When we saunter through a Honda dealership, our attention is usually riveted to a big four-wheel-drive ATV or a lightning-fast dirt bike. However, on a recent foray to Freeport Honda in Freeport, Illinois, we spotted Honda's rugged little Ruckus scooter. We immediately took a liking to the machine, and we began to mentally check off the uses for the scooter from pit bike to campground transportation.
Three sheets of 1/2-inch 4x8 drywall don't weigh much-approximately 155 pounds. The Ruckus tips the scales at 181 pounds, so like drywall, it's light enough to toss into the back of your pickup. The Ruckus is powered by a stunningly quiet four-stroke OHC liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that is lit by a maintenance-free ignition system and pushbutton electric starter (with backup kickstart lever). Interestingly, the starter system utilizes the engine's brushless alternator (ACG) for starting. This eliminates the need for a separate starter motor, which reduces overall weight and improves fuel economy. Thumbing the starter button results in an almost immediate engine start with no starter noise. Other neat engine features worth noting include an ECU that provides control for the ignition timing, alternator regulator, ACG starter, electric fuel pump, and automatic choke; a magnetically driven water pump which eliminates the need for mechanical seals; a compact, engine-mounted radiator; an electromagnetic fuel pump; and an automatic Honda V-Matic beltdrive transmission that requires virtually no maintenance.
The engine is bolted to a rugged two-piece, die-cast aluminum front frame with upper steel rear frame. The twin-downtube-fork front suspension provides 2.2 inches of travel, while the single-side aluminum swing-arm rear suspension with single shock has 2.6 inches of travel. The Ruckus rolls on oversized tires and forward velocity is controlled via front and rear drum brakes.
Other neat features of the Ruckus include turn signals (with audible indicator); analog speedometer; a well-padded seat with low seat height (28.9 inches); and cool aesthetics not normally found on scooters, including the frame design and the Baja 1000-like dual headlights.
When you combine the impressive design-both visually and technically-with the fact that it's licensable in most states and has a top speed of approximately 35 mph, the Ruckus looks pretty good as a small, inexpensive way to get around, on- and off-highway.
Model: '07 Honda Ruckus (White Camo)
Base price: $2,099 (black, $2049)
Engine type: 49cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Carburetion: 15mm CV with automatic choke
Transmission: Automatic V-Matic beltdrive
Suspension (f/r): Twin-downtube fork, 2.2 inches of travel/Single shock, 2.6 inches of travel
Brakes (f/r): Drum/drum
Tires (f/r): 120/90-10/130/90-10
Wheelbase (in): 49.8
Seat height (in): 28.9
Dry weight (lb): 181
Fuel capacity (gal): 1.3