Saturday, July 21, 2012
Ruckapolitan? Metruckus? A scoot by any other name…
Go over to Total Ruckus.com and peruse the Ruckus and Metropolitan forum boards and you will find that this is a hotly debated topic.
This little scooter has captured the hearts and imagination of many, many scooter lovers. Most posters have owned one or the other or both. Many of the posters (the majority) are buying these scoots up and modding them out or restoring old beaters that have fallen to neglect in some shed or storage unit.
But one thing they all agree on: the scoot is special AND the two models are almost interchangeable to modders and riders alike.
So much so that when I sought out a used Ruckus locally and could not find one, I bought a Met instead.
I have owned two Rucki and now one Metropolitan. I have to say I could close my eyes while riding my Met and feel that I am on my old Ruckus. Don’t worry, I won’t close my eyes while really riding, but you get the idea.
Honda has jacked up the price on the new 2013 Rucks to over $2500 out the door of most Honda dealerships. I paid $1800 for my 2009 out the door 3 years ago, so I could not spend that kind of money right now.
But while perusing my local Craigslist, I saw a little 2003 Honda Met for only $850. I got curious and called about it and almost went out to test ride it, but got side-tracked when I learned on-line about the difference between the Met I and Met II.
This one was a Met II, which I learned was a limited year model (2002-2005) that was sold in California and restricted to only go up to 25 mph. So I let it go. But by then I was heavily into researching the Met on-line and reading reviews and scanning all the Metropolitan posts on TotalRuckus.com, Urbanscootin.com, Powersportsnetwork.com and other review sites.
I ended up happily buying a new, clearance priced 2009 Monzo (Red) Met under warranty. I was elated to say the least with my pricing and all the accessories too.
My eyes were opening up to the fact that many owners considered this scooter to be “more or less” a Ruckus dressed up to go out on the town. i.e., a “Metropolitan”. Strip down the outer cosmetics, and they were the same scooter with only slight differences not going to be noticeable to a rider.
Comparing the two scooters on paper, I couldn’t help but believe that this had to be true. How could it not be? Taking the 2006-2012 Ruckus and the 2006 to 2009 Met (no Mets were marketed as 2010, 2011, or 2012 and 2013 is a different animal all together) these scooters ARE more alike than different. They are alike enough to be experienced as the “same” scooter and different only in outer appearance (that is, until stripped down like the guys aka “peeps” do on Total Ruckus!). Then they look almost identical in their “skelly” mode.
Both scooters ride the same. No wonder as they are riding under the same Honda 49cc, 4 stroke, single cylinder, water-cooled engine. Both max out their restricted top speed around 43 mph. Both have carbureted engines, push-button/kick start ignition, and get around 100 mpg. Both my Rucki got exactly 100 mpg and so does my Met.
Both scooters have lower centers of gravity, which makes for a sweet, solid handling at 43 mph on the twisties and around the neighborhood. If this scooter could go 70 mph as far as I am concerned it would still feel stable and controllable. This said with only 10 inch wheels on both. Some bigger engine scooters with bigger wheels still do not feel this stable as their center of gravity cannot match that of the Ruckus and the Met.
This is one characteristic of this scooter that I absolutely love. I feel safe and in control while riding it. It is also why so many mod maniacs are increasing their speeds with GY6 kits and engine upgrades to 125 and even 150 cc. It is widely lamented that Honda has never seen fit to give us at least a 125cc Ruckus or Met. I know if they ever did that they would sell them all out the first month and generate back orders that could go on for months. That is how much people love these scooters.
It’s not mentioned much, but I love the “motorcycle style” handlebar set-up on the Ruckus and Met (changed on the 2013 Met). Other scooters that have these type handlebars are the Honda PCX, the Honda Big Ruckus, and the Yamaha Vino 50 and 125.
Many of the smaller scoots have that handlebar that is a flat-across bar with the “dial” like speedometer in the middle. It feels like a tiller and therefore feels less intuitive to me in the handling. I test rode some of those scooter handlebar set-ups and had that impression. Others who may ride that set-up for awhile may easily adjust to it, but I did not care for it. I like the feel of a “little motorcycle” in the steering and handling.
Both Met and Ruckus have a wider tire that enables the scooter to handle a variety of riding surfaces. I’ve ridden a bit of “off road” on the Ruckus with no problem. I’ve taken my Met on those same surfaces, also with no problem. I am talking about riding on chip seal, gravel, packed dirt, grassy fields, and really rough pavement. Both scoots are stable and have big enough tires that the ride is not squirrely. The Ruckus tires are slightly fatter (130/90-10) than the Met tires (90/90-10) but the Met could wear Ruck wide tires which would entail a rear swing arm swap out.
From my experience on both bikes I don’t see that the ride is noticeably different. There is no where I can ride the Ruckus that I cannot ride the Met out here in my rural area. The Ruckus wheelbase is 49.8” over the Met wheelbase of 46.9 inches and the fatter Ruck tires likely account for that difference. I experience no difference in ride and handling.
The Ruck’s rear shock travel is the same as the Met’s-2.6” of travel. Both are sufficient enough to offer a relatively smooth, comfortable ride. They are not “plush” by any means. You do “feel” the road. But I like that sense of “feeling” the road on both scoots and do not experience it as a tiring or jolting ride. Swap out shocks are available from BattleScooter.com, however, for those who prefer a plusher ride.
Both scoots are lightweight and highly maneuverable in parking and traffic situations. The Ruckus weighs 181 lbs, the Met 163 lbs when fully fueled up.
Both scoots have low seating for shorter riders (Met is 28.3”, Ruckus is 28.9”), but enough leg room that “tall drinks of water” can handle the ergonomics as well. And thousands do just that. The almost magical ride of these scooters will get 6+ footers scooting along on them with no thought as to how their gangly legs, jutting knees, or flapping elbows look tooling down the road. They don’t care-they are having too much fun!
The Pluses and Minuses-The stock Met has some advantages over the stock Ruckus:
Met has a leg shield for wind and rain protection……Ruckus does not.
Met has a front cargo basket available from Honda…..Ruckus does not.
Met has a fuel gauge…..Ruckus does not.
Met has a custom windshield available from Honda…..Ruckus does not.
Met has a locking under seat storage….Ruckus does not.
Met has a locking center stand…..Ruckus does not.
Met has a rear luggage carrier available from Honda….Ruckus does not.
Met has a top case available from Honda….Ruckus does not.
Before you Ruckus riders (remember, I am one too!) get all pissy on me, I have to say that just about any of the pluses of the Met can be met (no pun…) by the Ruckus through innovation or aftermarket parts through sites like BattleScooter:
Leg shield: there is one available to add on the Ruckus from BS.
Front cargo basket: I had no problem adding a handlebar bag or other to the Ruckus handlebars or the front rack over the headlights.
Fuel gauge: not on the Ruckus and it was kind of aggravating, but I live with it. I am sure that someone on TR has improvised and added one to a Ruckus, however.
Windshield: a small one is available from BS, but not as functional looking as the OEM one from Honda.
Under seat storage: if you are creative, the storage capacities of the Ruck are endless (under seat bag, front bag, saddle bags, tail bag, etc.) but none of it locks unless you use panels or a top case.
Rear luggage carrier: one is available for the Ruck from BS. I improvised and never really needed one.
Both scooters have generous floorboards and low centers of gravity (already mentioned) and you can haul just about anything on them. I’ve carried huge bags of dog food, flowers in pots, pizzas, a little dog passenger (Maxi, “Co-Pilot Extraordinaire”), potting soil, back packs, etc.
Both scooters have locking "parking brake" levers on the left side.
Both scooters have locking handlebars at a parked position.
Both scooters have a kickstart back up lever.
Both scooters are lightweight enough that they can easily be loaded up on a hitch rack carrier and taken to vacation spots, transported to exotic ride locations, or hauled in to the shop for maintenance that you really need a certified Honda Powersports mechanic to do for you.
Which To Choose?
Choose BOTH if you can! If that is not possible, then it will possibly come down to just personal preference.
Some like the sophisticated, Italian styling and attitude of the little Metropolitan. And it does offer some mighty fine accessories, as already mentioned, right off the bat (2002-2009 models).
Some prefer the rugged, bare bones look of the Ruckus. It just speaks to the soul of the minimalist.
Mod maniacs will be happy with both and will spend many happy hours (and dollars) modding out both scoots mechanically and cosmetically.
Me? I’d like to own BOTH again. I miss my Ruckus, but have discovered a whole new experience with my Met and love it immensely too.
But I was crazy about the Ruckus from the first time I laid eyes on it. Let's face it, the Ruckus WAS my first scooter and I also love the rugged, barebones look of the scooter. I will always feel that way, have that passion, for the Ruckus.
So if it came down to being able to own only one, I’d have to choose a Ruckus over a Met. It would be painful to give up the Met, but if I HAD to.
No, wait! I could not give up my beautiful red Met! She is so cute, stylish, and I love her accessories as detailed above.
You get it, right? After all, this blog is entitled “Ruckus Scooter Love” and that is an enduring thing BUT I have found and also fallen in love with the classic Honda Metropolitan.
"Metro Ruckus Scooter Love"?
Naw-I'm not changing the title for sentimental reasons.
Anyway, get a Met, get a Ruckus, get both, or one or the other!
You will be happy and fulfilled and fall in love with riding a scooter!
Just like I did.
(Copyright 2012 by Deb Benz. No duplication, transfer, or quotation without the express permission of the author.)