Scooters are great, they are cheap and easy to ride, and give you the same freedom that you would get from a motorcycle. If you buy a scooter from one of the big manufacturers like Honda or Yamaha then you are going to wind up spending just as much as you would on an entry level motorcycle, maybe even more. Their flagship scooters are usually several thousand dollars more than even some of their bikes, but these are large, cross country ready scooters. We are not going to be looking at these. Instead, we are going to be looking at decent, street legal scooters that you can get fairly cheaply. Basically the best street legal scooters on a budget.
Scooters considered in this review
So, what exactly are we looking for? Basically, we want to find the scooters that are going to offer the best reliability, ease of repairs, and power we can get for under $1500. These are all going to be scooters and you can title and ride any of them on public roads. They are also going to have a CVT instead of a manual transmission, but this is true of any scooter.
Why should you buy one?
The best scooters offer a much better gas mileage than most other forms of transportation while also having a lower cost to buy and maintain. The people who will benefit the most from getting a scooter are those who live and work in a city. Besides that, scooters are excellent for students as well. If you need a good way to get around campus easily and safely, a small scooter might be your best bet.
What it boils down to is that scooters offer a cheaper, easier method of transport than just about anything else. Sure, you could buy a small car and drive that, but you are going to be spending much more on gas, insurance, and the car itself. Not to mention parking. Anyone who has ever lived in a large city knows what a nightmare parking can be. Well, with a small scooter you can simply pull it up onto the sidewalk in some areas. Even if you can’t do this then you can still park it in just about any space you can find because they are so small.
Another option is to go for a quad. A quad will give you a lot of attention for sure, some of which will be negative. However, quads are generally allowed everywhere (make sure to check first), and tend to by slightly more comfortable for lower trips. The biggest benefit is of course that you can go offroad with them as well. Interested? Check out our best quads guide!
Top 5 Best Street Legal Scooters
|Street legal scooter||Main benefits|
|Roketa 150CC Moped||• Fully assembled from the factory|
• Battery included
• Large engine
|Gigabyke Groove||• 250 pound weight limit|
• Electric Scooter
• Silicon battery
|Icebear PMZ50||• 120 miles per gallon|
• Windshield Included
• 220 pound weight limit
|TaoTao PowerMax||• Large, 150cc engine|
• 80+ miles per gallon
• Interchangeable parts
|TaoTao Thunder||• Free trunk included|
• Over 100 miles per gallon
• 50mph tops speed
Roketa 150CC Moped Street Legal Scooter Review
Starting out strong, we have the Roketa moped. It has a 150CC engine which is one of the biggest engines on any scooter. This little scooter packs quite a punch too. It has a top speed of 80 mph. This is very impressive for a scooter this size since most top out at around 55 or 60 mph.
Everything you need to get started is included with the scooter except for gas. Even the battery is included and installed. Once you get your scooter all you have to do is add gas and you are ready to ride. This is another great thing about this scooter, many require you to do some assembly, but the Roketa comes fully assembled and is shipped ready to ride.
When you order the scooter you will be mailed the documentation for it. Since you are not buying it straight from a dealership the process for registration is slightly different and will vary by state, but you will get everything you need in the mail. Just take it down to your DMV and register it.
- Fully assembled from the factory
- Battery included
- Large engine
Gigabyke Groove Street Legal Scooter Review
OK, shifting gears a bit here, though no gear will literally be shifted since this bike is all electric. The Gigabyke has a 750W electric motor for power rather than a gasoline engine. While this will limit your travel distance, it is also much more eco friendly and will save you money on fuel since you just have to plug it up. Many cities are even beginning to offer charging stations for electric vehicles.
The little 750W motor will propel you up to 20 miles per hour for 35 miles. While this may not seem like much, you have to consider the primary buyer this is targeting. It is intended for college students and people who live in cities and will not be travelling far for work. Personally, I would have loved to have had this at my last place since I was so close to work and lived in the city.
One of my favorite things about this, other than the name, is the fact that it also has bicycle pedals for if you want to ride it like a normal bike or if your battery dies while you are away from home. You will not be left stranded.
Another thing about this little scooter that will make a lot of people happy is that it does not require a license or registration in most areas. Obviously this will vary by your state, so be sure to check with your local DMV, but most do not require it.
Lastly, there won’t be any noise while you ride over the campus and streets. Depending on your neighborhood and whether they and you like lots of noise, this could be a very good thing.
- 250 pound weight limit
- No registration or license needed in many areas
- Can be ridden as a bicycle as a backup option
- Silicon battery
Icebear PMZ50 Street Legal Scooter Review
OK, back to the gas scooters. The Icebear is a good bit smaller than the Roketa, but there is a method to the madness. Most areas have the rule that if a scooter has an engine smaller than 50cc it does not have to be registered and no license is needed. You do still have to have insurance, though. Even if you didn’t have to, who drives without insurance? If I have a wreck I want to make certain that I am not going to have to pay to repair someone else’s vehicle.
The mileage on this little scooter is honestly insane, it is rated for up to 120 mpg. This is good since the tank is tiny, only 1.4 gallons. With the little 49cc engine it is even able of reaching a top speed of 30mph. You could likely improve this easily with a simple carb swap.
The Icebear also comes with the trunk and windshield included, so you do not have to worry about buying them separately. It does, however, require some assembly. It is advertised as being 85% assembled so you will still have to install the front end as well as the windshield and trunk. This should not take more than an hour or so for even the most inexperienced buyers.
- 120 miles per gallon
- Windshield Included
- 220 pound weight limit
TaoTao PowerMax Street Legal Scooter Review
Our second 150cc scooter comes from TaoTao, one of the largest Chinese manufacturers of recreational vehicles. They are known for making everything from four wheelers and dirt bikes to street legal scooters and go karts. Seriously, to say these guys make a lot of vehicles is an understatement. They usually have several entries in the same market and price range even, but this gives you a lot of flexibility. You also have the advantage of parts interchange between their products. This is because the mechanical components are the same on most of these bikes, only the outer plastics change.
This PowerMax comes in three different colors, blue, red, and orange and is a pretty good looking scooter. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a scooter, so there’s only so much you can do to make it look badass, but they managed to make it look respectable. it uses a basic scooter design and does not overdo it on the graphics like some makers can.
The mileage is great for an engine this size, about 80-85mpg and it can get up to interstate speeds without issues. The ignition has both push button and a kick start so you are not going to end up having to get a jump if your battery dies. I would recommend practicing starting it before you actually need it though. most people don’t know it, but scooters have the kick start on the left side. For anyone who is used to right hand side kick starts this will take some getting used to, but it is easy once you get used to it.
- Large 150cc engine
- 80+ miles per gallon
- Massive selection of interchangeable parts
TaoTao Thunder Street Legal Scooter Review
Yes, we just covered a TaoTao, but that was the large 150cc PowerMax. Now we are talking about the Thunder. This is a small, 49cc, scooter that has a similar appearance and is just small enough to not have to be registered in many areas. You should be noticing a trend here. Either they are 49cc or 150cc. This is because most people looking for this type of scooter are either looking for something large enough to get on the highway, but still cheap, or they want something that will not have to be registered.
The TaoTao Thunder tops out at around 50 miles per hour and gets a decent 100-110 mpg. While this may not be quite as good as the Icebear, it is still a very respectable number. Anything that can go that fast and get over 100 miles per gallon is worth considering if you are trying to save money on fuel.
You won’t be bringing home large pieces of furniture on this little scooter, but you can make quick trips to the store since it comes with a free trunk. The trunk is about what you would expect from a scooter trunk, just a basic hard shelled box that sits on the back of the scooter. These are invaluable for storing your documentation, tools, and anything else you need to carry with you, but don’t want to have to grab every time you want to ride.
- Free trunk included
- Over 100 miles per gallon
- 50mph top speed
- Large selection of interchangeable parts
I have tried to lay out several different options for people looking for a scooter online that they can buy for less than $1500 and provide a wide range of types and sizes. Personally, I would choose the Roketa since I live in Alabama and a city commute is non-existent. If you are looking for something to ride around the city or college campus, though, the Gigabyke is the best street legal scooter in my opinion.
If you’re looking for something more fun, check out the best mini bikes and the best pocket bikes guides. They aren’t as comfortable for short distance travel as street legal scooters or quads, but they’re way more fun! If you are familiar with skateboards already, and you’re looking for an awesome form of short distance travel, check out the best electric skateboards. Electric skateboards are becoming a lot more popular lately, which results in quite a few suppliers making new and more innovative models.