Why You Should Buy a Honda Ruckus
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 had 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:
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.
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 to reiterate there are under seat storage bags and under seat storage panels that will let you transport a substantial amount more.
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.
A brand new 2018 Honda Ruckus has an MSRP of $2699. 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 insurance premium on the Ruck comes out to $8 a month, or $96 for an entire year, which is just incredible. What state you are in, along with other factors, can influence this, but generally for a car or truck insurance will come out to $1400 a year on the low end and can easily eclipse $2000 per year. I paid the $96 in full without breaking a sweat, and don't have to worry about this for another 12 months. Worry-free mate!
What About Mpg?
The Ruck has a fuel capacity of 1.3 gallons. The fuel light turns on after the first gallon is used, at 85-100 miles, leaving 0.3 gallons, or 22-25 miles worth of gas. I've had mine for about three months now and have spent a measly twenty dollars or so on gas. Point to take home: Help the environment while you help your wallet.
Take a screwdriver, unscrew the screw in the image above, and... 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 little trinkets 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.
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
Another great thing about the Ruckus is that in most states, unless the bike is over 50 ccs, you only need a basic driver's license and not a motorcycle license which can take time and money to attain. Also, double-check on this, but I'm pretty certain that because the Ruckus is not over 50 ccs. you do not necessarily even need insurance either (if anyone knows for sure let me know and I'll update this).
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 below 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. Also, the MSRP on a new 2018 is $2699, 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.
And the resale value of the Ruckus is incredible. Fourteen months after purchasing it, 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 $2200 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 about $200+ in my pocket after ALL expenses were covered. Not bad.
All in all, the Ruckus is real fun to drive around town, weighing in at 194 pounds with a full tank of gas. Ruckuses are easily maneuverable, and are great 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's do-able (video 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 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!
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, 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
2017 Honda Ruckus
2018 Honda Ruckus
So the videos below 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.
First things first, upgrade the exhaust. I've got a Yoshimura exhaust on my bike (video below). On top of making the Ruckus not sound like a weed-whacker (it really gets pretty loud, bit-o-balls for the ole Honda) you can get an extra 3-6 miles per an hour out of it. This is really clutch because a stock Ruckus will go about 35 tops at the 6000 ft. elevation here in Boulder; the extra few miles per an hour lets me keep up with the traffic in some of the 40-mph speed limit parts of town.
NCY Chrome Desert Eagle Sidestand
Another upgrade that goes a long way, and is cheap, is a kickstand. The stock models come with this ridiculous looking thing that sticks the Ruckus straight up in the air. Once you get the kickstand going, it starts to look more like a bike and less like a ScOoTeR. Do it.
NCY Footrest and Pegs
The stock models can be awkward and uncomfortable, and force you to sit with better posture than a Catholic school girl. Go ahead and throw on some foot pegs, it makes the ride a lot more comfortable, and doesn't make the moped look so dorky.
Lowered Seat Frame
Lowering the seat frame really helps you get the most out of the footrest and pegs, almost giving it a lower rider feel. Just more comfortable.
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.
Coolant Cap Hack
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.
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. Go test-ride one, you won't regret it.
Thanks for reading!
More About the Ruckus
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.