Helix

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The Honda CN250 was introduced by Honda in 1986. It was marketed as the Helix and in other parts of the world as the Fusion or Spazio. It was so successful that, with minor modifications, it was still in production as late as 2004.


Contents

Background

In the early 1980s, Honda hit the market with a line of scooters known as the CH series, comprising the CH50, 80, 125 and 150 models. In the U.S., these were known as "Elite" scooters but overseas they were marketed under the "Spacy" name. While they were useful as "scooters", generally their performance and comfort levels limited them to short trips. However, when the CH250 was introduced it could reach highway speeds and be used for long-range touring. This new use of scooters (that is, the CH250) was mainly confined to the United States. Even with the Elite 250 writing a new definition of the word scooter, it still suffered from the limitations of all scooters: limited storage capacity, short wheelbase, small size and not comfortable enough for extended riding periods.

Honda's response was the CN250 or Helix. Honda had lengthened the CH250 by 14 inches, placed an integrated trunk in the rear of the machine and lowered the seat. The added length allowed what many have referred to as a "Barcalounger" seating position and a smoother ride than that of previous models. The top speed of the machine was limited to 70-75 MPH (about 113-121 km/h) but the drivetrain was of an understressed design allowing extended running at or near top speed.


History

The Fusion CN250 found instant popularity in Japan. In Europe, the Japanese put Italian makers under pressure to improve their scooters' capabilities and reliability. In the U.S., though not elsewhere, the Helix was a hit with middle-aged and older people. People who no longer wished to or were unable to shift or hold up a large conventional motorcycle yet wanted long-range touring capabilities bought the Helix. The CN250 was a deceptively capable machine complete with trip odometer, fuel and temperature gauges, glove compartment and trunk. The understressed 250 cc liquid- cooled single cylinder engine could take the machine on 1000 mile tours with no problems. There are many stories of extended touring with the Helix with the only concern being the limited rear tire life of around 5000 miles, a consequence of small-diameter (10 inch / 25.4 cm) wheels.

The Helix was in its last year in 2001 and was to be replaced by the NSS250. The NSS250 was marketed in the U.S. as the Reflex and in other countries as the Forza. The Reflex handled better and had a higher top speed than the Helix, but there were some arguments that there was a tradeoff in seating comfort and ride. In the Japanese market the Helix (Fusion) had an aftermarket and cult following with the younger generation, not unlike sportbikes America. Seeing that the customer base was still there, the CN250 (Helix) made a return to all markets in 2004. In the U.S. the Helix sold next to the Reflex and at a similar price.

Trivia

Honda made very few changes to the Helix through its 20 year run. Aluminum rims replaced steel wheels in the early 90s and there were a few emission controls added to the engine. Beyond those changes, the machine stayed the same right down to its 80s style, multi-coloured digital gauges. In the U.S., human-touring modifications are available. Increasing appeal to the older customers, third party accessories such as sidecars and tricycle kits are also available.

General Information

Manufacturer Honda Model Helix™ (CN250) Engine Liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke Displacement 244 cc Bore x Stroke n/a Carburetion 30.0 mm CV with automatic choke Compression Ratio n/a Ignition CDI Transmission Automatic V-Matic Suspension Front: Bottom link; 3.2 in. travel Rear: Swingarm with dual hydraulic shocks; 3.9 in. travel Brakes Front: Single Disc Rear: Drum Tires Front: 110/100-12 Rear: 120/90-10 Dry Weight 349.4 lbs. Seat Height 26.2 in. Wheelbase 63.8 in. Fuel Capacity 3.2 gal. Colors Black, Pearl White, Red, Yellow

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