The Difference Between Scooters and Motorcycles

If you consider how much more faster and powerful scooters have become in recent years, it makes you wonder what specifically defines a sco...

If you consider how much more faster and powerful scooters have become in recent years, it makes you wonder what specifically defines a scooter from a motorcycle.

I'm not sure I'm able to put my finger on it.

Take a look at the Gilera GP800, what's being billed as the world's fastest scooter...

Gilera GP800 Scooter
This thing has the same motor from the Aprilia Mana (a motorcycle), an 850cc v-twin motor, cranking out 75bhp and a top speed of 120mph. It's got a 16 inch wheel in the front, 15 inch in the back.

So, if this is a scooter, then what specifically makes it a scooter, and not a motorcycle?

The Gilera GP800 does have an automatic transmission, and I believe all scooters have automatic trannies. But is that it? The Yamaha FJR (sport touring motorcycle) has a push-button transmission, though it's still technically a manual transmission. But if the Yamaha FJR were to boast a totally automatic transmission, would that make it a scooter?

In California, there is an "M1" license for riding motorcycles and scooters, and an "M2" license for riding scooters only. Shouldn't the Gilera GP800 require someone to have the M1 license?

If appearances is what defines a scooter, then what specifically makes something look like a scooter?

Victory Vision StreetRemember the new Victory Vision touring motorcycle? If Victory called that thing a scooter, wouldn't you believe it? That thing does look something like a scooter, and it only has an extra 150cc over the Gilera GP800.

We've arrived at a point where scooters are only scooters because their manufacturers call them scooters, and for no other reason.

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