What’s a motor scooter?

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Scooters are motor-powered vehicles with two wheels and a step-through frame. They are popular in urban areas due to low maintenance costs and ease of handling. The first scooters were developed for military use in the US, and later adapted in Italy as the Vespa. Scooters are subject to strict emissions standards in the US, and manufacturers have resorted to using LPG as fuel. Modern scooters feature technological, comfort, and aesthetic additions, and there is a trend towards larger engines.

A scooter is a vehicle that operates on two wheels. Its quintessential features are its step-through frame, which allows its driver to mount the seat in the manner of a bicycle, and a flat footboard. The scooter is motor-powered, with the drive system and motor usually attached to the rear axle or attached under the seat of the vehicle. Usually also under the seat or as an accessory for the frame there is some kind of storage space.

The wheels that the scooter rides on measure from 8 to 12 inches (20-28 cm) in diameter. This makes the scooter the transportation method of choice in urban areas of developed and developing countries due to low maintenance cost and ease of handling. Compared to a motorcycle, a scooter is quieter, has fewer legal restrictions, and requires relatively less skill to ride.

The first motor scooters were made in the early 1900s, and were later developed by Cushman for military use in the US with the intention of helping WWII paratroopers navigate rough terrain unhindered. . The compact and lightweight nature of these innovative land vehicles was later adapted in Italy after World War II by the manufacturer Piaggo as the Vespa, which quickly became popular in an area where the population needed an inexpensive form of transportation in the bustling city. . For thirty-five years, the Vespa dominated the scooter market as the classic prototype, until the 1980s when Asian markets began to release similar scooter models. They are now popular in Asia as well as parts of Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico.

As with most motor vehicles, the scooter is subject to the strict emissions standards in the United States. Both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued restrictions on the allocation of emissions. In an effort to better accommodate these guidelines, scooter manufacturers have resorted to fueling their vehicles with Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) instead of gasoline or diesel.

In addition to these more advanced features, modern scooters at the higher end of the price range feature technological, comfort, and aesthetic additions. For example, frames have gotten stronger and sleeker, as manufacturers have favored cast aluminum frames over other materials, as well as more efficient motors and braking systems. To increase passenger comfort, add-on features including heated windshields and handgrips have been found on newer scooter models. In addition, the vehicle already provides the palate for the expression of individual taste, as evidenced by shops that specialize in custom designs for the scooter.

In addition to the trend for more customizable structures on the scooter, another emerging trend in progress is the move to larger engines. Originally with a 30-250cc range in a single cylinder engine, manufacturers have developed maxi-scooters with the intention of meeting the demand for larger and more powerful models. Maxi-scooters feature engines ranging from 250 to 850cc and are powered by fully automatic transmissions.

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