What is a Moped?
According to most US laws, a moped is considered to be a motorized cycle that has an engine capacity that is less than 50cc (cubic centimeter) and or cannot exceed 25-30mph when riding on a level surface. Even if the moped is capable of faster speeds, some states have set their top legal speed at 20mph while other states go as high as 35mph. Though laws vary, the highest allowed cc rating is 130cc in Kansas.
There are a few different theories for the origin of the word moped. The most common is the portmanteau of motor and pedal coined by Swedish journalist Harald Nielsen in 1952. The term �noped� is used for mopeds that do not have the pedal fixtures. However, it is often claimed that �moped� comes from the Russian �motor velocipede.� Velocipede is a rarely used Russian term for bicycles. Other terms that are used for mopeds include: motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motorscooter, goped, motor-driven cycle, and underbone.
The earliest mopeds were invented by Anthony Derek Davis. The original idea for a moped came from using a typical bicycle and affixing a helping motor to the front wheel to aid in propulsion. French moped brand V�loSoleX still actually has the helper motor in their mopeds. They still include the pedals in their designs.
Most states also require some sort of pedaling system, however some do not. States like North Carolina and Michigan require that there be no shifting mechanism to differentiate a moped from a motorcycle. States generally allow a lower operator age for mopeds. In most states the age is 15, while the parents must sign the license application. Also, many states require a motorcycle operator�s license.
During the gas shortage in the 1970s the use of mopeds was on the rise. This was mainly due to the fuel efficiency of mopeds. A moped wasn�t able to go faster than 40mph. However, a moped could go 220 miles on one tank of fuel. Over 250,000 people owned and operated mopeds in the late 1970s. However, when fuel became more available and cars more fuel efficient, the use of mopeds declined.
Mopeds can either be electric powered or gas powered. Electric mopeds are good for street running, but if you are intending to make a long road trip, gas is likely to be a better option. Gas will get you further on its tank than an electric will get you on its battery. Emissions from a gas powered moped are very minute compared to that of a typical motorcycle.