Honda Ruckus Motorcycle Build

Honda Ruckus Motorcycle Build

I fondly remember the summer of '86. A buddy and I spent the entire summer exploring the mountains behind our houses on two Trail 90 expatriated from his parents. We traveled many miles on those bikes, taking them to places they had no right to go, but they got us there and back, every time, loaded to the gills with camping gear, fishing rods and .22s. They weren't fast, they weren't sexy, they weren't serious dirt bikes, but they were reliable, quiet and best of all extremely fuel efficient — which was paramount to two youthful vagabonds with no discernable means of income.

Unfortunately Honda discontinued the Trail series nearly three decades ago and in a recent moment of nostalgic lust, I started searching online for a used Trail 90. The prices were staggering. Unlike most vehicles that are worthless after a decade, Trail owners know what they have and charge accordingly. Then I stumbled across a new Honda Ruckus. The Ruckus was never meant to have the off-road pedigree of the old Trail bikes, but with some modification why wouldn't they work just fine? I wanted a small, light bike that could easily be loaded onto a drift boat, the back of a truck or even on a hitch hauler — something quiet to prowl western forest service roads for grouse in the fall, and load into the back of a truck as a shuttle for river float trips in the summer.

A quick search online revealed that Ruckus's are possibly one of the most highly modified motorcycles of our time. Customized in every manner from stretched, to lowered, to metallic painted, to fat tires and monster engines, builders have poured thousands into these little bikes. But for as many custom versions I found, I didn't find a hunt-specific ruckus. Something modified to be more off road capable, carry the gear needed and look tough (at least as tough as a grown man can look on a scooter) as possible.

I finally ordered a new Ruckus and tore it down to the last bolt. Plastic floor pan removed, the frame and gas tank received a textured bed lining for durability, while the rest of the metal and cowling got painted Army Green. Reassembled the bike was starting to take shape. Now to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.


Saddleback Gun Scabbard


Saddleback Leather company introduced its new line of gun scabbards and pistol cases around the same time I was working on the Ruckus project. I thought they would look marvelous and be unbeatably functional. The scabbard easily affixed to the right side of the frame/luggage rack. Saddleback's matching full grain leather luggage fit perfectly on the left side — ideal for extra shells, lunch and misc. gear. The pistol wrap hung perfectly from the handlebars and serves as a sidearm holster or a secure place for binoculars.

All of the saddleback components are solid D rings, rivets and buckles so they will stand up to the miles of back road vibrating. saddlebackleather.com

Engel Dry Box

Engel makes a wide assortment of products ranging from insulated game bags to 12V fridge freezers. The 19 quart dry box/cooler is ideal for carrying lunch in or ruffed grouse out. While it is billed more as a dry box than cooler, it is still insulated and features an EVA gasket seal, making it waterproof. Designed for saltwater use the latches and screws are made from stainless steel.


engel-coolers.com

Cycle Racks Storage

The first order of business was to add a rear storage rack. The Ruckus makes great use of its limited space with a front rack and a large under seat storage area, but a rear rack is a game changer on this little bike. Several companies make rear racks, but all look pretty flimsy. So, I turned to Cycle Racks, an Idaho company that knows a thing or two about making beefy racks designed for off-road use. Sure enough, they already had a Ruckus rack in their line. The fit was perfect and took about five minutes to bolt onto existing holes. The rack is powder coated steal, bolted to the lower frame in four places and has a deck that measures 18" x 12"€¦ large enough and to handle any load the Ruckus would be carrying. cycleracks.com


Cycle Racks and Fuel StorageNATO Fuel Can

The standard 20L steel NATO/Jerry can is the gold standard for fuel-carrying off roaders, but 20L would carry the tiny Ruckus roughly 500 miles — far more than any sane person needs (and would weight too much). Luckily, smaller 5L steel cans (roughly 1.32 gallons) are available that have the same durability and classic good looks. Just like their full sized brother, they feature all welded seams, hinge lids, replaceable gaskets and are compatible with NATO spouts. A single can will provide nearly 150 miles of forest service road fun. prepandmore.com

Cheeky Seat Cover

Since we wanted the custom Western Ruckus to standout, leaving the stock seat in place was not an option. Enter Cheeky Seats, clever name, and even more clever product line. This custom scooter seat cover company offers dozens of different economical designs. However, what we were looking for: "army, vintage, leather and canvas" they did not. No trouble, a simple email with an idea of what we desired and shortly thereafter an awesome seat cover that surpassed our wildest dreams arrived.

Crafted from tin cloth, paracord and leather, it looked like it was crafted from an old grouse hunters' game vest. The Cheeky Seat was a perfect addition and only took five minutes to install! cheekyseats.com

Plano Ammo Box

Plano makes somewhere between two dozen and two million different molded boxes (honestly, after looking at their site we lost count), so finding one that would fit the Ruckus's front storage rack was easy. We selected the O.D. Green ammo box which offers 13.75" x 7" x 8.75"of space. It was the perfect size for holding shells, licenses or cleaning equipment. The top hinging lid allows for easy access, even when birds are flushing and more shells are needed for frantically fumbling fingers. planomolding.com

Honda Ruckus

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Fare Game: Venison Cheeseburger Bites

Fare Game: Venison Cheeseburger Bites

If you're tired of the same old jalapeno and cream cheese poppers, here's a completely different take on the popular party appetizer. Easy to make, and incredibly delicious, these mini cheeseburgers, wrapped in bacon, make the perfect one-bite-fits-all snack for your next tailgate party or hunting camp.

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd. Bowhunting

Best New Bowhunting Gear for 2020

Petersen's Hunting Editors - May 21, 2020

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd.

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you. Conservation

Do Coyotes Really Affect the Whitetail Herd?

Jeff Johnston

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you.

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system. Optics

How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy

Joseph von Benedikt

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

See More Trending Articles

More Hunting

Mountain Bikes are an incredible (but underutilized) tool for hunters, and when you add some Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting E-Bike

Mike Schoby - April 28, 2014

Mountain Bikes are an incredible (but underutilized) tool for hunters, and when you add some

A Scottish tradition completed with planes, trains, and sure-footed ponies
Modern technology has Hunting

Highland Stalking

Simon K. Barr - September 25, 2018

A Scottish tradition completed with planes, trains, and sure-footed ponies Modern technology...

I have never felt that camping trailers 'at least the Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting Trailers

Mike Schoby - April 14, 2014

I have never felt that camping trailers 'at least the "house on wheels" variety that most...

Let's be clear: The EarthRoamer XV-LT is not an RV. It's about as close to an RV as a Ferrari is to Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting Vehicle: Earthroamer XV-LT

Mike Schoby - August 06, 2014

Let's be clear: The EarthRoamer XV-LT is not an RV. It's about as close to an RV as a Ferrari...

See More Hunting

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now