For some of us, we started our riding careers on a 50cc moped as soon as we turned 16, unable to contain the excitement of being free on two wheels any longer.
When we look back now, we have moved on to bigger bikes; it is easy to dismiss our 50ccs as slow.
However, I want to encourage us to think back to how excited we were when we took our first ride and how fast we thought our mopeds were; we were riding the wind and free as a bird.
They are also pretty great for getting around town or towing on the back of a motorhome.
So, How Fast Will It Go?
In that spirit, let’s figure out how fast a 50cc actually goes.
On average, the top speed of a 50cc moped is between 25-30mph.
To get the most accurate answer, though, we need to look at all the factors that affect the speed of a 50cc moped, starting with the legal restrictions.
For those with a CBT or a driving licence issued before 1st February 2001, this is what you need to know:
You can ride a 50cc moped with a speed range between 25km/h to 45km/h.
As a result of the licensing restrictions, many new 50cc’s meet this power output or will come in below it.
The engine will often be restricted to meet the legal requirements and can be de-restricted to go faster. This is easier for manufacturers who supply their bikes to countries outside the UK; it saves them from building two engines.
What factors affect the speed of a 50cc?
Aside from the engine capacity, two main factors affect the speed of a 50cc moped, weight and aerodynamics.
Of course, weight and aerodynamics affect all motorcycles of any capacity. Still, they particularly impact small capacity machines as the engine doesn’t pump out much power to counteract the impact of extra weight or wind.
If you carry a lot of luggage on your moped, you will find that your top speed and acceleration will be affected.
This will likely be most noticeable going uphill, where your moped may struggle anyway.
Also, it is worth checking the weight of a moped against other manufacturers, some will weigh more or less, and an extra kg here or there can make a difference if they produce the same amount of power.
There is a reason superbike manufacturers do all they can to remove any extra weight, even with 1000cc plus engines.
Similarly, going straight into a headwind, you will likely find the moped slowing down as it fights to keep moving forward.
This will vary from bike to bike as some are more aerodynamic than others. Some mopeds have excellent fairings that are aerodynamically built to cut through the air.
One other factor in determining how fast your moped will go is whether it is a four-stroke or two-stroke engine.
Today, most mopeds available are four-strokes as emissions laws clamped down on two-stroke engines.
However, you could pick up a two-stroke Aprilia SR50 on the used market, and you will find that it will hit speeds of 56-60mph de-restricted.
Two-strokes aside, let’s look at a few of the fastest 50cc mopeds currently available.
Fastest 50cc Scooters
Gilera Runner 50
- Top Speed: 30mph, Derestricted: 50mph
- Max Torque: 4.7 Nm
- Max Power: 4.5 horsepower
- Top Speed: 27mph, Derestricted: 45mph
- Max Torque: 3 Nm
- Max Power: 3.9 horsepower
Piaggio Zip 50
- Top Speed: 27mph, Derestricted: 50mph
- Max Torque: 2.8 Nm
- Max Power: 2.8 horsepower
Small capacity mopeds and motorcycles are where most of us have our roots, and they can be an absolute blast.
They are usually your first ticket to freedom, allowing you to venture out further than your pedal bike could ever manage.
Unlike 125cc bikes, there is less difference in speed with the top mopeds currently available, so you should expect no more than 30mph from yours, but don’t be in such a hurry; just enjoy the moment and ride.