"You want to buy a what?!" That was the response Francis Mabutas of Springfield, NJ, received when he went to the Honda dealer in 2008 and plopped down his hard earned cash for a then brand new Ruckus scooter. The East Coast Ruckus scene is still growing, but Francis knew even then that this was going to be something special.
Francis has been a fixture in the northeast race scene ever since lining himself up with the Team Alpha family back in the late '90s when he designed the iconic EAT SLEEP RACE logo for the crew. He ran into a spot of bad luck in the early 2000s, but fortunately, there was a silver lining. He recalls, "I was planning on buying a Supra from a friend of mine after I sold my Si. I found out that day that my Si was stolen, making my decision easier." Over the next few years, Francis rebuilt his Supra into a high horsepower single turbo machine that dominated the drag scene in the Northeast. Anyone who's spent time on the drag circuit knows that it can take a toll on you, and Francis was no different. "Everyone kind of fell out, they got other interests or ran out of money. I was getting tired of spending cash on blown engines and broken stuff." That's when Francis saw a feature on the infamous Dr. Charles and his Ruckus build. "My brother and I saw the Ruckus in a magazine and knew it was going to be a big thing, so we ran out and got a pair." Around the same time he picked up his Ruckus, Francis started his website EatSleepRace.com, and figured he'd need a showpiece for the site and the Ruckus would be a perfect candidate. "The East Coast didn't really have a Ruckus scene, we were the only guys with them, and we knew it would grow."
The Ruckus comes from Honda with a measly 49cc engine that, in all honesty, can't even get out of its own way. Francis states, "In the Northeast we drive fast and the Ruckus topped out at 45 mph max." A build like this was uncharted territory for Francis, so he contacted Makoa scooters to assist in the build. The first item on the to-do list was a GY6 swap; a generic engine code for a 150cc engine found in dozens of scooters throughout China and Korea. Not content with a simple swap, Francis then bored out the 150cc engine to a larger 180cc set up, effectively increasing power output and pushing the top speed into the 70mph range. Not a lot of companies are making parts for the Ruckus, but Francis found ComposiMo's 8-inch "Fatty Stanced" engine mount to get the new engine in. Complementing their swap parts, ComposiMo sent over their Titanium Akrapovic exhaust and their Mikuni fuel pump bracket to help clean up the under carriage. Getting the new engine to breathe freely is a Stage 6, 24mm carb, something foreign to the modern import tuner. "These engines are finicky. It's carbureted so everything runs on vacuum, which is weird." Lowering a scooter is as easy as you'd think. Simply swapping out the rear shock for an adjustable unit from ATR has Francis' Honda sitting pretty. However, lowered rides on OEM wheels don't cut the mustard, so Francis swapped out the stock rollers for RuckHouse Hate wheels, 12x4-inches out front and 12x8-inches in the rear.
After cruising the Ruckus for almost a year Francis needed a better ad for his company ESR, which was starting to take off. He adds, "We just made a bunch of T-shirts originally, then it took off and I really needed something to get people's attention." The scooter was then stripped down to bare metal and shipped to Makoa Scooter for a makeover. The crew re-routed all of the necessary wiring through the frame rails and to clean up the frame, ComposiMo sent over frame caps and a Sidewinder headlight bracket to mount a single Trailtech HID. Prior to reassembly, the frame was powder coated in an attention grabbing shocker yellow color scheme with black accents. A vinyl wrap sporting their company logo and a custom made Bride seat round out the new mods.
Project builds come in all shapes and sizes, and as proven by Francis' '08 Ruckus, even the smaller builds can produce a big impact.
Bolts & Washers
GY6 150cc engine swap
180cc Big bore kit
ComposiMo 8-inch Fatty Stanced engine mount
Stage 6 Special Edition Black 24mm carb
ComposiMo Custom titanium Akrapovic Exhaust
NCY Direct Ignition coil
ATR Rear Shock
RRGS Low Down 220mm brake rotor
RRGS 2-Piston brake calipers
Custom stainless braided hydraulic brake line
Wheels & Tires
FR: Ruckushouse 12x4-inch 2 Piece Hate Mesh Wheel; Avon 100/60/12
RR: Ruckushouse 12x8-inch 2 Piece Hate Mesh Wheel; Avon Viper 140/70/12
Makoa scooters 11 pole wire tuck
ComposiMo "ankle biter" cover
ComposiMo Ruckus frame caps
ComposiMo Ruckus inner frame caps
ComposiMo nad guard (neck cover)
ComposiMo key cover
ComposiMo starter cover
ComposiMo license plate bracket
ComposiMo Ruckus clip-on handlebar mount
ComposiMo turn signal brackets
ComposiMo Sidewinder headlight bracket
ComposiMo Mikuni fuel pump bracket
ComposiMo gas tank side step
Makoa Scooters gas cap
Trailtech HID headlight
Kijima foam barrel grips
CNC CRG brake levers
NCY polished triple tree
Drowsports foot pegs
Yamaha R6 smoked integrated LED taillight
Custom wrapped Bride seat
Trailtech digital speedometer
My wife, My baby, Makoa Scooters, ComposiMo, Grafx, Needpowedercoating.com, EAT SLEEP RACE
EAT SLEEP RACE (Partner)
Screen name or nickname
Building Hondas for how long
Inspiration for this build
To represent our company EAT SLEEP RACE by adapting the style influenced for this build.
EAT SLEEP RACE was no fluke; it was the culmination of passion and time. Francis states, "It all started when we were in Team Alpha and I designed the logo for them." The logo is something we all know now, and you can find ESR products on the web, as well as in attendance at events all over the country.
It took off and became a rallying cry for racers across the country. Fast forward half a decade and the scene was dying, Francis said "We were tired of spending money, but were still passionate about racing." That's when Francis along with his brother came up with a few more logo ideas and showed up at the next track night. Almost immediately, they were a hit. "Everyone wanted the logos on shirts, stickers, everything." That was a few years back, and since then, EatSleepRace.com has grown into a racing culture powerhouse producing all types of apparel, accessories, and even race sponsorships. Francis and his brother are dedicated to keeping the brand going and hope to see everyone at their booth throughout the race and show season!
Log on and check them out at EatSleepRace.com