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2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

You Can Only Keep A Secret Like This For So Long...

Nov 19, 2010

Johnny Hang's '04 Ruckus "Project Top Secret"
Johnny Hang, owner of the sinister orange Ruckus you see before you, lives but one mile away from the Rucksters compound and on more than one occasion, has purchased various bolt-on parts in passing. As Hang and the shop developed a relationship with one another over time, they eventually discovered that their parents not only knew each other, but they'd come from the same village in Vietnam. "Our families are related somewhere down the line, though we're not sure exactly where. Basically, he's just like family; we call him our long lost cousin," says Hai Truong, manager of On a whim, Hang had stopped by the shop one day with his gorgeous Toyota Supra, complete with a high-dollar Top Secret aero kit, just as the Ruckster crew was theorizing a new center mounted shock. "We were conceptualizing and were going to move forward with our project bike "Barely Legal," but with Super Sunday right around the corner, we wouldn't have the time to complete it." Knowing the mod was cutting edge, and with no immediate time constraints, Hang stepped up to the plate and offered his Ruckus as the test mule. Because this would serve as the first Ruckus to sport the clever new design along with Hang's affinity for Top Secret aero goods, the name Top Secret was dubbed, and the Ruckus promptly went under the knife. The custom center-mount shock was just the beginning as the shop stripped the scooter down to a bare skeleton, and a complete make-over was soon underway. Building around a GY6 motor swap, the Ruckster staff equipped Top Secret with a laundry list of their signature rPRO upgrades, including prototype pieces like the one-piece seat frame, rear disc hub, and Core Axis shock setup. A hand-crafted sharkskin and bull hide seat with integrated third brake light adds a touch of class while maintaining braking legality. To add more bite to the bark, a Mikuni TM28 carb, ported and polished head, and Koso Racing clutch were added to the mix. Bolted and screaming from the starboard side of the Ruckus is a BTX shortened Yoshimura TRI-Oval dual-tip titanium muffler. To finish everything off is a healthy mix of House of Kolors Matte orange Sunset pearl and gold flake. Unveiled at the BLOX Racing carshow in Fremont, CA, Top Secret drew a crowd throughout the day with many in the know amazed by the custom fabrication. To the benefit of Ruckus fans everywhere, this project is no longer under wraps.

Htup_1101_01_o+2004_honda_ruckus+right_side_view Photo 2/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Bolts & Washers

GY6 180cc Big Bore Engine
Plus additional upgrades:
Mikuni TM28 Carburetor
Port, Polished, & Milled Head
Koso Racing Clutch
Dr. Pulley Variator
Dr. Puller Slider Weights
Stage6 Throttle & Control Kit
Stage6 Air Filter
Yoshimura TRI Oval Dual Tip Titanium Exhaust "BTX Shortened"
BTX Custom 180cc big bore Header Pipe
Composimo AnkleBiter CVT Cover
LINEX Engine Shroud Covers

Htup_1101_02_o+2004_honda_ruckus+rear_right_side_view Photo 3/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Wheels, Suspension & Brakes
rPRO Front & Rear Hubs
rPRO Triple Tree
12" X 7" Douglas Rokstar Rear Wheel
12" x 2.75" Daytona Front Wheel
Heidenau K61 Rear Tire 140/70/12
Maxxis Front Tire 100/65/12
KN Kikaku Low-Down Forks
KN Kikaku Rear Shock (anodized & painted)
CNC Billet Master Cylinders
Dual Disc Brakes with BREMBO P32 Calipers
Braking 190mm (front) & KN Kikaku rotors (rear)
Spiegler Custom Steel Braided Brake Line "black on black"
Volk Racing Lug Nuts on the Rear Wheel

Special Features
PRO GY6 Fatty Swap Kit
PRO Custom Engine Mount System & Hangers
PRO CORE AXIS Shock Mount (prototype)
PRO Lo-Pro Custom Handcrafted One-Piece Seat Frame
PRO Rear Disc Brake Hub (prototype)
PRO Custom Monster Chin Bone (prototype)
PRO Integrated Lower Chin Bone Mount & Coil Mount
PRO Matte Orange (House of Colors "Sunset Pearl") & Gold Flakes Paint
PRO Painted Gold Front & Rear Wheels with Polished lips
SPEC Ultra Wire tuck
Handcrafted Shark Skin & Bull Hide Upholstery with integrated rear lights & "R" logo embroidery
BTX Custom Seat Pan with Integrated Turtlehead light bracket
Custom YOSHIMURA Exhaust
Dual Disc Brakes
Front & Rear BREMBO P32 Calipers
Front & Rear 190mm BRAKING Wave Rotors
Trailtech MR11 HID Headlight
80+ MPH

Htup_1101_04_o+2004_honda_ruckus+shock Photo 4/11   |   As if the stunning House of Kolors matte orange with gold flake wasn't stunning enough, the center mount shock adds a whole new level of customization.

Hondata K-Pro engine management
OEM EM1 instrument cluster w/custom
Defi tachometer
Defi EGT gauge
Defi oil pressure gauge
Defi water temperature gauge
Rywire custom mil-spec engine harness w/quick disconnect plug
FCB custom fabricated mil-spec harness mounting plate
FCB custom fabricated mil-spec harness heat shield plate
Pioneer P1R head-unit
Memphis Audio 6 1/2 front speakers
Memphis Audio 6x9 rear speakers
Memphis Audio 12-inch subwoofer
Memphis Audio 75Wx4 amplifier
Memphis Audio 1100wx1 amplifier
Memphis Audio 1-farad capacitor
Sound Innovations custom rear speaker enclosure and beauty boards

PRO Monster Drag Bars with reverse plate
PRO Monster Kickers
PRO Dress Up Kit with Front Turn Signals
PRO Custom License Plate Mount
BTX Billet Grips
Daytona Kick Stand (Shortened)
Daytona BSC Mirror
KCP Billet Gas Tank Cap
Carbon Fiber Air Scoop
Zoomania Main Frame Cover & Gas Tank Cover Linex
Carbon Fiber Air Scoop
Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame

Htup_1101_03_o+2004_honda_ruckus+exhaust Photo 5/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Selective Sophistication
The upper echelon of Ruckus stylistics
James Wong's '06 Ruckus "The LV Project"
James Wong has held a close friendship with the guys at Rucksters ever since High School. Always involved in the import movement, he mingles in circles that feature legends like Dr. Charles and Pit Crew. With the help of the good Doctor, Wong began modding his scooter back in '07, and even had a GY6 swap done by Killer Scooter early on; well before the Ruckus phenomenon ever got under way. After a few years of tinkering, he'd grown somewhat bored with his project and decided to call it quits. That is, until he attended Super Sunday and took note of all the high-end builds on display. With the fire once again stoked, Wong decided to have another go at building a show stopper, and he headed to the Rucksters compound to get started. With the help of Aldo Villagran of BTX, the two team's brain storming resulted in a complete Louis Vuitton color theme based around the LV seat wrap that had adorned the scooter prior to its tear down. Already armed with the industry standard 150cc GY6 swap, every inch of the LV Project build was customized using rPRO and BTX hard parts from front to back. To accentuate the fashionable seat is a fresh coat of Du Pont Champagne paint with a number of brown anodized supporting components. To add some attitude to the pretty face, a big foot-sized 10x7 six-spoke golf cart rear wheel wrapped in a 225 tire was fitted to the rear end. Hai adds "this is the first time Rucksters and BTX has collaborated on a complete build, and I think the end result is remarkable." We couldn't agree more as the brown anodizing and monster rear wheel and tire combo strike an intriguing mix that sets the LV Project apart from the crowd.

Htup_1101_05_o+2004_honda_ruckus+right_side_view Photo 6/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Bolts & Washers
Wheels & Tires
GY6 150cc Engine
Mikuni TM28 Carburetor
Dr. Pulley Variator
Dr. Pulley Slider Weights
Chrome Clutch Bell
Polished Billet Drive Plate
Yoshimura Tri Cone Exhaust
BTX Custom Header Pipe
Composimo AnkleBiter CVT Cover
Kevlar Belt

Htup_1101_06_o+2004_honda_ruckus+chain Photo 7/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Wheels, Suspension & Brakes
10" RPM Double 6-Spoke Front Wheel
10" x 7" Double 6-Spoke Golf Cart Wheel
Dunlop TT92 Front Tire
Innova RACER 225 Rear Tire
Brembo P32 Front Caliper
Braking Wave 190mm Rotor
Rear Drum Hub
KN KIKAKU Low Down Forks
ATR Rear Shock
CNC Levers
Nissin Master Cylinder
Steel Braided Front Brake Cable

Special Features
PRO GY6 Fatty Swap Kit
PRO Custom Engine Mount System & Hangers
PRO Custom Handcrafted One-Piece Seat/Rear Frame "Shortened Tail"
PRO Painted Wheels Brown & BTX Polished Lips
RPRO Integrated Upper Shock Mount
SPEC Ultra Wire Tuck
Handcrafted LV Upholstery
Du Pont Champagne Paint Job with brown anodized parts & accessories
BTX Custom Seat Pan
BTX Custom Honda Civic "Tie Bar" Chin Bone
BTX Welded on Front Frame Cover
BTX Polished Main Frame
BTX Custom Integrated Front & Rear Light Brackets
Trailtech Headlight & Turtlehead Rear Lights
Custom Yoshimura Exhaust & BTX Header Pipe
(Shortened by BTX)
Garmin Navigator GPS

Htup_1101_07_o+2004_honda_ruckus+shock Photo 8/11   |   The LV theme is carried over into every detail of this Ruckus, including the anodized suspension and custom hardware.

PRO Monster Kickers
RPRO Front Turn Signals
RPRO Axle Pullers
RPRO Frame Caps
BTX Drag Bars
BTX Billet Grips
Killer Handle Bar Clamp
Gallery Fresh Washer Kit
BOWLS Billet Gas Cap "modified"
Custom License Plate Mount
Daytona Kickstand "modified"
Left Side Bar End Mirror

Rucksters Customs
BTX Industries
Gearheinz Power Service

Htup_1101_08_o+2004_honda_ruckus+seat Photo 9/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Rodrez: What was the concept behind the orange Ruckus? The theme screams "high speed" and aggression. Was that the goal?
Hai: Conceptually, we wanted to build a Ruckus that not only looked good, but that was the fastest in the fleet....not just in our fleet either. We're confident this bike will smoke 98 percent of the Ruckuses out there. Of course the orange paint job and gold wheels give it a loud first impression as well. And the center shock mount definitely changed the game. Our goal was to build a showstopper that was stretched with a super low sporty look, and a really beefy engine. But more importantly, to build a really SICK BIKE that actually works! This build is special because it was the prototype for our rPRO Core Axis Shock Mount, as well as our rPRO Rear hub with integrated disc brake. The matching five-Star wheels, matching Brembo calipers, matching rotors, and rPRO Front and Rear hubs are what really set it off. The super low profile is due to the custom rPRO frame that sets the seat very low, giving the bike its aggressive stance. Integrated lower chin bone brackets, ignition coil brakes, rear upper shock mount with reinforced tubing, mini-stabilizer bar to keep the tail from fishing, and custom cut side/fin braces on the frame make it that much better. The tail is bobbed to give the illusion of being really stretched, and also separates the rear of the frame from the tire. It looks longer than it actually is.

Htup_1101_09_o+2004_honda_ruckus+front_tire Photo 10/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Rodrez: We know the orange one is fast, but exactly how fast?
Hai: We haven't really had the chance to pinpoint exactly how fast yet. I know for sure it moves over 80 mph, as we've tested it with another bike of ours, neck and neck. The other bike tops out at about 75mph by GPS (rider is over 250lbs), but the orange one kept going faster and faster. The street wasn't long enough for a full test unfortunately.

Rodrez: That's crazy! How sketchy does it get at those speeds?
Hai: With our bikes being so low to the ground, it would be unsafe to ride top speed all the time, especially with pot holes on the streets. However, the orange bike feels fine at top speed. Our next revision for the Core Axis shock mount is to use a Fox Shox Van RC. I think this will make the ride much more sound and stable.

Rodrez: With the gold Ruckus, the theme seems to be based more on style and appearance. Is there a separation in the Ruckus world between show and go? We see it all the time in the car world and I'm wondering if it's crossed over.
Hai: Of course there is a separation between show and go. But ideally, as far as Rucksters is concerned, we try to build bikes that function well on the streets. In other words, we're looking for a balance between form and function. Honestly, from my experience, guys who claim to have fast bikes usually don't have the skills or taste to build a show bike. And those who claim to have a beautiful show bike don't know how to make it go fast without jeopardizing reliability. In general, we've always been more concerned with looks; however we've recently started to modify our engines to stay in the competition.

Rodrez: With Civics, Preludes, etc, an average enthusiast might have a lowered suspension and a few bolt-ons. What separates an average Ruckus build from a mind-blower?
Hai: Being able to pull off a theme is really important. Meaning, don't have like five different colors on your bike. Also, having matching wheels is pretty important. But the real separation is all in the custom fabrication. Our builds differ from everyone else because we hand make everything. Down to the spacers and engine mounts. Yes, it takes longer, but the outcome is tremendously different. Perhaps the biggest separation would be the stance of the bike. With bolt on kits, there are limitations to how your stance will turn out. It's pretty much a fixed stance when you bolt on any aftermarket kit. But with a custom kit, we determine exactly how the bike's stance will be, stretched, lowered, angled, flat, high, etc. Other details include wire tucks, custom one-piece frames, custom seat pans, handcrafted leather upholstery, and coordinating things like levers, cables, brake lines, tires, rotors, calipers, etc.

Rodrez: With so many off-the-shelf products popping up for the Ruckus market, are we still going to see quite a bit of fabrication?
Hai: Off-the-shelf parts will always be there because they're quick and an easy way to make more money. We're planning on producing our templates into farmed out parts, only so we can build our bikes faster. We've made templates for all the stuff we've been doing by hand. Personally, this is what separates us from the other guys. Custom-made and handcrafted qualities are what make our bikes special. But you know, not all things can be off-the-shelf, like custom seat pans, custom frames, wire tucks, etc. These things require time and are always tailored to each build. So yes, for us fabrication is always going to be a key factor.

Rodrez: As a shop owner, how much has the Ruckus movement progressed or changed over the past few years?
Hai: It's grown immensely in the past two years, especially in SoCal, and even more in the SGV. However, San Francisco, New York, Florida, and Hawaii are coming up quick. Hawaii is going nuts with builds. Plus, there has been an increase of more riders and shops popping up. This is all still very fresh and in its infancy. The car guys from the import world are barely catching on, and other motorcyclists too. As far as change is concerned, it used to be just bolting on this and that, or making your ride faster by swapping out the motor to something else. But now I'm starting to see more uniformed builds and not just a bunch of accessories slapped on. Swap motors aren't even good enough now, so guys are starting to big bore, tune, and add other racing components to their swaps. The speed in which we all cruise at has increased dramatically since the 49cc days.

The Rucksters Staff
Tony Lac (owner): After spending a number of years in the world of modified imports throughout the '90s, and after opening a toy company, Tony began flirting with the idea of opening a shop that catered specifically to the Honda Ruckus, along with supporting various other types of scooters. With the help of his cousin Hai Le, the two built a ground-breaking Ruckus that caught the attention of the entire Ruckus community, and using that momentum, the two officially opened the doors to Rucksters in the San Gabriel Valley.

Htup_1101_10_o+2004_honda_ruckus+rear_tire Photo 11/11   |   2004 Honda Ruckus - Under Wraps - Scoot Level

Hai Truong (manager): Once a full-time musician before the Ruckus business exploded, Hai graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Music Composition Degree and has been playing guitar for the past twenty years. His duties include everything from coordinating, artwork, design, and photography, to the continual organization of the Ruckus business.

Sonny Truong (technical): Graduated from Honda PACT at Rio Honda College, Whittier in the '90s, Sonny worked for Honda before a ten year stint with Carmax, which enabled him to work on all types of cars. Due to a back injury, Sonny left his job and signed on with his family at the Ruckster compound and now handles all engine work, a majority of the frame work, and is the chief inspector of all prototype parts.

Chi Wai Phung (shop apprentice): Once a local who would hang out at Rucksters regularly, Chi helped clean up around the shop a few times and simply never stopped. He officially became the shop apprentice and is now being trained by all three family members in everything from assembly, to basic shipping and receiving. It's hard to beat hands-on, real world training.


By Rodrez
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