Maxi Scooter: 1986 Honda Helix

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

There’s an emerging appreciation for scooters and other two-wheeled contraptions conceived in the 1980s, namely because their space-age design has come into retro-style. This 1986 Honda Helix is a rarely seen “maxi scooter”, a name designated to those baby cycles that can actually keep up with traffic and store some personal belongings without requiring saddlebags. This example here on eBay was recently donated, and bidding is quite active at the moment. 

The wrap-around rear tail light, single front headlight and angular design makes this Helix seem like a logical addition to the set of a Robocop recreation. The seller is an eBay vendor that specializes in donated vehicles, vessels and obviously motorcycles, and has shared a video of the Helix ripping up and down the service drive. It may be a scooter, but the Helix was a groundbreaking creation because it was so much more than a normal scooter – it was a daily driver!

Back to those space-age 80s features: check out the digital dash, which shows you where Honda got its inspiration for the cluster found in the S2000 sports coupe. According to MotorScooterGuide.net, the Helix came with a “…2-valve 4-stroke engine that used liquid cooling to keep the temperatures steady on all day high speed rides. This motor offered exceptional reliability and even today in its old age is still often a strong performer.” Given the overall decent condition, it makes you wonder why the previous owner donated it.

Check out that view: why would you ever buy some Italian joke of a “fashion” scooter when you can ride something like this, which even has the ability to store an overnight bag and get out of its own way? My uncle has one of these sleeping in the back of his shop and I’d like to convince him to wake it up and sell it to me, as these 80s machines are coming back into style and would make a wicked piece of driveway art (when it’s not being driven, of course). This is a no-reserve auction and will be interesting to see where the final price ends up, just over a day from now.

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Comments

  1. doug6423

    To the Barn Find Executives: When are the thumb down coming back?? You said it was a server issue or something… Or was that B.S……

    11+

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

      Don’t believe it is a BS issue – something we’re still evaluating. What seems to be the problem, Doug? I realize the Helix isn’t for everyone, but this is the ultimate paddock cruiser if you ask me.

      7+

      • doug6423

        LOL, I have no problem with the scooter, I wasn’t sure the best way to reach out to someone on this and there isn’t a side forum to post on. The last post I read awhile ago, and I don’t read them all so I may have missed an update, but that it was some kind of server issue and both thumbs disappeared. One has returned and the other still hasn’t. It’s what made this site unique! Enlighten us on what is being evaluated, if you would.

        5+

  2. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

    Thumbs up, Jeff! This thing is interesting, unusual, cheap, can more than keep up with traffic, not to mention being over 30 years old; older than a good percentage of Barn Finds readers. Thank heavens there are finds like this in-between the dusty muscle cars and pickups. Can’t we all agree that we don’t all like the same things without being negative about it? Good grief.

    17+

  3. MikeG

    I always had a fondness for these. Like a Barcalounger on wheels. Back then I had a Passport which Honda had made for years, my friend and I shared it and kept painting it different colors to stay ahead of the campus cops.

    1+

  4. ron cox

    scoots are great i last rode one in the late sixties but recently got a fjs600 silverwing its brilliant

    3+

  5. Barry

    Beware buyers there are direct copies of the helix and they are made in China. Quality is not the best even though the rumor mill has it that Honda had some backing of one of the manufacturers not all helix’s coming out of china are the Honda approved ones.

    1+

  6. Alex B

    It reminds me a bit of a Sinclair C5

    1+

  7. LAB3

    The ad states it was donated to a national charity, makes sense since you’d get a tax write-off for doing so. My bet is it’ll sell in the high teens, wonder if the buyer gets a write-off too?

    0

  8. Rich S

    They actually sold the Helix with minor changes off and on till 2007 in
    the US. Being freeway legal is a advantage, love to have it as a backup commuter.

    0

  9. Marshall

    1946 miles is low even by scooter standards for a 31-year-old vehicle!
    I never had a Helix, but I had two 1986 Honda Elite 150s and a 1985 Honda Elite 250. I used them to deliver papers. I put 5800 miles on my first 150, About 2000 miles on my 250, and 9000 miles on my second 150. The 250 was in scrappy condition when I got it and therefore did not last that long, so I junked it. I later found out that the junkman got it running again. Hooray for him!

    0

  10. Peter

    Nice find!

    These have Continuously Variable Transmission or “CVT,” correct? IOW, a “snowmobile transmission,” consisting of a primary and secondary pulley, with a drive belt in between? And the inner diameter of the (secondary?) pulley expands, as the RPM increases, in effect “gearing it up” without actually shifting between conventional gears?

    Please confirm or correct, as necessary.

    Thanks,

    Peter

    0

  11. Dave Wright

    Did they make a bigger version of this? I think Marty Ingals used to ride one around Beverly Hills with Shirley Jones.

    0

  12. notpurple

    I owned a helix. LOVED IT! named it Sandy. Sandy’s heart gave out with only about 10,000 miles on it. i was thinking i would keep it for life, but Sandy’s heart just wasnt in it. i was devastated. AND YES I DID MAKE SURE THE OIL WAS CHANGED, topped off… well maintained. so much for those claims of honda’s lasting forever.

    0

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