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It was love at first sight. One year searching in the portuguese second hand market, and its finally my scooter, my company to work, and a beautifull product from Honda, a brand that I admire so much.

The Zoomer, designation NPS50, is a scooter (motorcycle) developed by Honda and introduced in Japan and America in late 2002 for the 2003 model year. In Canada and the USA, the scooter is marketed as the Ruckus. The Zoomer differs from more traditional scooters with its rugged design, including fatter tires with deeper tread and a skeletal frame lacking an enclosed storage compartment.

Initially released in 2001 in Japan as the Zoomer, the NPS50 made it to the USA and Canada for the 2003 model year under the Ruckus name. After a couple slow years, the Ruckus became a strong seller for Honda and has been a popular scooter in North America since 2005. It remains on sale as of 2017.

Over its run, the rugged Ruckus received very few changes aside from color offerings. The only noteworthy changes were made for 2006 when Honda fixed a problem with the engine ventilation and raised the redline by 10%. As a result, 2006 and newer Ruckus’s are a few mph faster and they dodge a potentially catastrophic engine problem.

The GET2 engine is an impressive modern design. It provides ultra low emissions due to being a 4-stroke and because of the catalytic converter in the muffler (2006 and later) which most scooters don’t possess. It’s also extremely quiet and the fuel economy is amazing. You can expect an honest 85-100mpg while driving around at full throttle. It’s still not quite as good as the amazing PGM-Fi (fuel injection) and 4-valve versions of the GET2 they enjoy in Europe and elsewhere.

This motor also features a number of technological advances. This is the first scooter engine to mount a tiny radiator on the side of the motor and use a flywheel mounted fan to blow air on it. This design is very efficient, compact and elegant compared to scooters with coolant hoses running all over the place to a randomly located radiator. Secondly, the Ruckus cleverly runs electrical current in reverse through the alternator to start the motor. This spins the flywheel and cranks the engine over, while being virtually silent. The result is the traditional starter motor is eliminated saving weight, noise, cost and complexity.

For 2006 Honda addressed a long standing crankshaft bearing failure problem with the GET 2 engine by introducing a new PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system that dramatically reduced oil contamination from gas fumes. In any cold engine, some gas fumes slip past the cold piston rings and need to be vented, but the vent system in the 2003-2005 Ruckus’s didn’t work so hot, so the fumes would stick around and degrade the oil. Honda also made a few other changes that resulted in a top speed increase from 37mph to about 41mph. These changes are mainly an increased redline (8850 vs. 8000 RPM) and a new carb needle and exhaust. Since 2006, Honda has not made any changes aside from color options and they switched the color of the blinker indicator to green from orange around 2008.

Tags: Design

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