Electric Scooter VS Motorcycle – Pros And Cons Of Both

Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Matt

electric scooter vs motorcycle

Ever since electric scooters became a thing, a debate has been raging on – electric scooter vs motorcycle, which one is better?

Though there are many differences, there are a surprising number of similarities as well, which make it difficult to choose between the two.

In this guide, we’ll help you choose by diving deep into the advantages of both two-wheeled vehicles. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of which vehicle to go for.

Electric scooter vs motorcycle

Motorcycles are the way to go if you’re looking for a more thrilling, high-speed ride. They’re more stable than electric scooters on extremely rough terrains and can maintain performance regardless of weather conditions and the load being carried. Electric scooters are great if you’re looking for a safer option to cover short distances and maneuver through crowds and traffic jams. They are more convenient and accessible to more age groups and people with mobility or health issues, non-citizens, and ones ineligible for driving licenses. Electric scooters are also usually cheaper.

Advantages of electric scooters

Here are some advantages of why people go for electric scooters over motorcycles.

Electric scooters are cheaper

Motorcycles have a higher upfront cost than electric scooters because they have more parts and more powerful engines. While the average scooter’s cost can range between $300 – $1,500,  you can expect to spend between $4,000 – $20,000 for a good motorcycle.

With a motorcycle, you’ll also have to pay registration and insurance fees, which aren’t typically required for electric scooters. Maintenance costs will generally cost more for a motorcycle because of its more complex design.

Another significant cost you’ll have to bear while owning any of these two vehicles is the charging/fueling cost. While the charging cost for an electric scooter is only a few pennies per charge,  expect to spend around $3.97 per gallon on fuel for your motorcycle. 

Electric scooters are easier to ride

Electric scooters are easier to ride because they are lighter and smaller than motorcycles. This makes them easier to maneuver and navigate through crowds and tight spaces. Since the vehicles are so easy to handle, they’re perfect for running errands and making short commutes.

There aren’t many steps to learn to ride an e-scooter, and the riding technique is a bit similar to the one for a regular kick scooter. Since the electric scooter’s motor isn’t as powerful as a motorcycle’s, you can take your time practicing on the scooter without fearing any major falls.

Electric scooters are more maneuverable

It’s easier to navigate congested traffic lanes and busy sidewalks with an electric scooter than with a motorcycle.

Another convenience you get with electric scooters is that you can avoid traffic jams by riding on bike lanes, something you can rarely or never do with a motorcycle.

Electric scooters are more eco-friendly

Electric scooters are more eco-friendly than motorcycles because they don’t need to burn fuel to run. Instead, they use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can last several years, depending on how well you take care of them. 

This means they have zero emissions, unlike motorcycles which are known to produce high amounts of harmful air pollutants, e.g., carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), etc.

Suppose that most people in a city start using electric scooters instead of motorcycles and cars, at least for short commutes and errands. In that case, the traffic in that city will significantly decrease. Fewer cars and motorcycles on the road result in less air pollution, fewer respiratory health problems, and a cleaner city.

Electric scooters are smaller, lighter, and more portable

small and portable electric scooter stored under a desk

One of the major benefits electric scooters have over motorcycles is that they’re more portable. You can easily fold some models to take with you on public transport. This way, you can travel longer distances and easily make it to and from transit stops without getting tired.

On average, a motorcycle weighs between 400-800 lbs /181-362 kg, while most electric scooters weigh between 25 to 80 lbs / 11 to 36 kg. Being lighter, electric scooters are easier to maneuver and carry around. 

Since electric scooters aren’t as big as motorcycles, they can easily be parked in small spaces and stored easily anywhere in your house. With a motorcycle, you will have to pay for parking space or designate a portion of your garage to store it safely. A garage can work well but isn’t as safe as keeping the vehicle in your house, which you can do with an e-scooter.

Electric scooters are more accessible

a kid riding a Razor E200 on a sidewalk

Electric scooters are more affordable than motorcycles and can be ridden by a wide range of age groups. While motorcycles can be thrilling rides for adults, they can become hard to control for older people. Also, in most places, the age requirement for electric scooters is smaller than the age requirement for motorcycles, and the laws and regulations in general are looser.

 A survey found that electric scooters are popular among older people to go to and from shops, take strolls, visit family and friends, etc. In the US, the average legal age for riding an electric scooter is 16 years old, but some states allow children as young as 12 to ride them as well.

Apart from being suitable for all age groups, electric scooters have also been a godsend for people with mobility issues and provide them with a sense of independence. You don’t even need a driving license. This makes electric scooters especially beneficial for people who are ineligible for getting a driving license.

Electric scooters are more energy efficient

When fuel is burned in the engine of a motorcycle only, a lot is wasted in the form of heat and other forms of energy. In comparison, electric scooters have been found to be 1000% more energy efficient than combustion vehicles.

If your electric scooter’s lithium-ion battery is in good condition, no electricity will be wasted in charging it.

Electric scooters are quieter

A major complaint people have about motorcycles is their noise. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires motorcycles to be equipped with exhaust noise emission equipment of at least 80 dB(a), but an estimated 60-70% of riders ignore that limit.

Many motorcycle riders don’t mind the noise, but other riders and citizens find the noise to be quite a nuisance. So, replacing motorcycles with much quieter electric scooters can help reduce noise pollution.

The lack of noise also makes electric scooter rides calming and de-stressing. For me personally, there’s nothing like a good stroll around the neighborhood on my scooter to calm me down.

Electric scooters require less maintenance 

Not many mechanical parts of an electric scooter are subjected to wear and tear, so they don’t require a ton of maintenance. Just regularly cleaning your electric scooter and being careful with the battery will do the trick to prolong its life. A battery replacement can be counted as a major maintenance cost, but batteries can last at least 2 years if taken care of, and often up to 5 even.

A motorcycle, on the other hand, requires regular oil changes, chain lubrication, filter cleaning, etc. You can do most of an electric scooter’s maintenance yourself, while a motorcycle is better off being maintained by a mechanic.

Electric scooters are safer than motorcycles

electric scooter helmet

Electric scooters are pretty safe, especially when following the scooter safety tips, and generally safer than motorcycles. However, they don’t have many protection features for the rider except the brakes. The key to safety while riding an electric scooter is wearing the right helmet and safety gear, and always making sure you are visible to other vehicles and pedestrians on the pathway.

A motorcycle rider is always at high risk of injury mainly because of the vehicle’s fast speed. The chance of losing your life in a motorcycle crash is 28 times more than for any other motorized vehicle.

To increase safety, motorcycles come with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) that help them reduce speed or stop altogether immediately in emergency situations. Some are also equipped with crash bars. They might not be the best protection feature a vehicle could have, but they can help against extensive damage to the bike and injury to your lower legs.

Advantages of a motorcycle

Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of getting a motorcycle.

Motorcycles are faster

person riding a motorcycle at a high speed

Motorcycles are much faster than electric scooters. You’ll be able to travel large distances much quicker. 

The fastest electric scooters are usually as fast as moderately-fast motorcycles.

The average top speed across all electric scooters is around 26 mph / 42 kmh. That’s not a lot if we compare it to the average top speed of motorcycles, which is typically around 125 mph / 201 kmh. 

And that’s not even taking into account super-fast motorcycles that can have top speeds of over 200 mph / 320 kmh.

Motorcycles have more range

Motorcycles have higher fuel capacities than electric scooters, which gives them a longer range. On average, a motorcycle can take you approximately 150-250 mi / 241-402 km miles on a single tank of gas. Motorcycles with bigger fuel capacities can even cover 300-400 miles / 480-640 km.

In contrast, an average electric scooter can cover only 20-50 mi / 32-80 km on a single charge. Some long-range electric scooters with higher battery capacities have ranges of up to 100 mi / 160 km or more, but that’s still less range than the one of an average motorcycle. 

Motorcycles are more powerful and durable

A motorcycle’s engine is way more powerful than an electric scooter’s battery and motor configuration. You get more torque and horsepower to handle rough terrains with more control over the vehicle. This also leads to higher top speeds and faster acceleration.

A major downside of electric scooters is that their motors tend to overheat after generating a certain amount of power.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, have specially designed frames and suspensions that can handle stress caused by riding on high speed and extremely rough terrains. This makes them more durable than electric scooters, and is the reason why they have a longer lifespan. The average lifespan of a motorcycle is between 20-30 years, while an electric scooter’s lifespan is between 2 and 5 years, depending on the quality of the model.

To be fair, electric scooters are still fairly new and still being improved. Motorcycles have been around for longer, and have been improved over the years to be more reliable.

Motorcycles are more stable

Motorcycles can be hard to handle because of their weight, but that also makes them more stable on rough terrains. This also allows lets them to carry heavier loads and ride in extreme weather conditions without compromising on speed and performance.

Is riding a scooter different than a motorcycle?

Yes, riding an electric scooter is completely different from riding a motorcycle.

To ride an electric scooter, you have to stand on it, turn on the power switch and steer it in your desired direction while accelerating the throttle. For stopping or slowing down, you can use the hand brakes on the handlebars or push down the foot break over the rear wheel if the scooter has one.

To ride a motorcycle, you’ll start by sitting on the bike and turning on the ignition. Some motorcycles need to be warmed up before being ridden. Next, you lean forward for better weight distribution and pull in the clutch while shifting to first gear. To move forward slowly, you leave the clutch while gradually twisting the throttle to accelerate. You can stop the vehicle by evenly applying both the front and rear brakes while shifting to a lower gear.

In general, riding a motorcycle is much harder than riding an electric scooter, and it often requires taking classes and even getting a license, which is not the case for electric scooters.

Is it better to get a scooter or motorcycle?

The right choice between an electric scooter and a motorcycle really depends on your personal preference and situational factors. You should also know your budget and what you’ll use the vehicle for.

Keep in mind not everyone can handle motorcycles.

In my opinion, an electric scooter is a safer and more convenient bet, but this can vary from person to person. A lot of people prefer motorcycles for their high speeds and the thrilling riding experience, which you won’t get with most electric scooters.

When to use an electric scooter?

side view of the Apollo Phantom V3

If you need an affordable vehicle that can help you run errands and make short commutes, an electric scooter is the way to go. Navigating it through crowds and avoiding traffic is much easier because it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver.

It’s also a more suitable and safer option if you have mobility issues or are ineligible for a driving license. Since electric scooters are eco-friendly, you’ll also be doing the environment a favor.

When to use a motorcycle?

Motorcycles are more popular because of their aesthetics and performance. If you want a thrilling vehicle with high speed, a motorcycle will be more to your taste. Traveling longer distances is also easier with a motorcycle, considering that fuel stations are widespread and you don’t have to worry about charging a battery as you would with a scooter.

Motorcycles can also be great if you need to carry heavy loads or ride on extremely rough terrains and don’t want to compromise on performance.

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Matt standing next to his Xiaomi M365 Pro electric scooter and holding an electric scooter helmet
My name is Matt Trajkovski. I love electric scooters, and electric vehicles in general. I like doing a lot of testing, reviewing, and research on various electric scooter models and brands, looking for great value and performance, both through data and experience. All of the content published on this blog goes through a rigorous review and editorial process, and our product reviews not only include the hands-on experience of our own team members, but the experience of our audience members as well. My goal is to provide you with the best information about electric scooters possible. You can see all of my posts in my articles archive.

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