Two years ago Honda introduced its 2011 PCX125 scooter to the American market only a couple months after its worldwide launch. Smaller displacement scooters are usually brought to the USA a couple years after they are introduced. But someone at Honda must have known that the PCX scooter would be a hit. So can the PCX get better with the introduction of a 150 version? I am going to ruin the surprise early and simply say yes, but you’ll have to read more to find out why.
(Top) More power is easily noticeable compared to last year’s engine at both high and low speeds. (Bottom) The bigger powerplant now allows the PCX to be highway legal.
For 2013 Honda brings back the successful PCX, but the scoot now carries an extra 25cc and Honda PCX150 moniker. Oh, and did I mention that it is now freeway capable?!?! With a top speed of 70 mph, the PCX keeps up at highway speeds without issue.
Honda touts its Enhanced Smart Power, a technology that helps provide the best engine performance while still remaining fuel efficient, to develop a scooter engine that is environmentally responsible yet still has superior performance. The liquid-cooled 150cc four-stroke engine also provides great efficiency at a claimed fuel economy of 102 mpg due to being lightweight and compact. Optimum fueling is provided by programmed-fuel injection, allowing it to adapt to various riding conditions. Low and mid-range power is also improved in the new engine with a newly developed belt drive design.
Compared to the previous 125cc engine, the 150cc powerplant uses an offset cylinder wall to reduce friction caused by contact between the new lightweight piston and cylinder wall. The sleeve uses minute spines on its outer surface to reduce oil consumption and improve cooling along with the redesigned radiator core. The engine’s V-Matic transmission has lost 20% of friction compared to the previous engine due to bearings exclusively designed to deal with the loads they receive individually.
Other performance updates include a 31mm hydraulic front fork with 3.5 inches of travel. The Unit Swingarm rear suspension uses a single shock with 3.1 inches of travel. Lastly, a Combined Braking System (CBS) with a 220mm front disk brake and hydraulic three-piston caliper plus a rear drum brake provides the stopping power. We find the brakes go along perfect with the PCX, easy to slow from highway speeds yet not harsh when cruising around town. The effectiveness of the linked Honda system is definitely safety plus.
Honda treated us to a trip to the very cool Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, California during our ride.
One of the key features Honda really pushes with the scoot is its styling aspects. Also available in metallic black, our test unit was equipped with the beautiful candy red colorway. The styling manages to be sporty but still portrays that classic scooter look. Up front is a giant headlight with a modern looking dark tint windscreen lingering just above, both of which rest on top of wide beefy bodywork. The upright motocross style handlebars behind the upper fairing lend almost a sport-touring look. A big flat foot rest and long seat keep the classic scooter look alive. Chrome flashy “PCX150” emblems toward the back just below the seat round out the bold styling cues.
The PCX sits on black, 14-inch, five-spoke wheels mounted up with a 90/90-14 tire up front and 100/90-14 in the rear. The 14-inch wheels improve handling at highway speeds. Around back is a sporty taillight with blinkers just below. A rear tire guard, which also plays part as the license plate holder, sits behind the back wheel and hangs from beneath the taillight. The scooter offers not only a centerstand but a sidestand as well, giving consumers options depending on their parking situation.
Up top is a chrome bar and bar mount set up complete with a pair of generously sized mirrors that we really appreciate. In front of the bars lies the digital instrument cluster providing tripmeters, MPH, and of course a fuel gauge for a safe and fun ride. A new seat was added to be extra cushy with an improved seat back rest for more comfort.
Honda took us on a ride that began at Huntington Beach Honda in California. I placed my jacket and car keys in the 25-liter under-seat storage container with plenty of room left for a full-face helmet. I threw my wallet and iPhone in the additional 1.5 liter front storage compartment located just beneath the handlebars on the rider’s left and we were off. Immediately after departing I noticed the extremely comfortable seat and at the end of the day, was still just as happy with it. Not only was the seat comfortable for one person, but it also accommodates a passenger.
We made our way to the 405 freeway where we learned that the new 150cc engine provides plenty of power for handling the highway without question. The scooter sped up to highway speeds just as quickly as your average family sedan and was able to pass other motorists no problem. Surprisingly at higher speeds the scooter’s power ramped up more quickly than at slower city speeds. The PCX suspension took the nasty 405 potholes like a Cadillac, not once bottoming out, providing a smooth enjoyable ride. We found this out by riding at the PCX’s top speed of 70 mph and well, directly hitting one. Obviously, I’m still here writing this.
Riding through town we noticed instead of being flat in the center like many scooters, the middle of the foot position is raised, this meaning, the rider’s feet must be placed on the not so wide outside platforms. We would like to see the foot position wider but it wasn’t a big issue. As far as leg room goes, there is plenty, even for taller riders. The lean angle we were able to get on the scoot was phenomenal, never dragging even around the tightest of corners. Turning characteristics are in between those of a smaller scale sportbike and a scooter, nimble and quick to turn with a solid feel to the front end. With a rigid chassis almost like a hybrid between Honda’s CBR250 and Metropolitan, I noticed myself in race mode a few times. The PCX doesn’t have that knifey front end feel when turning aggressively as most scooters do.
A 1.6 gallon fuel tank and estimated fuel economy of 102 mpg guarantees you won’t run out of fuel when scooting to your yacht.
With Honda advocating the scooter as stylish, fun, and economical, the PCX150 could be appealing to a wide range of customers of all ages. The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer believes that 66% of its PCX150 scooter consumers will be first-time scooter buyers and 20% of that will be brand new to motorcycling. They believe that 33% of buyers will be women. The PCX provides a fun and enjoyable ride for just about any occasion, whether its running to the grocery store, commuting to work, or just out for a weekend cruise.
MotoUSA’s overall experience with the PCX150 was a good one. We are extremely happy with the larger-displacement engine allowing for freeway use. It covers all three areas that Honda promises. It’s stylish, fun, and with a price tag of $3449 it is $1000 less expensive than the other freeway-capable scooter in the Honda lineup, the SH150i. Riders looking for a highway legal scooter need to check out the PCX150.