It’s January 13th, 2014. I’m visiting my father in Central Florida. Accompanying me, are my wife, my two daughters, and their two daughters so we get a chance to see Grandpa / Great Grandpa.
While there I spy a machine, a two-wheeled machine with a motor. It’s my nephew’s 2013 Honda Ruckus (1310 miles). Immediately I decide I need to ride it. And then the mission comes to me with great clarity! I am “Miles Beyond The Ordinary” test rider, Rich Lantz.
I approached the machine a little wary…hadn’t been on a scooter in many years. I rolled it out into the Florida sun. I looked the bike /scooter over. Tires felt reasonably inflated. I looked for a fuel shut off but couldn’t find one.There is a low fuel light but no fuel gauge , so I looked for a tank which is under the floor “board.” Opened the locked cap to see some fuel.
He told me it got one hundred miles per gallon so I figured I would be fine. I found the ignition, inserted the key and saw a start button. Pushed it …..but nothing. So I looked for a kick start lever which was on the rear end and down low. Two weak mini kicks and the 49cc motor fires right up and purrs like a little Honda should. Helmet on and off I go.
I think to myself, “probably should figure these brakes out before I get out of the driveway.” No pegs or pedals just floor board. So there are two levers on the non- adjustable handlebar, front and back brakes just like my old Stingray. Acceleration was pretty weak. Don’t know what I was expecting, but I got used to it after a little while.
At this point I should note my personal specs… 52 years old , 6 feet tall, and 194 lbs. My nephew,by the way, is 5′ 9″ tall and tips the scales at 160 lbs. Anyway, compared to my current bike (1990 Yamaha XT600) it seemed a little under powered. Ironically, this scoot weighs 194 lbs., same as me. Seat is comfortable and I feel relatively “un-cramped” on the machine. Mirrors provide excellent coverage. Horn, headlights (2), and turn signals were also excellent. I’m rolling now, down Croom Road in Brooksville, Florida. How fast will this thing go? Top speed in aerodynamic tuck on downhill slope with slight tailwind took me up to a Bert Munroe-inspired 43.5 miles per hour. On the flats I could manage 40 mph one direction and 35 mph coming back. Uphill slopes brought me down to 33 mph and at one point 28 mph. Suspension is quite limited and especially with my “mass” on the machine. Definitely not an off road setup! Bumps, small potholes, and the like were “jarring.”
Keep this Ruckus on the smooth surfaces and you will be very happy. Curves were a blast as you pretty much keep the throttle “pinned” and lean in! One surprise was the brakes. They were very effective. In the state of Florida this scooter requires no license, no insurance, and no helmet. The only thing the law requires is eye protection.
Overall , my impressions were very favorable. This is a fine machine with Honda engineering. I wouldn’t mind owning one but I would be visiting the forums to see what upgrades and mods were available. Can we ever just leave a motorcycle / scooter alone ???
I think we all know the answer to that question.