to be strong contenders. Both offer a mix of high-speed capabilities, convenience features, and are suitable for different budgets. That said, we have a Kymco AK550 & Vespa GTS 300 in our driveway.

I appreciate the versatility of what’s available, as there is certainly something for everyone. For example, the Suzuki Burgman 400 is designed for those who emphasize power and comfort, whereas the Kymco X-Town 300i ABS offers more budget-friendly performance. And when you check out the X-Town, you’ll be impressed. While budget, it’s still a great motor scooter! Additionally, the Vespa GTS 300 HPE is another solid choice and offers an attractive alternative in terms of styling, but you don’t get a lot of the bells & whistles that you’ll get on other 300cc+ options.

At the end of the day, my choices were shaped by a variety of factors, including the scooter’s overall capabilities, appearance, comfort & all of that had to fit in the budget. I hope my research and personal experience can help guide you towards making an informed decision that meets your unique needs and preferences. Remember, the key is to find a balance between functionality, style, and sustainability. Be safe & be seen!

be seen and be safe graphic