Scooters are generally described as a small-displacement two-wheel vehicle with:
- small wheels
- bodywork covering the rear mounted engine
- integrated engine and swingarm
- a step-through frame usually incorporating a legshield to protect the rider from the elements.
Some scooters do not meet all these criteria but most incorporate the majority of these features. Scooters are sometimes comically or incorrectly referred to as "mopeds." Some states consider scooters with displacements below 50ccs, usually with speed limitations, possibly with horsepower limitations in the same legal class, as mopeds.
Not to be referred to (noun or verb) as Scoot.
Scooters first appeared alongside motorcycles in the late 1800s. They became popular in America and England in the first half of the century, but the "Golden Age" is generally considered to start in 1946, when Piaggio, an italian aircraft manufacturer, focused their post-war rebuilding efforts behind a monocoque scooter designed by Corradino D'Ascanio called the Vespa. The Vespa spawned countless imitators and remains the basic template for the design of most scooters. Piaggo's main competitor during this period was Innocenti, which produced the popular Lambretta model scooters. Popularity among various groups remained high until the early 70s, when many manufacturers closed and a lull in popularity followed until a Mod revival in the 80s and the invasion of more modernized Japanese models in Europe and America. In the late 90s, an even bigger revival occurred, spawning dozens of new manufacturers as well as revitalizing the vintage scene.
The most well-known manufacturers are:
Innocenti, makers of Lambretta scooters
Other manufacturers (past and present) include
Styles of Scooter
Clone - very common in the USA
Scooters with a Sidecar