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Scooters & Manual Bikes: Know the Difference

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ScootersIf you are reading this, you’re probably either thinking about going through CBT, (aka compulsory basic training), or have made the decision to do so, but are a bit confused as to how scooters and manual bikes are each defined. You might even be debating between simply getting certification for riding a scooter, or getting a full licence with a geared, or manual, bike.

To help you learn the difference between the two, and to help you make up your mind, here are descriptions of each type of vehicle classification.


Unlike mopeds, which have a very clearly defined classification, the definition of scooters is a bit more fluid.

Scooters generally have two wheels, though there are some three-wheeled scooters, but the tires are smaller than a traditional motorbike’s—approximately 8 to 14 inches in diameter. They also have what’s known as a step-through frame, meaning you don’t sit astride a scooter like you do with a regular motorbike.

Where a motorbike’s engine is near the center of the bike, a scooter’s engine is low and by the back wheel. As to speed and the engine size, unlike a moped’s engine, there is no limit on a scooter. Some scooters can go up to 500 cc’s, and these are known as “super scooters.
Scooters are also fairly nimbler through traffic than a regular motorbike, so they’re great for merely buzzing around town doing errands. Also, the difference between a scooter and a manual motorbike is that most scooters out there only have one gear. The one exception is a certain line of Vespa scooters that have a clutch and gears, so by definition, those would be considered manual motorbikes.

Manual Motorcycles

The thing to remember about riding manual motorbikes is that if you take your motorcycle training test with an automatic, then you can’t ride a geared motorbike, as your licence will be restricted.

Manual bikes are the same as a geared motorbike. It’s like calling a 5-speed transmission car in the States a “manual,” or “stick shift” as opposed to an automatic. Manual bikes are also 5-speed: 1 = neutral, then a 2-3-4-5 format.

If you wish to ride a motorcycle, but your experience on the road is not what it could be, then perhaps riding a scooter is your better bet, especially for low speed control. You could also just take the CBT strictly for the scooter if running about town on a scooter is your only aim, even if you know the rules of the road.

Scooters & Manual Bikes

Now that you know the difference between scooters and manual bikes, the choice is yours as to which vehicle you ulimately wish to ride.

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