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2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision

The evolution of vehicular freethinking

Jan 2, 2013
Htup 1301 01 o+2009 honda ruckus+RRGS front fork Photo 1/10   |   HTUP-130100-RUCK-056-059

Forty custom builds. More specifically, 40 custom, groundbreaking builds that have set the Ruckus community ablaze, established a dedicated and undeniably loyal following, as well as established a résumé unmatched by anyone else in a young, competitive industry. The high praise and well-deserved hype that surrounds Rucksters Customs led one Ayame Kousaka, owner of this stealthy black 2009 Ruckus (build #41), right to their doorstep. No strangers to custom requests and intense brainstorming sessions with clients, the Rucksters crew, including Tony Lac along with brothers Sonny and Hai Truong, displayed zero hesitation when asked to tackle this one-off project dubbed “Rox Riot.”

Initially Kousaka began researching the Ruckus world in order to help a few friends who were considering the purchase of a scooter. An avid motorcycle enthusiast and owner, she admits they weren’t exactly at the top of her list of “must-haves.” Once she dug into the community a bit more, however, that all changed, and before she knew it, she was hooked. She states, “Five months later, I was convinced this would be a great alternative to the oftentimes reckless and testosterone-fueled sport bike scene. The Ruckus atmosphere, contrary to its name, was friendly, and the sense of community and belonging to something unique felt good.” With theme bikes being done from coast to coast and beyond, Kousaka had a different approach in mind, something much more personalized, and felt that the Rucksters crew would have no problems executing her plan. “I explained my ideas to the Rucksters team. I told them that I wanted this bike to be something different from all the bikes they had ever built. In my mind, I was looking to create the first ‘survival streetfighter’ Ruckus, and I wanted no compromises in terms of style and performance.”

Htup 1301 02 o+2009 honda ruckus+exhaust Photo 2/10   |   2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision

The foundation, a stock Ruckus front frame and accompanying VIN, was purchased prior to a five-month block dedicated to sourcing parts and refining the concept. Kousaka adds, “The inspiration came mainly from a combination of rat bikes, Mad Max films, and the futuristic style of the BMW K1200R and Buell XB12S motorcycles.” Sleek, yet aggressive lines were established using a one-off rPRO custom “Streetfighter”–style one-piece frame and Rucksters’ signature center-mount shock and custom engine mount system. Seamless in design, the custom, hand-formed rear is also home to one of the most unique aspects of the build: a Suzuki SV1000 taillight.

A slick appearance is nothing without a little grunt to back it up. Rather than rely on the tiny factory 49cc engine, a 150cc GY6 swap would provide motivation for the Ruckus. Prior to installation, the head was ported and polished, slightly milled, and fitted with a Mikuni TM24 carb upgrade only after the entire powerplant was sprayed with a high-heat-resistant satin black finish.

A flashy neon paint job doesn’t mesh well with thoughts of classic Mad Max movies, and in keeping with the theme, a flat black finish was utilized throughout the entire chassis. Like any Rucksters Custom, the “Bluetooth look” was essential in maintaining a sleek, uncluttered appearance. An rSPEC custom wiring harness hides the mandatory functions of a Ruckus from the naked eye, as well as incorporating branches for the LED lights, navigation, Trail Tech HID lamp, and of course, the ultra-slick taillight. Dorby Mesh 12-inch wheels with a meaty 140/70-12 out back add some much needed girth to the rear end and accentuate a low-slung, menacing stance. From start to finish, the entire build was completed in just six weeks.

Htup 1301 04 o+2009 honda ruckus+lockhart 11 LED turn signals Photo 6/10   |   2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision

The look, the performance, and the attitude are by no means a product of chance, but rather highlights of a cleverly devised blueprint. Freethinking is often condemned, sometimes out of respect for a more traditional direction, other times for fear of rejection from the masses. On paper, the idea of a post-apocalyptic scooter may sound ridiculous to some, but the Rox Riot project will undoubtedly open many eyes to the possibilities with Honda’s micro people-mover.

Oh, and about the group of friends considering a Ruckus that eventually led Kousaka to Rucksters Customs; well, none of them decided to purchase a scooter after all. What they did manage to do, however unintentional, is create a Ruckus fanatic who in turn added one more game-changing entry to the Rucksters ever-increasing résumé.

Bolts & Washers

GY6 swap
Ported/polished head
Ported/polished intake manifold
Milled head
Mikuni TM24 carb
Heavy-duty starter gear
Dr. Pulley transmission
Hand-cut rear casing
Engine painted satin black

Htup 1301 07 o+2009 honda ruckus+suzuki SV1000 rear taillight Photo 7/10   |   A custom-grafted Suzuki taillight adds to an already sinister look.

RRGS front fork
YSS rear shock with reservoir
Killer Scooter front hub

Italian brake system
Brembo P32 caliper
rPRO caliper adapter
190mm rotors
rPRO rear caliper
rPRO rear disc brake hub
Spiegler hydraulic stainless lines

Wheels & Tires
Front: Dorby Mesh 12x4 2+2 offset, Maxxis 110/60-12
Rear: Dorby Mesh 12x7 3+4 offset, Heidenau K61 140/70-12

Htup 1301 10 o+2009 honda ruckus+dorby mesh wheel Photo 8/10   |   2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision

Custom modified frame
Molded rear frame, one-piece
Suzuki SV1000 rear taillight
Flat black powdercoat
Lockhart 11-LED turn signals
Trail Tech HID headlight
Rucksters hardware

Team Rucksters yo!

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Editor/photographer/graphic designer at The Rafu Shimpo

Htup 1301 08 o+2009 honda ruckus+suzuki SV1000 rear taillight Photo 9/10   |   2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision

Favorite site

Screen name

Building Hondas
12 years

Dream car
Porsche 911 Turbo

Inspiration for this build
Rat bikes, Mad Max films, futuristic styling of BMW and Buell motorcycles

Future build
Help build my lil’ brother’s Ruckus!

Market Status

When asked about the growth of the Ruckus movement, Hai Truong of Rucksters stated, “Seems to be growing quite rapidly throughout the U.S. Shops are starting to sprout in the major cities and even in between. People are starting to catch on with this unique market, making parts and building more bikes, which is good for everyone in the scene. As a collective, we all need to play our part to fuel the fire, so the underground culture can one day become mainstream.” Hai mentioned that the Ruckus scene in Japan had begun to dwindle, most likely due to the large selection of various scooter offerings overseas. Similar to the car market, many of Japan’s Ruckus community are taking cues from U.S. builds and incorporating it into their projects. To capitalize, Rucksters has added two dealer accounts in Japan with SCR Works and Rat Koubou, two power players in the Japanese Ruckus aftermarket world that now carry Rucksters rPRO line of products.

Htup 1301 09 o+2009 honda ruckus+custom frame Photo 10/10   |   2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision


Rucksters Customs
Arcadia, CA 91006
By Rodrez
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