Project Honda Ruckus Part 6: The Final Option, Tuning the Transmission

MotoIQ Project Honda Ruckus

Project Honda Ruckus Part 6: The Final Option, Tuning the Transmission

By Jeff Naeyaert

In our last installment ofProject Ruckus we got our super motor tuned and running well, however although our acceleration was vastly improved, we did not see much of an improvement in top speed, only gaining about 3 mph before hitting the 10,500 rpm rev limit. To make matters worse, our Ruckus is now always topped out on the rev limiter. Doubling our power has enabled our bike to zoom right on up to its top speed but once that speed is reached, the engine is screaming at 10,500 rpm continuously. This probably is not the best bet for long life!

Read the Series Here!

Honda Ruckus Kitaco gearset
The Kitaco final drive gears raise the gear ratio from 3.5:1 to 3.15:1.  While this gives more top speed, it also slows acceleration.

The engine badly needed to gear up to make the best use of its newfound power and to make the driving more flexible with more top speed and less stress under cruising conditions. We purchased a Kitaco high gear kit from Bowls which raised our gear ratio from the stock 3.50:1 to a higher 3.15:1. While we had the transmission apart we WPC treated the Kitaco gears and the stock intermediate gears to reduce their friction. (To read how WPC works, click here)  Since we are dealing with a low powered engine, we are trying to give it all the help possible.

Motul lubricants
We used Motul synthetic lubricants for all systems on Project Ruckus.

After assembly, we filled the gearbox with Motul 300V 75/90 synthetic gear oil to try to reduce friction even lower. Between the WPC and the oil, things are much freer and you can noticeably feel the difference in drag when spinning the rear wheel by hand or when rolling the Ruckus around. The WPC reduced the rolling resistance by about half and it was amazing that the difference could be so easily felt.

WPC Treated Hoinda Ruckus gears
The WPC treatment gives the gears a lustrous finish.  The smoothness greatly reduces friction and wear.

The gears helped reduce the engine's screaming greatly and the bike was becoming really fast, able to now exceed 58 mph on the flats and easily cruising at 50 mph without strain. Unfortunately this flexibility came at a loss in acceleration. Sure Project Ruckus was still much faster but we missed the quick hole shot acceleration of the stock gears. Worse yet, our clutch that had been slightly slipping was starting to get worse. It was time to do some more tuning of the drivetrain to get our acceleration back.

Kitaco honda ruckus gear install
Kitaco honda ruckus gear install
Honda Ruckus kitaco gear install
The difficult part of changing the gears on a Ruckus is knocking the pinion shaft out.  We used a socket the same size as the bearing ID and tapped it out using a hammer.  The new part installs like the old one.  Be careful to only contact the outer race of the bearing so you don't ruin it.  The new gears simply install as shown under the cover.  Grease the shafts with the supplied red colored lube that comes with the gears.


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