mod recumbent Helix

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by fullmetalscooter, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Over at the yahoo helix group a one member post this helix he built 10 years ago and 40 000 ago.
    Here what he says about it.
    Modified Honda Helix Pictures

    Since several of you asked…

    The recumbent Helix (with the car seat in the middle) is my own design. I built it from scratch, with the exception of the base Helix of course.
    Most of the original Helix frame is still in there. I removed the top tube from the triangle frame element and extended the bottom tubes about 18". The new superstructure part of the frame, including the roll cage and bulkhead members, are made from EMT (Electrical Conduit) and bent with a hickey. The body is made of fiberglass and was laid up directly on the frame. The frame was covered withcard stock and packing tape, waxed, and the fiberglass laid on top. With the tape and card stock removed the body panels fit the frame perfectly and are held
    in place with screws. Areas with compound curves, like the front cowl had a thick layer of light weight filler added, were sanded to shape, and then anotherlayer of fiberglass was added for strength. It's similar to the moldless construction techniques that are sometimes used to make homebuilt aircraft.

    The radiator was moved to the back. It sits near the bottom of what used to bethe trunk on the right hand side. You can't see it in the pictures, but there is an air scoop on the right hand side which feeds a duct back and through the radiator. It cools fine, even without the additional cooling area offered by the long metal pipes to the front of the scooter. The original fuel tank is in the back, turned sideways, under the trunk lid. The fuel pump, fuel filter, evap canister are all under the fuel tank in the back. The battery and ECM are just ahead of the fuel tank.

    The handlebars are from a standard bicycle, which fits the original helix
    controls just fine. They are mostly straight but bend down and back to clear the windshield pillars on sharp turns. They turn on standard bicycle steer tube bearings and drive a short lever with a push rod and ball joints to the front fork. It's a simple system and works flawlessly, with no slop.
    Yes, all the wiring, break lines, throttle cables, etc. had to be extended. I
    had new throttle cables and break lines made to my specifications. The
    electrical wiring was much easier as I was able to splice in additional wire as needed. Everything that was there on the original Helix is still there and working. I also added a Cyclops break light behind the head rest.

    The front wheel fender well is from the original Helix, with the plastic disk
    that attempts to block the airflow up through the forks but still allows them to turn. I just mated it with the fiberglass body panels and glued it together with Goop. It has held up fine all these many years.

    It has lots of room for cargo. A brief case fits behind the seat, and it will
    carry several bags of groceries in the space over the engine under the tonneau cover in the back (where the original seat used to be. The engine and drive train are fully isolated from the cargo space in the back. It is reasonably finished inside the back with a "carpet kit". There is no provision for passengers and it would be insanely stupid to try and sit back there. The front is wide open behind the cowl, with the original Helix instrument cluster fitting nicely in the "dash". The foot area is finished with rubber mat
    and the original foot break is still where it always was, which conveniently is
    right where it needs to be. The rear break cable has to "stretch" to
    accommodate the movement of the rear drive section, so it zig-zags in the
    fiberglass tray under the frame. That way it can straighten to become longer without pulling the rear break.

    The ride and performance are very much standard Helix. The lower seating position offers a different perspective, but it is very comfortable once you get used to it. It's not really any more aerodynamic than the original Helix. I left the top open because it reached a certain practical state of completion and I was happy with it. The sides have to be open to put your feet down to stop. I thought about fully enclosing it, but that would require some sort ofretractable landing gear (think training wheels) and that would have been a much more complex project. It would be nice at times to have a sun shade, but it
    would take a lot more work to make at an all whether vehicle. I don't consider
    motorcycles to be all weather vehicles to begin with. Others may disagree, and
    they have my respect. It doesn't have windshield wipers or a defroster. WhenI have been caught in the rain the water just blows over, as long as you keepmoving, but two wheels on slick roads don't appeal to me.
    Like any Helix, it will do 75 on the flat at full throttle, but that's pretty
    hard on it. It's much happier at 65 or below (with the standard Helix buzz) but you already know all that.
    I suspect it is safer than a standard motorcycle, given that it has a full roll
    cage and a seat belt. It has never been in a "real accident" and I don't even want to think about what it would be like to go down at speed. I have dropped it a couple of times, but always at super slow speeds. The center of gravity is so low that it doesn't even fall all the way over. It's really embarrassing, but you just pick it up and drive away.
    You might assume that with all that side area it would have a problem with cross winds. It does get pushed around more than other heavier bikes I have seen, but I have learned to trust it. When hit by a gust it just lays over into the wind and keeps going straight. It's like the wheels move over but your eyes don't move much.

    Looking though the windshield at the setting sun is not nice. The windshield is polycarbonate, not glass, so it's not as perfectly clear as I would like. Hence the tinted band across the top of the windshield.
    At about 37K miles it's been a fine commuter for many years now. Its getting a little worn, even if the engine and transmission are new. I've had my share of mechanical difficulties, probably not related to the conversion. The ECM became intermittent, the rear drive belt broke and locked up the rear wheel once. I have replaced the rear drive belt and roller weights lots of times now. Mufflers don't last very long at all. Tires and front break pads don't last long
    either. At least the new engine has the bracket to keep the carburetor from falling off. I even blew out the main bearing for the final reduction drive. It spits oil, even the new engine. I swear it sweats out through the pores of the castings or comes from God knows where. I just got the new engine running right, but that was just a combination of a clogged idle jet and the mixturecontrol being bumped when I installed the engine (my fault). I'm not blaming, but no sane person would put up with this level of reliability. It probably has mostly to do with riding at full throttle for 20 minutes at a stretch. I fee safer in the fast/commuter lane where I have the shoulder as a bail out zone. If you want to ride there you have to keep up, and around here that means 75 MPH minimum, otherwise they run you over.

    If I end up moving out of state I will probably have to try and sell it, but not right now. If I do I will give you guys first shot. It's been a great ride (soto speak) but all good things must end…
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  2. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    That is a really cool and unique machine! It looks like a scooter with a bit of car mixed in, but not much. The guy sounds like he wants to sell it soon because of reliability problems though.
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  3. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Whom know if he wants to sell it soon or not but with a new cfmoto engine under a grand I can see it being worth fixing. I ve even seen someone put an elite 250 engine in a helix. He had to make shock mounts but it works. More then like his oil seals are shot . He also could have a bad oil line at the head or a leaking valve cover gasket.
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  4. JerseyBiker

    JerseyBiker Living the life! Supporter

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    It is a very interesting vehicle but it seems like he went to a lot of trouble and expense for not much difference in the end product.

    That said - it's always great to see projects like this and what skills others have and apply to scoots.

    Thanks for sharing.
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  5. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    I agree. It is damn cool looking though. But I would wander about safety. I mean usually isn't better to be off the bike instead of on it in a crash involving cars? If you get hit you will usually fly off and be away from the car if you are lucky. But in this, you are kind of trapped in it and have a seatbelt that will hold you in, so if you crash you might get smashed by the car. In a car it is better to stay in it, but they are designed to take high impact levels from the front and rear. Usually the front and rear kind of "crunch" in, and the airbags go off, and usually you are safe. But with that thing, you will be crushed, that thing could not tale the impact of a 5,000 pound SUV. So I am unsure of how safe you might be in that thing.
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  6. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    I agree about safety because the roll cage is made of crap metal that you use to run eletrical wires. if it was a real roll cage I would say different. As to the other there is the added weather protection. Plus it would be something that people notice more due to how strange it is. I would guess more gas mileage from slip streaming if it was done all the way like crag vetters slip streamed helix. It look more comfortable but each to his own.
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  7. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    As you guys said, this is Scary!! :huh

    I think someone tried to bluff their way, thru NASCAR tech, with part of the roll cage built this way. They were promptly banned, for Life, from NASCAR competition.
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  8. windburn

    windburn Long timer

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    I like that a person has a dream and take it to completion. He's done a fine job of creating plans that moved to results. This Project represents the mind working. We say that People are good with their hands but in truth they are good with their mind. Craftsman are really very intelligent, diligent thinkers and doers. My hats off. :clap
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  9. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    I do agree, I love creative and different things. I give a lot of credit to this, but its just to dangerous with that type of roll cage and a seatbelt to hold you in when it crunches and breaks apart. It would be OK in a spill, but in a multi vehicle high speed crash, your really screwed!

    But I do love to see people make their idea real, instead of just talking about them! It is WAY harder than it looks to make something even like this!
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  10. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    the guys say he did the roll cage this way because of not have a a high end bender but i do agree isn't not easy to get the skills to pull this off. Just lining up where you cut and add to the helix is a real task. It has to be level and straight and that not easy to do at home.
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  11. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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  12. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Can you give the link for that photo? It looks like it is having the same issue as mine was.
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  13. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    neat helix with sidecar build as one. wonder about how they re getting the thing set up right?[​IMG]
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  14. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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