Last year I bought an ‘87 Honda Helix, with plans to run it in the Gambler 500 Illinois. While it ran and rode the day I bought it, after it sat for a couple months it would not start. When I switched the ignition on, gas was getting pushed right out of the carb and onto the ground. Well, parts being cheap, we commenced doing the exact wrong thing and started throwing parts at it. A coil, plug, fuel pump, carb rebuild, and new carb later it would start right up, but it ran like fried hell.
Time ran out for the Gambler, and I ran my Yamaha Zuma 125 instead.
Then the Helix sat for a while longer. At a poker game, a friend convinced me to bring it over to his place, and he would work on it over the winter and get it good to go. Well, long story short, I brought it back home in June an amount of money poorer, with a bike zero percent improved. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
At this point, I had three options: play mechanic and see if I could fix it myself, part it out, or sell it as-is.
I was tempted to play mechanic. Maybe it only needed a new timing chain, and a timing set is only like $22. But maybe it needed a new top end, which is $200. And if the bottom end was junk? Well, I’d really be screwed then. What it really came down to though, if I did fix it and build it the way I had initially envisioned, I’d really be married to that scooter. The big rub with that, is while most people find the Helix incredibly comfortable. I had rode my buddy’s for a while on the Gambler, and I absolutely hated it.
Parting it all out would net me the most money, maybe even allow me to turn a small profit. But the Helix takes up a surprisingly big amount of garage space, and it would likely take years to sell all the parts.
I tried to sell it as-is, and listed it at a firm $500. I’d be taking a big loss at that price, but it would be out of my life. I got offers from an insulting $100, to a frankly very reasonable $400. I just couldn’t bring myself to take THAT big of a hit.
I then got a FB message that proved to be the Goldilocks solution. The potential buyer wanted the engine, cooling system, wiring harness, and final drive to build a custom Helix powered Honda Ruckus. With some negotiating, we settled on me stripping the Helix down to a running rolling chassis, keeping the parts I pulled to sell, and he’d pay $300 for the rest.
So, that’s what I did. Yesterday he drove to Chicago from Detroit and dragged this damn thing out of my life.
I cleaned out my garage enough that I have all the parts squirreled away, photographed and organized. Over time, I will recover the majority of what I had sunk into that infernal piece of shit.
I learned a lot of lessons on this deal. From being more careful at initial purchase, to properly diagnosing problems instead of throwing parts at things, to which of my friends are really my friends. These are valuable lessons, which I paid a not insignificant to me sum of money for. Although I learned them at a lot cheaper price than somebody who say sunk their entire 401k into a rusty Chevelle for nothing, so I got that going for me.
It makes me happy to open the garage, and not see that monument to my failure sitting there.