Since I was 16 years old, I’ve wanted a motor scooter, which some call a moped. The terms are often used interchangeably, though technically a moped is supposed to have pedals. I’ll probably use both terms to mean the same thing in this article, but we’re talking about a two-wheel vehicle that has a seat and can zip me around town.
Anyway, I am finally going to do it this year. I’m going to get a street legal moped/scooter to commute to work. Here are a few of the options that I’ve found.
First, I’d rather have a scooter or moped, whatever you want to call it, that doesn’t require a motorcycle license. Not that I’m opposed to getting a motorcycle license, but right now during a pandemic, all the classes are postponed. Also, I’d rather learn on a bike that has less chance of killing me. I’ve wrecked ebikes at 8 mph, and that was bad enough. Personally, I like going slow and enjoying the view. I’m not a speed demon.
Also, my workplace is less than 1.5 miles from my house and I travel on roads with 30-35 mph speed limits, so I don’t need a crotch rocket to get me there and back. What I do need is something that is safe, reliable, and fun. Yeah, fun because that’s one of the reasons people ride scooters or motorcycles.
I also prefer electric scooters because they are quiet, non-polluting, and require very little maintenance. Traditional gasoline mopeds can be finicky, plus there are oil changes, carburetor cleanings, belts, spark plugs, gaskets, and such to worry about. An electric scooter with a rear hub motor doesn’t even a chain or a belt. They’re basically the same as maintaining an electric bike.
I’ve discovered that here in the United States, it’s a bit of a chore trying to find an electric scooter to buy. Scooters just haven’t caught on in this country like they have in most parts of the world. Americans love their big SUVs and a lot of us have long commutes to work that require driving on fast, treacherous highways.
But for short commutes in the city or rural areas, electric scooters can make a lot of sense. They cost pennies to fully charge, and finding parking can be a lot easier. So here are the electric scooters/mopeds that I have considered.
The CSC Monterey is heavily inspired by the Honda Super Cub. It has the larger diameter tires that are more like a motorcycle. So, if you’re not impressed with the typical 10-inch wheels of most scooters, the Monterey might be more ideal.
The bike just screams vintage and cool. It’s powered by a 2.4 kw electric motor and a 60-volt 26 Ah lithium-ion battery. The range is fairly decent at 30-ish miles, maybe more, maybe less, depending upon how you ride. Like your typical 50 cc moped, the speed is capped at 30 mph.
In most states, a regular driver’s license is all that’s needed to ride a moped or scooter that can only reach 30 mph. That’s a big plus. In an ideal world it would be enough, but we all know that people rarely go the speed limit, and trying not to get run over at 30 mph, even in the city, can be a challenge.
I’d rather have the option for a little more speed for safety’s sake, but it’s capable enough for my short commute.
- It looks awesome
- Larger tires for a better ride
- Rides a lot like an electric bike
- DOT approved
- Doesn’t require a motorcycle license in most places
- Can’t add a second battery for more range
- Top speed of 30 MPH will limit where you can ride
- The price of the bike is great but all those added fees? Yikes!
Price: $2195 but when you add the doc fees and shipping, it’s over $2800. Hmm, that’s a turn off, but CSC is a legit company and the bike will turn heads.
The FLUX EM1 scooter has a lot of going for it. It can be deregulated to reach speeds of about 38 mph, which is more ideal for city traffic. Of course, legally that would take it beyond the 30 mph max speeds of moped regulations, but if you have a motorcycle license, or wink-wink, don’t tell anyone it can really go over 30 mph, then maybe you’ll be in the clear. I said maybe. Don’t quote me.
Besides the higher top speed as a plus, a second battery can also be added to achieve a range of 50 miles. It comes with a single battery for a 25-mile range.
The company is based out of Madison, Wisconsin and, from what I can tell, is legit. Registering the scooter seems like it would be straightforward, and the company looks eager to walk you through that process.
The only downside is the wait. You can expect a wait of at least two months before receiving the scooter, since they are made to order. But if it’s the middle of winter, and you won’t be riding for another couple months , it’s not such a problem.
- More ideal top speed of 38 mph can be configured
- 2-year warranty
- Several colors to choose from
- Comes with VIN# for easy registering
- Long wait to receive
- A second battery is about $1000 more
Price: $2600 when equipped with a single battery. You’ll pay taxes and other fees when you register the scooter in your state. If you want a second battery, it’s $960 more. One nice thing is that when you order, only a deposit is required. You don’t have to pay the full price when ordering, so you’ll have time to save for the rest before it ships.
Okay, I’ll just state my fears right off the bat here with Zoom. Their site leaves a lot to be desired. It’s heavy on gimmicky sales tactics, and light on details. But the scooter itself has some nice features. It’s the most affordable electric scooter mentioned here at $1999. That includes shipping! From what I gather, you can request paperwork to register the scooter.
The Zoom scooter has a roomy under the seat trunk for storage and even an alarm system. You can buy accessories such as a rear rack, a rear trunk, and even a pet carrier. There’s even a 3-wheel version, for just a couple of hundred dollars more.
It has a top speed of 30 mph and an advertised range of 60 miles, but that’s probably stretching it. My main concern, is that there aren’t any good reviews of the scooter from reputable sources, which leaves me skeptical. That really makes me want to order this thing and review it for you guys. Hmmm….
- Affordable price; includes shipping
- Good cargo space
- Hard to find legit reviews
- Not sure about customer support
Price: $1999 which includes shipping.
Okay, so which one will I choose? Well, you’ll have to wait and see. Maybe I’ll go for a NIU electric scooter, or a different brand. It’s January here in Illinois, so I have time to do my research before buying. Know of a great electric scooter? Feel free to make a suggestion!
UPDATE! I decided to with the Zoom scooter. It checked all the boxes for what I’m looking for. It’s affordable, has good under seat storage, good range, and an acceptable top speed for how I’m planning to use it. Also, since I review electric bikes, I thought it would be helpful, since there isn’t a thorough review to be found from an actual customer.
I ordered the scooter on January 9th. Shipping is posted to take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. It will be shipping from California to Illinois. I will keep you updated!