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.
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.