How could we ever forget the Honda Helix, the granddaddy of maxi-scooters? Blinded by the beauty, one man couldn’t help snapping a few pictures
There it was—in all its glory—parked near the doors of a Canadian Tire store in Calgary’s Dalhousie neighbourhood. The owner of the oddity was nowhere in sight so I did what anyone would do given the circumstances. I yanked the cellphone from my pocket and blazed away with its crappy built-in camera.
So, what was this thing anyway? Being someone who salutes individualism I felt immediately drawn to this rat-scooter of (to me) unknown pedigree.
“It’s a Honda Helix!” proclaimed CB Publisher John Molony when he got a load of my dull, grey, low-res images.
Thus my mind was opened to new doors of knowledge and perception.
A quick check of Helix web boards uncovered reams of testimonials as to why the 244cc single-cylinder liquid cooled Helix was, arguably, Honda’s all-time most beloved scooter.
Says Stephen Loflin: That engine will last forever; just keep the oil changed.
Says Rico 12383: This is the Goldwing of the scooters
Says Woodstock Paul: I have a ‘93 Helix. I just love the thing. I ride it to work, to the grocery store, wherever. It is easy to maintain, cheap to own, comfortable, reliable, and a blast to ride.
Says Rip Mehu Janne: It’s best because it’s ugly and no one will steal it.
Ouch, that’s a touch harsh Mehu Janne, but you’re entitled to your opinion of course.
Introduced in the 1980s, the Helix enjoyed a 20-year run as part of a line of scooters known as the CH series, which was offered in five different platforms ranging from 80 to 250cc models and carrying a variety of names including Helix here in North America.
Lauded for its long-range touring capacity, highway speed capability, and generous cargo holds the Helix was further outfitted with automatic CV transmission, disc front brakes, trailing link fork and low seat height. Making it especially memorable is the Helix’s status as the first of the maxi-scooter breed to land on this side of the Pacific.
The Helix saw very few OEM changes during its two-decade production span but like today’s Ruckus and Grom many owners embraced the base model as an opportunity for self-expression and there are literally fleets of highly customized versions out there.
Gold Wing Inspiration?
The Honda Helix custom I stumbled across in Calgary is a case in point: the owner has a decidedly playful attitude about his Helix (assuming the owner is a ‘he’) and the custom cursive scroll on the tail section echoes Rico 12383’s comment: “I wanna be a Gold Wing when I grow up.” This sense of whimsy continues from nose to tail with a flourishing of airbrushed graphics and liberal doses of steel checkerplate. We think the Termigani exhaust and ATV topcase are nice touches and who travels anywhere these days without a mascot for company and sheepskin for comfort?
It’s a pity the owner never surfaced while I was snapping these cell pics. I might have had a question or two.
• John Campbell Canadian Biker #345