Ruckus Scooter Love

Ruckus Scooter Love
Scootin' For A Slower Pace of Life...

Monday, April 8, 2013

The "Misunderstood" 49cc Scoot

I've been riding a 49cc scooter since June of 2007. That's almost 6 years.

And one thing that I know for certain is that the little 49cc scoots are misunderstood.

Yep, misunderstood!

Misunderstood in that many people start out on them and then curse them that they won't go any faster than about a tad over 40 mph! The "woe is me" starts in at about the third month of steady riding when the owner is now gaining confidence and starting to want to get from point A to point B in a more efficient, i.e., speedier manner!

Oh,I get it. I did that too. Sort of. Or better put, "at times".

I was really one to never BE in a hurry when I was riding my scoot on the rural back roads because I was content to just amble along and look out over the pastures, fields, and woodlands and watch the cows, ponds, and other stuff go by SLOWLY.

I was a "Sunday driver" kind of scooterist, you could say. No hurry, no worries.

Then I began to use my scooter to commute to a job out there in the country in 2008 and I wanted it to go FASTER in order to not delay my arrival at work.

Now, 40 mph on a 49cc Ruckus "feels like" 70 mph in a car. Or at least it did to me. I'd arrive at work with my entire body tingling from adrenaline and my eyes wide as saucers. I'll have to admit it was not a fun ride. It seemed to take forever and felt too manic to me.

What was the point of arriving with your nerves a-jangle and your hair mashed flat? None that I could see.

The only "plus" to commuting was the ride home, which was a bit more relaxed, though I still wanted to just get home.

So I began to lust for a bigger scooter, but really, out in the country, my rides were "stop and smell the roses" rides and 49cc was just fine with me. Small enough to be fun, quick enough to be thrilling, and slow enough to allow me to stop and take photos or just ramble lazily through the countryside on back roads.

I always said, "I ride my scooter LIKE a bicycle". Meaning I kept it "hi viz" with a flag and neon yellow accents and I kept to the side of the road when cars did show up on a lonely back road.

In the villages I'd ride it with traffic in the lanes that did not exceed 40 mph. It worked out fine.

Now I'm in the burbs and I STILL think the 49cc scooter has a place in my riding here. But it is vital to realize that it's place is unique and that it cannot and will not compare to a 125cc or bigger scooter in it's purpose or it's function. due to the dangers of suburban and urban riding.

49cc scoots are not meant to ride on highways obviously, but that does not make them less of a machine to enjoy. They excel at tooling around town on errands, at rambling through neighborhoods and suburban green areas, and at scooting out onto local back roads in the rural areas that back up to the burbs.

Once you fall in love with the ride and handling of a 49cc, it is hard to give it up completely. I don't think I could. I did once, and I had to get it back.

It is just something that I enjoy beyond any other type of riding. And yes, I've ridden a 500cc motorcycle in my "yute", so I know somewhat of what I speak.

Riding the 49cc scooter "like a bike" protects you from crazy drivers in that you are prepared like a touring cyclist with hi viz gear and riding habits and routes customized to what your scooter/bike can handle.

This is all about safety and entails picking and choosing limited routes around the area, but it's worth it to me to take side streets and such.

It might even entail loading up the 49cc scooter and driving out somewhere that is scenic and less hectic and unloading it for a day of back road scooting. I am seriously considering purchasing one of these utility racks to go on my hitch receiver so that I can haul my scooter to quiet scenic places away from heavy traffic a la burbs.

Owning and riding the 49cc scooter requires advance route planning and a focus on safety that goes beyond even the considerations of a bigger scooter that rides in with traffic on a regular basis.

Once I get my bigger scooter I will do adapt to that sort of route planning and mindset.

In the meantime I will ride my little charmer where I can and enjoy the special pleasures of riding a 49cc in quiet neighborhoods and along hidden back roads, all decked out in neon yellow and obnoxious orange.

Whatever it takes to be seen.

Just like a touring bicyclist would, yellow triangle and all.

(scooter photo courtesy of Honda Powersports)


  1. You hit the nail on the head. It comes down to what you feel comfortable and are safe on.

    I have lived and worked in cities most of my life, and the one thing I've realized is that the 35 MPH posted speed is more a pipe dream than reality. While I do believe in slowing down and smelling the roses (and traveling the road less taken), you have to be able to keep up with traffic and deal with aggressive drivers. Having that option to keep up with the traffic and/or get the hell out of the way quickly is a good thing.

    I'm not knocking the 49cc or those that ride them, I just think to many riders see the MPG and lose site of other things. If your smart, careful and know the dangers...then there is no reason why a 49cc can't be a good bike. Sadly to many riders by a bike for all the wrong reasons.

    1. The point of my article is that it's a case of "the right tool for the right job" more or less.

      If you want to ride longer distances at faster speeds in a timely manner, ride a bigger scooter.

      If you want to ride in traffic at 40+ mph, then ride a bigger scooter.

      If you want to "ride it like a bicycle" at speeds less than 40 mph and as much away from traffic as possible, then the 49cc is a good fit.

  2. Deb I know exactly what you are talking about and even though I ride a bigger bike I love my scooter still. For me it wasn't about wanting to go faster per se a much as wanting more range and that unfortunately meant being able to do highway speed. I also noticed a huge difference in traffic with visibility profile and I do have to say my higher cc engine does give me a little more torque and power to get out of situations. I think eventually I may get a larger cc scoot like a majesty because I do miss the versatility that my scoot offered me. I I think once you get a larger cc scoot you will still have the best of your 49cc world and a little more range.

    1. I have no desire to "ride faster" unless I am having to ride where traffic is going 40 mph plus.

      Even on my back road rides on a bigger scooter, I'd still be tooling along, enjoying the sights.

      Any fast ride might get one from point A to point B, but what good is it if you see nothing along the way?

      My bigger scooter will be for increasing my range, as you say.

  3. There is something to be said for just tootling along the back roads at a putter and watching the scenery.

    We saw someone in town on a 49cc scoot the other day wearing a bicycle helmet and using the bicycle lanes. Yikes.

    1. Now THAT is inappropriate!

      Note my logo: "Scooting for a Slower Pace of Life".

      That pretty much sums up MY purpose for riding a scooter.

  4. As you know I love my 100cc Symba. It spends most of its days traveling streets with posted speed limits of 25mph, which means I spend a lot of time in the seat to go not all that far. This, to me, is a good thing. Likewise, the 250cc scoot seems able to take me everywhere I want to go. I spend fewer hours a week on the 250cc, but I go farther.

    You are spot on about route planning when it comes to riding a really small cc scooter. That's what it is all about...that and finding gnomes on turtles, flamingos, and other wonderfully charming and unimpressive roadside attraction.

    1. Yeah, and geocaching too!

      I am hoping to have both a small scoot and a bigger scoot, but don't know if the wallet can justify.

      If the Met was 100cc that would be sweet!

  5. Of course, I agree with you, fellow 49er! But size of the rider matters, too. You and I are similar in height. That makes the Met a comfortable fit. If I were 5'8", say, I would not be so comfortable. And I could ride a bigger scooter very comfortably and control it with confidence.

    I resent the people who think 49cc scooters are for puttering along in the bike lane, going to the grocery store, being an old fart. When I told the scooter salesman (a very young guy) that I rode my scooter for hours at a time (just had ridden for 3 hours), his jaw dropped. I think that was the first time I got his attention and that was about twenty minutes into my visit... sigh.

    I know that riding my Met around here other than in the neighborhoods will get me possibly seriously killed. And while Keith and others can ride that city stuff with apparent ease and joy, I can't. Even on a faster scooter I don't think I'd be comfortable. So, it looks like neighborhood riding for me. Like an old fart. Dammit.............................#@%!

    1. Well, you and I are wrestling with the same issues, more or less.

      I have found an access route to the back roads around here and that is about the only way I will be riding out on this 49cc around here.

      Every place else is heavy traffic, driven by texters or cell phone talkers. No thanks!

      I am currently shopping a bigger scooter, which I think will have to happen if I am to keep on riding.

    2. I agree about the larger scooter. Back to an Elite?

      My realtor is an ex-cop and she was hit on her police bike by a car in Madison. I think the ability to hurry out of the way is very, very valuable!

    3. I don't know, really. It's hard right now for me to feel any enthusiasm. I am still stuck in "bereavement mode" regarding leaving my country home.

      All I can think about is how I miss my life out there and detest my life in here. I am truly "lost" and can't feel much for anything, really.

      Not being able to scoot there like I used to do is "killing" my desire. I just love my little Met and the thought of selling it crushes me.

  6. So I just ride my Met here this season and see how my riding habits evolve with it.

    I will keep my eyes open for a used second scooter 125cc+ to keep my Met company over in the "Scooter Cave".

    It might just be an Elite 110, a Buddy 125, a Zuma 125 or something else. I have to save up the funds first and see what comes along.