Scoot! Rides the 2013 Honda PCX 150
In 2010 Honda launched the PCX 125 along with the Elite 100 and SH150i. As compelling as I thought it was, I remember wishing that it had a 150cc engine. Two years later my wish is answered.
Although Honda considers this ‘world model” which can be sold around the globe, it wanted to increase the size of the engine to make it more practical for the U.S. market. The U.S. is a big country with Americans willing to travel farther and use expressways and freeways. While many states require a minimum of a 150cc engine to use freeways, not all 150s are created equally and I doubt I’d take many of them on a freeway.
Yet, as part of our test I took the PCX 150 on a busy Los Angles freeway. The scooter got up to speed without hesitation, easily achieving 65 mph. There was room for more but it was going to take quite a bit of time to build beyond that cruising speed. On hills it was adequate topping-out around 55 mph on some mid-sized hills.
Acceleration at low speed was met with quick response. So when riding at neighborhood speeds (25-25 mph) there is plenty of power left for passing or accelerating out of a tight situation. Riding two-up seems to make little impact on its acceleration and handling.
At both low- and high speeds the PCX carves out turns making for an enjoyable ride. It’s relatively light at 286 lbs, making it easy to maneuver in parking lots or around city traffic. Honda uses CBS, a linked braking system, so as you apply the rear brake the front brake also activates, but at a graduated rate.
However you may just use the front brake. The linked braking makes for smooth stopping, but I’d like to see disc brakes on both front and rear for better braking. However, that adds to the sticker price, which might price the PCX out of competition with other 150′s.
In the Captain’s Chair
The PCX offers plenty of legroom. The seat is comfortably padded, but there is a pronounced hump on the seat between the rider and the passenger seat. It may be helpful when there is a passenger, but when riding solo it means one can’t scoot back. This will only be an issue for those that like to alter their position and move back and forth. The passenger’s section is relatively flat rather than sloped as some scooters can be.
How beneficial that will be is dependent upon the passenger. If you plan to take a passenger, it’s worth testing this bike two-up to make sure the seat fits both of your needs.
One of the major differences between a motorcycle and a scooter is the “step-through” design that is typical of scooters. The PCX floorboards are more like a maxi-scoter with a large hump in the middle that one must step over. As much as I like the styling cues it takes from sport bikes, I still hope for a bike I can easily step through.
The Scoot! reviewers unanimously dislike this type of floorboard. We want to carry shopping bags and camp-out gear, or what-have-you and that hump really gets in the way. This can also be an issue for some “senior” riders who choose scooters over motorcycles because they can’t lift their legs as high as they used to.
The “hump” seems especially annoying on this bike, which is much like a shrunken-down maxi scooter.
Subtle Differences Add Up
At a glance, you may not notice the updates that Honda integrated. Of course, there is the new engine. Not only does it have a larger displacement, its fuel economy improves over the previous model by a whopping 27 mpg.
Apparently the PGM-FI (fuel-injected) induction motor and digital ignition with electronic advance really make a difference The rear suspension was increased slightly from 2.9″ to 3.1″ probably not noticeable to most but you might be surprised how little changes like this really affect handling. This year they swapped the pearl white color for metallic black, but the candy red returns. I’m guessing that in order to reduce costs they declined to add a clock on this model.
The PCX is priced at $1,000 less than its Honda sibling the SH150i. Two other alternatives are the Genuine Buddy 170i for $3,299, which has more of a retro-feel, lots of accessories and a two-year warranty; and the SYM HD200 EVO for $3,499 with a 171cc engine and two-year warranty.
The PCX 150 is worthy urban commuter. It’s versatile enough to go from a tight street parking spot to a jaunt on the freeway to avoid traffic-snarled city streets. It has lots of additional Honda details that are lacking in the competition, including an ignition security cover and a separate toggle switch to open the fuel door and underseat storage. It’s a quality bike that will either appeal to your riding style and aesthetics, or not.
It’s worth taking for a spin to see.
35-liter top case available
25-liter underseat storage can fit some full-faced
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