Scooters or Motorcycles? – What’s better?

Both scooters and motorcycles enable riders to enjoy low fuel prices and quick navigation through town. However, these two-wheeled vehicles also have major differences in engine size and body design that can mean the difference between safely riding at highway speeds and the ability to extract yourself from fast-moving, hazardous conditions.

When you are building an electric 2 wheeler you will always come to the… crossroad as to what to make? A Scooter or a Motorcycle. Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Learning Curve

Riders who want to navigate on roads with a two-wheeled gas-powered vehicle will find that scooters are much easier to learn to ride than motorcycles because of the two different types of transmissions on each vehicle. In Scooters there is no need to change gears… thus No Clutch… in short Scooter is AT (Automatic Transmission). It is very easy for a beginner.

A motorcycle rider must learn to accelerate by operating the vehicle’s manual transmission using a clutch lever and shifter pedal. Thus Motorcycles are MT (Manual Transmission). This makes the task of balancing the bike, maintaining speed and changing gears according to the speed of the bike and the situation a little tricky for the beginner.


The heavier weight of a motorcycle makes it a little challenging to learn safe-maneuvering techniques at slow speeds, while a scooter’s lighter weight gives riders the ability to go slower without tipping over.

Acceleration and Power

Scooter engines are much smaller and less powerful than motorcycle engines. A typical scooter engine size ranges from 50cc to 150cc, but the smallest motorcycle engine usually starts at 250cc. Although some of the largest modern scooters have 250cc engines, they cannot compete with the acceleration and speed capabilities of a typical motorcycle; attempting to do so puts the rider at risk since the scooter’s lightweight body isn’t as stable at high speeds as a heavier motorcycle. Even with the scooter’s smaller engine size, you can safely ride it on roads with little traffic, but riding a scooter in heavy congestion or at highway speeds poses a serious danger to the rider. Scooter engines cannot keep up with the flow of traffic at the same rate as a motorcycle.

Motorcycle due to their bigger engine can carry more load up to 500Kg (half a ton) or 6 people… In India its not uncommon to see a motorcycle carrying a family of 4 to 6 people. Scooters have a tough time with 2 people.


Scooters have smaller tires of size 12 inch to a maximum of 16inches. This small size is goof for slow-speed-handling but very risky at speeds over 60kmph especially on bad roads. Motorcycles have wheels starting at 16 inches and up to 20 inches. But Tyre size of 18 inches can be considered  the standard in motorcycle tires. The wider the Tyre… the better the ride and safer  the vehicle as it avoids skidding. Thus both the width and height of the tires of the motorcycle make it far safer especially at higher speeds eg over 60kmph. The height and width of the tires also make the ride comfortable as it can go over small stones and ditches without much effort and vibration. The larger tires on a motorcycle also allow the vehicle to travel over potholes, railroad tracks and metal road surfaces much more safely and with less chance of falling over.

Wheel Base

Motorcycles are safer at faster speeds than scooters, while scooters are better able to handle slower speeds because of the shorter distance between their front & rear wheels and also because of their shorter tire sizes. Motorcycles have longer wheel bases of up to 70 inches, depending on the model, as well as larger tires. A longer wheel base enables motorcycles to safely ride on fast-moving roads with better stability and and balance than a scooter. While the shorter wheel base and smaller tires of a scooter gives riders better turning and maneuverability at slower speeds. Scooters are unstable when scooter riders accelerate to highway speeds.

Siting Position:

In a scooter your feet are placed inside the vehicle and in front of you and you have to bring them outside, and to the side when you approach the signal. Disadvantage is that the position is a little constrained and limited. Advantage is that it can be used by anybody even by ladies in saree. In a motorcycle the seating position natural, and easier to get your legs on the ground. Disadvantage is that people have to stride it to ride it, making it impossible for a lady in saree or a guy in mundu (lungi) unless he folds the mundu. The seating on a scooter is cramped depending upon the seat as the seat area is limited while in a motorcycle the seat is longer and one can change positions as required. Scooters are good for short distance and must not be taken on long distance (maximum 100km) or for inter-state travel.

Storage space

A scooter has quite a few cubic meter of storage space. For one it has smaller engine and has quite a small space under seat storage space. But the area in front can also accommodate quite a lot of storage like in case to carry a Gas cylinder or a kid who gets to stand upright on the foot-board.

On a scooter the engine is placed in front of the rear wheel, which creates a large space over the rear wheel where you can safely store helmets and other cargo. With the exception of the largest touring motorcycles, most motorcycles lack built-in storage space, and riders must attach soft or hard-sided saddle bags to each side of their motorcycle to store belongings. However, a scooter’s lightweight size prevents the rider from towing any kind of cargo trailer, but many larger touring-style motorcycles can tow a trailer with ease.

Thus when you make an electric bike it is more advantages to develop an Electric “MOTORCYCLE” as it has more advantages than the scooter and being electric removes a lot of disadvantages of the Petrol Motorcycle like:

Learning Curve in Electric Bike: Starting an electric bike and riding it is as easy as with an automatic transmission scooter… It cannot get any better.

Mileage in Electric Bike: Electric Motorcycle will have lower cost of maintenance than both scooter and petrol motorcycle and will cost much lesser over 1,000km…

Sr. No.

Description Petrol Scooter Petrol Motorcycle Winner
1 Learning Curve Easy Medium Scooter
2 Weight Less More Scooter
3 Power & Acceleration Less More Motorcycle
4 Tyre-Height Short Tall Motorcycle
5 Tyre-Width Narrow Wider Motorcycle
6 Wheel Base Smaller Longer Motorcycle
7 Sitting Position Rigid Better Motorcycle
8 Storage space


Awesome Lesser Scooter
9 Safety Lesser Higher Motorcycle
10 Riding Comfort Less Higher Motorcycle

Motorcycle wins by scoring 7 points out of 10, while Scooter just scores 3 points out of the 10. The three disadvantage of Motorcycle are:

1) Difficult for beginners,    2) Heavy &     3) Less cargo area.

In the above table it is quite apparent that Electric Motorcycles have much more advantages especially as they are easy to learn and have lesser weight than Petrol motorcycles. If big enough cargo space can be designed around and behind the rear wheel of an Electric Motorcycle it will be able to combine ALL the advantages of both the Petrol Scooter  & the Petrol Motorcycle and still be economical and a joy to ride.

NOTE: Both scooter and motorcycle riders are advised to take rider training courses that teach proper riding tactics and problem-avoidance techniques.


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