I own a Honda Ruckus. Here I talk about all of the benefits!
Buy a Ruckus!
Everything you need to know as to why you should buy a Ruckus is at your fingertips. Come check it out! Common questions include:
- "How much does a Ruckus cost?"
- "Insurance is only $8 a month?!"
- "120 MPG?!"
- "Do you need a motorcycle license?"
Cause a Ruckus—Cause for a Ruckus
I moved out to Boulder, Colorado with about five thousand dollars saved up. After a few months looking for a job or truck with no success, my resources slowly wasted away to the point that buying a reasonable car was out of the question.
At that point my buddy offered that I take a look at a 2009 Honda Ruckus that his friend was trying to sell. At first I wasn't real excited about the idea, but once I took a look at it, I saw this was no ordinary moped . . . they're cool!
The Ruckus I bought had a few modifications including a Yoshimura Exhaust, Seat Lowering Frame, NCY Footrest & Pegs, and a Side Kickstand, among a few others. I bought the used moped with 800 miles on it for $1800.
I couldn't be happier with my purchase for the following reasons and here is my review!
A brand new 2019 Honda Ruckus has an MSRP of $2,749. If this is the amount you are looking to spend on a vehicle, it can be assumed that you're probably tight on cash. If you're tight on cash, the thousands of dollars worth of mechanical work you're going to end up having to pay on the jalopy you bought is only going to be that much more painful to bear. Save yourself the trouble, your money will go further with a Ruck.
The Ruck has a fuel capacity of 1.3 gallons and gets a simply insane 114 miles per gallon! The fuel light turns on after the first gallon is used, leaving 0.3 gallons, or about another 34 miles worth of gas. With everyday travel around a small city like Boulder, $20 bucks can cover a few months fuel!
Point to take home: help the environment while you help your wallet.
Fun Driving Experience
All in all, the Ruckus is real fun to drive around town. Weighing in at 194 pounds with a full tank of gas, the Ruckus is easily maneuverable and are just awesome in the summer. I've had my days in the snow and rain and as you can probably guess they're not too fun; but it is doable (video in article below). Just keep in mind that wind chill makes it feel about 10-15 degrees colder on the Ruckus, and that driving 40+ mph in snow/rain can feel like someone is throwing sand at your face, point blank. Invest in a cheap pair of goggles and maybe a face mask and gloves for when you do get caught in bad conditions.
Sharing the road with vehicles averaging in at 4,000 lbs, a helmet is never a bad idea either!
I've included two links to items I've used just below. The goggles are great because they're cheap and you get a few different pairs that are optimal in certain conditions. Never bad to have around. The helmet is also fairly cheap, as far as helmets go, and gives you some extra protection. You'll hope you never need it, but if you do end up needing it, you'll be glad you had it.
The insurance premium on my Ruckus came out to $8 a month or $96 for an ENTIRE YEAR! This is just incredible, no other way to put it, but it doesn't even stop there. Depending on what state you live in, you might not even be required to purchase insurance!
Many factors can influence this, but the average cost of car insurance is $1426 per year and can easily eclipse $2000. If you're reading this and are under 21 years old or are the parent of someone who is, take a look at the following and just let it marinate. The average 16-year-old driver will pay $6,777 per year, 17 ($6,225), 18 ($5,473), 19 ($4,163), and 20 ($3,816) according to this study (for full coverage).
So if you buy your 16-year-old a Ruckus instead of a car you will save $26,454, on average, on car insurance payments by the time they turn 21 if your state does not require mopeds to be insured. If your state does, then that number is probably closer to $26,000 which is still A LOT of money! To top it off, the deductible for the Ruckus is going to be significantly cheaper than for a car or truck.
I paid the $96 for my Ruckus insurance without breaking a sweat and don't have to worry about this for another year. Worry-free mate!
You're not going to be moving couches with a Ruck anytime soon, but shopping ... sure! Don't estimate what you can do with it so far as everyday life goes. I took the above picture after one trip to the grocery store on my Ruck ... the gallon of milk goes under the seat, a lot of stuff in my backpack I bring, and I can rest a bag or two on the gas tank between my legs. (Also, I've moved more than this on my ruck but this is the first time I thought to take a picture of it). What single college kid is going to need more than this from the grocery store?
I mention it below, but just want to say it here also that there are under seat storage bags and panels that will let you transport a substantial amount more and keep it cleaner. If its rainy, or even if its a beautiful summer day and you happen to drive through a puddle from one of those broken a#s sprinklers, you're going to be wiping some mud spray off your gallon of milk/grocery bags or whatever else you're trying to move around. It can get messy down there, and you can't leave anything on your Ruck without it being fair game for any passers by. Get some storage bags/panels and lock it up.
As far as everyday life goes, there is nothing you can't do with the Ruck. Actually, I even had my friend on the back of the Ruckus when I made the above trip to the grocery store and had no problem making it home with her on the back along with the 40 or so pounds of groceries. So:
- 190-pound guy
- 130-pound girl
- 40 pounds of groceries
- no problem
Also, I've seen people posting questions asking if they are too big for a Ruckus. As a point of reference, my old roommate from the basketball team here at Colorado University, 6' 7'' and 230 pounds, had no problem with it.
Also, if you take a screwdriver, unscrew the screw in the image below...
BAM! Secret compartment! Maybe you won't be keeping your physics textbook here, but this is an ideal spot to store any insurance information, important papers, or maybe something like a swiss army knife that you might want to keep with you on the road.
Also, you can see here how the seat flips up for a little extra storage. Ok for a gallon of milk or a six-pack, but it's really ideal to get an under seat bag or under seat storage body panels down there to keep everything clean, organized, and just get more out of your ruckus. I've included links to two of these that I've used before. Both good, just a matter of preference really.
Like with insurance, license, registration, and license plate requirements for the Ruckus vary by state. But the great thing about the Ruckus for all states is that, because it is under 50 ccs, you only need a basic driver license and not a motorcycle endorsement which can take time and money to attain. However, if you live in North Carolina for example, you don't need a license at all and only have to be over 16! So depending on where you live this makes the Ruckus a great transportation option for certain 'subsets' of the population (looking at you, licenseless DUI people).
Buying Used, Durability, and Resale Value
A Ruckus is also very safe to buy used. Unlike cars, with their huge, complex engines, a Ruckus has a simple little four-stroke motor. If there is something wrong with the motor, it is going to be apparent, whereas sometimes the complexity of car engines can mask underlying issues. Hondas are very reliable and will never break. See the video toward the end of the article with the guy doing stunts on the Ruckus, I have no idea why anyone would ever want to do this on a scooter, but it seems to be a testament to the durability of the Ruckus.
The 2019 Ruck starts at $2749 new, but keep in mind that most dealers will charge a few hundred dollars beyond this in dealer fees and miscellaneous taxes. So all in all buying used isn't a bad route to go, its what I did and haven't had the slightest problem.
Due to their durability/reliability, the resale value of the Ruckus is incredible. They really hold their value quite well and don't depreciate nearly as much as traditional automobiles.
Two years after purchasing mine I put an ad on Craigslist for my Ruckus just to fish around, satisfy my curiosity, and see what I could get for it. After receiving 20 offers in the course of a week, half of which seemed desperate and not even trying to negotiate on my $2400 craigslist price, I was blown away. If I had sold the bike, the extra $400-$700 cash I would have made would have covered the $99 I paid for insurance, $100 maximum I paid for gas on the year, and left me with a few hundred in my pocket after ALL expenses were covered. Not bad.
Forget creeping along from lane to lane as you slooowly build up road rage, looking for an empty spot, only to have a spot finally open up RIGHT as you pass it and some guy driving a smart car snags it from right under your nose. You can park your Ruck on sidewalks, in bike racks, or in normal parking spots if you so choose. Do NOT underestimate this aspect as you haven't actually taken a "quick trip to the store" until you bomb over to CVS on your Ruckus, pull right up and park next to the door, walk in, walk out, and jump back on your Ruckus and take off. I'm just saying, it's quick, I haven't tried it yet but if you wanted to literally jump to your Ruckus from inside the store you could probably pull it off.
My roommates have cars, but they can't afford to pay the $10 to park on campus every day, and so it is a real hassle for them to get to school (waiting on busses, bumming rides, etc). I don't pay money for a parking spot, waste time looking for one, or spend time walking from the parking garage to where I actually wanted to be in the first place.
- Ruckus: 1
- Car: 0
Total Cost: Honda Ruckus versus Car
To illustrate how cheap a Ruckus is in comparison to a car, I'm going to estimate the cost per mile to drive each. I'm planning on doing my own calculations on the cost per mile for a couple different car brands/models, but for now I am just going to use this website to estimate it. Just keep in mind that this is probably a gross overestimation, which includes ALL aspects of cost related to travel. For example, it even includes a cost of 0.13 cents per mile for accidents, with the assumption that sometime over the course of your driving career you will get in an accident.
The simple little four-stroke on a Ruckus can run for an easy 30,000 miles, so I'm going to calculate the cost per mile to drive 30,000 miles in one year with this cost-of-driving site. Sure, the website probably overestimates a bit, but at the same time calculating the mileage over the course of one year and not several somewhat offsets this overestimation, as only one year's worth of insurance is included in the calculation.
At 30,065 miles driven, the cost-of-driving calculator estimates the cost of driving a car as $1.39 per mile.
To calculate the cost of driving a Ruckus we assume the price of a brand-new Ruckus is $2149, determine the cost of the gas it would cost to drive 30,000 miles, and then tack on the $96 insurance premium. To determine the price of gas, we determine the number of gallons needed to drive 30,000 miles (30,000 miles /100 MPG) which comes out to 300 gallons. Then, based on the gas price of $3.95/gal used by the cost-of-driving calculator, we determine the cost of 300 gallons of gas ($3.95 times 300), to attain $1185. Finally adding the three costs ($2149 for the Ruckus + $1185 for gas +$96 for insurance) yields a total cost of driving of $3430, which we divide by the number of miles ($3430/30,000 miles) to attain an ultimate cost of driving a Ruckus of $0.11, or 11 cents, per mile.
So every mile you drive in a car costs well over ten times what it would cost to drive in a Ruckus! Think about it.
With nominal payments on insurance and gas, and virtually no upkeep nor mechanical work required, it is safe to think of the Ruckus as a fixed cost. In other words, assuming the cost of insurance and gas can be ignored due to how insignificant they are, you make one payment for a Honda Ruckus and it is yours. It does NOT cost $10 to run to the nearest CVS, you do NOT need an additional part-time job to pay $2000 a year of insurance, it will NOT need thousands of dollars worth of mechanical work, you will NOT need to borrow thousands of dollars of money to finance it, and you WONT even need to drop the occasional $30 for an oil change as it is simple to do it yourself.
A Ruckus is man's good friend, but a broke-a#s college student's best friend.
SECURE YOUR BIKE!
A friend of mine had their Ruckus stolen from their apartment complex in Boulder. After calling the cops, they learned that:
- this is extremely common
- thieves will either transport it for sale out of state or break it down for parts and sell those
- there is quite literally nothing that can be done
Weighing in at just under 200 lbs, the Ruckus can easily be put in the back of a truck with just two people. I think that just because it requires a key to get going, people think its safe. It is not.
A plus to the Ruckus is that, being under 50cc, you don't even need a license plate. While convenient, it can make your Ruck difficult to identify or find if it goes missing. Treat it how you would a bicycle. Lock it up and protect your investment. My friend was kicking himself after having about $3,000 disappear, right from under his nose, overnight.
LOCK IT UP! Kryptonite (below) used to have a warranty where they would pay you if their lock was broken. Double check to make sure this is still the case, but they make quality products.
Further, if you are unlucky like my friend, don't just sit on your hands. We eventually learned (years after the fact and too late to be of help for him) that he could have filed a Casualty and Theft Form 4648 with the IRS and received some tax deductions. You obviously want to try and deter theft of your Ruckus, but if it happens, you can at least mitigate some of the loss by filing Form 4648.
The Ruckus has a very simple four-stroke engine, and, all in all, there is only so much that can be changed on the model to keep the same price point. I mean, just look at the pictures (I left out a few of the midyear models and the 2019 pic is above, but you get the point). They've all got almost the exact same engine, with color schemes often being the differentiating factor from model year to model year. So, if you're willing to pay a few hundred more dollars for a scooter with a particular color, then maybe the newer models are something you would be interested in. Otherwise, I would have to recommend getting an older, used one like my 2009 model.
2009 Honda Ruckus
2011 Honda Ruckus
2012 Honda Ruckus
2018 Honda Ruckus
Coolant Cap Hack (save $)
If you do happen to lose the cap for your coolant, don't order a new one! I did this, and they charged me $10 at the store and I had to wait four or five days for it. After getting the cap, I took the cap off a bottle of coolant I had, went to refill the bike and realized that the cap on the $4 bottle of coolant was the exact same $10 cap I had just waited a week for.
Over the top? Maybe. Worth the money? No, probably not. Just shows that you can get a little creative with how you customize your ruck (includes stunt and snow driving videos referenced above).
So the videos above give a couple ideas of things you can do but, to be honest, most of these guys go way over the top (and then some). You'll be more than set with just a few things. Also in the video, the place where the guy rests his feet is actually the gas tank. Small, right?
Below I've got suggestions for exhaust, kickstand, and footrest, and seat upgrades.
Beyond these few customizations, feel free to throw a couple bucks into your scooter if you want, but don't go over the top with it. I've heard of people with modified Ruckuses hitting up to 75 mph, and even saw a video of a Ruck with hydraulics when I was searching around YouTube for the above video, but I don't really get this. At the end of the day, one of the real perks about the Honda Ruckus is its price, and if money isn't a problem and you're trying to go 80 mph, you might be better off with a Harley.
On my bike I had a post-market Yoshimura exhaust, a NCY kickstand, lower seat frame, and NCY foot rest and pegs. It is how I bought the bike, but after doing some research and seeing what is out there, I think these are all reasonable from a cost/function standpoint and the only thing I would have really wanted beyond this is under seat storage bag/panels. The Ruck is fine as is, but if you save up some money here and there, these are some additions that you can piecemeal together over time that will make your experience better.
NCY Chrome Desert Eagle Sidestand
NCY Footrest and Pegs
Lowered Seat Frame
That's a Wrap
If you had told me I would someday be the proud owner of a scooter, I would have probably laughed in your face; as a former three-sport varsity athlete I was "too cool" (don't think that takes much though). There are no two ways about it, mopeds have a bad rap for being dorky, and maybe for good reason too. But the Ruckus is just different. Last week I had a guy in a pickup pull up to me at a stoplight and ask what in the hell it was, and if I had made it. He said it was cool, and was blown away when I told him it was a moped, "So its a moped, but it just doesn't look like one?" Pretty much.
Now, having owned the Ruckus for years now, I couldn't be more happy with it. My friends are always asking to borrow it, it's fun, and with gas prices volatile and always on the rise, the idea of buying one makes that much more sense. You're not going to be taking it on the highway soon, but for urban areas or for just getting around town they're perfect! Go test-ride one, you won't regret it.
Thanks for reading!
More About the Ruckus
- 2019 Ruckus OVERVIEW - Honda
2019 Ruckus OVERVIEW - Honda The Honda Ruckus keeps it simple and never lets you lose sight of what’s most important: having fun. For starters, it has a tough, minimalist, tubular frame. At the center lies a dependable 49cc engine deliverin
- Mopeds & Other - AAA Digest of Motor Laws
- Ruckus Central
Forum about the Ruckus
- How Much Does Auto Insurance Cost For A 20 Year Old?
Car insurance is often very expensive for 20 year olds. They have less experience and are in a higher risk class. They still can find cheap rates, however.
- What is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in the US? | The Zebra
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Leave some feedback. Thanks guys.
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on December 05, 2019:
Chronogos on December 05, 2019:
These are some very good points, however there's one massive overlooked downside to riding a bike. No cigarette lighter and ashtray! It's gotta be hard to smoke when driving one of these! Especially on the freeway!
Shar on November 13, 2019:
I just bought 2 of them 2015 with 200 miles @ $3,900 for both. Matching scooters for me and my husband. I’m super excited!!!
Motohq on June 27, 2019:
Thanks for the article, they certainly are back to basics motoring. I would have loved to have seen the under seat storage panels which seemlike a good idea.
Bryan on June 08, 2019:
Great bikes! I’ve routinely seen them 30-40K miles when maintained properly with very little maintenance. Only one huge downfall in my opinion (as someone that buys/sells scooters on the side)...storage. They do sell an additional bag for around $150 I think that ties under the seat (should be included for $2700 don’t we think, folks?), but still nothing compared to the king of 50cc scooters....YAMAHA ZUMA. Vespas are great bikes as well, but for my money...2012+ Zumas all day long. Tons of storage, fuel injection, liquid cooled, 132 mpgs, ultra reliable and I’ve seen them go 60K+ miles. Amazing resale value also. Hands down the best bang for the buck imho.
Suga Sean on January 10, 2019:
Great article. Ive had a few over the years. Seems as if you always need one. Soon as I sell one a few months later I regret it and purchase another one. Really are great cheap transportation.
Bob on November 30, 2018:
Xhxhddj on September 28, 2018:
Come on G you are gonna talk about price point then post $1000 in useless upgrades???
Patrick Hanscom on June 28, 2018:
Good work, thanks for the info.
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on April 25, 2018:
Quinn on April 23, 2018:
Do you need a license plate And get it registered like a car or motorcycle?
Ivan on December 05, 2016:
This web site has really helped me understand the Ruckus. 50 cc.
NOW,......I want to help you understand the last few years of engineering engine research we have done.
To raise compression,increase HP,raise MPG and keep the motor clean and better than new do these steps.
1) put less than 1/2 an ounce of Marvel Mystery Oil ...in your full tank..buy at Walmart in a red see through bottle 5 bucks 10 bucks in Canada ?
Put 1 oz in the engine oil.
2) If you can afford go to e bay and buy Militec 1 it conditions the metal to reduce friction and turns my cavalier into a high MPG race car with an improved power curve.
It also keeps military helicopter running when oil tanks get shot.
Do at least # 1 and the engine will get faster and faster torque and HP.
2) Heat protect the motor by conditionig
khaled on July 20, 2016:
Does the Honda Ruckus have trouble getting up to 45MPH or does it get up to speed quickly?
John on September 23, 2015:
Josh: depends on how many beers you've had
Josh on June 20, 2015:
Does the Honda Ruckus have trouble getting up to 45MPH or does it get up to speed quickly?
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on April 14, 2014:
@thee91style: Definitely is.
thee91style on April 14, 2014:
Hey, so is it legal to drive it at night? It's the only question I can't seem to get answered.
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on September 11, 2013:
@anonymous: ok, thanks for the comment
anonymous on August 17, 2013:
Great write up. Just a point though. The Ruckus is NOT a moped. It is a scooter. A moped has pedals and can be pedaled like a bicycle with or with out the engine running. ( See Puch as an example) A scooter can be any cc ( 50 to 650) but unlike a motorcycle it has a fully automatic transmission. No clutch or gears. It also generally has a floorboard and not pegs though some can be added. Just to clear that up. Keep on riding
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 30, 2013:
Small bikes sure are economical to drive. My brother drives his truck in the winter and parks it in the summer in favor of his small motor bike. Much more economical.
anonymous on April 30, 2013:
Looks like fun. We just bought a Honda Hobbit...close.
anonymous on April 28, 2013:
i'm getting one. i was on the fence for a while. 1/ what are some of the necessary items to make it run faster? 2/how much is it for all the parts needed? 3/ would i be able to do it myself?
anonymous on April 07, 2013:
parking at a bike rack? I think I would get a ticket here in super bike friendly Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada. You never know. Maybe I could quickly cover the licence plate with an "Electric Bike" plate. :)
anonymous on January 11, 2013:
I am impressed, I have never heard of the Honda Ruckus, it is indeed an very Smart Purchase! Sounds to me like this vehicle would be great for quick trips to the store and College life or even a short road trip across town!
Almost a Bike without being a Bike!! ;D
kabbalah lm on October 09, 2012:
Bought my son an 09 to teach him to ride. He then went on to a 09 Zuma 125, a 09 Vespa LX150, and now he's riding a 2013 Piaggio BV350. We still miss the red Ruckus.
WriterJanis2 on July 25, 2012:
Sounds great! I'm sold.
anonymous on July 23, 2012:
Your a good salesman I'm getting a Ruckus
robertzimmerman2 on July 14, 2012:
Looks like fun but in SoFLA you'd get run over. Nice informative Lens though.
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on May 29, 2012:
@RomanaSwan: haha of course... my neighbor who is a girl borrows it all the time and she loves it. She is looking into getting her own.. I've even seen a few pink ones in boulder here
RomanaSwan on May 29, 2012:
Looks like a great bike! Can a girl ride it too? :)
anonymous on April 16, 2012:
Love my Ruckus as well. I have a stock black 2009 with only 176 miles when I bought it last week. Needless to say that number has doubled in a week! :)
cyberwizzard on March 09, 2012:
First time that I have seen one. The Honda Ruckus is a cool little bike that looks like it means business. Thanks for a nice lens!
Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on March 06, 2012:
This is the first time, I'm hearing about the Ruckus. Looks like you got a great deal on yours. Thanks for your detailed review!
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on February 18, 2012:
@NumbaOne-1: 10 up a hill 90 off a cliff
Rucklove4 on February 17, 2012:
Let me know when you figure out the cost per mile to drive a car... interested to see what it comes out to. nice post.
Ceeb66 on February 17, 2012:
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on November 27, 2011:
@NorDac LM: Yeah sure... down the road when I have some cash saved up I'd like to get a motorcycle too. But for where I'm at now, Boulder, the Ruckus is great... cheap, cheap insurance, don't need a motorcycle license, there is a great regional bus system here, and you really don't need to go faster than 45 to get where you need to in town. At the same time though, it really wouldn't be practical to get one back where I grew up, Rowley, MA, which is very small town and spread out. You have to take highways to get most anywhere; so it really depends on where you live. And yeah, a motorcycle will always be cooler, but mopeds still are more carefree, less of a responsibility, and are fun in their own right... like I don't have to worry about letting a friend take it to the store, boy or girl, whereas with a motorcycle you're not going to let anyone on it unless they've got a motorcycle, and even then you're probably not going to let just anyone ride it.
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on November 27, 2011:
NorDac LM on November 27, 2011:
I live in an area where there is a huge market for scooters. Bought a Yamaha Axis for my wife. Scooters are a lot easier to use, but I still tend to prefer my motorcycle. I'm still trying to get over my attitude where scooters are for girls and motorcycles are for guys.
AndrewACE on November 04, 2011:
that's quite neat actually, how fast does it top out at?
briangilman74 on August 11, 2011:
nice lens! :)
knit1tat2 on June 19, 2011:
never heard about these before, great for tootling around, but I always haul a lot of stuff, so will stick with my little station wagon and miss my pickup!
LikinTrikin LM on June 16, 2011:
Nicely done...I think I'll get two for the wife and I to run down to the lake.
HoldenRye on June 06, 2011:
Thanks for your read on Ruckus...who knew? Great stuff...cannot wait to read your other aticles NumbaOne-11
NumbaOne-1 (author) from Boulder, Colorado on June 02, 2011:
Check out the orange Honda Ruckus on E-bay, item number is 270756049334 if it is not still featured above this in the E-bay module. Buy it now is at $2,095 while a new 2011 Ruckus will run for $2,495, not including dealer fees, so really one would cost closer to $2,700. Currently at $1,525 with less than one day left!
GoAceNate LM on May 31, 2011:
Wow does that look cool.
Deano1979 on May 30, 2011:
Great lens, great bike
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