Any of these six electric scooters and electric bicycles are an excellent option for those looking to commute or travel around town, but what exactly does it mean to have a street legal vehicle? and what is the best street legal electric scooter? Today, we review the best street legal electric scooter for commuting and best electric scooter for adults street legal picks.
When purchasing a scooter, it is important to know the legalese behind what is allowing you to share the road with larger vehicles. This knowledge is also exceedingly helpful when explaining to your local law enforcement that you’re following the rules, and not skirting the law.In the United States, electric scooters are often referred to in the law books as “low-powered electric bicycles.” It is for this reason that a few of our options include pedals to follow the rules of the road.
Federally, electric bicycles are held to Public Law 107-219, which was passed by Congress back in 2002. The definition of an electric bicycle includes the following:
- A two or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals
- A motor of less than 750 watts
- A maximum speed on a level road of less than 20 miles per hour
Alongside a few other stipulations (such as weight), these are the primary tenants that allow you to move around town without registering at the DMV or paying excessive taxes and fees like the rest of the vehicles on the road.
Now, you may notice that a few of the vehicles on our list have pushed the boundaries or outright exceeded the limitations placed on electric bicycles by Public Law 107-219. That variation is why it is always important to double check with your local municipality before attempting to use your new scooter in the wild.Public Law 107-219 is a federal law—not a state ruling. Exceptions, limitations, and alterations to the requirements are to be expected, dependent upon your location. Be sure that the law is on your side before engaging in an argument with local law enforcement, or you could face more than just a nominal fee.
Take a look at just six of the Best Street Legal Electric Scooters on the market today.
best electric scooter for adults street legal
Best street legal electric scooter
OjO Commuter Scooter for Adults
The OjO commuter scooter was developed by OjO Electric—a subsidy of the Ford Motor Company, and a startup based in Santa Monica.
The OjO commuter scooter was built from the ground up to live and thrive in America’s most congested cities. The scooter features an aluminum chassis, allowing the entire product to weigh less than 65 pounds . Are you looking for a scooter that you can carry around when not in use? This scooter may be a great place to start looking.
The scooter is bike lane approved and comes with a 500w rear hub motor that can move riders around town with a top speed of 20 miles per hour . Other features include rear suspension for bumps in the road, an onboard wall charger, and LED lights throughout.
The scooter is also available in three colors and will vary in price dependent upon your choice.The OjO Commuter Scooter is an excellent option for businessmen and women that are looking for a simple, easy-to-use product that’s light in weight and heavy on features.
TaoTao ATE-501 Scooter
If you’re looking for an electric scooter that has room for more than just you, the TaoTao ATE-501 scooter may be an excellent option.
The ATE-501 is a heavier model than the OjO commuter scooter and comes in at around 220 pounds . However, you’re not trading portability without a reward—as the ATE-501 includes a trunk to place valuables or other materials you need to keep with you throughout your travels .
Like many of the other scooters on our list, the ATE-501 includes a 500w battery and can be started up with the push of a button. Other features of the ATE-501 includes front and rear suspension, a twist throttle, and headlights for nighttime and inclement weather.
And of course, the ATE-501 is perfectly street legal .The ATE-501 is great for commuters that need to keep important materials with them throughout work, or simply want to operate a scooter that will feel sturdier and heavier than some of the other, more minimalistic options.You can pick up an ATE-501 for a competitive price in comparison to the other models, so it’s another reason to consider the scooter for your commuting needs.
X-Treme XB-504 Electric Bicycle Scooter
Commuters that are looking for many of the features found on the ATE-501 but also want a vehicle classified as an electric bicycle may find a happy medium in the X-Treme XB-504.
The XB-504 comes with optional pedals on the rear wheel which allows it to be classified as an electric bicycle. This distinction is essential for commuters that live in a district or principality that places stricter limits on mopeds, motorbikes, and the like .
Other than its classification, the XB-504 comes with many features that can be found on electric scooters like the ATE-501. The XB-504 boasts a large trunk in the rear, alongside a smaller compartment for a wallet or keys .
The XB-504 also includes and features a 500w motor, front and rear brakes, speedometer, and a battery indicator. The electric bicycle is also capable of speeds upwards of 20 miles per hour and can last for about 25 miles of travel .The XB-504 can be assembled at home and is competitively priced. It is an excellent option for those looking for significant storage capabilities, ease of use, and would like an opportunity to operate the vehicle manually.
GigaByke Groove Electric Moped Scooter
Power and style are just two of the words that describe GigaByke’s offering to electric scooter and moped consumers.
The GigaByke Groove stands out from the competition by including a stronger motor than most—750w as opposed to the standard 500w . That means that you can expect to be able to travel up to 35 miles on a single charge —and even farther if you choose to pedal.
The GigaByke Groove also features a unique and retro look, headlights, turn signals, and doesn’t require registration in most American municipalities. But, as always, be sure to check with your local DMV before making a purchase—as no two areas have the same rules for what is and isn not registration-worthy.The GigaByke Groove is a great option for commuters that need to travel longer distances to work, while maintaining a top speed of 20 miles per hour. The GigaByke Groove can be found at a price comparable to many of the other scooters on our list, and is a great value for the features that it offers.
SEEV-800 Electric Lifestyle Fat Tire Scooter
One look at the SEEV-800, and you’ll understand why it’s unlike many of the other electric scooters on our list. That’s because the SEEV-800 is a different type of scooter—instead of relying on thin tires and a sharper turn radius to navigate curves in the road, the SEEV-800 is a flat tire scooter.
By leaning into turns and shifting your body weight, moving around town is possible without hardly ever having to turn the front wheel physically. In fact, the wheels are so large that the scooter balances itself with any assistance from you.
Due to the extra strength needed to rotate the larger wheels, the SEEV-800 features an 800w motor, which can power the scooter to speeds of up to 15 miles per hour . While it’s slower than many of the other scooters on the list, it more than makes up for it in range. You can expect to travel up to 50 miles on a single charge .
The SEEV-800 is marketed as a lifestyle scooter and is intended for use in daily life and travel beyond a work commute. So, features geared explicitly towards commuters, such as turn signals or a trunk, are nixed in favor of a more balanced frame and ease of use.The SEEV-800 is ideal for those looking for a scooter that will work equally as well outside of the city as within and need a vehicle that’s a breeze to operate.
eDrift UH-ES295 Electric Fat Tire Scooter
The final street legal motorized scooter for commuting on our list is the eDrift UH-ES295 electric scooter.
Much like the SEEV-800, the eDrift electric scooter is a scooter with larger tires, which requires the use of bodyweight to complete those sharper turns. The difference between the two electric scooters lies not in shape, but in power.
With an engine that boasts 1500w of power, the eDrift Electric Scooter is easily the most powerful scooter on our list—and with a top speed of 27 miles per hour, it is also the fastest .
The eDrift Electric Scooter also features an LED front light, keyed ignition, and a digital gauge. You can expect to travel up to 25 miles on a single charge and transport the vehicle with relative ease, as the eDrift Electric Scooter weighs in at about 100 pounds.If you’re looking for a menacing electric scooter with the power to back it up, the eDrift Electric Scooter is an excellent option for turning heads and getting to work with time to spare.
WHAT SCOOTER SHOULD I BUY?
The focus of this site has always been to help scooterists find the best machine. This entire site is designed to be a comprehensive resource on every scooter from all the main manufacturers, but it still can be difficult to get started. This article will help you do just that by asking some of the key questions.
What displacement is right?
To get started, ask yourself what sort of power or engine size you’re after. Small scooters (50cc) will be good for 30-50mph, which means around town use only unless you’re crazy. There aren’t many scooters between 50cc and 125cc, which is where the mid sized scooter market starts (125-170cc). Mid-sized scooters add enough power to hang with traffic on backroads and slower highways (i.e. 50-70mph), but you have to move up to 250cc+ to be fully capable of cruising on highways with 60-70mph speed limits.
Opting for a bigger motor certainly adds power, but it also means a machine that is more expensive to buy, insure, maintain and fill with gas. Bigger scooters are also a bit more of handful for smaller riders looking for something light and nimble. So carefully consider what size of scooter meets your realistic needs, and then ask yourself if such a scooter also meets your budget. The challenge is might be finding the right balance between what’s practical economically and what gets you excited. Opting for a scooter that is impractically too small in a bid to save money often ends with dissatisfaction, while selecting a bigger machine than you need ends up being a costly lesson.
Why are you buying?
Consider what your main motivation is. If you’re buying because you’re a scooter enthusiast looking for a blast on two wheels then you probably already have a favorite brand and you’re not reading this article, so if you are reading this then maybe you’re buying a scooter for practical reasons.
The danger if you are buying a scooter to save money is to wrongly assume all scooters are economical and then purchase some attractive machine which might end up costing more to operate than you planned. I did just that when my wife and I purchased two mid sized scooters – a Vespa LX150 and a Yamaha BWS 125. We figured it would be a fun and cheap way to travel but once we actually got the scooters I realized that our combined gas usage was the same as just taking our car, plus any money saved by diverting wear and tear off the car was lost because we were spending an extra $70 per month on insurance for the scooters plus they were depreciating. Our car only cost us $2500 a few years earlier and the total depreciation on these two scooters by the time we sold was over $3500.
To put it simply, any scooter will save money if you’re buying it instead of a car. But if you’re buying a scooter in addition to your car then only a 50cc will really save enough money to be worthwhile. Even then you have to use it a decent amount. So the take away lesson here is that if you are buying a scooter for practical reasons then make sure it’ll really save money. To do that, you’ll want to think about which brands hold their resale value and what scooters cost the least to own and maintain. To answer that, start by mulling over the next question.
How long will you own it?
Purchase price is a big factor in any buying decision, but resale value is also important if you don’t plan on keeping it forever. The difference between the purchase price and the eventual resale price is what you really spent to own it.
Well known and highly regarded brands like Honda, Piaggio, Suzuki and Yamaha typically have very good resale value, so you can sell a scooter for over 50% of what you paid for it even after 5 years. Conversely, poorly known and lower quality brands like Chinese machines have very little resale value so the upfront price savings can be lost when you try to sell it. In between are brands like the Taiwanese (Kymco, Genuine, PGO, SYM) which depreciate at moderate rates. Vespa’s are another thing entirely, with depreciating typically quite slow except for the grand or so you lose when you roll it out of the showroom.
If you think you’re only going to own the scooter for a few years, stick with a trusted brand that will be easy to sell. Honda is the best in this regards, but Yamaha, Suzuki, Vespa, Piaggio and Aprilia sell pretty good as well. If you plan on owning it longer then a Taiwanese built machine (Kymco, Genuine, PGO, SYM) could be the right call because these brands make pretty good machines but they aren’t well known enough to have decent resale value. Over a time period of more than 5 years they can be cheaper in total cost.
Almost everyone would do well to stay away from Chinese scooters. They have no resale value yet they don’t last long enough to earn their purchase price. The only owners who can come out ahead with a Chinese machine are those who are willing to do quite a bit of wrenching if necessary. If you’re willing and eager to get your hands greasy and you can’t afford at least a Taiwan built machine, then a Chinese scooter will be an interesting experience if nothing else.
How old of a machine?See also
You might have seen some tempting 20 year old scooter on Craigslist for $200, which has you pondering where the optimal intersection is between age and price. Depreciation for scooters is typically about 50% in the first 5 years and then really slow after that. Even a machine from 1990 will probably fetch $500 if it’s running well, which is probably 50% of it’s new MSRP.
The lesson here is that you don’t save much money opting for scooters that are older than about 5-7 years. There are older scooters that are much cheaper, but these are typically not running or not running well, which is the real reason why the price is low. Consider that a 1995 Honda Dio typically sells for $800, while a 2007 Honda Ruckus goes for maybe $1000. Those extra $200 for a 11 year newer machine are very well spent.
So most people should look for machines that are somewhere between new and 7 years old depending on their budget. People with really small budgets and who are mechanically inclined can look for scooters that are non-running but supposedly ran well when they were parked 5-15 years ago. These machines are always a gamble, but the home mechanic can often get them running for under $200 so they’re a fun project if you buy them cheap and invest sparingly in them.
Making a short list
By now you should have narrowed down the engine size you’re after to a pretty small range and hopefully focused in on 1-3 manufacturers. The scooter market really isn’t that big, so if you also know roughly how old of a scooter you want to buy then you’re all set to go make a short list. If your list is 50cc scooters from Japanese brands sold from 2009 thru 2012 then you’re probably only looking at 4-5 machines.
So browse through the main pages for each brand your interested in to identify candidate models and then go read the individual pages for all the info. If you’re looking at 50cc then also consider if you want a 2-stroke or 4-stroke. Otherwise, if you’ve chosen your list based on practical criteria then now may be the right time to listen more to other side of your brain and select the machine that appeals to your passion. The scooter with the cool looks is probably going to make you happier than the one with 25% more storage. Buy the one you love and you won’t regret it.