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Scooter Review

Honda PCX 150 Review

Sometimes a little bit more can be a good thing. Honda's PCX 150 is all the proof you need.

Allen Drysdale

 

Honda PCX 150

Honda have been on a winner ever since the release of the PCX in Australia. It has all the ingredients that make it the perfect commuter scooter. Sure, it's a little more expensive when compared to other scooters in the budget sector, though as many would know, the PCX is far from budget. Now with the introduction of a 150 cc version, the PCX story continues.



Specifications

Our first meeting with the PCX was back at the launch in October 2010. Immediately apparent was the benefits of a rigid frame and 14 inch wheels. We also noted a comfortable seating position, ample storage and typical Honda build quality. Finally we were amazed by the fuel efficiency and performance from the 125 cc package.

Moving on, and the PCX 150 makes an appearance in a body that looks no different from the 125 version it replaces. The easy way to tell them apart is by the chrome badge that highlights the 150 designation. The new, 150 cc only - Candy Red colour, is also a dead giveaway.

The PCX 150 takes power from 8.6 Kw's(125) into double figure territory, peaking at 10 Kw's for the larger 153 cc capacity. Still a 2 valve, liquid cooled engine, and still fuel injected like the model before it.

The PCX saves space by incorporating the cooling system and motor into one unit. Being liquid cooled, Honda is able to increase efficiency, torque and power when compared to other air cooled engines of similar capacity.

The PCX 150 features the same brushless starting system as the 125. No turning the starter motor over, one push and the engine instantly and silently fires into life. Again like the cooling system, the starter motor is integrated into the engine, saving on weight and making for one very compact unit.

The Start/Stop technology used in the 125 again features on the 150 model. Engaged, the PCX engine will stop running after a few seconds of coming to a standstill. Twist the throttle and the scooter will start within a fraction of a second. A very smart feature that helps the PCX achieve those suggested near 50 km/l fuel consumption figures. The Start/Stop feature can be switched off.

The long body design features a comfortable seat for one or two. You open the seat via a separate switch beside the ignition. The same switch doubles as access for fuel. Under the seat, there's enough room for a larger helmet plus more. Storage is actually quite carnivorous, you can lock your helmet externally if needed. The seat height comes in at 760 mm which makes it suitable for the short ones. The bars are set relatively low and also back a little, the position is very accommodating for learner riders. The bars on the PCX are fully exposed and chrome.

The gauges and switchgear have a classy feel about them. A large speedo features front and centre. Fuel and kilometres travelled is by digital readout to the right, the left is dominated by the Start/Stop warning light. Still no clock option which is just weird for a scooter that offers everything else. An additional glove compartment on the dash is big enough to store a pair of gloves.

Dual rear shocks take up suspension duties on the rear, the front suspension is by telescopic fork. The PCX comes with both side and centre stands for parking duties. The passenger gets a top quality set of chrome flip out footpegs. Honda's "CBS" braking system keeps things under control. A three piston caliper on the front, drum brake on the rear. Being combined, the left hand lever activates the front disc and rear drum together. 

On the Road

The increase in capacity whilst not immediately apparent is noticeable in the areas that matter. More so at the top end of town where speeds reach triple figures. Acceleration and mid-range feel like they've been given a helping hand, all thanks to an increase in available torque (14 Nm compared to 12 Nm). This was always going to be the expectation, I wasn't expecting a huge difference. My feeling was the 150 would provide a beefier mid-range and an improvement in holding top-end speeds. Given the way the PCX would sit on the motorway at a true 100 km/h, this was enough to prove that the increase in capacity has made a real world difference. If given the room the PCX will easily reach 120 km/h and beyond.

The smoothness of the PCX is still incredibly refined. The way the PCX starts silently and comes to a steady idle is one of those mysteries of life. On our last review we pretty much ignored the Start/Stop feature. This time we just let the PCX do its thing. No dramas, no troubles, worked seamlessly, time after time. The flashing warning indicator on the dash informs you that the Start/Stop function is in operation.   

The efficiency factor of Honda's PCX has not changed. It seemed like an eternity before we needed a refill. My best guess puts fuel consumption around 40 km/l mark in everyday riding conditions, which is pretty exceptional. Given the fuel tank capacity of near 6 litres, a range of somewhere in the vicinity of 250 km's seems achievable. Hard to see this ever changing.    

Handling, I'm happy to say, is still something of a standout for me. Probably has something to do with those skinny 14 inch tyres and helped by the structural integrity of the frame and the positioning of the fuel tank down low. Whatever the case may be, this is still one of the best handling, lower capacity scooters on the market. Rear shocks seem like they've been given a feed, no bottoming out and riding with a pillion was welcome. Sure the PCX is firm on the road but it's also incredibly stiff and I like the fact that you can turn into corners like you're on rails. The seating position also helps the rider position themselves on the road. You feel like your well over the front wheel, this makes filtering and getting through tight gaps a breeze.

The central tunnel whilst providing the PCX with structure can also get a little scuffed if you're not careful. As you climb on and off the PCX your shoes can catch on the plastic. Would be best to see what you can find to protect this area from scuffing. 
  

Conclusion

Most reviews on the PCX 150 will centre around the use of Start/Stop technology or the Honda's ability to start silently. Sure these are both impressive features but for me the PCX offers more, much more. For me, it's about how efficient this scooter is in a day to day sense. The liquid cooled engine is by far the most fuel efficient I've experienced(for the capacity) and I like the fact that fuel efficiency doesn't come at the cost of power.

Sticking with a lower capacity engine comes with further benefits. Keeping the capacity low means that in most states you will reap the rewards of cheaper registration and insurance costs. It also keeps things light and manageable.

It's of no surprise that Honda will continue to sell a bucket load of PCX scooters here in Australia. It would suit many a learner rider and has all the hallmarks of being a fantastic commuter. For the experienced, it's also a fun ride when the corners present themselves. Seen what the HART boys and girls can do on a PCX?

I should make a mention of parts and accessories, pricing and availability. Being made for the world market in Thailand means you have options, and lots of them. If you don't find them here in Australia, you'll readily find a whole heap of mind blowing alternatives online, and they're cheap.

The PCX is not a budget class scooter. It sits above this segment and has the features and performance that justify the higher price point. Spending a little more in this case will definitely pay off. Honda's PCX 150 comes with a manufacturers list price of $4020(plus on roads). Warranty is 12 months from purchase. Available in Black, White and Candy Red.....

Links/Specs/Accessories

http://motorcycles.honda.com.au/Urban_Scooter/PCX_150

Find your local Honda dealer http://motorcycles.honda.com.au/


 

published 18/12/2012

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