Many riders want to extract as much juice as possible from the Honda machine, thus behold this list of the most common ways to increase the Ruckus speed. This list is ordered from easiest and cheapest to most difficult and expensive, and I’ve included links to more information where appropriate.
If speed is what you are after, an unmodified Ruckus is probably not the scooter for you unless you are willing to double down on your investment. The max speed of the Ruckus is right at the ceiling of what many state moped and scooter laws say is the upper limit of this type of vehicle.
Properly inflate the tires
Low tire pressure will dramatically affect the performance of any two-wheeled vehicle. Maintaining a suitable tire pressure in your Ruckus is easy.
Maintain the proper oil level
Over-filling the Ruckus engine oil will dampen the top end speed. Make sure you are using the right type of oil for the Ruckus and not pouring too much oil into the engine.
Clean the air filter
Help your motor breathe better and it will deliver superior performance. This is true of most engines. Drastic changes to the air intake on the Ruckus may require a jet adjustment in the carburetor, but maintaining a clean air box and filter will also promote air flow into the motor.
The Ruckus does have some non-essential parts that can be removed to shave its weight. As a rider, you can also lose weight for performance gains. The Ruckus weighs about 190 lbs. This means removing just 5 lbs from the scooter reduces its weight by almost 3%. Here are some parts to consider:
- A lead acid battery weighs 5 lbs. Lightweight batteries are available.
- The main floor plastics weigh 5 lbs.
- The stock exhaust weighs 8 lbs.
- The front headlights and rack weigh 5 lbs.
- Read more here.
Add a computer chip
A CDI (Capacitive Discharge Ignition) box is another easy modification that will modify the Ruckus ignition circuit. Some units will nullify the Ruckus computer’s rev limiter. This allows the engine to rev to a few RPMs higher than normal. CDI boxes like the Kitaco CDI can massage the entire power curve to provide better acceleration between 20 and 30 mph. A CDI box by itself will not increase the max speed of a 2006 or newer Ruckus.
Install an aftermarket variator
The Honda Ruckus clutch is a belt variator. Two cone shaped pieces of metal form a belt pulley that changes in size. The taper of these two pieces of the variator can change the drive train significantly. Some variators can make a larger diameter and force the belt to ride higher than the stock configuration, resulting in an increase in top speed. A CDI box is required for this upgrade to increase top speed.
Intake, carb and exhaust
The debates over aftermarket exhausts delivering a increase performance will wage on. The air box can be removed and replaced with some pod filters. A great TR thread describes the air box delete here. Upgrading just one of these three components may not increase performance at all. The combination of making the engine breathe better (with and intake and exhaust mod) and delivering more fuel (via a bigger carb) at the same time will.
Change the gearing
Changing the final drive gear (or all three gears) in the Ruckus transmission can result in a taller gear ratio, or a faster top speed at the sacrifice of acceleration. The Honda Metro gears are a great fit and there is a great right up right here.
Install a big bore piston kit
There is no replacement for displacement. A new piston and cylinder head can increase the Ruckus engine displacement to almost 60cc, and a bigger engine is faster.
Install a different motor
A motor swap is the by far the most expensive and most effective way to make the Ruckus go faster. The most popular motor swap is to a Chinese GY6 150cc scooter motor. If you don’t want to remove your Honda motor to replace with a Chinese scooter engine, you could consider the two-stroke Yamaha Zuma motor.
One thing to keep in mind with speed mods is to upgrade your brakes. If you make the Honda Ruckus faster than stock, the brakes are no longer designed to stop the scooter you are riding. Upgrade your brakes to match your speed, and make sure they are adjusted properly.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made after clicking Amazon links on this website.
August 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm
I got a pergormance racing cdi for my 50 cc ruckus. I am noticing there is nowhere to plug it in. There are no I mn structions on where to put the wires. It is a 5 piminnstruction. I just want to install this puppy please help with any diagrams links etc. anything will help me not set fire to the thing. Thanks, cds
August 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm
I have the Kitaco CDI and published the documentation that came with it: https://g3integra.com/ruckus/149/kitaco-cdi-documentation/
I also wrote about the installation process of this particular model that you can read. Without any information about what CDI you have, there isn’t a whole lot I can do for you. You are going to need wires. Did it come with any wires?
May 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm
I have a 2007 stock honda ruckus and I want to put in a big bore kit in it. I’ve been reading alot about them and have heard you can put one in and you can’t. Somebody help a brotha out and possibly send me a link where I can get one.
May 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm
The ruckus is liquid cooled. Most all other clones are air cooled. If you want to do a bigger bore your only option is to bore the stock ruckus head.
June 17, 2015 at 4:44 am
I want to know what I can do to get better acceleration out of my stock Honda Ruckus for free any help would be greatly appreciated thanks
July 17, 2015 at 8:16 am
Lets say i buy a 2013 honda ruckus and i take all the electronic’s,motor,gas tank ect. Strip it just for the motor so i can put it in whatever i want. Can i just buy all that somewhere? Without having to take it out, just all i need to put it in what ever i want and drive it?
October 9, 2015 at 4:05 am
It’s hard to understand what you want. If you take the motor and gas tank off, you’re left with a frame.
February 4, 2016 at 12:32 am
im looking for big bore like 100cc for my 49cc ruckus. but all i see from ebay or amazon is big bore kits for gy6 china scooter. i even try kitaco web site but thet have big bore for 110-126cc only :((. pleaae help
February 14, 2016 at 10:24 am
Will I see an increase in top speed on my 2014 ruckus if I replace the stock variator with a polini variator and polini belt without adding a kitaco (or any other brand) CDI?
August 13, 2016 at 2:54 am
Yes you will I personally installed the Polini on my 2005 and prior to that I was topped out at 36-37. After Polini came I was able to get to 43 while tucking in. Skip forward a month to today and I literally just installed the NCY Rev Eliminator and went up past 45. I am happy with that and the sound in the higher gear sounds much healthier. I would say at the NCY being only 90 bucks just get both and save the time and labor. Tuck and ride!
September 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm
Where can I buy those parts?
September 8, 2017 at 1:54 pm
Polini variator: http://amzn.to/2vTJD0Q
NCY CDI with rev eliminator: http://amzn.to/2eM2Cj2
March 21, 2016 at 8:02 am
I have a 2016 Rucus I too want more speed and power, What is the best big bore kit that will acomplish this, and what is the biggest diamiter that I can bore the stock jug without grinadeing the stock engine and are there larger ringsets available to do this also will i need a bigger carb
August 24, 2016 at 3:17 am
I have a 2012 purchased JDM extension and it fits but doesn’t 2003-2011 are one part number and 2012 and up is different. I also purchased NCY frame extension says fits all hope this one will work when it comes in? Purchased NCY CDI Rev delete and Polini variator And belt. Hope to get more speed! Plus put on the low down NCY rear shock but had to remove my air breather box so now I’ll order an air breather hope but can’t afford new exhaust suppose to upgrade when putting on an aftermarket air breather? Looking forward to riding! Everytime put something on something has to go and be replaced!
November 9, 2016 at 1:55 am
Hello all the zuma 50 can replace a stock ruckus engine??
December 8, 2016 at 11:49 am
With my “stock” ruckus motor I’m can easily cruise 46-47mph
It’s a lot of time tuning but that’s with just
And some good street tires
May 1, 2018 at 3:51 pm
I’ll pay you to do it to mine
January 4, 2017 at 12:55 am
The Ruckus is to Millennial’s (or Gen Y) what the Cushman Eagle was to mine. I am certain that the Ruckus is capable of the high 40 mph range and possibly knocking on the door of 50mph. I bought my 2007 with only 1700 miles on the clock. Signs of long storage, at least one low speed get off and some investigation that I was the third owner.
No doubt misuse and neglect are the cause of most if not all of the teething in issues I am faced with. I have been able to find lots more online information on a Honda MB5 project that I have. I would like to get into the carburetor and do some overdue house cleaning is needed there.
The standard riders manual seems designed to keep Honda dealer mechanics chalking up some flat rate billing; dealing with what could be easily handled by anyone with moderate skill level and a good service manual.
Brett’s approach seems like the logical way to go. Being a senior citizen and a returning college student, the economy of a stock configuration will pay for itself in one semester. On the other hand being a former road racer, it will take considerable discipline to leave well enough alone.
March 30, 2018 at 10:56 am
Knocking on the door of 50?.. I was cruising at 55 on flat road and maxing it out at 59-60 tucked with a minor tail wind.. I know of people getting 62mph out of there 50cc ruck.. not hard just a lot of tuning lol
January 1, 2019 at 4:11 pm
January 4, 2017 at 9:22 am
Brett’s list is a great way to make the Ruckus a little bit faster, but I haven’t made those mods. I recommend having more than one motorcycle, and deciding if you need to go faster than 40mph before you ride. I paid the same price for my 08 Ruckus and my 97 DR650, about $1,800 years ago. If you invest 2,500 or more in a Ruckus, I think the next step is deciding you should have bought another bike.
December 9, 2017 at 9:49 am
” As a rider, you can also lose weight for performance gains.”
I would say this is what’s holding me back the most, lol.
January 21, 2018 at 5:46 am
Can you put a 1000cc motor on one
May 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm
May 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Any advice on losing weight?
May 20, 2018 at 6:21 pm
Hah! I’ve always been skinny, so I can’t, actually. I stopped drinking almost everything with added sugar last year, though, and I don’t regret that. A friend of mine said that giving up dairy (on his way to going completely vegan) was when he lost all the extra weight. He’s got a broken swapped Ruckus that I need to take a look at someday soon.
June 20, 2018 at 1:55 am
Im thinking buying a Ruckus but i need it to go faster, can i put a 171cc in a stock Ruckus?
June 20, 2018 at 9:05 am
Just buy a motorcycle.
August 20, 2018 at 7:03 pm
I have to agree. Ruckus are for playing around on. If faster is your love, buy bigger. I got rid of my harley in 2015.
I’m 68 years old and would like it to be a wee bit faster but what the heck, it’s good enough for my needs. Tuck and ride my friends. Tuck and ride……
August 3, 2018 at 8:29 am
anyone know where to get a big bore kit for these?
September 4, 2018 at 1:41 am
My stock ruckus goes 40mph. I took it on the airstrip on the Island where I’m from, I’m 6’1 230 and it got right to 40mph when the strip turned into beach. I can say though that my ex-bro-in-law has his modified to where it’ll go like 60mph, which I know on Midlothian Turnpike I was exceeding 50mph.
May 28, 2019 at 6:59 pm
The Rev Limiter on the U.S models are capped @37-38mph @ sea level. As Mentioned, you can get 10 mph or so extra with limited mods, but if u need more, get a motorcycle….
February 10, 2020 at 2:49 pm
I am 70, 6 ft 5 270 lbs just bought my 2019 Ruckus. I sat down with my Chihuahua and we have ordered foot pegs for the front to put my legs out. Have started buying security items. I have 8 miles on it, I got it up to 25mph but was not pushing it. I bought it for a PIT BIKE. I just love the out of it. I don’t think I’ll be getting to many speeding tickets on my new toy. 25-30 is fast enough for a PIT BIKE. Bought the RED-WHITE ONE. I do love hearing what people have done to there Bikes.