US Motor Scooter Research

Let's Buy A U.S. Scooter

2022 Vespa Custom Scooter at Vespa Los Angeles in Sherman Oaks, California 

Articles, technical specifications, and scooter comparisons.

Running a scooter can help balance out costs over the long run, but even if you just love the wind in your face, a scooter can be a great option.

A 2022 Piaggio Liberty 150 can carry between 595 to 683 pounds (595 Lbs or 270 Kg is quoted by the 2019 service manual) at its maximum weight and it only costs $3,000.  Compare that to the 2022 Honda PCX 150 which can only carry 366 pounds maximum weight. When talking about maximum weight it includes the weight of the driver, passenger if any, and whatever else is being carried.  The PCX costs $4000 (For the comparable model)

Then there are bigger scooters that can easily go on the freeway.  Here in Southern California the cities are so dense and poorly organized, there are generally only two options.  
  1. Jump on the freeway and take the long way to where you are going. 
  2. Take surface streets through multiple dense cities with hundreds of traffic lights and spend an hour going 25 miles.

How to choose a scooter:

  • Read the technical specifications and resources here.
  • Watch YouTube videos created by riders who already own a particular brand of scooter who can give you insight about what they hate or love about the scooter they own.

Save your money and buy a well established brand. You can buy a Piaggio Liberty 150 (at the time this page was created) for a MSRP $3000.  It might cost more up front than a $1500 Tao-Tao from China, but you'll benefit from owning a scooter with a long history of quality, parts availability, access to authorized dealers for maintenance and repairs, have less mechanical issues.  

One problem with the Chinese non-brand scooters is many repair shops refuse to work on them, they have a poor record for build quality, poor access to replacement parts, and their dealers in the USA tend to have poor customer service, poor warranty support, and many times go out of business. 

Reputable US Brands:

  • Honda (Japan)
  • Vespa (Italy)
  • Piaggio (Italy)
  • Suzuki (Japan)
  • BMW (Germany)
  • Yamaha (Japan)
  • Kymco (Taiwan)
  • Genuine Scooter Company (USA).  

I have big and wide feet. These Converse looking motorcycle shoes fit close to normal USA sized shoes and boots and are available in size 7 to 14 in either Black or Maroon. (I own these maroon ones in the video). Check them out on Amazon

Don't Fear MSRP

The (Manufacture Suggested Retail Price) will discourage you unless you already know the approximate cost before you go shopping.  A Kymco 300i in 2019 advertised at $4600 MSRP had an out the door price of $6600. A Piaggio BV400s advertised at $7100 MSRP had an out the door price of $9200 in 2022.

You can expect an average $2,000 over the MSRP on scooters. That includes the cost of the scooter, freight costs to the dealer, the dealer inspecting and preparing the scooter for sale, sales tax for your city (not the city where you buy it), registration costs and preparation, and a bunch of little government fees
(This does not include any fees if you finance your scooter).

Paying cash will NOT help negotiate a better price. Generally speaking, the main brand dealers will not negotiate the prices, this is different than buying a car. So think ahead, and just assume that any NEW scooter or even motorcycle is going to cost at least $2000 more than the MSRP.

Things To Consider

  • Your scooter will cost between $1500 to $2500 over the MSRP
  • Maintenance and Service expenses are higher on smaller engine scooters. Take a look at the 2022 Service and Maintenance Intervals page listed below.
  • A larger size engine scooter has longer intervals between major services.
  • Scooters with large wheels drive more like motorcycles, 14 inch and up.
  • Scooters with small wheels under 13 inch have more agility at lower speeds but less stability at higher speeds.
  • When buying Insurance you should get the maximum amount of uninsured/underinsured - Liability available. It doesn't cost much more that the minimum. Visit this website for more details: Motorcycle Insurance Explained
  • Protecting your investment. The saying with protecting a scooter or motorcycle is, you should be willing to invest a minimum of 10% of its value in security.  That includes quality locks, storage area, etc. Upgrading your garage lock, adding motion detector lights outside where it's stored, a quality chain or brake disc lock, an alarm, etc. 
  • Finding a quality lock can be difficult, because few consumers realistically know how poorly the majority of locks sold in the USA are.  Watching videos by the LockPickingLawyer on YouTube will help you learn a few things about the locks you should probably never buy to protect anything valuable.  This link goes to his videos about Motorcycle Locks.
  • Get fitted for your helmet.  Your helmet is your best friend. It needs to fit correctly and every head is a little different. If your dealer pulls a helmet off the shelf, plops it on your head and say's, "this will work", just say, "I think I'll shop around".  There are all kinds of helmets, but a helmet you think feels good handed to you without a fitting is not going to be as safe as a properly fitted helmet.
  • A full face helmet is best. PERIOD.  Yes, they are bigger, but they'll protect you a lot better than the other options. I own and recommend the AVG K6 Helmet which only weighs a little over two pounds and fits into the Piaggio BV 400s Scooter under seat storage space.
  • Things you should consider buying: Lock, scooter cover, rain gear, riding pants, trunk if you need more space (Known as a Top Case)