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Today in Motorcycle History

Helkama Motorcycles

Helkama Oy built a series of mopeds from the 1960s to the 1990s using the brand names Hopeasauma, Hopeapääsky, Hopeasiipi, Sisu, Vasama and Helkama.

The best known Helkama was a 49cc trials machine named the Helkama Raisu, powered by Minarelli. This was replaced in the late 1980s by the AX model.

Well known for their bicycles, the firm is quite large and has constructed shipping cables, refrigerators and other household appliances, and also imports and distributes automobile parts and accessories.

Helkama Models:

  • Raisu MM-78 - Minarelli engine and Marzocchi suspension
  • Raisu MM-79 - Minarelli engine and Paioli suspension
  • Raisu MM-79 - Minarelli P4SF engine
  • Raisu 1981-86 - Minarelli P4E engine. The MM designation was dropped, and the model was known simply as the Helkama Raisu. It was very popular.
  • Raisu CR 1984-86 - Minarelli P4R engine
  • Raisu 1986-88 - Plastic guards and rectangular headlight introduced.
  • Helkama AX 1989-1993 - Watercooled Minarelli RV4 engine, Acerbis plastics, Grimeca brakes. 2,300 produced.
  • Sources: Wikipedia Finland, et al


    Vasama was another marque built by Helkama Oy. In 1961 there were 50cc and 75cc models. The 50cc machine had a high exhaust and a Demm engine.

    In his youth, World Motorcycle Trials Champion and ISDT winner Yrjo Vesterinen rode a 1967 50cc Vasama trials machine.


    Manufactured by Helkama Oy, these were powered by Zweirad Union EM50 engines which were also exported to Finland and sold under the name Sisu. The mopeds appear to have been available only in the years 1960 and 1961.

    It is unclear whether there was any relationship with the Finnish firm Suomen Autoteollisuus Oy, builder of Sisu trucks and other heavy equipment since the 1930s, but it seems unlikely. Apparently the word "sisu" has a special meaning in Finnish. It translates directly as "go", and its synonyms are "vigour, enthusiasm, courage, vitality".

    Sources: OTTW, mop-ed.se.

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