Scooters are two-wheeled vehicles powered by a small engine. Although it’s similar in concept to motorcycles, it has some important differences. The wheels of a scooter are fastened to the end of a short axle, rather than being mounted between a “fork” in the frame. The engine is usually concealed in a cowling of some kind, making them quieter and less likely to get oil or grease on the rider’s clothes. Scooters generally have less horsepower than motorcycles. The overall effect is a more “civilized” vehicle meant for practical daily use. Today, a scooter can be defined as a two-wheeled vehicle built on a monocoque frame with a 250 cubic centimeter (cc) engine or smaller. There are scooters with larger engines, but they essentially represent a subclass of vehicles in between scooters and motorcycles. Many jurisdictions legally consider them motorcycles.
People choose to drive scooters for a number of reasons, not the least of them is the exceptional gas mileage a scooter can provide. Most models can achieve better miles per gallon (mpg) ratings than all cars, but the most eco-friendly hybrid cars are in the 60-70 mpg range–equal to the Vespa.
Scooters are also convenient. Navigating city traffic and tight urban streets is a lot easier on a scooter than in an SUV, and parking is no problem. For those living in rural areas, a scooter is a great way to make relatively short trips. They’re easier to ride than a motorcycle, and the body panels ensure that clothes aren’t likely to be splashed with mud and road dirt.
A scooter is a lot easier on the wallet than a car, as well. A brand new scooter can be as little as $800, with many scooters available for less than $2,000. Of course, a scooter with the legendary Vespa name on it often comes at a premium (prices range from $2,000 to over $6,000), and vintage scooters go for collector’s prices, sometimes fetching thousands of dollars.
For some scooter enthusiasts, it’s a matter of style. The shape of a Vespa evokes a fun retro feeling that many riders enjoy as they cruise around town. Anyone who considers themselves a Mod (which we’ll explain later) simply can’t do without a Vespa.
Source of article: auto.howstuffworks.com