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Honda's PCX 125cc Scooter

By: Garry Morrow


Wednesday, 3rd November, 2010

ID: 25 - Views: 49822


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With Australia's population expanding at an out of control rate and the average peak hour doubling in recent years something has to give, as with the huge growth in commuter pushbikes on the roads, scooters will mark a growing commuting trend to cope with our ever expanding traffic jams.

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The PCX offers a nice smooth ride with enough power to make you feel comfortable in traffic.
 
Motorcycles like Honda's new PCX scooter could very well be the answer. Granted Scooters have been around since man landed on the moon, the Australian lifestyle landscape and open roads has meant that they were never really a popular choice with larger motorcycles the order of the day.

As mentioned in our opening paragraph, space is getting tight in Australia's larger cities which in turn makes getting from point A to point B all that much harder and the Scooter market is primed to take advantage, not necessarily to those that see themselves as motorcycle enthusiasts but more the pure commuter.

Honda is a smart company and they can see an opening when one arises. The opening for the Scooter market to blow wide open is here and they Japanese giant have come out with all guns blazing in the form of the PCX. Sourcing the PCX from their Thailand factory Honda has delivered a quality machine with a very attractive price of just $3990.

The PCX is a winner in many respects. It looks trick, is well engineered, quiette, quick enough, comfortable, and built with commuting in mind. In all it is what you would expect from a Honda branded machine.

At 125cc the PCX hits the prime capacity target for a Scooter, fitting between many of the smaller European 2 stroke brands and some of the larger capacity machines that are almost stepping up to Street Bike status or Maxi Scooters as they are often referred to.

People looking at the PCX in general would not be the technically minded, Motorcycle Magazine reading type, they will simply want something that looks good, reliable, comfortable, cost effective and gets the job done, all of which the PCX does.

The PCX is also built on Honda's growing Green platform with features such as low CO2 emissions and idle stop technology, a feature that has been available in the companies Green Cars for a few years.

For the uninitiated the feature goes like this. Once you stop the bike to an idle the engine cuts out after 3 seconds. It's a strange sensation but you soon come to terms with it. Before you know it you are sitting in silence and back to nature listening to the birds in the trees or some Doof Doof dude in a car next to you with Lady GaGa at 1000 decibels. The system can also be turned off via a button just near the throttle.

Sitting silently in traffic it suddenly feels more like you are on a pushbike. Once you twist the throttle the engine fires up in an instant and you are on your way again.

Click to enlarge.
Honda's PCX 125cc Scooter is very stylish in the Japanese sense. The seat hides a good deal of storage room whil the dash board offers nice and clean instrumentation whith an analog speedo and an LCD screen with fuel and trip information.
 
For those that are technically minded the 125cc power plant is a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single overhead cam design with an 11.0:1 compression ratio. Honda's V-Matic automatic transmission gets the power to the ground via a V-Belt to a pair of 14-inch wheels. The frame is Tubular steel. Fuel capacity is 6.2 Litteres and the ground clearance is 135mm with the whole Scooter weighing in at 180KG.

Breaking uses the Combined Braking System (CBS) which links the front to the rear brake with the front disc brake leading the way before the rear drum brake follows suit, all unbeknown to the rider which all leads to a very smooth braking experience.

So What's it like to ride? In a word excellent. At 100kg it easily had enough power to keep me flowing with the traffic. On the day we tested it was one of the windiest days i can remember, i am sure i saw some tow in surfing on Albert Park Lake, but all felt fine with the bike cutting through the wind fine.

The ride is smooth and surprisingly quite. The most surprising thing about the ride was the fact it didn't feel like you were on a motorcycle, more like a pushbike with power it was a very comfortable and peaceful ride.

Power is not huge, but then again it is a 125cc Scooter. From a standing start the power is more than enough to get you to the head of the traffic. At 60kph it has enough power to drift backward and forward through the traffic and enough to make you feel comfortable.

Although we tested in a 60kph zone i did push it a little harder on the Albert Park GP Circuit, all in the name of testing of course - believe it or not the GP track has a 40kph limit. Anyway we got it up to 100kph but at this speed the power was far less zippy. You could comfortably cruise down a freeway on it at the legal speed but overtaking would take some Casey Stoner like confidence.

Click to enlarge.
One of the features we loved was the amount of room under the seat, perfect for packing a bit of shopping or a laptop away.
 
Still the PCX is not built as a highway cruiser, my point is that around town power is more than acceptable and even acceptable if you have to zip down 10km of freeway to get to work.

The bike feels comfortable to sit on with the runner board foot system as opposed to footpegs. There is plenty of room to move your feet around and the same for a pillion passenger. At 6 foot I felt the cockpit just right but anyone taller would start to feel a bit more cramped. With some re-positioning of things like bars etc you would still be comfortable enough.

The PCX looks slightly bigger than some of the European or Chinese scooters but it feels just the right size once you are sitting on it. Manoeuvringthe the bike around was not too much trouble although at 180KG is on the heavier side so you ain't going to pick it up and throw it around.

Braking is by hand only, even though i am a mountain bike rider it still took a few kilometres to compute, but braking action was quite comfortable and smooth. The rear view mirrors are nice and big and offer plenty of rearward scenery.

The PCX dash is nice and clean instrumentation includes an analog speedo and an LCD screen with fuel and trip information.

The PCX has a good deal of bodywork with a more Japanese look than the Euro step-thru look with the 6.2 litre the fuel tank in the middle. Headlight and housing are very Honda with sharp sleek lines not unlike the VTR. The seat is a two-level affair that aids in pillion passenger comfort.

We never got to test the fuel economy due to time restrictions but Honda claim 46 Kilometres to the Litre. At $1,30 a Litre that will get you around 3,538 Kilometres for $100, enough to get you from Melbourne to Sydney and back - Twice!

Storage, with the primary reason for owning a scooter being commuting storage is an important factor.

The PCX offers a good amount of storage under the seat. It is easily enough room for a few bags of shopping or some schoolbooks and a laptop. Honda also offers more cargo options with a top box. All in all Storage capacity is excellent.

Honda have also produced a huge list of accessories including items such as the aforementioned storage top box, an alarm, U-lock, muffler ends, bar ends, side covers, floor panels.

Our Verdict Yep, i am won over. I had never really thought about a scooter until a few months ago. I guess it's the Jamie Oliver thing of ducking in and out of markets to get fresh food that attracted me but i had been thinking that hard about it.

After a few hours with the PCX though and i can tell you i will actually put my money were my mouth is. Cost, fuel economy, and convenience all my main reasons to want one but the main reason. Riding the PCX was pure fun. Oh, and it will look cool with all those Fullnoise stickers on it.

NOTE: Honda Australia have a PCX 125 micro site, check it out at www.hondapcx.com.au .

SPECS: - PCX125

ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke two-valve single cylinder
Capacity: 124.9cc
Bore x stroke: 52.4mm x 57.9mm
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Fuel system: PGM-F1 electronic fuel injection

TRANSMISSION
Type: V-Matic
Final drive: V-Belt

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR
Frame type: Tubular steel underbone
Front suspension: 31mm forks, 100mm travel
Rear suspension: Twin shocks, 75mm travel
Front brakes: 220mm disc with combined three-piston caliper
Rear brakes: 130mm drum

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES
Claimed kerb weight: 124.4kg
Seat height: 761mm
Wheelbase: 1305mm
Ground clearance: 135mm
Fuel capacity: 6.2lt

PERFORMANCE
Claimed maximum power: 11.3hp (8.3kW) at 8000rpm
Claimed maximum torque: 11.6Nm at 6000rpm

OTHER STUFF
Price: $3990
Colour: White, black metallic or silver metallic
Warranty: Two-year unlimited kilometres


: Click to view larger image

The PCX dash is neat and compact

: Click to view larger image

Breaking uses the Combined Braking System (CBS)

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The PCX is sleek and stylish from any angle


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