Unlike motorcycles, where the rider's legs straddle the engine, most scooters have a "step-through" design and a floorboard so the rider sits with his feet in front of him. The bodywork of most scooters hides the mechanical components. Other than body design (and engine size) the main difference between scooters and motorcycles is that scooters generally have automatic transmissions. Scooters are often categorised by engine size.
Small Gearless Scooters
Small or mini scooters have engine sizes between 50cc and 150cc. Scooters of this size are generally not suitable for high-speed freeway travel. In their 2008 50cc Super Battle, Thescooterreview.com compared 50cc scooters and chose the Yamaha Jog CV50 as the winner.
The Jog came in first for performance, ease of use, value and handling. The Vespa S50 came in second overall in the test, gaining the number one slot for styling and build quality.
In the 150cc class, the Kymco People 150 was rated the best budget scooter by consumersearch.com. Josh Dorfman, writing for Mother Nature Network, also picks the Kymco People 150 as one of his favourites. Dorfman says the People 150 "really turns heads with its modern styling, big wheels and funky colour combinations."
Mid-Size Gearless Scooters
With engine sizes between 200cc and 400cc, mid-size scooters can usually handle a passenger and are capable of keeping up with traffic on freeways. The Kymco Downtown 300i was named Scooter of the Year by motorcycle.com in its Best of 2010 Awards. Their review says, "The Downtown 300i excels in so many categories with its engaging aesthetics and masterfully balanced handling, there is little room for improvement." Honourable mention went to the Honda PCX which has "enough get up and go to push you around at a respectable 67mph while maintaining miserly 100-plus mpg fuel efficiency." The Vespa GTS 250 was named Best Scooter Overall by consumersearch.com, which notes, "Its classic beauty and superb build quality impress even diehard motorcyclists."
Big Gearless Scooters
Big or maxi scooters have engine sizes over 400cc. They are suitable for long-distance touring and freeway speeds. Scooterreviews.com named the Gilera GP800 third overall in its 2008 Scooter of the Year review, in which they state that the Gilera GP800 is the only maxi scooter that can "overtake cars at a whim and carve effortlessly up a mountain pass." Consumersearch.com names the Honda Silver Wing, with its 582cc engine, its Best Brawny Scooter Suitable For The Highway.
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