What’s a moped

November 29, 2020

What is a moped?

A moped is a lightweight motorbike that can be pedaled. Most mopeds are made in Europe. Millions were sold in the US from ’76 to ’79 after the gas shortage. By 1985 the moped boom was over, and scooters became popular.

A scooter has a floor, small tires, no pedals, and can have various sizes of engines from under 50cc to over 600cc. Most scooters are made in Asia. The smallest scooters are like mopeds in that they are both 49cc automatics that go 30 – 35 mph. A moped means MOtor with PEDals, a hybrid vehicle half way between a small motorcycle and a bicycle. Since 2000 China has flooded the US with scooters that they call mopeds, causing confusion. Some USA states require pedals and some do not. In California, a “moped” has pedals, a 2hp motor and goes 30 mph. Mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles can also be electric.

A 2008 Tomos Sprint is a moped.

Some motor driven cycles are similar to mopeds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies anything with 2 or 3 wheels and over 5 horsepower as a motorcycle, and anything with 2 or 3 wheels and under 5 horsepower as a motor-driven cycle. So what appears on the VIN plates of all four examples below is Vehicle Type: Motor Driven Cycle, since they’re all under 5 horsepower.

Here we divide the Motor Driven Cycle category into Mopeds, Nopeds, Scooters, or Small Motorcycles. This is because the parts inventory and service expertise at Myrons Mopeds is limited to true mopeds and some nopeds. Other types of motor driven cycles are excluded.

Examples of Motor Driven Cycles: Four Different kinds of “Honda 50”

Moped: Honda P50
49cc 1.5hp 25mph
one-speed automatic
feet go on pedals

Noped: Honda NC50
49cc 2.0hp 30mph
one-speed automatic
feet go on foot pegs

Scooter: Honda SA50
49cc 2.0hp 30mph
multi-speed automatic
feet go on floor

Motorcycle: Honda C110
49cc 4.3hp 43mph
multi-speed manual
feet go on foot pegs