When a bloke tells you ‘good things come in small packages’, you start to wonder if they’re just trying to convince themselves. But if said Gentleman is aboard a Honda Ruckus, then he is 110% on the money. Known as the Zoomer in Japan, designation NPS50, the Ruckus was also released in North America as part of Honda’s model lineup for 2003. Why the rest of the world didn’t get them at the same time is anyone’s guess, because a cult status machine was instantly born. So, when a lad named Tai rolled a 2016 Ruckus into Queensland’s Ellaspede workshop, they were more than happy to jump onto the little bike and give it maximum performance and personality.
Looking over the Ruckus the guys were curious as to why Tai wanted to go all out on this crazy little rig. “Because a few of the boys had them so we thought we’ll all get one and get a little squad together to go cruising.” Plus, “I just think they look sick!” Good enough for us and it was good enough for Ellaspede too, who loved the passion and the chance to dive into something totally different. But, let’s be honest, in stock form the Ruckus is really just a utilitarian scooter, with a 50cc engine that can barely pull the skin off a rice pudding.
The strong point of these little rowdy beasts has always been the booming aftermarket support and the simplicity of the design, which allows the imagination to run wild. Time to get online and look for inspiration, “The early adopters of custom ‘Rucks’ stem from the JDM and VIP scene, but more and more are getting in on the trend. We used to think that old Honda CBs were the most heavily customised Honda’s until we dug into the extraordinary subculture that has grown up around the Honda Ruckus.”
So, with the bike stripped down and the idea to make it perform better and ‘look sick’, all that is actually left of the original bike is the main frame and seat structure, the fuel tank, the front fairing and the odd bracket, and all of these parts have had at least one or two tweaks too. Bolt-on parts for the Ruckus are a huge industry, and the boys had boxes coming in from all over the world, with the bulk of bits from DorbyWorks and RuckHouse. But as they would discover, bolt-on bits don’t always, just bolt on.
The big change is “the GY6 engine conversion which is now stroked out to a 171cc that should be good for 100km/h!” That’s some serious speed on something so small and close to the ground, and it makes a hell of a sound too, with its own pod filter and upswept carbon Yoshi pipe on a custom bracket. Thanks to 12-inch billet engine mounts, you get that super stretched vibe, with more billet items used to mount the short rear shock. The front end is dropped to the ground too, with aftermarket lowered forks and a set of sweet billet clip-ons.
The wheels alone play a huge role in the big visual impact of the little machine, and here you see that JDM influence shine through. The staggered 12/13in set are ‘Mesh Love’ items, black centres, with those huge polished barrels. The deep dish of the 7in wide rear rim is drool worthy and it’s set off perfectly with a stretched 140-section tyre in the spirit of the VIP scene. The brakes are no joke either, with Brembo calipers clamping 220mm wave pattern discs at each end. These are sent fluid via CNC’d masters down Teflon-coated lines, a big improvement over the stock cable-operated units.
The long and low look is then further intensified by chopping the seat support structure, before bolting it back down to the stock mounts for an uber-clean look. To dial some comfort back into the mix, it’s been topped with a full comfort foam seat that is brilliantly wrapped in Alcantara with a silver graphite stitch.
You won’t miss the colour either, “with a popular teal hue getting the nod in a specific mix of vintage Formula 1 car teal and the classic Tiﬀany blue.” A host of trick bolt-on bits, like aftermarket mirrors, a CNC gas cap, fuel tank cover, CNC forward footrest and a rear inner guard complete the look.
To keep it clean and uncluttered, a full aftermarket wiring loom was purchased and modified to power the new lights and a Koso gauge on a billet mount up the front. There are Motogadget indicators and a Koso Hawkeye tail light for the rear, a set of twin aftermarket LED headlights capture the iconic Ruckus look and keeping the boys in blue happy is a custom built number plate hanger and light setup.
“Now that it’s finished, Tai is looking forward to ‘Weekend cruises with the boys’. A swarm of Ruckus doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend an afternoon to us” Count us in, something so small, never looked like so much fun!
[ Ellaspede ]