2016 - 2017 SSR Motorsports Rowdy 150
Since 2002, SSR Motorsports out of Norwalk, California, has been in the business of importing and distributing pit bikes , ATVs and other off-road vehicles. They have recently expanded to include Benelli street-centric sportbikes, scooters and mopeds, and have even dipped a toe into the green sector with a selection of electrically-assisted bicycles that shows an appreciation for environmental stewardship I find endearing, to say the least. The 2017 Rowdy 150 adds to the street-scooter lineup, and it is unlike any other scooter out there that I can immediately bring to mind, so without further ado, let’s take a look at this interesting little scoot.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Rowdy 150.
2016 - 2017 SSR Motorsports Rowdy 150
Top Speed:55 mph
When this ride was brought to my attention, my first thought was, “wow, what a mean-looking scoot!” I reckon if Rokon or Ural were to make a proper street scooter, this is very much what it would look like.
External frame rails accentuate the utilitarian panache, and the locations of said rails look like they will offer some protection for the delicate innards in a low-speed accident. The exoskeleton forms a double-downtube, double-cradle assembly, and instead of leaving the underframe to handle all the support duties alone, SSR added an external, yoke-shaped backbone that stiffens the scoot even more and forms a sort of crash guard that supports the headlight and front turn signals.
Though it lacks the full step-through adopted by many scooters, it does carry a relief forward of the seat that reduces mounting/dismounting effort — as long as you don’t try to ride it wearing skinny jeans. SSR makes up somewhat for the lack foot space offered by the classic step-through by mounting full-sized rider footboards certain to provide more comfort than would a simple footpeg.
Small, lockable storage compartments front and rear provide a 14.3-pound payload capacity, which is nice to know, but volume is a much more useful metric here, and I regret that the factory doesn’t provide that info.
A two-piece seat provides room for a passenger with grab rails in back for a sense of security, but it also has a secondary function for solo riders that I find particularly interesting. The entire P-pad pivots up to become a full-size rider backrest — not exactly in La-Z-Boy territory, but sufficient to make for a comfortable riding position.
The exoframe leaves little of the critical structure to the imagination, and in fact, inspires a measure of confidence with its rugged design. Though designed as a fairly street-oriented machine, I swear it looks like a set of knobbies is all it would take to turn this into a mini adventure bike of sorts. The flip-up, P-pad exposes the rear luggage rack with plenty of places to hook your bungee cords, or a bungee net, for light grocery-getting duties. No doubt, this is a utility scooter through and through.
Many scoots out there run juice front brakes with a mechanical drum in back. Not the Rowdy. Hydraulic disc brakes bind both 13-inch wheels for plenty of strong and reliable brakeage. Hydraulic front forks and a pair of coil-over rear shocks attend to the suspension duties, and the swingarm uses the drive until as a stressed member, similar to the ubiquitous swing-mount system used by scooters the world over.
The Rowdy comes with a centerstand that makes maintenance a breeze, sort of like a built-in bike lift, but it also sports a sidestand for quick and easy parking duty.
Seat height tops out at a mere 28.6 inches, a bit lower than the average scoot for easy ground access. The 57.3-inch wheelbase and 82-inch overall length is comparable to some of the full-sized motorcycles out there, so this is not a little ride, by any means. The steering stem passes through a structure that brings to mind the conn on a boat, complete with a locking binnacle (or glove box, for you farmers out there).
Power generation falls to the 149.6 cc, air-cooled, four-stroke thumper (single-cylinder) engine. A nearly bulletproof capacitor discharge (CDI) ignition fires the plugs, and a carburetor meters the air-fuel mixture — both low-tech but reliable systems, and easy to repair. The mill comes with push-button electric start, but bless SSR for throwing a kickstarter on there as well, a feature that I always consider to be a welcome addition on any small- to mid-sized engine.
The plant generates 8.31 horsepower at 7,500 rpm for a top speed of 55 mph, even though the analog speedometer goes up to an ambitious 70 mph, perhaps for situations where you enjoy a steep, downhill grade and stiff tailwind.
Fuel economy is just a trifle low for a 150 cc engine at 78 mpg, and of course that depends on rider weight, payload and a host of other factors. While the displacement legally qualifies it as highway capable, that 55 mph top speed would leave me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, so if your commute requires hops down the superslab this may not be the appropriate ride for you.
When it comes to the rest of the drivetrain, SSR gets a little ambiguous with the info. Usually, scooters run with a continuously-variable (CVT) transmission, but CVTs typically are dry units, and the maintenance schedule clearly indicates that there is a wet gearbox in back. In spite of my much-vaunted (in my own mind, at least) mechanical knowledge, I can’t quite suss out what kind of machinery they have handling the gear reduction, so I guess it’s kind of mysterious in that respect — you will have to buy it to find out what’s in it.
You can score yourself a Rowdy 150 for $2,549 — just a few bucks over last year’s MSRP — and it comes in a surprisingly broad palette of fetching colors to include glossy or matte black, silver, white, red and yellow. (Really, no orange?!) It comes with a one-year, limited factory warranty.
When I look at the rugged "Mad Max" style of the Rowdy, the Ruckus from Honda comes to mind. I’m not going with that, though, because the Ruckus has only a 50 cc engine. In trying to get something closer in cubes, I went instead with the PMZ150-19 out of the Maddog series from Ice Bear.
While the Rowdy’s visible skeleton mounts the various panels that enclose the body, the frame of the PMZ150 almost forms the totality of the entire ride. Everything is left exposed to the world, which certainly provides easy access for maintenance and repairs. Inasmuch as the Rowdy diverges from the typical scooter mold, the PMZ takes it a few steps further with its remarkably low, 23.6-inch seat height, and it is a blast flying down the street with your butt that close to the ground.
The PMZ doesn’t come with as much in the way of storage opportunities, but the flat step-through should enable you to carry a few groceries or a bookbag, at least. Same goes for the capacity to carry a passenger, the Rowdy is set up to take a friend with you, but the PMZ is clearly a one-butt bike.
Both rides run with a 150 cc, air-cooled mill, automatic transmission and front disc brakes, but the PMZ takes the typical route with a drum to bind the rear wheel. Given its light weight, this is certainly good enough. The 8.1 ponies from the PMZ is just a skosh under the Rowdy’s 8.3, but at 49.7 max mph, the PMZ is even less capable of highway travel. In fact, I would avoid all but city roads on either of them to be perfectly frank.
While SSR offers its Rowdy in more colors than most, Ice Bear takes it even further with a total of 11 colors — including orange — for a bit more in the way of vanity options. A point against the PMZ would have to be that the manufacturer states “some assembly required,” which carries me back to my childhood when those words, and “batteries not included” were the bane of my existence.
The Rowdy rolls for $2,549, a bit proud of the PMZ with its MSRP set at $1,995. I’ve got to say that the two-up seating and cargo capacity of the Rowdy is well worth that extra five bills plus change, but that’s me, and potential buyers will have to weigh that themselves.
“If Colonel Klink had ridden a scooter in Hogan’s Heroes, I imagine it would have looked a whole lot like the Rowdy. The thing just exudes pragmatism from every pore, and that is one scooter I wouldn’t be afraid to be seen on by my Harley-riding friends. Yeah, I would still be teased mercilessly, but less than if I rolled up on a Vespa. Forgive me if I am disinclined to actually test that theory. All joking aside, the Rowdy is a tough looking ride, and it provides an attractive alternative to the typical offerings from scooter manufacturers.”
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "One point I’ll disagree on is that the Ice Bear PMZ150 needing assembly is a downer. I assume that’s only if you don’t have a dealer nearby and I like the idea that they’ll ship it to me no matter where I am in the country. I think I’d rather assemble it myself — I am a mechanic, after all — than have to drive 200 miles to pick it up. That aside, I really like the Rowdy 150. I like the rugged, no nonsense style and I don’t think anyone would call you a sissy for riding a scooter if you rode the Rowdy. If you liked the look of the Ruckus, but wanted more than a 50 cc engine, the Rowdy is your ticket."
|Engine:||Four-Stroke, Single Cylinder, Air Cooled|
|Maximum Horsepower:||8.31 Horsepower at 7,500 rpm|
|Start Mode:||Electric Start / Kick Start|
|Brake, Rear :||Disc|
|Seat Height:||28.6 inches|
|Maximum Speed:||55 mph|
|Fuel Tank:||3.03 gallons|
|Fuel Economy:||78 mpg|
|Weight Capacity:||330 Pounds|
|Storage Capacity:||14.3 Pounds (Front Compartment- 3.3 Pounds, Rear Compartment- 11 Pounds)|
|2016:||Black, Matte Black, White, Red, Yellow|
|2017:||Black, Matte Black, Silver, White, Red, Yellow|
|Warranty:||12-Month Factory Limited Warranty Coverage|