With an advertised top speed of 40 mph, the Honda Ruckus may not be setting any land speed records, but it’s still pretty zippy for a 49cc scooter.
Plus, this is only the officially rated top speed. External factors and internal mechanics can increase—or decrease—this number significantly.
Read on to find out how.
What Factors Affect Honda Ruckus Top Speed?
One of the things diehard Ruckus riders like about the scooter is its resistance to wind. Nevertheless, like anything that moves, strong headwinds will slow it down well below its 40-mph top speed.
Some riders try to avoid this through dangerous practices like drafting behind semi-trucks. While this is certainly a risky and non-recommended way to ride, it can push the Ruckus’s speed above the official rating.
With the Ruckus’s small motor producing 4.3 horsepower, hills are the biggest factor affecting its speed. On a steep downward slope, the scooter can reach 45 mph, while a steep incline will likely drop it below 30 mph.
The Ruckus can handle a surprising amount of weight with a rated max of one passenger weighing 220 pounds. Still, more weight will naturally mean slower speeds, especially on inclines.
The scooter itself weighs less than 200 pounds, but riders weighing more than 150 pounds usually start to notice decreased power.
Mods and Specs
Of course, some Ruckus enthusiasts go so far as to change the scooter itself to get higher speeds. The most dramatic modification some owners make is swapping out the 49cc engine for a 149cc GY6 engine. This will get you a top speed of around 60 mph.
Additionally, many Ruckus owners like to stretch out the frame or chop it up to reduce weight, though this can be dangerous. They also add wider tires for better traction and increased speed.
How Does the 2022 Honda Ruckus Compare to Past Models?
The Honda Ruckus has not changed very much since its inception in 2003. This is especially true of the engine and transmission. Consistently 49cc with automatic shifting, the Ruckus’s top speed has not wavered much from 40 mph over its nearly two decades of production.
That said, Honda has made a few changes over the years that have affected speed. For instance, in 2008, they flattened the seat, which is much more comfortable but also promotes a seating position that isn’t quite as aerodynamic.
There have been other changes as well, though they don’t affect the scooter’s top speed. Honda added a locking device on the seat for helmet storage and increased the color options to gray, midnight blue/tan, and white/metallic blue.