Scooters are small, light, zippy, and buckets of fun. One thing we didn’t include in that description: fast. But even if you won’t be breaking land-speed records on a scooter, the question remains: how fast do scooters go?
The answer, as always, is that it depends. There are a multitude of scooters on the market at prices that range from bargain-basement to astonishingly expensive. Depending on what part of the spectrum that you’re shopping for, how fast you’re able to go can differ significantly. In short, the old adage applies: speed costs money – how fast do you want to go?
Before you start fiddling with your scooter budget, let’s discuss the types of scooters on the market and see how fast each model typically is.
Types of Scooters
We’ve gone into greater detail about what constitutes a scooter in this article, but suffice to say that there are two types of scooters on the market: your typical stand-on scooter that resembles an uppercase L with two small wheels, and the larger, more complex machines with seats, body moldings, and more powerful engines that are greater than 50 cc.
How Fast are Stand-On Scooters?
Photo by doosenwhacker via Pixabay
You might think that stand-on scooters such as the lineup of motorized Razor scooters would be limited to segway speeds, but they actually have a surprisingly wide range of performance. Sure, there are the ones that trundle along with a top speed of 10 or 15 mph. However, if you’ve got $7,000 lying around, you can bring home the mack-daddy of ride-on scooters: the Dualtron X2. Top speed? 68 mph. It goes without saying that you don’t want to forget your helmet when you take this one for a spin.
Most ride-on scooters aren’t so ludicrously fast, but it isn’t hard to find a ride-on scooter offering serious speed provided you’re willing to pay for it. Generally, models priced above $1,000 will offer top speeds of anywhere from 30 mph to 60 mph.1
Those prices sound pretty dear for what’s essentially a gussied-up version of your middle-school foot-powered scooter, but there are plenty of affordable scooters that cost as little as $100. While we won’t vouch for the quality or longevity of the cheapest motorized scooters, you can still acquire something that reaches 20 or 25 mph for well less than $1,000.
If you want to get oriented with a motorized scooter at low speeds, you’re in luck – many cities offer them as public transportation options. Currently, major ride-share companies Lyft and Uber both offer scooters for rent in certain cities; other companies such as Byrd focus exclusively on renting scooters in urban areas.2 These models typically top out at around 15 mph or so but are an excellent way to get your bearings on a motorized ride-on scooter before purchasing one.
Once you’ve decided to buy, our recommendation is to budget about $500-$700 for something well-built, easy to operate, and capable of about 20 mph. Beyond that price point, things get extravagant quickly – and you might be better off buying a ride-on, step-through scooter like the Vespa, which we discuss next.
How Fast are Ride-On Scooters?
If the Razor-style scooter doesn’t float your boat, you’ll want to check out the more substantial scooters like the Vespa Piaggio. These are larger, heavier, and more comfortable, but aren’t as nimble and certainly can’t be casually stashed in your basement or even a closet like the ride-on scooter can. That said, many find these larger scooters preferable thanks to their added heft and higher top speeds.
Unlike stand-on scooters, the cheapest ride-on scooters come with 50 cc engines at a minimum. These larger engines promise at least 30 mph or so right out of the gate.
From there, speed increases with displacement. Scooters of this design commonly offer up to 250 cc engine displacement. At 250 cc, you can expect a top speed of around 75 or 80 mph – high enough to keep up with freeway traffic.
Scooters with engines larger than 250 cc are less common but certainly not unheard of. These models are able to reach well over 100 mph. However, these models typically cost around $10,000 – a steep sum for a scooter. At this price point, you may want to consider upgrading to a similarly fast motorcycle, which offers far superior handling at a cheaper price point.
What Factors Affect Top Speed?
While the scooter manufacturers may make some bold claims about how fast their scooters are, keep in mind that these figures take into account ideal conditions – a lightweight rider, a flat road, comfortable air temperature without much humidity. How much speed you can coax out of your scooter depends on these sorts of factors, many of which aren’t immediately obvious.
Rider weight is one of the more obvious ones. Scooters – especially the stand-on types – can bog down under excessive weight, which occurs when you bring a passenger aboard or try to transport heavy cargo. Even on flat terrain, the scooter might strain, especially the low-power models.
Steep hills can also affect speed. Don’t expect your top speed to be reached while climbing a 10 percent grade. Likewise, acceleration takes a hit as well when chugging up a hill. Your scooter won’t be able to accelerate quickly while it’s fighting off the effects of gravity.
One of the more subtle factors to consider is ambient temperature and humidity levels. Gas engines like cool air and low humidity; sweltering heat and high humidity aren’t ideal running conditions, and they can make the more rudimentary gas engines not run quite so well, impeding acceleration and top speed.3
Electric models are also affected by temperatures. These models don’t like very hot or very cold temperatures, and their range can be affected significantly if the temperatures swing too far in one direction. Trying to run at top speed in very hot or cold conditions can drain the battery quicker than in more comfortable temperatures.4
Scooters of all stripes can be deceptively fast if you spend enough money on the right models. That begs the question: do you really need a scooter with the speed and acceleration of a car? Perhaps, but in the urban areas where short commutes enable scooters to be a practical option, it might be better to think along the lines of affordability, handling, and gas mileage.5
To that end, our favorite choice for the stand-on scooters are the models that are priced around $500 to $700 due to their balanced mixed of attributes, speed included. We think the sweet spot for ride-on models is the 150 cc class, which brings lots of usable speed to keep you safe on the road along with great gas mileage. These models typically occupy a reasonable price range as well.
Once you’ve figured out how fast you want to go, be sure to check out our article on the best scooters.
Ride Digest uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Frisby J. Fastest Electric Scooters: 11 of The Most Ferocious & Adrenaline Inducing Scooters. Electricscooterinsider.com. Published June 4, 2021. Accessed June 30, 2021.
- Toll M. Uber and Lyft both join fate-deciding electric scooter battle royale in San Francisco. Electrek.co. Published June 9, 2018. Accessed June 30, 2021.
- Wimmer A, Schnessl E. Effects of Humidity and Ambient Temperature on Engine Performance of Lean Burn Natural Gas Engines. ASME 2006 Internal Combustion Engine Divison Fall Technical Conference. 2006;ICEF2006-1559:421-429. doi:10.1115/ICEF2006-1559
- Rev Rides. 5 Things That Compromise an e-Scooter Range. Revrides.com. Published April 11, 2019. Accessed June 30, 2021.
- Gilson D. 10 U.S. Cities with the Shortest Commutes. 4autoinsurancequote.com. Updated June 29, 2021. Accessed June 30, 2021.