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Motorcycle vs. Moped: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking for a fun, convenient way to get around town, then you may be wondering what the differences are between a motorcycle and a moped.

Motorcycles and mopeds can both offer similar benefits when it comes to cost-effective transportation, but there are some key differences that should be taken into consideration before making your purchase decision.

We’ll explore the similarities and differences between motorcycles and mopeds so that you can decide which one is best for your needs.

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Difference Between Mopeds & Motorcycles

Definition of a Motorcycle

A motorcycle is a two-wheeled motor vehicle with an engine ranging in size from 50cc to larger than 1,000cc.

Motorcycles come in a variety of styles and sizes, including sport bikes, touring bikes, cruisers, and more. 

Definition of a Moped

A moped is a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle with an engine ranging in size from 50cc to 125cc.

Mopeds are generally slower than motorcycles, and they don’t require a motorcycle license or special registration to operate, depending on where you live.

Speed & Power

The biggest difference between mopeds and motorcycles is the speed and power.

Motorcycles are typically much faster than mopeds, with some models capable of reaching speeds of up to 200 mph.

In comparison, mopeds are usually limited to a maximum speed of around 30 mph.

Additionally, motorcycles typically have more powerful engines than mopeds, which gives them greater acceleration and torque. 

Size & Weight

Motorcycles also tend to be larger and heavier than mopeds.

This makes them better suited for longer trips and off-roading, as the larger size can usually handle bumps and rough terrain more easily than a smaller moped.

In contrast, mopeds are light and small enough to fit in tight spaces like city streets or alleyways, making them well-suited for urban environments. 


Although both mopeds and motorcycles offer some degree of protection, motorcycles tend to be safer than mopeds due to their larger size and greater power.

Motorcycles also have features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags that can help prevent serious injury in the event of an accident.

Additionally, motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets and other protective gear, which can help reduce the risk of injury.

Cost Comparison

When it comes to cost, there can be quite a difference between motorcycles and mopeds.

Motorcycles tend to be more expensive than mopeds due to the size of their engines and the features they offer. On average a new motorcycle will cost you around $7,500 while a moped will cost you around $1,000.

Additionally, motorcycles require more maintenance than mopeds due to their larger engines and more complex components. The average annual cost for motorcycle maintenance is about $900, while the average annual cost for moped maintenance is about $150. 

Which is right for you?

In the end, it all comes down to your personal needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to get around town, then a moped may be a perfect choice.

However, if you’re looking for something with more speed and power, then a motorcycle may be what you need. It’s important to do your research and figure out which type of vehicle is best for you before making your decision. 

License, Registration, and Insurance Requirements

No matter which type of motorized vehicle you choose, there are certain rules and regulations that apply.

Motorcycles typically require a motorcycle license, registration and title, and insurance in order to be legally operated on public roads.

Mopeds may also require some form of registration depending on the state, but licensing may depend on the type of moped. If the moped can exceed speeds of 30 mph, then a motorcycle license may be required. Find out more about moped license requirements.

It’s important that you understand the registration and license requirements of motorcycles and mopeds in your state before buying one. 

Most states require motorcycle liability insurance, and some states even require moped insurance. This is because both vehicles are considered motorized, so they must be insured just like any other type of vehicle to protect the rider in case of an accident.