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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Life in the Slow Lane

The throttle is pinned and I am rocketing uphill at a blistering 30kph. The 49cc of fury underneath my arse cannot do anymore to propel me up the increasingly steep hill. It's a good thing this is a rural road with little traffic. Truth be told, except for going downhill, or coming to a stop, my right hand has been cranked for the whole ride. Such is life aboard a Honda Ruckus.

Yes folks my new steed is the Ruckus, one of Honda's most popular, much loved and modded scooters. I've been in love with the fat tyred, bugged eyed, dual headlamped, step through since I first laid eyes on it. The damn thing just looks cool, as cool as a scooter can look, at least with a grown adult on it.

What started as a trip to the local Honda dealer to get my daughter a cute little scooter, quickly turned into the purchase of two scooters. My wife under a moment of weakness and some gentle prodding from her husband suggested we get two scooters. So we walked out the door with a slightly poorer bank account, but richer in two wheeled motorized bikes, a Honda Giorno, and Ruckus.
Like I've said you cannot have two many bikes in the garage.

You can tell by the smiles that the girls love them. Katie has another 2 years before she can get her licence, but has already wore a dirt path around the yard on the Ruckus.

So now we have an Italian (the Guzzi) a wannabe Italian (Honda Giorno) and a bug eyed freak of scooter that will soon be masquerading as an ADV bike. Who says you need a 1200GS to have an adventure. Just ask Mike, who put on 40000 miles on his Ruckus.

This morning I took the Ruckus out for a good little spin, time to see what this beast could do, or could not do. Now coming off a motorcycle, you have to readjust the way you approach riding. Nothing, I mean nothing happens fast. It doesn't accelerate fast, get up to speed (60kph) fast, and oddly enough doesn't slow down fast. (drum brakes). 

The suspension is not all that great, bumps taken at speed tend to unsettle the scoot, but not to the point of being out of control. At speeds over 50kph it's noticeable that the wheels need balancing, there seems to be some wobbling going on. Mind you it's only brief forays when the speedo needle moves north of 50 anyway. Add that to the character of the scoot.

The brakes........well it is 2016  I believe and I'm not sure why any manufacturer would put drum brakes on anything with two wheels. I mean my $1400 bicycle has disc brakes. To put it bluntly the drum brakes suck.

For being only a 49cc scoot, it is quite comfortable for my 6'1" frame. The handlebar is quite tall and wide, almost like a dirt bike or dual sport bike. The seat is wide and comfortable, and at no time did I feel cramped. Instrumentation is bare bones basic, a speedo, with ODO, and high engine temp light. Next to it is a single turn signal light. A low fuel light (comes on when 1L of the 5L tank remains) and high beam light are below. Really what more do you need?

There is no storage on the scoot, nadda, none. However there is space for storage, if that makes sense. The seat lifts up, and my old Wolfman tank bag fits inside perfectly, and didn't even have to be strapped down. So now I have a place to store extra gloves, rain gear, paperwork, etc.

I think my old Gears saddlebags that I just used on the Guzzi will fit as well.

Scoot also comes with a kickstarter for back up. 

What are my plans? Basically turning this already great scoot into a mini ADV bike. First test will be the Fundy Adventure Rally. I plan on riding it up, and doing the single day, solo 250km self guided tour/scavenger hunt. Might turn into a 10-12hr day, but that will be the adventure part. I'm guessing I'll be solo too, since no ADV bike rider will want to putt along at 30-50kph for the whole day, unless I can find another Ruck minded person out there to join me.

Then of course there is next years Mad Bastard, which will be the highlight of 2017. 

There are a few mods needed, a windscreen would be nice, and a set of handguards, and for both rallies I'll need to carry extra fuel, which I can strap to the floor between my feet. 

Overall I love the damn thing, flaws and all. I'm at a point in my life when I no longer need or want to go fast, and revel in the simpler things in life. I'm already dreaming of some crazy, fun adventure trips on the thing. Multi day trips to explore different areas. Backroads tour around New Brunswick, the TLH again once Quebec finishes the ATV path from Natashquan to Blanc Sablon. The possibilities are endless.


  1. is that the new 2016 honda giorno?

    1. if they update the 2017 ruckus like the 2016 metro and giorno then the drum brakes will be much better