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2011 Honda PCX 125 Scooter First Ride

Friday, July 9, 2010
2011 Honda PCX 125
Functional, reliable, fun and stylish. All things we expect from a Honda, the PCX 125 doesn't dissapoint.
Honda's iScooter?

I will admit that I was one of those schlumpy-looking geeks lined up outside the local Apple store a couple of weeks ago in the pre-dawn chill, comparing apps with the other geeks as we waited for our new iPhones. I've had an iPhone for a couple of years now, and while it's not perfect, (hey, who would think a consumer would actually hold a phone while he's talking on it?) there's something very right about Apple's products, as if the company actually thinks about how its devices will be used. What a concept, right? That seems to be a core element of Apple's success, along with brilliant marketing, skillful use of component sourcing and inexpensive labor to provide nicely finished, high-quality products to market for affordable (if not exactly bargain) pricing.
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2011 Honda PCX Scooter First Ride Video
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Motorcycle USA samples the new Honda PCX scooter and chats with Honda reps about the new ride in our 2011 Honda PCX Scooter First Ride Video.

For cell-phone and consumer-electronics fans, these might be mind-blowing concepts, but for those of us accustomed to two-wheeled travel, it's old news. Honda Motors has been using a very similar formula for most of the last century: bring a well-engineered, utilitarian product to market at a decent price, add a dash of clever marketing, and watch the Yen roll in. In 2009, Honda sold 14 million two-wheeled motor vehicles worldwide. Consumers have been clamoring for Honda scooters before Steve Jobs was out of diapers.

So this review of the 2011 PCX scooter won't be too surprising to those of you familiar with Honda's products: it's predictably well-engineered, carefully marketed and pleasing to ride. But it still reflects the dynamic nature of the Japanese company.

2011 Honda PCX 125
Honda unveiled the PCX 125cc scooter a couple months back, but rather than the standard few year wait before we recieve it in the USA it will be in dealerships soon.
We told you about the new scooter a couple of months ago when Honda announced a worldwide launch of the new product. That's a little remarkable: Honda develops smaller models like scooters for other markets and then brings them to the USA a year or three later. Not this time; the PCX is set for an international launch, with only a few small differences between what US buyers will get from their counterparts in India, China and elsewhere.

The PCX fits into what may be the sweet spot for a global scootering product. At 125cc, it fits right in between the smaller entry-level models and the bigger freeway-legal commuters. It's not too fast, not too slow, not too small and not so big that it will discourage newbies. In fact, Honda expects 60% of PCX owners will be first-time buyers. It's a range with the most sales potential - a nod to a slowing economy and even more sluggish bike-sales numbers, I'll bet - as well as offering fun and frugality to the consumer.
2011 Honda PCX 1252011 Honda PCX 125
The 2011 PCX offers the standard front disc and drum rear but with a Honda twist for added safety,

What's interesting is the technology included in the PCX's $3399 MSRP. That 125cc motor is a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single overhead cam design with an 11.0:1 compression ratio. Honda's V-Matic automatic transmission gets power to the rear wheel. The frame is steel tubing with a unit-construction swingarm and the wheelbase is a lengthy 51.4 inches. Wheels are 14-inchers with skinny bias-ply tires, a 90/90-14 in front and 100/90-14 in back. Braking is handled by a 220mm disc and three-piston caliper in front, and a drum in back. For a twist, there's an interesting combined braking system on the PCX. The rear drum is linked to the front three-piston caliper with a delay-spring mechanism that prevents the front brake from being activated before the rear, maximizing braking by evenly distributing stopping force between the front and rear wheels. How do they pack that much tech into a budget-priced scoot? Simple: the PCX is Honda's first offering to the USA market from its Thailand factory.

One technological trick left out is an “idling stop system” that automatically stops the motor during prolonged idling and restarts it as the throttle is turned. It's claimed to net a 5% savings in fuel economy but was left off the US version because riding here tends to be a mix of urban, city and rural riding, which would minimize the benefits of the urban-intended system.

I got to ride the PCX through the Beach Cities south of LAX and then along the cliffs of Palos Verdes. It was a good mix of twisty residential roads, fast, busy, multi-lane arterials, and bumpy, two-lane cliff-side roads. The speed limits
2011 Honda PCX 125
Riding through urban environments the PCX shines, offering amazing fuel economy from its 125cc powerplant.
ranged from 15 to 55 mph, a good sampling of modern traffic conditions.

Like all Honda products, the PCX felt well-made, familiar and friendly. Build quality is very good, with nice paint and lots of interesting details to take in, like the chrome handlebar and bezel around the steering head that contrasts stylishly with the ultra-modern plastic bodywork. The seat isn't too low (at 29.9 inches), but it is narrow at the front, making the bike easy to handle, even for shorter people. Operation is predictably simple: twist the throttle and you're off.

Underway, the PCX is zippy, responsive and easy to ride. The motor is happiest at lower revs, where it provides instant response and surprising torque from a standstill. Steering is quick and light - no shock, given the PCX's 280-lb ready-to-ride weight. Coming to a stop is just as easy as starting with the combined brakes, and though the bike stopped as quickly (maybe even quicker) as the other scooters I've ridden in this category, it was difficult to lock the rear brake; ideal for new riders.

2011 Honda PCX 125
High speed cruising isn't out of the question but this scooter is more suited for city riding.
Out on the open road, the PCX is just as friendly. Thanks to the long wheelbase, the bike still feels stable in higher-speed turns, without losing that magically fast steering. Lean angle is sufficient to have fun, although the centerstand tang scraped in the very sharp left-hand turns. The suspension has more damping and travel then I've found on other budget scoots, giving a compliant ride - even on the landslide-punished bump-fest coastal road around Palos Verdes. The seat is comfortable for a while, there's ample legroom for average-sized people and there's even a bit of wind protection at the max speed of around 60 mph. High-speed cruising isn't its forte, as the motor got a little noisy and felt buzzy and strained at maximum throttle; not surprising for a 125. A small price to pay for the claimed 110 mpg economy, which means the PCX could squeeze 176 miles out of its 1.6-gallon tank.

2011 Honda PCX 125
The underseat compartment offers a decent amount of space for a full face helmet and enough room to store a bit of extra cargo.
When you get where you're going, the convenience of a scooter is hard to beat, and the PCX is no exception. The 25-liter trunk has room for a full-face helmet (not every full-face helmet, but my Nolan N43 made it in there) and a small bag of groceries. A helmet hook provides back-up in case your lid doesn't fit, and there's a small non-locking glovebox under the instruments. An accessory rack and trunk offers even more capacity. The instrument panel is small but complete, and its fuel gauge didn't decline by a single bar in our 50-mile test loop. A parking brake - handy on a sidestand-equipped scoot, as you can't leave it parked in gear like a motorcycle or car - makes sure the PCX stays where you park it.

Although I didn't get too much time on board the PCX, I could tell it's an innovative and highly functional transportation device. The 14-inch wheels offered a good compromise between stability and quick steering, while providing a good ride over bumps and potholes. The fuel-injection gets the most out of the little motor while returning model-airplane-like fuel economy, and storage and passenger-carrying capability is on par with much bigger scoots. But most importantly, it's fun and easy to ride, and thanks to the Thailand outsourcing, it's priced in line with its competition without sacrificing a lot of quality.

2011 Honda PCX 1252011 Honda PCX 125
The small glovebox under the instruments is handy for those items you need
quick access to.
So is the PCX the iScooter? Sadly, motorcycles and scooters are not must-have items in the USA, so don't expect to see widespread iPhone-like adoption of the PCX, or lines of scooter fans in front of Honda dealers when it hits the showrooms in August. But at least Honda scooter shoppers will have plenty of choices, with the PCX, in red or white, fitting right in with the Ruckus and Metropolitan, Elite 110 and SH150. Maybe you can't download apps off the Honda website, but the PCX still nicely rounds out the small end of Big Red's scooter lineup.
2011 Honda PCX 125 First Ride Gallery
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Comments
heartmann45   March 3, 2012 06:18 PM
I picked up my new PCX 125 this past week and love it. Wonderful styling and handles great. I couldn't be happier.
2andyc   July 5, 2011 02:56 AM
Iam a english man living in Thailand.I just sold my Izuzu pickup and needed something to run about on.So i went into Honda and bought a pcx my first scooter.the idea was to go around look for another pickup.Thats out the window im keeping with the pcx.I have idling stop system to which i never use as im not in a city.I paid 69000 Bhat for the new bike.Honda explained to me in 1 year the price will drop on the pcx to which i couldnt understand why.All i can say cannot fault the honda pcx.oh forgot i bought the black one with the brown seating.andyc
Mindi -Power flower  January 24, 2011 07:48 PM
For me the formula is simple: Price and quality. The PCX has the quality but not the price. But this is global. Raw materials have skyrocketed forcing builders to increase cost of the finished product. Still, I can't afford the PCX and I consider myself mainstream America. Further, the $3399 price doesn't include the usual dealer markups so the out-the-door is closer to $5,500 or more. Totally insane. So it's Taiwan and used.
P.S., If I lived in Norway I'd buy the parts on eBay and build it myself. Maybe I will anyway.
afzal -aaa  September 14, 2010 09:07 PM
itssssssssssssssssssssss beutifullllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
Kiko -Isnt this just the Faze?  September 8, 2010 12:09 AM
Honestly, this thing looks like a restricted version of the Honda Faze. At least the Faze is 250cc.
tom -Mr.  September 5, 2010 04:37 PM
How much did you get paid for the shameless Apple endorsement????
Paul aka Sporty -Nothing special  August 25, 2010 08:11 AM
CVT belts slip in the rain??? It's a scooter not a submarine. In all my years of scooting I never heard of that and I have rode in some serious rain. At least Honda went with a gas motor not a electric motor and battery with a huge carbon footprint. As far as more CC's just get a motorcycle and be done with it.
bigeyelittleeye -I've got one!  August 17, 2010 07:59 AM
I got my Honda pcx125 last week and have done 150 miles on it. I paid £2,270 (sterling)in the UK. For those of you wondering about the top speed- it will do 60mph comfortably on the flat- it isn't too difficult to get it up to 70 with a tailwind but 60mph is more realistic. You're probably looking at 50mph up a steep hill or up a medium grade hill with a pillion.
Espen -Dirt cheap in the US...  August 16, 2010 10:22 AM
I see people complain about the price in the US. Just wanted to let you know that the 3400 dollar sticker price in the US it dirt cheap... compare it to the 6464 dollar sticker price we have to pay for it in Norway... Cars, scooters and motorcycles are really dirt cheap in the US, and filthy expensive in Norway. I rented a Camaro last time I was in the US. It had a V8 engine. I checked the price in Norway (to buy one). It would have set me back about 120 000 dollars. Honda should sell this with a 300cc engine (modern and fuel efficient), and give it a cruicing speed of at least 130km/h. I'm waiting for a scooter like this. Right now I'm looking at the Derbi Rambla 300i.. But I have no experience with Derbi - when it comes to quality. It cost about 10 000 dollars in Norway btw. I've had a chinese scooter now, and it has been a total pain in the ass. The quality it SOOOOOO bad. It looks good, but that's all. Every single component on that scooter is junk. The plastic, the metal, the rubber, the paint, stickers, weldings, shocks, ballbearings, wires, instruments, lights... How shitty is it possible to make a scooter? VERY That is why I'm interested in a Honda (with the 5 year warranty we get in Norway, and many dealers and easy to get it serviced). But I like the looks of the Derbi Rambla better. And with a 300cc engine, it will give me a better top speed and performance in general. All other scooters with a 300cc engine are too fat looking. Like driving a fridge around.. I just want a small, fairly elegant scooter that also have a bit of performance and GOOD quality.
Irv -Borg drone  August 11, 2010 06:19 AM
Why doesn't Honda build something like the Sym 200? They already do. The 300i is an automatic scooter built and sold in Vietnam. 'Market tests are done b/4 bringing out anything new' ?? How would you explain the DN-01? Honda makes money on cars, not on bikes.
tbone -none  August 1, 2010 09:10 AM
I've been thinking about these things lately - what would be the ideal bike for Great Recession Americans? This PCX is just a beautiful bike. But with the economy going bad and global demand for oil going up in the face of a finite supply it's not perfect. I think one would want the cheapest bike, with the most storage (and utility), the greatest efficiency, the easiest ride, good looks and quality. I think for an American, there is utility for a bike that is freeway legal (when in a pinch and you have to get on the interstate), which basically means that it has to be able to exceed 70 miles per hour. Right now the bike that comes closest to those things is the Sym HD200. True, as one person said, it's not 200cc, it's 171cc. But then, who cares? However, it is rated at about 92mpg, which is surely exaggerated (or limited to 25 mph). By now, the Taiwanese manufactures have established a pretty good reputation for quality. The Sym HD200 has a 171cc engine, that gets it up to 72 mpg (my 150cc does 62, so this seems reasonable) and has 16 inch wheels, the size and speed makes it, just barely, freeway legal and at the same price as the PCX (in the United States). So, if you buy this Honda, you are foregoing the utility of freeway legal driving for the same price on the Sym. For people who are short on money then and are buying a two wheeled vehicle for utility... perhaps to be 'the second family car' to get one of the two adults to work cheaply... I think the Sym HD200 then is the better choice for those in a strictly utilitarian position. So I'd really like to see Honda come out with a version of the PCX with an engine just big enough to make it freeway legal, for those times you are in a pinch and at the price of this 125cc PCX, and instead drop the price of this bike to around $2400. There are, indeed, advantages to this bike, it is a Honda so it's quality and technology is assumed to be advanced and bullet proof, and it has a broad dealer network. It is suitable for all in-town jaunts except if the rider has to get on the free way, and gets in excess of 100mpg. And of course, it looks great. I am jealous of those that have it. For the price of this bike you can probably get a brand new Suzuki motorcycle with a 250cc. Such a bike would likely have greater durability, bigger wheels, etc... So while a great bike, a dream of a scooter, it is priced too high. So I really love this PCX, but at the price, I think its a bit off the mark. If you need transportation, you can find greater utility at this price, or the same utility at lower prices, with reasonable quality.
pinoy scootz -vs  July 25, 2010 06:40 PM
still debating on which to buy between Honda PCX vs Kymco Super 8?
Suz7red -I want one  July 15, 2010 01:54 PM
If you think that Honda doesn't know what they're doing you are SO wrong! Honda didn't get where it is by being stupid. Market tests are done b/4 bringing out anything new and the results carefully studied. They don't make crap but they do make lots of money. I will use this scooter for occasional shopping but mostly for fun with my scooter group, riding on back roads. The fact that it gets great mileage is just an added plus. AFwestPunk, I dunno what you mean that the USA version looks blah. I see very little difference. Honda rules and the PCX sounds like a great scooter. I'll know for sure after my test ride in August.
Aapvegter -The Bomb  July 15, 2010 01:13 PM
This scooter is the bomb bought one last week - the best scooter on the market for now Yes BNS you are right the PCZ 250cc out and on the Market 2011

andy -welll...  July 14, 2010 09:12 AM
...comparing this little,useful vehicle with one of this stupid, unnecessary gadgets from apple doesen´t help the case...so , please,don´t do it!!!!
Scooters are the future....would be even better with an electric motor.
Johnathan -Mr  July 13, 2010 11:00 PM
Its a nice scooter and has good mileage figure as reported by the manufacturer which are always suspect. However like any other vehicle its up to the operator to go easy on the throttle. The price for the US is way high. For this kind of price you may as well buy a Japanese motorcycle. You also move a motorcycle quickly n the market. It sgould be selling for around #2500. Then it might take off. But Honda has lately been posting high prices on some items like that crossover bike with an automatic or shidft mode. Most dealers have only sold one or none. So its likely to be dropped as a dud. I think they want #15,000 on paper but they still cannot sell them for #12,000. Once any bike gets around #10,000 people are not willing to pay that much for a non essential toy.
larry weitzman -auto journalist  July 13, 2010 11:01 AM
Gabe, one more point about the PCX. Did you or anyone else notice the headlight gives the PCX a bit of a VFR1200F look. We may find that look in the more of future Honda products.
larry weitzman -auto journalist  July 13, 2010 10:53 AM
Gabe, Quit misusing the word "torque." Torque is not power or horsepower. Torque times rpm divided by 5,252 makes horsepower. So whether the torque is high at low rpm or low with high rpm, it still may make the same horsepwoer. It is horsepower that makes the scooter perform. Torque is just a component of the horsepower formula, but by itself without rpm or speed, it is meaningless. The best engines have a flat torque curve or a curve that looks like a flattened mound with the peak in the middle or upper middle of the curve. Look at the torque curve for a Kawasaki ZX6R or a Corvette 6.0 or 6.2L V-8. those are beautiful torque curves that allow both engines to make good horsepower over a broad portion of the rev range. Those are flexible engines.

The HOnda's automatic tranny allows the engine to rev from a standstill to get to the meat of its (horse)powerband quickly. It's not torque from a standstill (with the engine running slow) that makes the PCX go.
EAB -Irv..you're crazy, but I like ya  July 13, 2010 07:35 AM
I'll keep your reservations in mind the next time I decide to ford 20 inches of water or take on the Rubicon on a bloody street scooter. Your complaints are much akin to saying that a Corvette won't haul wood like a pickup truck. DUH!! There are but a few manual shift scooters (Baja, Genuine Stella) on the market, and most customers stroll right by them on their way to a twist and go machine. Majority rules, and most prefer the CVT.
AFwestPunk -My PCX experience  July 13, 2010 12:33 AM
Had bought the first PCX on Okinawa the day of release. More fun than i thought it would be. the storage unit can fit my XXL full face helmet without issue. The motor is peppy coming out of standby mode, like a hyper dog that sees a squirrel outside, and can really move in traffic (well at least here on island)
The pics of the US model looks pretty blah but I am sure it will still be fun
paradigm shift -backwards americans  July 12, 2010 03:23 PM
I will have to look at glass half full, at least we are getting it, and not five years later...in a cra*() american version..I hope americans become more conscious before it is 110 in the shade every day and there is nothing left to defend, as almost every ultranationalist who does whatever he/she wants, likes to hide behind everybody else wanting lifestyle like us when other places have much higher quality of life, everywhere I have went, and have strict immigration to match ours, unfortunately and with no jobs kind of stuck here...anyway, peace to all...
paradigm shift -backwards americans  July 12, 2010 03:20 PM
economy of scale and of scope also come into play here, plus actual legitimate competition..
paradigm shift -backwards americans  July 12, 2010 02:43 PM
it is called supply and demand and the cost of shipping a scooter to american market; 5 times the pop and most will buy an suv because of govt. subsidies to artificially keep gas prices low; in these progressive countries where gas is twice as much as in the US and there is limited parking, and where people actually look like people and not a ten pound of high fructose corn syrup in a five pound bag and could not fit on a scooter, then that explains it all....it is much more dangerous in this cra*() backwards country where when an suv runs over a motorcyclist, in this semi rural area, the most penalty they will get is failure to yield....we need a radical change in this country...most could easily park the suv and drive to get groceries on a scooter; this country is I'll do whatever I can get away with and try to bully everybody else from behind my wheel....and as long as I am safer with my spoiled offspring then who cares about pedestrians, bikers, scooters, etc...and only Big Govt can change this, in fact this would be one of the few reason for big govt to actually change things for regular people instead of keep bailing out giant multinationals... what is ideally the right thing to do is usually the opposite of what most americans do...while complaining about everybody else.... I enjoy my 100 mpg scooter espec. when I bought right before gas prices shot up to four dollars, unfortunately, recession hit, and govt. bail out 'american' car cos such as gm....which will be our downfall... so I may buy this pcx and guaranteed I will not see any others on the road, sadly.....
Irv H -title  July 12, 2010 09:42 AM
Thank you for your reply. I am talking about 20 in of water as a matter of fact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb3H2gkG9cA The single sided swingarm with cvt will not stand up to sustained travel on washboard gravel roads. A Honda wave isn't exactly ideal for it either, but it can take a lot more abuse. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFh3PNwFa1k The hardware and auto part stores do not provide service or parts for the Chinese copies of the Honda dream, but so what? Dad just wants something for the kid to fool around on. I have ridden Honda and Yamaha all my life. It grates me to see them ignore the manual transmission scooter market, specially when they already make the bikes to compete with the Chinese. I guess they are too busy building 2 litre monuments to their own stupidity.
EAB -Slipping? Flooding??  July 12, 2010 05:42 AM
I have ridden twist and go scooters of all makes and models for years and I can assure you that you can go on dirt roads as well as in rain without issue. The cooling air intake for the belt and transmission is on the bottom and except for the opening where the fan (connected to the crankshaft) draws air in and a similar opening aft, the CVT is a sealed unit. I can't answer for the new bikes but on the Helix and Elites of the past Honda ran an air filter so dust wouldn't bother it. My Aprilia scooter runs a screen, but no filter. Nevertheless, I had no issues. Now, are you going to ford 20 inches of water? Well, no, but I don't think anyone assumes the scooters are meant for that. ............. Now, specifically to this scooter. I think Honda is making an attempt to combat the market intrusion of companies like Genuine, SYM, and Kymco. The prices are within $500 of similar rides from those companies and I'd pay that if only for the dealer network. Also, you must be aware of the comparable products and what the products actually ARE and not just the name. The SYM HD200 is $500 less than the SH150i but I always thought it was kind of suspect that SYM lies about the "200cc" part of the name. The bike is less than 175cc, so in actuality, it's a 175, not a 200. Furthermore, Kymco and SYM have nothing fuel injected or liquid cooled at this pricepoint. If the dealer network was comparable, then I think Honda would be in trouble, but it's not. Paying some guy that has a barn and a part time mechanic cost less than paying a full fledged Honda dealership with full time employees. It's more about the dealers than the bikes themselves.
Irv H -Star Fleet Commander  July 12, 2010 01:41 AM
They only bring the full auto CVT belt drives to America (you too Yam). The engine/trans are part of the swingarm, which makes the scooter useless for dirt roads. I know it's made in Thailand, but you won't see a vino or a click outside Bangkok. The CVT belt slips in mud and rain as well. AND the low-mounted air intake floods the engine in the rain. I have seen it myself. Plus it lacks torque. I have seen several tourists pushing their U-bones up the mountain on Koh Samui. The wave/dream/lagenda have a chain final drive with a gear transmission and auto clutch. These are far more useful for campers and rural areas. AND ANOTHER THING: the $4000 they want in Canada compares to $1500 for a fino in Thailand.WTF? I guess they don't care if the Chinese steal their market.
CliveP -125+ wanted for me also  July 10, 2010 08:09 AM
I like it but I love my littel S-Wing 125 more and since I wanted something with just a bit more distance capability I tried the Silver Wing but just didn't like the handling as much as the S-Wing plus some other negatives which actaully surprised me although it has amazing power compared with the S-Wing. Well it is 4 times as much.

Anyway I agree with a lot of other sentiments here and elsewhere.

I really hope that Honda bring out something like this PCX or the S-Wing with a bigger motor. I just can't stand to look at that Shi(t) bike but it shows they already have the motor.

I'm baffled as to why Honda arn't getting on this ball but I sure would like to buy one if they ever bring it out otherwise a brand change may be approaching for me.

Until then its S-Wing for me. A really great scoot 9/10. More torque lower down the revs plus a little higher top speed then 10/10.

Can't wait.
frank -Over priced in the US and A.  July 9, 2010 11:41 PM
This bike can be bought in Thailand for just a hair over $2000 US. Not sure why Honda doesn't sell it for a similar price in a market with 5 times the population. They would sell so many more if the price were a bit lower. This is an awesome bike, but not at this price.
Dannicus -W/ bns  July 9, 2010 12:48 PM
I love the styling as well. Looks like they tried to make it look like the VFR, but it actually turned out better. As for the displacement; I think it should be a 250 at that price. Nearly 4 grand for a 125cc scooter is laughable, imo.
bns -Why not 250cc  July 9, 2010 12:13 PM
Love the looks, but why won't Honda make it a 250cc ?