"This thing can do a mean burnout," brags Stephan Papadakis while we're huddled around an assembly of Hondas in the parking lot of Bowls. In an exhibition that is both gratifying and nostalgic, Stephan rips a massive cloud of dense, white smoke while the scattershot of black rubber bits from his back tire are starting to hit the front of my camera lens. Had this been 10 years earlier, Stephan probably would've given this demonstration in his Civic hatchback, but today he's showing off his Ruckus scooter, the latest cultural phenomenon from Honda. With two wheels, a spirited 49cc engine (pushing a paltry 180 lbs. of total weight), an infinite number of possible customizations and a low sticker price that could fit within most student credit card limits, the Ruckus is to choppers what the Civic was to hot rods. With pockets of Ruckus owners sprouting up in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Manhattan, the waiting list to get one from a dealer is starting to grow.
For guys like Papadakis or Brandon Leung, owner of Bowls and all-around Ruckus guru, personalizing Honda's two-wheeled wonder is an affordable luxury and lifestyle. While many parts are custom fabricated, off-the-shelf components like wheels, exhausts and body modifications for the Ruckus are becoming more available through a growing cottage industry of people in love with the scooter. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical when word of the Ruckus first reached my ears. A scooter seemed so rinky-dink compared to a regular street bike, which has so much more power and wow factor. But when the chance to ride a Ruckus came, I didn't pass it up and actually had a lot of fun buzzing around on it. Once I figure out a way to strap my camera case to one safely, you can be sure I'll be getting a Ruckus.
Send us photos of your Ruckus to email@example.com if you have one and let us know what kind of mods you've made to it.