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2009 Honda Ruckus - Post-Apocalyptic Vision

The evolution of vehicular freethinking

By Rodrez

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.”

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.

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.

By Rodrez
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