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Old 01-07-2013, 12:36 PM   #1
Bud Tugly OP
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Location: Ishpeming, MI
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Scooter for my cabin

I have a cabin on a remote lake in the middle of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and am thinking of getting a scooter to keep out there. The cabin is 12 miles from a tiny village that has a bar and a gas station/convenience store and has access to hundreds of miles of gravel roads and 2-track logging roads.

I'd like the bike to be a 50cc so there's no hassle with needing to plate it and a top speed of 30-35 mph is fine for all the roads it would ever go on. I'd like it to be able to handle exploring some fairly rough roads, have storage for some basic groceries and beverages on a run to the village, and be something that adults and my 12-year old grand daughter can have fun with. The bike will be kept in a locked shed when we aren't there.

There sure are a lot of choices out there! Kymco alone lists over a dozen different models, Genuine, Honda, and Yamaha have several choices, and then there are the cheapo Chinese bikes. I like the looks of the Ruckus but the lack of any storage rules it out for making grocery runs. I like the rugged looks of the Zuma and it's available both in 2 and 4 stroke but does it live up to its looks? I also like the looks of the Genuine Roughhouse, and I'm sure there are others that would work.

So what would you recommend?
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bud Tugly View Post
gravel roads
Might consider a tri-wheeler for more stability on the marbles.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
Bud Tugly OP
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There are an awful lot of 2-track back roads around there, and I think a conventional 2-wheeler would work better on them.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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Not sure how long a scooter will hold up on those kinds of roads, but I would definitely go for a 2 stroke. The 2 stroke Zuma is a great bike, especially the '05 and older bug eye models. I used to have an '05, it was to slow for the paved roads I was trying to ride it on, but would probably have been great for what you want. The '08 up 2 strokes were down on power a bit, and sadly the 2012 is a 4 stroke. The Roughhouse is not very well known, but is imported by Genuine from Taiwan, and should be good quality. Some guy named Pete rode it's big brother, the Rattler 110 to Alaska and back.

It's too bad about the 50cc thing, a Honda Trail 70/90/110 would probably be perfect for you.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:09 PM   #5
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There are some aftermarket solutions for creating storage under the Honda Ruckus seat.

Check out some of the home grown ideas on

Here's a simple one...

And another...

MiniBike screwed with this post 01-07-2013 at 01:26 PM
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #6
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Or you could try one of the CTs:

I'm keeping my eye out for one to keep in NC.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:40 PM   #7
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Don't even look at a china scoot if you plan on off roading it, they fall to pieces on the street. 50 CCS isn't going to cut it off road either,you'll be doggy peddling it on any kind of incline. Except for an older 2smoke Zuma.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:45 PM   #8
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If it doesn't have to be the fastest 50 I would say the new Zuma 4 stroke because it has fuel injection and would handle storage better than a carbed bike. However, it will need a maintained battery to fire up.

Of course, you could just drain the float bowl of a Genuine Roughhouse and enjoy it's back up kick start should the battery die.

I had a Rattler 50, brother to Roughhouse and it was a great bike. The roughhouse has had intake improvements which allow it to be one of the fastest 50cc bikes made this side of an Aprilia SR50R.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
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A 2-stroke Zuma 50 would be at the top of my list.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:29 PM   #10
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Cabin I would find an honda ct110 . parts are easy to find. great on road and off road scooter. 1 grand should get you a good one. Dr atv .com has all the parts you could ever need for repairing one. Ever want to sell it and you ll get what you paid for it . they don't go down in value any more. If you hunt you could even carry a deer on it . It wouldn't be easy but it could be done.
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,but rather to skid in sideways totally worn out shouting WHAT A RUSH, WHAT A RIDE.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:29 AM   #11
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if you get a ruckus you can just make a wee box to fit in the space under the seat giving it the same storage as any other scoot. v sareela from this very forum has a good one.

or you could fit a top box to it

or you could just wear a backpack

seems stupid to rule out probably the best scoot for the job for something so easily fixable. how much storage are you really expecting on a 50cc scooter?
'06 CBR1000RR Fireblade and loads of small 2 strokes!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:48 PM   #12
Bud Tugly OP
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I had a CT90 back in the 70's and it worked great for exploring out by the cabin. Problem is that it would have to be plated to be legal to drive into the village and then the drivers would all have to be licensed. A 50cc scooter that qualifies under the moped laws can be legally driven by any of my relatives who come out to visit and can be used to run in to get milk, bread, beer, etc. from the store if it has onboard storage instead of taking the car.

I'm thinking my best bets are to look at the Ruckus and Zuma since parts are likely to be most available and I might be able to even find a good used one. I've seen Youtube videos of both of them on mild offroad trails and that's all I'd expect and need for exploring. It's not like we're going to be doing any high speed off-roading on rough single track or anything. Puttering along on old logging trails is probably the extent of how it would get used.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:28 PM   #13
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The problem with any CVT scooter compared to something with a manual transmission is lack of low end power. A 50cc bike with a manual transmission will go almost anywhere and climb anything in first gear. A 50cc with a CVT will just bog down. A 50cc Cub, or something like an MB5 might be a better answer. The 2 stroke Zuma and Roughhouse have enough power for what you want, they just don''t have a way to use it at really slow speeds or under heavy loads. Their lowest gear ratio is just too high for that kind of riding.

Since these things have around a 40 mph top speed, you can go with an aftermarket variator and weights to get the gearing as low as possible. You will lose some top speed that way, but I wouldn't ride any scooter off road at 40 mph anyway. The Honda CT would definitely seem to be the best suited bike, if it were not for the legal issues.

I would definitely go with a carb if you can. I have never had any issues with a properly maintained carb. All you have to do is drain the gas out during storage. Old gas will plug up fuel injectors too (I know, I used to have a fuel injected '85 Goldwing LTD) plus with fuel injection you have a lot of very expensive electronic parts to deal with that carbs don't have.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:54 PM   #14
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Lots of options out there depending on your budget....

Check out the Genuine RoughHouse.

50 cc and rugged. On/off road tires. 2 stroke. $2000.

Kymco makes some fine running machines. They run FOREVER. If you can pick up a used Agility and put some off road tires on it you might have a nice machine for little $$$. You might even score a pair for less than the cost of a new Genuine. I am seeing them for $300 to $600 on Craigslist. I have a stock People50 2T that will go almost 50. The tiny tires would worry me on dirt roads unless they are hard packed. They big wheels make them a lot more stable at higher speeds than the small tire-ed scoots.

I would also look at the Honda Ruckus. Lots of storage options available. These seem to hold their value, partially because of the customizing of them. The Metro's hold their values and last forever. I recently saw one for sale with 22,000 miles! Again you might change out tires, especially on a used one.

Hill pulling can be adjusted fairly easily by changing rollers on the variator. It takes 1/2 hour for someone with average mechanical skill.

Now is the time to buy, things are CHEAP on Craigslist as people have realized they overspent for Christmas! Get 2, otherwise everyone will be pissed when you run off to the store and they cannot drive with you

Happy Scootin!
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:45 PM   #15
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I used to ride my Yamaha Jog RR a liquid cooled 50cc scoot on the dirt road near a river by my old house on road tyres and it was great handled the bumps and this scooter was designed for 100% road whereas the zuma has some offroad intentions in its design i would go for a 2 smoker as it has more character and with its bit more power you don't get bored as quick.

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