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Honda Ruckus
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Honda Ruckus on 11/07/2011 21:17:03 MST Print View

I've fallen in love with these over the last few years. First I was skeptical, then I started looking at them I'm pretty certain I need to head down to the Honda dealership. There are more than a few Ruckus gangs in the Los Angeles area now.

49cc, 80-100 MPG, and absolutely, beautifully stupid. It's like the Little Rascals meet the Hell's Angels.

I'm all about trying to do Los Angeles to Alaska on one.


David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Honda Ruckus" on 11/07/2011 21:42:09 MST Print View

That's awesome Craig, Mad Max for the 21st century...

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Honda Ruckus on 11/07/2011 22:02:01 MST Print View

I love these little guys. I personally don't have one, but have a friend who does. I took it on a 600 mile round trip "tour" a few years back from northern Idaho to Kelowna, BC. Fitting all my ultralight gear on there was no problem at all, used bike panniers from my bike touring setup and put the rest under the seat and strapped on in various places. Ran like a champ with about 80 mpg. I don't think its possible to break these things unless you really try.

Just know that you are going to be going about 35 mph max. A lot of people thought I was crazy, but to me that was fast. I'm used to bike touring at 10 mph. Felt like I was crusing. Just pick a route with as little highways as possible, and when on highways stick to the shoulder.

I once aspired to buy my own and take it cross country, but just haven't had the time to do it recently. Still might happen one day ;)

If you ever do decide to go on the Alaska trip, let me know. Seriously. I'd figure out a way to get the time off.

Edited by skyzo on 11/07/2011 22:03:26 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Honda Ruckus on 11/07/2011 22:21:30 MST Print View

Cool to now someone here has ridden one. I've tooled around town on one, but never anything far.

I've heard of people being able to consistently pull 40-45 mph, but that's with custom exhaust, air filter, and tuning.

I've done the Alaska math many times. Juneau is ~2600 miles from Los Angeles, avoiding freeways/highways. If you could do 300 miles/day (~10 hours), that's a touch over 8 days. 400/day and you could break two weeks, round trip. It would be ABSOLUTELY ludicrous, but doable. 80 mpg @ $3.79/gallon is only $121 one way!!!! I have heard stories of people doing 400/day. Not sure what the longest continuous Ruckus distance record is.

The picture I posted above is of Wan's bike. He came here from Korea to travel, couldn't afford a motorcycle/insurance, so he bought a Ruckus and went across the United States and back.


The other cool thing is that I could use my Honda Element as The Mothership, launch the Ruckus out of the back, and do self-supported backpacking shuttles!!

Here's and article on Wan..Cool stuff. 18,000 miles on ~$650 gas!!!:


Edited by xnomanx on 11/07/2011 22:29:24 MST.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Honda Ruckus on 11/07/2011 22:46:02 MST Print View

Yeah, Wan's adventure was awesome, its what made me want to do that short tour on my friend's Ruckus. Its amazing how far you can get on a very small amount of gas with those things. I think to Kelowna and back cost me something like $25 (Back when gas was about $3 a gallon). Thats amazing, considering if I did the trip now in my truck it would cost me ~$120

300 miles a day on a Ruckus would definitely be a long day, but doable. It took me 3 days to get to Kelowna, averaging about 110 miles a day. I spent a ton of time just hanging out in towns I came across, only spent maybe 3-4 hours a day of actual riding.

Edited by skyzo on 11/07/2011 22:48:16 MST.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Pretty cool, but 35mph will get on you... on 11/08/2011 09:33:46 MST Print View

Those look like fun little runners! I do think of that one scene in Dodgeball, but...

Anyway, I used to moto/pack around SoCal up to Yosemite or so, using a 120cc Suzuki trail bike that would do 50-60 wound out with a load on the bike, mostly behind me on the rack but with a roll on the bars (instant fairing). I did a few trips with the bike geared down to climb like a goat, and then it topped out at 35mph. Let me just say that 35 is not only dog-slow on a long day but also literally invites trouble on highways where the median speed is well above that. Fine for a while, but on a super-long expedition it could be a stone bummer.

Strap a machete to the fork leg. It gives you cred with the Harley guys if there are any left that aren't accountants and doctors. :)

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Big Ruckus on 11/08/2011 10:22:04 MST Print View

They used to make a "Big Ruckus" which had a larger 250cc engine. It achieves highway speeds. It is probably a little bit more comfortable for long distance touring. Also, the Honda CT110 might be something worth looking at. They don't sell them in the US anymore (stopped in 1986 I believe) but they still sell them overseas (Australia & New Zealand). I believe that the CT110 could reach 60mph and could climb like a goat. You can find low mileage US versions for under 2K.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Bigger bike on 11/08/2011 11:29:57 MST Print View

I've done a few 200+ mile days on my CBR600, can we say sore butt? Along with hurting hands? I'd hate to ride the Ruckus for a long day. Its seat might be more comfie though. The Kawa 650 allterrains got a good review a few years ago and that seems to be getting more popular.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Honda Ruckus on 11/08/2011 11:48:25 MST Print View

Long time motorcycle rider here. Although I have never ridden a Ruckus, I have ridden many scooters and bikes from 125cc up to 1300cc.

The Ruckus really has a coolness, as does this guy's trip. Scooters are small, light, and easily stored.

Here is the problem with bikes and their smaller cousins; people driving vehicles do not see you. Oh, their eyes see you but often their brains don't see you. So it takes a lot of hard work, practice and experience to remain un-injured/alive.

Why does Honda (and others) make 49cc scooters? Because many states do not require a driver license, motorcycle training, and children are allowed to ride them. Manufacturers can get similar mileage with a larger displacement, more power, but those transportation units require a driver's license and anyone under 16 cannot ride them on the street.

So lets look at the pros and cons, starting with the cons:

- Tiny and not as visible as a larger bike

- Poor acceleration (might need this in an emergency situation)

- Cannot go over 40 mph

- Going up hills everything gets worse

- Drum brakes... not safe IMO

- On most streets you cannot keep up with traffic, so you have to ride to the right where you become less visible

- Tiny tires are subject to potholes and other obstacles

- Suspension sucks


- Looks cool

- Easy to store or even throw into the back of another vehicle

- Good gas mileage ~ 80+ mpg

I would suggest that most would be better served with a "real" motorcycle of 250cc or above. Many of these can get over 70 mpg. Plenty of acceleration, more visible profile, can carry more weight, can travel at high speeds, better suspension, and most important to me better brakes. There are some bikes in the 500cc-750cc range that can get up to 70 mph.

When my son was in college, he was thinking about getting a scooter. He called his uncle (my younger brother Gary) who has owned a motorcycle accessory manufacturing company for over 30 years and lives bikes (Rifle Fairing Company at Gary told him to skip the scooter and get something bigger, along with a AMA approved riding course. Then my son called me and got the same answer. He was really surprised that we would encourage a motorcycle over a scooter.

Now lets talk long trips. The longest trip I ever made on a bike was in 1979 when I traveled cross country from Calif to NY. 10,000 miles and 3 months. For me, the daily mileage sweet-spot was 330-350 miles per day. I had some days over 500, but they were very tiring. Keep in mind that I had a 750cc bike, great suspension, could travel easily at 70+ mph, had a large fairing/windshield, manual cruise control (try holding a throttle open for 10 straight hours), floorboards, highway pegs, a special touring seat, and even a stereo/tape player.

Calif to Alaska...

Well the Alcan Hwy would be the only reasonable route. Bad roads at times, gravel, mud, trucks, infrequent gas stations, etc. The Alcan eats up motorcycle tires. I do not know one person who has made it without at least one flat. The road is tough on riders with all the frost heaves and I could not imagine it on a scooter.

Want to see good mileage? Here is the slipstream bike my brother's company built in the 1980's. It is a Yamaha 175cc bike. In 1983 it won the Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Run with 372 mpg (that is three hundred 72 miles per gallon). The fuel consumed was carefully measured at the end of the race. The course ran on HYW 1 from Carmel through Big Sur and then back. Distance of 90 miles and the course had to be completed in 90 minutes or less. The bike is now on display at the Smithsonian.

Rifle Fairing

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Alternative on 11/08/2011 11:49:31 MST Print View

You may want to check out the Yamaha WR250x/r. I am getting 65 to 80 Mpg at 65 to 70 mph. The farthest I have been is a 2,000 mile round trip to Seattle but many have ridden to Patagonia and back and many coast to coast trips.

There is a blog by a journalist that rode coast to coast and averaged just over 100mpg!

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Ruckus on 11/08/2011 13:38:27 MST Print View

Looks great fun, but as Nick points out they do have some downsides, but with the will anything is possible:). They look like a good thing to have in the garage just in case of a zombie apocalypse.

I do love the crazy names the Japanese give their vehicles. My favourite, the Mazda Bongo Wagon.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Ruckus on 11/08/2011 13:56:37 MST Print View

I fully understand the arguments for and against scooters vs. motorcycles.


It is in the absolute absurdity and stupidity of doing a long-distance tour on a 49cc scooter that the beauty lies...I'm completely enamored with the concept of doing "serious" riding, limitations and all, on something that most people would consider a circus toy.

Maybe Alaska (or any other 300-400 mile per day scooter tour) is an absolutely ridiculous goal, I certainly can't argue with that...but maybe it's that ridiculousness that makes the goal all the sweeter.

As for comfort...I suppose if I have been able to suffer through 250 mile bicycle races, hunched over the bars and spending 15 hours at a time on a rock-hard, skinny road bike seat, a Ruckus can't be THAT bad for 10 hours.


Anyhow, none of this is based on logic...I refuse to let logical arguments derail the dream. :)

Edited by xnomanx on 11/08/2011 13:57:55 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ruckus on 11/08/2011 14:14:10 MST Print View

Anyhow, none of this is based on logic...I refuse to let logical arguments derail the dream. :)


Sort of like a Rim-to-Rim run or a 50 mile ultra-marathon. Pick your challenges in life and enjoy them!

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Logic be damned... on 11/08/2011 15:28:34 MST Print View

Well, when it gets down to it, if it's fun, go!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Honda Ruckus on 11/08/2011 16:36:39 MST Print View

Hwy.395 north on a fall day with the two stroke whine of 49cc worth of raw power buzzing under you but. Bliss! Traveling slow enough to be part of the environment. I put 15,000 miles on my moped in a year and a half. Was great to go 120 miles on a dollar.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Walking on 11/08/2011 17:57:01 MST Print View

Does beat walking Ken.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Honda Ruckus on 11/08/2011 18:03:07 MST Print View

"Hwy.395 north on a fall day with the two stroke whine of 49cc worth of raw power buzzing under you but."

Ken, how does it do going over a high mountain pass like Tioga?


John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Ruckus on 11/08/2011 19:14:10 MST Print View

One thing you have to think of though is that all of those cons are related to other motorcycles though. The Ruckus is in a league of its own. Its like comparing bicycle touring to motorcycle touring.
I bicycle toured extensively 5-10 years ago, sometimes trips as long as 1,000 miles. Just for the fun of it. You think a Ruckus seat is uncomfortable, try a bicycle seat for 8 hours a day. Think a Ruckus is hard to see on the highway, try a bicycle.
There's more to it then just speed, being able to see the world at 10mph is a completely different feeling then cruising by it at 60-70mph. Thats why the Ruckus is perfect, it splits the difference.
35mph lets you get farther faster than on a bicycle, and lets you take longer adventures. I loved the 600 mile tour I took on the Ruckus, and would do it again in a heartbeat if I had the time.
Like Craig said though, half the fun is doing something that most people would consider crazy and absurd, I mean, riding a 49cc scooter thousands of miles?

Edited by skyzo on 11/08/2011 19:14:45 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Honda Ruckus on 11/08/2011 21:15:29 MST Print View

I've said quite a few times that one of my dreams is to ride my motorcycle around the country at about 30 mph, so I can totally understand the desire of touring on a scooter.

Riding any type of bike makes is so much better than being in a car just because you can smell, feel, hear and occasionally taste what you're traveling through. In a car (bubble), the only sense engaged is usually just sight. Being able to go slower would enhance that since there wouldn't be the roar of the wind rushing past your helmet, and there's be more time to take things in. I would so love to do that.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Ruckus on 11/08/2011 23:41:14 MST Print View

Reminds me of a quote from Fahrenheit 451, "I sometimes think drivers don't know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slow. If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! he’d say, that’s grass! A pink blur! That’s a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows."