What differentiates a motorcycle and a moped?


Hello, Im 15 and I was looking into purchasing a moped to get me from work to home and vise versa. I am unaware of the laws here in Oklahoma but I have heard it has to do with the CCs of the engine? Please help.


The definition varies from state to state, or at least did. I understand some states use engine size, others power and others maximum speed and some may use some combination. I believe some have other restrictions like ability to hold a passanger.

I suggest you call your local BMV and ask them, or maybe visit their web site.


Thanks alot, anyone else got any thoughts?


Joseph is correct. It really depends on the state…but I suspect most are the same.

A simple google search gave me this link.



Usually it’s 50cc engine limit and 35mph top speed that defines “Moped”. Call a Moped dealer and ask THEM. They will know all the rules and licensing details…

If I were you, I would SAVE my money now and be able to buy something decent when you are 16…


While you should check with your DMV for exact definitions, a MOPED has pedals in addition to the motor. That where the Mo and Ped come from. You can pedal it or you can start the motor and run it. I used to have one and pedaling it when the Mo wouldn’t start is no fun. In Minnesota, a moped, scooter, motorcycle, motor bike, etc. are all considered motorized vehicles.


While you should check with your DMV for exact definitions, a MOPED has pedals in addition to the motor.

That’s not true. I’ve seen many Mopeds without pedals. It may be optional, but pedals are NOT necessary.


In addition to what others said make sure you’re allowed to ride it on the road. Here in North Carolina you do not need insurance and a license if the bike is under 50CC and does not exceed something like 35mph, BUT you also need to be 16 years old or older to ride it on the street.


A moped is a bicycle with a motor assist. A motorcycle uses only the motor to propel you forward. Are you thinking of a motorscooter instead, like a Vespa?


From Wikipedia for whatever thats worth:

"The word moped was coined by a Swedish journalist in 1952, as a portmanteau of motor and pedal. It is however often claimed to be derived from “motor velicioped”.[1] According to Douglas Harper the Swedish terms originated from “(trampcykel med) mo(tor och) ped(aler)”, which means “pedal cycle with engine and pedals.” (the earliest versions had auxiliary pedals).[2]

Other terms used for low-powered cycles include: Mofa (Motor-Fahrad, German for motor-bicycle), Mokick (equipped with kick-start), Motorbicycle, Motorized Bicycle, Motor-Driven Cycle, and Goped (motorized inline skateboard with T-bar)."

I will stand somewhat corrected in that there are various definitions with and without pedals and versions to me would be more of a motor bike or a power assisted bicycle but that’s not a moped to me.