The Best 50cc Motorcycles & Scooters [2022 Edition]

2022 Best 50cc Motorcycles and Scooters

When you say the words “motor” and “cycle” together, most people think of bikes with fairly large engine displacements. But in Europe (and some parts of North America), there are whole classes of motorcycle license (often labeled learner or “limited”, depending on your location) that allow would-be riders under 18 the chance to develop their skills—as long as they stick to smaller bikes.

We also can’t afford to forget about scooters. While many may not think of scooters as motorcycles in the truest form, they’re still two-wheeled vehicles powered by motors. And in many parts of the world—especially SouthEast Asia and continental Europe—scooters are the primary method of commuting.

In this list, we’ll cover the best ~50cc motorcycles and lower range scooters. These bikes are suitable for European learners on AM or CBT licenses, as well as for those who have their full endorsement but want a fun, easy ride for errands and small trips.

7: 2021 Aprilia RS 50 (Europe and UK only)

2021 Aprilia RS 50 E4

The Aprilia brand doesn’t have the largest rider base in North America, but it’s still quite popular. Unfortunately for us, we don’t get some of their best products on this side of the pond—and that extends to the latest version of the RS 50.

Designed to look like a larger Italian sport bike while providing a relatively gentle introduction for learners, the 2021 RS 50 E4 is a two-stroke, 50cc masterpiece. While the 9 HP it delivers might seem low at first, this model doesn’t skimp on “big bike” amenities.

What do you get? How about a 6-speed manual shifter, an inverted front sport shock, an asymmetrical single shock rear swingarm, a full aluminum frame, and brakes that have ABS with a 4 piston caliper up front?

6: 2022 Rieju MRT 50 SM

2022 Reiju MRT 50 SM

Rieju isn’t well-known at all in the USA and Canada, which is a bit disappointing. The Spanish brand has been around for several decades, and they’re well-known (at least in the EU) for making smaller displacement street and dirt bikes that can take a beating and still run flawlessly.

The 2022 MRT 50 SM, however, is quite possibly their best sub-100cc bike in years. Unsurprisingly, the SM in the name stands for SuperMoto. While 50cc may seem a bit small for such a bike, the MRT 50 SM is hilariously capable of everything you would ask a bigger SM to do.

In Europe and the UK, this bike is fully compliant with the AM and CBT rules. That being the case, its 6-speed manual transmission and peppy little 50cc make it ideal for helping riders 16 and older learn to ride an SM.

This bike isn’t marked as EU and UK only, so while it isn’t listed on Rieju’s US or Canadian sites, there are lots of online rumors (and a few examples) of interested buyers being able to import one officially through official Rieju dealers.

5: 2022 Honda Metropolitan

2022 Honda Metropolitan in Pearl Soft Beige colorway

Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, a lot of urban scooters were sold that combined stylish Euro-retro looks with modern equipment and drivetrains. In 2002, Honda came out with their own: the Metropolitan. It was shelved in 2009, but reintroduced in 2013 with a fuel-injected four-stroke that garnered a lot of attention.

By switching from a two-stroke to a four-stroke (and from carburation to fuel injection), the reintroduced Metropolitan quickly became the model in its class to beat, with smooth power delivery and almost none of that annoying buzz from the earlier version. It gained society’s attention as well, as more than a few celebrities were seen zipping around on their little Metropolitans in Hollywood throughout the 2010s.

The Metropolitan remains a smooth-riding, decently zippy little scooter—offering classic retro-European looks with the durability and reliability of a Honda. And for the new 2022 model, the transmission has been changed to Honda’s all-new V-Matic belt drive unit, seamlessly shifting gears to provide the power you need while leaving you free to focus on enjoying your ride.

4: 2021 Vespa Sprint 50

2021 Vespa Sprint

Vespa could have chosen to spend the past decade resting on its laurels. After all, in North America,  the words “Vespa” and “scooter” have almost become synonyms. Thankfully, other brands realized there was a scooter market in the USA and Canada, giving this legendary Italian brand a push to keep innovating.

While the Vespa name has been around for about 75 years, the Sprint is one of their relatively new scooter offerings. Produced since 2014, the Vespa Sprint is a little urban scooter that’s meant to be an under-the-radar retro-styled ride.

While the Primavera 50 may be the high fashion statement in the current Vespa lineup, the humble Sprint will get you from point A to point B and back again in comfort and safety. Still, when you take a closer look, it’s pretty stylish as well!

This delineation between the Sprint and the Primavera is what really sold us on the Sprint 50, with its new 3-valve 4-stroke single cylinder engine. The Primavera is definitely the flashier of the two, but the Sprint 50 is the practical choice. It’s also noted in many reviews to be as reliable as any scooter from the Big Four Japanese manufacturers, which is high praise indeed.

3: 2021 Kymco Agility 50

2021 Kymco Agility 50

We mentioned earlier that scooters are popular in SouthEast Asia, and Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco proves that the region is home to some excellent manufacturers as well. The Kymco Agility 50 stands out from their absolutely massive lineup as a fun, well-balanced lifestyle model. It has a peppy little 49cc engine that can get this little scooter rolling in fine style and also comes with a surprisingly comfortable seat.

What makes this scooter even better is that, unlike the one-speed automatic transmission many other scooters have, it uses a pretty ingenious implementation of the CVT transmission you can get in some cars these days. This transmission keeps the engine in the best part of its power curve, giving you ample twist-and-go thrust without hitting eardrum-bursting revs. It also features a full front disc brake instead of the standard drum brakes that come on many scooters, making it feel like a high-end luxury scooter.

Oh, and did we mention that new models sell for under $2,000 USD? Not only that, but you get 104 MPG on this thing. It’s a bargain-and-a-half for a superb, durable scooter—especially one that looks this good.

2: 2022 Piaggio Liberty 50 S Euro 5

2022 Piaggio Liberty 50 S Euro 5 scooter

If you’re making a list of scooters, a Piaggio model will inevitably appear on it somewhere. The folks at Piaggio are long-term scooter builders and masters of melding classic Italian details with modern shapes—and the Liberty 50 S Euro 5 is just the latest in a long line of successful urban scooters from this brand.

Much like the Kymco above, the 2022 version of this scooter comes with both a front disc brake and a CVT transmission. What separates it from the Kymco is that the Piaggio also comes with full ABS. It also has a wide front fascia, which is aerodynamically sculpted to allow for decent airflow around the legs without letting rain or road debris in.

The Liberty S 50 Euro 5 also features an especially spacious two-up seat with plush cushioning for both the driver and pillion. And since it’s from Italy, it has ample underseat storage, plus a handy shopping bag hook behind the front shield. You get the best of Italian scooter styling in a practical package with this one.

1: 2022 Honda Ruckus

2022 Honda Ruckus

Honda has spent the last decade rediscovering the efficient and reliable fun that originally made them so successful in both the automobile and motorcycle worlds. Even 10 years ago, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade or the Civic Type-R would never have made it past their board of directors. In 2021, however, we got both. And in the middle of last year, we also got the revamped Ruckus.

The Ruckus has been around for a while, trucking along under various changes while Honda tinkered with it. The 2022 model gained an all new, lighter-weight starter with an automatic choke to help the engine kick over in cold weather. It also got its suspension reworked (albeit only a little), with a half-inch more in the rear to help absorb bumps. The front remained a twin-downtube fork with 2 inches of travel.

New colors came in as well, including Midnight Blue with a Tan subframe, Gray, and White with Pearl Blue seat bars. No matter what color combo you go with, however, you’re sure to have an absolute blast on this fun little beast of a scooter.