February 18, 2022
Updated on:
September 4, 2023

The Battle of the Two Wheelers: E-bikes vs Mopeds

Two wheeled motor vehicles are becoming unavoidable in London, Manchester and the UK, as e-bike and moped sales continue to multiply in most major cities globally.

With an abundance of options to choose from as the market expands to reflect societal interest, the age-old question stands: Which one should I invest in?

In order to put the two vehicle’s head to head, we put together four different key categories that riders take into consideration and prioritise before they purchase and see how each of them weighs up.

In order to structure this blog and put the two vehicles head to head, we compared four key categories that all buyers take into consideration before buying a vehicle.

  1. Legality, Licences and Requirements
  2. Cost & Expenses
  3. Environmental Impact
  4. Inner-city Efficiency

Introducing Our Contendants

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's make sure we are all on the same page regarding what exactly the vehicles we are working with.

What are e-bikes?

Introducing contestant number one: most commonly known as the ’e-bike’, this light electric vehicle is taking the world by storm with its innovative electric motor power that sits firmly on its lightweight and durable build. Also known as electrically assisted pedal cycles, these bikes do not look dissimilar to their conventional counterparts, however, their electric motors propel their rides to higher speeds and maintain their power to create a more comfortable and efficient ride.

What are mopeds?

On the other hand we have contestant number two: The ‘moped’. Less powerful than a motorbike, but more powerful than an e-bike, the moped style vehicle requires both licensing and insurance to zip you from one part of town to another.

Now that you're well acquainted with our contestants, let's put them to the ultimate test!

What is the difference between mopeds, motorbike and scooter

#1 Legality, Licences and Requirements

When it comes to an e-bike, other than the initial purchase, the admin required to run this vehicle in minimal if anything. You do not need a licence to drive an e-bike and it does not need to be registered or insured like a moped, motorcycle or car, saving you as a commuter or courier a significant amount of money and time. In the UK the only requirement to ride an e-bike is that you are over the age of 14.

Additionally, with an e-bike you are not required to pay road taxes as you zip around town using bike lanes and staying out of the toll booths. Finally, maintenance costs for e-bikes are far less expensive than cars, motorbikes and, you guessed it, mopeds!

A moped however does require a licence to operate as its power exceeds 250 watts and they can get to speeds exceeding 15.5mph. Due to the increase in speed, mopeds also require insurance due to the increased risk they pose to the rider, putting you even further out of pocket. 

#2 Environmental Impact

Sustainable everyday practices are consistently increasing in societal prioritisation as we become more educated on the devastating consequences of climate change, specially fossil fuels. 

E-bikes, and electric vehicles at large, embody the sustainable shift within the transport industry in order to commute consciously with our environment in mind. Not only does choosing a vehicle with a positive or neutral ecological footprint ease your own personal climate anxiety, but it also can boost your reputation if you are a small business using courier e-bikes to create change!

The traditional moped requires fuel or petrol to run its motor. Using this gas for energy creates greenhouse gas pollution which accelerates climate change and is therefore detrimental to our environment. Mopeds have started producing electric options, however these come at a greater financial cost and may be more difficult to get your hands on.

#3 Inner-city Efficiency

Traffic is a key characteristic of urban travel. At peak hour, people leave double to triple the amount of time usually required to make their commute, as bumper to bumper traffic usually halts cars at standstills across the city. There is no way around this, even buses are stuck. 

However, smaller vehicles like e-bikes and mopeds can quicken your journey allowing you to speed past cars using bike lanes and utilise shortcuts through tight alleys and parks.

E-bikes, as you would assume, can use the cycle lanes that trace cities in the UK. This allows riders to get to their destinations quickly, and most importantly, safely by allowing them their own space away from powerful cars and buses.

Unfortunately, due to the powerful engines on mopeds, it is illegal for these vehicles to ride in cycle lanes or on footpaths forcing them onto the main streets with other large vehicles. Requiring riders to weave in and out of lanes surrounded by objects four times their size, unsurprisingly increases the risk of accident dramatically. For riders who chose to travel using mopes, we highly advise keeping your protective wear and bike in good condition to keep you safe should something go wrong on the roads.

#4 Cost & Expenses

The final comparison of this blog is the cost and expenses associated with each of these vehicles.

Since e-bikes do not require insurance or registration to operate, this cuts down lots of costs for the rider. Another major cost that you can avoid by investing in an e-bike is the price of petrol entirely as they are electrically charged. Although, like any vehicle regularly used, e-bikes do require servicing, so you can expect to pay a fair fee every 6-12 months to ensure your bike remains in optimum condition, subsequently increasing its overall longevity and lifespan. When it comes to the cost of purchasing an e-bike upfront, they can range anywhere upwards of £1,000. Although this sum is quite expensive, as we have said these bikes are an investment, and some businesses like Zoomo even provide flexible payment options to assist you in paying off your bike in your time.

Mopeds alternatively guzzle petrol and therefore require constant payments into powering the vehicle. Similarly to e-bikes they also require regular maintenance, and their services and part repairs will likely be more expensive due to the complexity and size of the vehicle. Naturally they also tend to be more expensive to buy outright as they require more parts and are overall bigger vehicles. 

So Where Should You Invest

If you're looking for a straightforward, less expensive and safe option we would highly recommend investing in an e-bike. 

In the UK, we are seeing negative trends regarding illegal moped use due to illegitimate licencing and lack of insurance. Most of these mopeds are being used by riders in the courier industry. If couriers are looking for a straightforward and simple rider with little to no administration responsibilities it would be silly to overlook the power of the e-bike.

Interested in acquiring an e-bike, check out Zoomo’s world class e-bikes that are taking the LEV’s world by storm.


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