Riley Sinclaire: A 2007 Honda Ruckus

Riley Sinclaire started life as a stock 2007 Honda Ruckus. I went ahead and changed most of that.

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Rocky the Rebel: 1985 Rebel

Mar
2nd
Tue
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Stage 2: Trim fat, add style and speed.

After the Saturday session in January, I ordered a few more parts and installed them without photographing it, which was pretty dumb shit of me. However, photos of all of those parts are found in this entry, so everything is going to be ok.

To backtrack –

I relocated the factory blinkers to mount where the factory reflectors were. It cleaned up the front a whole bunch and I could have rocked that style for a while, but ultimately it’s not the look I wanted. I also installed a Password:JDM kickstand, kick starter and pegs a few weeks ago and once I actually received the parts and admired them I realized that I want A LOT of my parts to come from them. The craftsmanship and quality of every product they make for the Ruckus is pretty amazing. My only issue with their parts is that everything says Password:JDM on it somewhere very visible and some of the parts are a little pricey, but without a doubt it all looks good and is worth it. I also installed some chrome frame caps from jiangwayne. They work.

Here are some pictures of what the Ruckus was looking like before the weekend of Feb 27th:

With those parts on, I ordered a few more parts to continue taking Riley in the right direction. This past week they arrived and I set aside some hours over the weekend and on Monday night to install them.

Parts list:

Coolant reservoir (Password:JDM)

Cup holder bracket (Password:JDM)

Side mount license plate kit (Password:JDM)

ATR fuel tank cover (jiangwayne)

Kitaco variator kit (jiangwayne)

Blue clutch springs (jiangwayne)

Yellow lens tint (lamin-x)

6 gram Zero Speedo rollers (bowls)

Teardrop blinkers (battlescooter)

Turtlehead taillight (ebay)

Wiring harness (Al & Ed’s auto sound)

Hose clamps and an L bracket (home depot)

Pics of the parts -

Battery Box (BB), blinkers and headlights:

The downside to flush-mounting the speedometer in the BB is that you have these extra wires attached to the BB now and removing it becomes a pain because you have to disconnect all of the wires from the factory harness. That’s a bitch. So, now that I was also going to be mounting blinkers in the BB, there would be four more wires, making a total of 10 to mess with when ever I wanted to get in there.

Solution, create a quick connect/disconnect. Using the simple wiring harness for a car radio, I did exactly that. It took about an hour to do it all and it came out nice. Don’t think that the electrical tape in the photos means a crappy connection, I just wrapped all connections for added safety. The blinkers were pretty easy to mount. I just measured and drilled two holes on each side. These blinkers are LEDs, so I also had to add a different blinker relay that could handle a variable load. $3 at Autozone or like $20 from one of the Ruckus stores. A great thing about new blinkers is that you get to clean up the front end of the Ruckus a whole ton. I cut the bunny ears off that held the factory blinkers and got rid of the factory reflectors on the side. After some pretty clean cuts and a little but of grinding, I used a Sharpie Glossy Black paint pen to cover up the raw metal. It doesn’t look beautiful, but it looks surprisingly good and does the job until I do a full repaint of the entire bike.

I love the way yellow headlights look on GT cars and on street bikes, so I ordered a sheet of yellow Lamin-x headlight tint. It’s a simple install and it looks dope. The toughest part is actually cutting the edges nice and smooth. My recommendation is to just take your time when trimming it and use a new razor.

ATR fuel tank cover and cup holder bracket:

With lowered handlebars and seat frame and pegs, it’s rare that you put your feet on the factory floorboards while riding. So, off they go. Actually, getting rid of all of that plastic makes that ruckus look much better anyway. Rather than leaving the gas tank exposed, I ordered an ATR glossy black gas tank cover. Installing this also meant that I got to cut up the factory floorboard in order to keep a cover over the engine and a skid plate for the gas tank. Using a Dremel with a cutoff wheel and keeping my hand steady was all it took. I also wrapped some of the newly exposed wires with some black wire loom and used stainless steel bolts to hold it all down.

Since all of the plastic was now gone I was able to install the cup holder bracket I ordered. It’s clean and will accept any bike cup holder. Pretty great.

Variator and clutch springs:

Choosing the right variator is important. There are a ton of things you’ve got to think about. For example, do you like in a hilly area or it is mostly flat? How much do you way? Do you want top end or low end speed? From there, you’ve got to choose the right roller weights which are measured in grams, similar to my huge drug supply. From there, you can add a different drive belt, a wider belt will rise to the top of the variator more, giving more top end. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do. Before installing a variator, I tried a trick that some people on the forums were doing: shaving the drive face. All it took was literally taking the drive face off and sanding it down tenths of millimeters and not messing up the splines. I added 6 gram weights to the factory variator and actually gaines about 3 mph top end. So it’s a super cheap, easy mod for speed. However, I lost a bit of low end torque.

So, after mucho research, I ordered a Kitaco variator. It’s one of the only kits that comes with a new drive face too, so it answers low end and top end questions. I also added the blue clutch springs, (same as Todd’s) which engage at lower RPMs. The result is so raw. There are no dead spots in my acceleration now, my low end is on point and I’m topping out at about 45 mph. I’ll be confirming this through GPS later tonight. I’d recommend this setup to anyone.

Lowered front fender:

I like my cars and bikes low. As low as possible while still practical. Since I don’t have lowered front forks yet, lowering the fender to sit on top of the tire would have to do. This was cake. Take off the two bolts holding the front fender to the forks. Make an L bracket and use a hose clamp to strap the bracket to the forks. The goal was to sit the fender right over the tire and have it travel up and down with the forks. I accomplished that goal.

Turtlehead taillight, plate mount, coolant reservoir and PCV relocate:

Let’s clean up the funky looking ass end. The following four mods do just that. The biggest and most important thing to do is get rid of the whole taillight section. I decided to go with the turtlehead setup. It’s a brake lights, running lights and blinkers all integrated into a simple LED bar that mounts perfectly underneath the seat. The crappy thing is that the factory bracket is welded to the frame. So, out came the Dremel and off went the bracket. I plan on repainting the entire Ruckus frame, so rather than repainting the tail section right now, I got some glossy black vinyl and wrapped the area I cut. I came out really good. The area beneath the vinyl isn’t perfectly smooth, so it didn’t come out amazing, but it’s close to it. And the broads can’t tell, so whatever. Using the rivets that came with the Turtlehead, I mounted it under the seat, connected the wires into the factory harness and everything is money.

Since I chopped off the taillight bracket, I also lost the license plate mount. That cool, cause Password:JDM makes a dope side mount that bolts right to the transmission and of course looks and works great. While I was cleaning up the rear of the bike, I decided it would be smart to get rid of the factory PCV mount and relocate that junk. So, I unbolted the factory mount and moved the PCV right on the side of the carb. I used a factory mount that was there holding some wiring and just turned the PCV on it’s side. That took care of the bunk-ass cheese grater looking bracket too.

Installing the Passwork:JDM coolant reservoir also made the rear and the side look much prettier. Taking off the factory one is easy. Before you actually bolt up the Password one, fill it. It’s a lot easier that way. I got mine from a guy on totalruckus for $55 shipped and it came with the dress-up washer too. Bang!

Umm, I think that’s all for now.

Mar
1st
Mon
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Stage 1: Lowered riding position and cold air.

One Saturday in January, after the arrival of a few boxes of parts, Todd came over with his Ruckus (2009) and we started working.

My parts list included:

Black drag bars (ebay)

Handlebar clamps (ebay)

Air intake kit (battlescooter)

Swift rear shock (ebay)

Emgo Mirrors (rucksters)

ATR lowered seat frame (rucksters)

Oury grips (LA Brakeless)

Todd had already done his handlebars, grips, mirrors and lowered seat frame, so all we had to do on his was:

Air intake kit (battlescooter)

ATR frame extension (bowls)

Blue clutch springs (bowls)

Along with the install of the air intake kit, we also had to rejet the carbs.

We did our research and figured that shimming the main jet with a 2.5mm washer and adding an 85 main jet would be perfect. We were very off. With that set up, our bikes barley got up to 35 mph and it took a long time to get there. So, we went down a few sizes, tried a couple of different jets and wound up with a 38 slow/75 main setup and a plug on the crank case hose. We both also chopped off the dumb little factory exhaust tip to let it flow a little more. It doesn’t look too pretty, but it sounds much better and probably breathes a little better too. Adding the air intakes also let us remove the huge factory air box, cleaning up the whole rear area a lot. We both used and trimmed the factory intake snorkel to make sure that the air filter sat where we wanted it to. The removal and bobbing of the rear fender (trimmed to keep muck from flying right into the filter off of the rear tire), also makes the rear look much nicer and for some reason faster. Along with all of that, a whole mess of intake tubes were removed. Most of which weren’t really needed anyway.


The handlebars and clamp were a simple install.

The only bitch about it is that the factory screws that hold the controls on are really tight and they’re super soft, so stripping them is almost a given. I wound up having to use the Dremel to cut a flathead slit in the head of each screw to remove them. Besides that, smooooooth install.

I never installed the mirrors because I don’t like how far they stick out past the handlebars. I’m thinking of making a custom bracket for them, or getting some standalone mirror clamps. We’ll see.

Oh and the grips slid right on with some spray adhesive and they’re much more comfortable than the factory ones, so that’s a plus.

Once you remove the handlebars, you also lose the factory speedometer and turn signal light mounts.

So, you have two choices – buy an aftermarket mount for both, or relocate them in the battery box. I relocated them both in the battery box because it looks super clean. When you drop your speedo in the battery box, you have to space out the ECU to make room for it. With a couple of longer bolts and some spacers, I extended the ECU about a 1.5” or so. From there, the battery box slid right back together like factory.


The lowered seat frame really needs no explanation.

It’s one of the best looking modifications you can do to a Ruckus. Swap the seat and bolt it on. Mine also has a little hook for holding things like my dry cleaning and bags of candy for children.

The Swift shock was purchased on ebay for like $40.

It was considered a “blemished” item, so it was cheaper than retail. The only places it was scratched though was on the actual spring itself and barley noticeable. After riding on it for the past month or so I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting a different one that is a little stiffer, but for now it works great and looks dope.

Todds Ruckus:

Adding the ATR extension kit is a super fresh thing to do the Ruckus.

It actually pulls the complete rear-end about 6” back, extending the overall length of the Ruckus. Not sure if it actually does anything for the handling and performance, but, along with a lowered seat frame the rider sits lower and the bike is longer so a lower center of gravity must do something. Not really noticeable though. The ATR kits also come with a shock mount extension which fits pretty perfectly against the factory frame and extended rear brake and throttle cables. It takes a little while and two people to install, but once you do it once, you can probably do it again in about half the time.

We also installed blue clutch springs on Todd’s Ruckus.

The springs allow the clutch to engage at a lower RPM than the factory clutch springs, getting the Ruckus off of line faster. A more-than-worth-it $4 upgrade.

Pics below. Mostly out of order, but you’ll get over it.

Parts:

Riley:

Todd’s Ruckus:

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Let’s begin.

I love the Honda Ruckus. I learned all about it during a new business pitch for Honda Powersports and after researching the scene and learning about all of the enthusiast sites, I wanted one.

I’ve had a few motorcycles in the past and recently finished building a Honda Rebel Bobber (jwolske.tumblr.com), so I’m not new to bikes. But, I’ve never had a scooter. I’ve also rented them in Key West or borrowed friends or something. I just never really wanted my own until the Ruckus. However, not only did I want a Ruckus, I also wanted a 2004 VW R32. So, I put a plan together, sell my car (2001 Audi A4 QTM) and pick up a Ruckus as a mode of transportation until I find the perfect R32.

After a quick search on craigslist, I found a few Ruckus’ for sale in the LA area, posted my car for sale, sold my car in a few days and picked up a 2007 Ruckus for $1,350 with 1,542 miles on it. This all took place in the middle of November 2009.

I started researching and learning all about the Ruckus on forums and parts sites (totalruckus.com, honda-tech.com, rucksters.com, bowlsla.com, passwordjdm.com, battlescooter.com, standardfunctions.com and more) for a month or two so that I knew exactly what I wanted/needed to do to Riley Sinclaire to get her the way I wanted.

Originally, I planned on making Riley look cool and to do a 150cc motor swap to make her kind of quick too. But, after researching and realizing the costs involved, I figured I would just customize her to look cool and not really worry about the speed. Buuuut now, after further research, I can do the swap for less than I thought and I’ll be taking that route.

Below you’ll find some stock photos of her that I took the day after I picked her up.