Ruckus Sled: GY6-Powered Honda Zoomer

Honda Zoomer GY6 Custom

Ellaspede’s 171cc Honda Zoomer Custom… 

Introduced in 2003, the Honda Zoomer — aka Honda Ruckus here in the States — was a 50cc four-stroke liquid-cooled scooter quite unlike anything else on the market at the time. It had a skeleton frame, chunky tires, dual headlights, and boasted 114 mpg.

“The chunky little Honda Zoomer is a weird cross between a 50cc twist-and-go scooter, a Tonka toy, and a stripped-bare army Jeep…easy to ride, nippy and stylish” –MCN

Honda Zoomer GY6 Custom

While some motorcyclists scoff at scooters, the Zoomer / Ruckus became a highly popular exception, appealing to everyone from commuters to customizers to veteran racers:

“MotoGP champions use them to get around the paddock. Students use them for nipping around town…. No mess. No fuss. Just 50ccs of pure enjoyment, unlimited freedom and dependable Honda quality.” –Visordown

Honda Zoomer GY6 Custom

What’s more, the bug-eyed Zoomer has earned a cult following over the years along with an extensive aftermarket, making the creative possibilities nearly endless. The custom Zoomer you see here is the work of one of Australia’s most highly regarded workshops, Ellaspede, who built it for a friend of the owner of their previous scooter build, the EB1175 Ruckus:

“Two is always more fun than one! When you’re mates with the owner of our previous Ruckus build, it was only natural for owner Jono to get in on the Zoomer action!”

Honda Zoomer GY6 Custom

The modifications were extensive, including a GY6 engine conversion bored to 171cc — more than triple the OEM displacement — said to boost the top speed from 30 to 60 mph! Other highlights include billet engine and shock mounts, Brembo brakes, adjustable brace bars, staggered BBS Super Mesh style wheels, rugged ripstop cordura nylon upholstery, and much more.

Honda Zoomer GY6 Custom

Below, the Ellaspede crew gives us the full rundown on Jono’s GY6-powered sled, along with more photos from AJ Moller (@ajmollerphotography).

EB1221 Honda Zoomer: In the Builder’s Words…

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

In 2003, the Honda Zoomer, also known as the Ruckus, made its grand entrance in Japan
and the United States, offering a fresh and practical alternative to conventional scooters.
With its stripped-down design, twin headlights, and beefy tires, it quickly distinguished
itself from the competition.

Custom Honda Ruckus

Underneath its compact exterior lies a modest 49cc four-stroke engine, carbureted and
ready to go. It churns out a meagre 4.3 horsepower and reaches a top speed of about 60
km/h on a gentle downhill slope with a favourable breeze.

A diminutive 4hp scooter isn’t the usual canvas for a custom build, but with the Zoomer’s
inherent character and a bunch of mates with them, we can definitely see the appeal. While most scooters hide their inner workings beneath layers of plastic, the Zoomer proudly flaunts its mechanical elements, inviting customisation and modification. Says Jono:

“Tai [owner of EB1175 build] is the reason I contacted Ellaspede. I loved how his build was coming along, plus these guys had a good rep with some rad builds.”

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

 

The trend of customising these “Rucks” initially took root in the JDM and VIP car style
scenes, but has since spread to a broader community of enthusiasts. The extraordinary
subculture surrounding the Honda Zoomer will open your eyes to a whole new level of
creativity based on these little machines. Says Jono:

“My mates inspired me to go through with it. I have a handful of mates with full custom Ruckus with everything from airbags, to complete ‘bozozoku’ style, to JDM spec. So I decided to switch it up and go full desert spec, something that hadn’t really been done before in our group.”

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

Armed with a simple recipe — enhancing performance, upgrading braking capabilities,
creating a striking appearance, and tapping into the wealth of inspiration and parts
available online — we embarked on Jono’s custom build.

With the exception of the main frame and seat frame, both of which underwent extensive modifications too, almost everything else on this bike was removed or replaced. The fuel tank, front fairing, and a few support brackets underneath were also spared from the customisation frenzy.

Custom Honda Ruckus

Thanks to the vast aftermarket options in Japan and the US, you can really get a shopping list going for parts sourced from every corner of the internet. But as we learnt with our previous build of the EB1175 Honda Ruckus, the internet doesn’t tell the whole story about bolting these little bikes together and sometimes it requires a little more work.

An abundance of parts arrived from various online sources, with key components sourced from renowned suppliers such as DorbyWorks and RuckHouse in the US. The pièce de résistance was undoubtedly the GY6 engine conversion, bored out to a remarkable 171cc, promising a substantial performance boost and a potential top speed of around 100 km/h.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

Twelve-inch billet engine mounts now accommodate the new powerhouse, also elongating the scooter’s stance. The short rear shock and billet shock mount ensure that the suspension still operates within familiar parameters, albeit much lower than factory.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

At the front, we opted for aftermarket lowering forks paired with billet clip-on handlebars. The addition of new CNC brake masters and levers, coupled with Teflon-coated brake lines, result in improved braking performance, with Brembo brakes gripping 220mm wave rotors at both the front and rear. These upgrades provided a much-needed enhancement over the minuscule stock drums, especially considering the additional horsepower.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

To achieve the desired aesthetic, Jono chose the “Super Mesh BBS style” wheels, featuring staggered sizes of 12×4″ at the front and 13×7″ at the rear. Fully blacked out in gloss black with a set of Michelin City Grip tires. Says Jono said:

“My favourite part of the bike would have to be that back wheel, that’s some mini Diavel or Vrod spec squished onto a scooter!”

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

In order to reinforce the original frame, we crafted a pair of adjustable brace bars in the distinctive Zoomer style, similar to what we had done on EB1175. Jono opted for the blacked out “Brocks” exhaust, which is a trick shape and features a rad red Brocks brand plate too.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

To spark it all up we acquired a complete aftermarket wiring loom, which was further modified to suit the setup. The revamped wiring system powered upgraded lighting elements throughout the scooter, including a Koso gauge mounted on a billet mount at the front.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

Motogadget indicators and a Koso Hawkeye tail light up the rear, while twin aftermarket LED headlights replicated the iconic Zoomer look at the front, mounted to the refurbished front rack. An LED light bar also sits snugly atop the front rack for Jono’s late night adventures.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

To comply with legal requirements regarding license plates, we devised a custom rear mount to accommodate the number plate, tail light, indicators and rear reflector. In addition to these enhancements, we incorporated several aftermarket components, including mirrors, a CNC gas cap, a fuel tank cover, CNC forward footrests and some other selected pieces.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

Staying true to the Zoomer custom style, we lowered the seat subframe while retaining the factory mounting points. The resulting seat configuration was padded with high density comfort foam to compensate for the limited suspension travel. Providing some texture and pattern is the seat upholstery, which as wrapped in Ripstop Cordura Nylon in the desert digital camouflage colour.

Honda Ruckus GY6 Custom

As the build progressed, various powder coat finishes and paint finishes were applied on certain components to achieve the desired aesthetic. The crowning touch came in the form of a custom paint color — a mix of “country tan” and Toyota’s Sandy Taupe paint. Says Jono:

“I love that sand Toyota 79 series brown, hands down one of the best colours in my opinion.”

After some fine-tuning and addressing any remaining imperfections, this compact Honda undoubtedly lives up to the Zoomer name now, especially with the GY6 power plant pushing it along. The stance, colour and collective parts certainly draw some attention sitting still, so we’ve got no doubt it will be turning heads wherever Jono goes for a hoon on it.

Jono sounds like he has the future plans absolutely nailed too:

“I’ll be cruising that thing into my barber shop weekly, parking it right out the front. Also doing some dope group rides on the weekends, blasting some old school NYC rap beats through the bluetooth headset, enjoying the Queensland summer weather!”

Follow the Builder

Website: www.ellaspede.com
Instagram: @ellaspede
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ellaspede
Photography: AJ Moller (@ajmollerphotography)

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