street scooters

About Gas Scooters

There is no feeling like riding new gas scooters. Senses come alive, and riders truly feel the freedom of the open road. For those that have not yet had the chance to ride or own a gas powered scooter, this article will explain two basics: what is a gas scooter and how does it work?

What Is a Gas Scooter?

What exactly is a gas power scooter? What is the difference between gas powered scooters, mopeds and motorcycles?

By definition, a scooter is defined as “a vehicle with a step-through frame, in which the rider sits without straddling any part of the engine.” Most modern gas powered scooters have automatically shifting transmissions and small wheel diameters, typically 10 to 16 inches. The engine is usually found near the rear wheel or axle and usually has a small displacment, between 49cc and 250cc. Many fast gas scooters have two-stroke engines, but many newer scooters have four-stroke engines, similar to a car engine.

Gas motor scooters are made basically in one single piece. This is the piece of the frame that starts at the front with the handlebars, extending down to a solid, wide front, through the middle in the form of floorboards, and up the back to the seat. The wheels are attached to the frame at either end.

There are many accessories added to this basic structure. For example, there’s usually some kind of cargo or storage box at the back, behind the seat. There’s a windshield that can be attached in the front. And, of course, there are the necessary headlights, taillights, and other marking devices strategically placed on new gas scooters.

The definition of mopeds has changed in the last thirty years. In the 1970’s, when mopeds reached their peak of popularity in the US, most models were simply bicycles with small gas engines that allowed users the option of either pedaling the moped with their legs or using the engine, instead of leg power, to get from one place to another.

It is hard to find new, gas mopeds with pedals. Many states now classify gas powered scooters with displacements under 50ccs as mopeds. Also, many states do not require registration or licensing of fast gas scooters under 50ccs, which can save an owner considerable money. Motorcycles, by definition, are nearly any two-wheeled motorized vehicle. A gas powered scooter, then, could be classified as motorcycles. However, there are several points of distinction between the two vehicles.

Foremost, most gas motor scooters are slower, with smaller displacements than motorcycles. Typical scooters, as mentioned, are between 49cc and 250ccs. Most motorcycles start at 250ccs and can go up to as high as 1500ccs or more. According to the NHTSA, the average motorcycle has an engine cylinder displacement of 769 cubic centimeters (cc’s).

Because of the smaller displacements, gas powered motor scooters travel between 25 and 60 miles per hour. Motorcycles can be much faster and, therefore, more dangerous.

Motorcycle owners, as a group, are very performance-focused, trying to squeeze more horsepower from their vehicles. Gas powered scooter owners, on the other hand, tend to focus on the ride, not the speed.

How Do Motor Scooters Work?

There are three main points in discussing the workings of motorcycles: starting, transmission, and the engine.


Kick starting isn’t the only way to start up a scooter. All GS MotorWorks gas powered motor scooters do come with kick starters, but, unlike older scooters, that is not the only way to start these mopeds. All models feature one-touch electric starters, as well as remote starters, which are on the key chain that comes with each scooter. Push the lightning bolt button twice, and without the key even being in the ignition, the scooter starts up. Push the crossed-out lightning bolt button, and new gas scooters shut off. This is perfect when wanting a gas motor scooter to warm up first on a cooler day.


Most scooters, especially the smaller displacement ones, have automatic transmissions. For owners of these gas scooters, twist and go is the only way to go. To go faster, turn the throttle more. To slow down, turn the throttle less. Simple, huh?

Many cheap gas scooters have chain drives, like a bicycle. More modern fast gas scooters, like several of the models we sell, have CVT transmissions. Rather than having a fixed set of gear combinations, or "ratios", the CVT transmission allows an almost limitless combination of engine-speed to vehicle-speed ratios. Because of the smooth transition in gear ratios provided by the CVT transmission, these scooters provide constant, stepless acceleration from a stop all the way up to cruising speed. This contrasts with the jerk of gear changes experienced with a typical automatic transmission.


Vintage scooter owners remember the days of premixing gas and oil, similar to a chain-saw or lawn mower. In the past, gas scooter motors tended to be quite a bit of maintenance.

On GS MotorWorks 2-stroke gas scooters, a unique auto-lube system takes away the mess of mixing gas and oil in a container and pouring it into your gas tank. There are separate compartments for gas and oil, and the oil is automatically injected into the gas tank.

4-stroke scooters, on the other hand, are similar to a car engine and do not require injection oil. These engines tend to last longer, drive more smoothly, and have less emissions.

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