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What's All The Ruckus?

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On: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 4:38PM | By: Chris Salamone

What's All The Ruckus?

So, you know that crazy scooter you’ve seen a few times over the last decade and with each passing generation you come closer to buying one in hopes of becoming ‘scooterist’? That’s the Honda Ruckus, formerly known as the Zoomer. Back in 2003, Honda released the Zoomer into the urban jungles of Japan and America and scootering hasn’t been the same since. Partly because of a global economic crash leading to frustration over fuel prices and partly because of the Ruckus’ bare-bones, rugged practicality, and aesthetics, this little scooter has captured the gaze of motorists all over. Now, all of a sudden, scootering isn’t just limited to sunny vacations taken on the island of Capri.

For 2011, the Ruckus has few updates over 2009. The only difference between the two model years are the paint options. Honda offers the scooter in slightly variant colors for 2011 (Orange or Black rather than Red or Gray), but that’s mostly where the changes end. On the bright side, however, no scooter on the current market can compare with how the Ruckus looks. It features dual headlights, oversize tires with substantial tread, minimalist bodywork, and a low seat height for motorists of all dimensions. The 2011 model also incorporates some minor body changes that will likely be missed, even by the most critical eye.

Sadly, these small changes amount to a jump in price from $2,149 to $2,499. Although a $350 price increase will make most buyers uncomfortable, the thought of 114 MPG might quickly change your mind. The Ruckus is powered by a liquid-cooled single-cylinder 49cc engine which tops out around 40 mph. The gas tank fills to a mere 1.3 Gallons and, if my calculations are correct, that works out to almost 150 miles on a single tank!

So what’s the take-away? If you’ve got a short urban commute with reasonably safe parking, buying the Honda Ruckus is a good way to ride in style without hurting your wallet too much. Of course, it will probably take two or three years before the Ruckus will ‘pay for itself’ via gas savings, and by then an undoubtedly better scooter will emerge, or your publicly parked two-wheeler will find a new home at the local chop shop. But, that’s just the standard risk consumers must take in the scooter purchasing realm. Does it make sense to buy the Ruckus on looks and MPG savings alone? No guts, no glory—an ironic, but somehow fitting, mantra for the 2011 Ruckus.

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