The Truth about Helix Clones

Brands, pricing, parts, reviews etcetera

The Truth about Helix Clones

Postby ACD » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:53 am

You've all seen them. Helix Clones. What are these all about? Are they any good? Well I'll report the facts and you decide.

As for the "makers" you have CF-Moto, Baron, Bandit, and Moto Cooper. They are called the Fashion, the LX250-Z, and the Sedona.

They are all powered by CF-Moto drivetrains. Many are built soley by CF-Moto and are rebadged. Like any machine there can be lemons and god knows you have read the stories. The trick to Chinese machines is buying from a reputable dealer who has a good track record of customer support and an extensive parts inventory. The good news is that the majority of the Clones parts are interchangeable with Honda. Some manufacturers take the time to inspect the scoots before shipping. Others simply drop ship from a warehouse accross the country and never set eyes on the bike they send you. The dealers are learning and they are all getting better. In the past it was not uncommon to get your scooter and immediately set about rebuilding it. Wires disconnected, clamps undone, bolts loose, tires that went flat in 10 min. Batteries that couldn't hold a charge etc. You figured on $200 in parts to make the machine right and several hours worth of work. They are much better now. Are they Honda's?? No not quite. Are they Worth the $2100 to $3000 delivered to your doorstep? Compared to the $5000 Honda new absolutley. Am I going to pass up the 500 mile 2005 Helix for $3500 and buy the Clone.. No. But these clones are a good value for someone who is the least bit mechanical and wants to save some money all while experiencing the joy a new machine can bring. Saving them $2-$3000 in the process. Performance wise they are the same as the Honda. Comfort too. Most aftermarket accessories fit as well. Recently Jim from Bandit Motorsports joined our forum over at ScootDawg.com Here is a reply he sent me about the Helix CLone.

Aaron,

I've sold about 35-40 of the LX-250's since the first of the year... not my most popular model by a long shot. Still, there are people who prefer the larger, utility style of the scooter. My model is built by Taizhou Zhongneng just like all of my scooter models... but the engine is a genuine CF Moto power plant marked as CF172MM. Sometimes they still have the CF Moto QC tags them as well...

Because of the overall weight, wheelbase and lower center of gravity, this model has the most 'Cadillac' style of ride of any of my models. I've had customers come into my shop bent on buying a UC-250, test ride one... say that the LX-250 looks like an over sized bread box, test ride one, and then buy it. I got alot of guys who've done this actually...

Longevity and reliability... I'm not sure. I've only got that number sold in less than a year. I've got only one customer that I know of that has more than 8k k/m's. In taking a few moments to try and think of things that stuck in memory as problem parts or assemblies, none really come to mind. The front brakes squeak sometimes when the customer first starts to ride but that's just cosmoline that is washed off with brake parts cleaner.

There's strong concern from customers when they think the scooter is overheating because the digital gauge indicates in the yellow or even the red sometimes... so we get lots of calls about that. But in all cases, the radiator is right up front, the system is full of coolant (water) and the fan does come on when it's needed. Our shop Demo actually indicated in the Yellow during the hotter days of summer so we got a laser thermometer, rode the LX-250 until it got hot, then 'shot' the engine crankcase, the hot radiator tube and the radiator - none of which indicated higher than 160 degs... so it has to be the gauge is indicating high for whatever reason...

The scooters seem to be doing very well really. There have been concerns from customers that have 'oil leaks'.. which are, of course, the crankcase vent tubes accumulating too much oil after overfilling the crankcases (they've sent us pics). And the speedo's are factory original in KPH... but we've just rec'd the replacements in MPH so we've got that covered as well.

We recommend that all LX-250 customers get a copy of the Honda CN-250 manual (04-06) and use that for servicing... and they can even get a copy of the Owners Guide if they want. Most components on the LX-250 are direct replacement by Honda parts... the CF Moto drive train is about the most unique assembly on the LX-250.

So overall, all of units out there are still going...
Jim J...
Bandit MotorSports
www.bandit-motorsports.com

Jim has been a welcome contributor to our forum and I asked him to join here. He is honest in his replies and does not selflessly try for free promotion.

The CF Moto Brand is also one of the better quality clones. Their new V3 and V5 automatic motorcycles are a huge hit and the quality is great. Good fit and finish, nice switchgear etc.

So if you are considering a clone do your homework. Visit the various forums and ask questions. There will be China Haters everywhere. Weed through the hatemail and see what actual owners have to say. Call the dealers several times and get a feel for them. Ask them some tough questions and see how they do. Also try E-mailing them and see if you get a response. You can tell alot about an internet company by how well it responds to customers.

One final note not all machines are CARB certified. Before handing over any money make sure you will be able to register the machine in your state. Most states it's no problem. Some are picky. With a mail order machine you get a bill of sale and a MCO or Manufacturers cetificate of origin. These must be filled out correctly to get a title issued by your state. If the dealer says 50 state legal make sure they guarantee it!!

Hope this may serve to help some one!

Aaron Dinsmore
Moderator www.scootdawg.com forum
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Postby soyjim » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:00 pm

I have one of these Bandit 250 LX scooters. Thought the members of this board might be interested in an update. I believe that my scooter was one of the last LX's sold. I bought it at the beginning of 2007. after that bandit stopped selling this scooter over the internet. bandit may have continued selling some lxs out of there store in Oregon. at that time Jim at bandit couldn't beat the price and warranty of the cf moto clone so that's what he was selling. bandit still sells a complete line of helix clone parts. FYI I think his drive belt was around $15.

I had the over heating problem mentioned in this post, but it went away when I put the new mph display panel on the bike. This is quite a job cause you have to take off a lot of panels to do the job. I had intended to fix the fuel gauge at the same time I had access to the wiring harness, but turned out replacing the panel fixed the fuel gauge and the over heating problem. Bandit had identified a way to fix the fuel gauge by grounding the gauge circuit at the fuel tank. I noticed that the 15 pin connector that connects the display panel to helix design's main wiring harness had a green wire moved to a different slot on the new display panel. Green is usually a ground wire (even with Chinese wiring.) I am speculating that this ground is what fixed the fuel and temp gauges.

My lx has 2500 plus miles on it with little problem. It does have an occasional starting problem where it clicks when I try to start it. up to now fiddling with the switches has enabled the bike to restart and the problem never lasts long enough for me to figure out where the problem is. (currently I think there must be a problematic connection in the starter circuit. any input on how I could run down this problem would be appreciated.

I think my scooter ran better when I first got it. Currently I think my scooter is louder than it was. My level ground top speed is 63-65 mph. Mpg has dropped to last tank 57 from 63-68.

That's the truth about my Helix clone. I think the 86 design is still holding up well.
Bandit 250 LX, Helix clone
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Postby creighta » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:33 am

I now own 2 clones, both 2008 models. My Summit clone suffered from overheating and had to have a new water pump. Bought the pump from CF MOTO and when it came in the bag had the Honda logo on it under the MOTO sticker. The Summit runs great, but has lots of plastic that should have been metal and just feels a little cheaper. It still has 2800 miles this year.

My CF MOTO has 4200mi on it now. It has had no problems at all, and the Honda dealer that recently serviced it commented on the fact that it was identical to the helix (they had heard otherwise). I would definitely buy another MOTO, but the 2009 models with the speakers in the dash don't seem to have as good a plastic fit as my 2008 does.

FYI-when working on these bikes the cheaper Summit follows pre 1993 helix specs and the CF MOTO is post 1993 specs.

An added bonus to the CF MOTO is that the seat has an extra layer of foam so it is much more comfortable than the Helix....If you have a Helix it would be worth ordering a CF MOTO seat to put on it.
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Postby Cruiser » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:07 am

Where does one shop for CF MOTO parts etc.?
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Postby bigphillip79 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:43 am

I just checked their website. You can order directly from a dealer, they have a dealer search option. Then there is always ebay.

Just looked a the seat. It does look more plush.
Ain't you big for a scooter?
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Postby Don Leonardo » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:49 am

Just rode with a Fashion yesterday. When put side by side next to my Helix it looks 99% similar. First thing that popped out was the difference in the front grill.

We have a dealer here on the island that has been selling the knockoffs. They have been around for 3 years but I really haven't heard much. I'm waiting to see if people have problems with them servicing these things.

I need new body panels. You think the knockoff's would fit?? Are their panels as thick??
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Postby Cruiser » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:09 am

I recently put a set of Chinese upper body panels on my 87 Helix. I did have some issues with accuracy of the locations of fastener locations. I had to fudge here and there. Othere then that to finished fit is good.
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Postby azjoe » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:24 pm

Typical CHINA JUNK !! All of them!!
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Postby Cincycaddy » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:06 pm

I will agree, after checking out a CF Moto Fashion while they "look" the same, the fit, finish and feel of the materials leaves A LOT to be desired. Now maybe if these came out of a reputable Taiwan company we might have something, but as is, it is Chinese quality as usual. Dunno why you would buy one of these New when you can buy a much better Helix used.
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Postby ecogenie » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:10 am

Cruiser wrote:I recently put a set of Chinese upper body panels on my 87 Helix. I did have some issues with accuracy of the locations of fastener locations. I had to fudge here and there. Othere then that to finished fit is good.


Where did you buy them and how is the quality of the panels? Are they as the ones that came on the Helix or not? Is the paint okay on them? Don't want to throw away hard to get money on junk. Thanks :?
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Postby whitefusion » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:19 pm

ecogenie wrote:
Cruiser wrote:I recently put a set of Chinese upper body panels on my 87 Helix. I did have some issues with accuracy of the locations of fastener locations. I had to fudge here and there. Othere then that to finished fit is good.


Where did you buy them and how is the quality of the panels? Are they as the ones that came on the Helix or not? Is the paint okay on them? Don't want to throw away hard to get money on junk. Thanks :?


I was looking at these panels a while back, in the end I bought a spares bike and used the panels from that. I asked the same questions in a thread on the main board, do a search on there and you should have your answers :)
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Postby Cruiser » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:31 pm

ecogenie wrote:
Cruiser wrote:I recently put a set of Chinese upper body panels on my 87 Helix. I did have some issues with accuracy of the locations of fastener locations. I had to fudge here and there. Othere then that to finished fit is good.


Where did you buy them and how is the quality of the panels? Are they as the ones that came on the Helix or not? Is the paint okay on them? Don't want to throw away hard to get money on junk. Thanks :?

They are the same panels you would find on a Helix clone. They are inferior to OEM stock. I did have some fitting problems. I got them from a supplier on ebay. The helix did look nice afterwards.Image
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