By: Don Williams
The 2013 year is big for Honda scooters. First, the Metropolitan gets EFI, greatly improving the scooter's diminutive 50cc motor. Now, we get the new 2013 Honda PCX150 scooter, replacing the 125cc version and creating a motor vehicle with much greater utility and fun.
Most important, of course, is the nearly perfectly square 153cc motor. By upping the displacement, the PCX150 is now freeway capable (check your local requirements). I took it out on the busy San Diego Freeway and it worked its way up to 70 mph, so it can stay with traffic, though not with a whole lot left in reserve. Stability is good, with the 14-inch tires and nearly 52-inch wheelbase. Still, freeway riding is not what the PCX150 is about.
Small scooters work great in heavily trafficked urban areas. However, once you find your way to the suburbs where the roads are wider, less crowded and have higher speed limits than 35 mph, more power is needed. That's where the 2013 Honda PCX150 comes in.
Up to 55 mph, the Honda PCX150 does fine. Sure, acceleration starts to flatten out at 35 mph or so, but it gets there fairly quickly. That means you don't have to worry about getting in the way coming away from stop lights in busy, impatient traffic. You can twist the throttle and put most traffic in the PCX150's effective rear view mirrors.
The EFI works flawlessly on the PCX150, which is a worldwide model made in Thailand. The fully automatic V-Matic belt-converter transmission is also perfect in operation. Working together, Honda claims over 100 mpg for the scooter, and it has a 1.6-gallon tank.
There's a 2.5-liter underseat storage compartment that will swallow up helmets of various configurations, as well as carry a full canvas bag from Whole Foods. There is also a small unlockable storage compartment that's handy for your wallet, or change for tolls or parking.
Running errands on the Honda PCX150 is quite fun. You can work around traffic with ease, and if lane splitting is permitted, move to the front of the line with confidence. Weighing in at well under 300 pounds fully gassed up, the PCX150 is nimble for its displacement. Even when tossing it around in traffic, it always has good contact with the pavement.
Bumpy roads are handled ably by the 14-inch wheels shod with IRC tires. The suspension offers less than four inches of travel, and there's always the issue of the motor and tranny being unsprung weight, so you aren't going to see a plush ride. Still, hitting small potholes or irregular pavement is not a problem. You will feel the road, but you won't get knocked off.
Cornering confident and clearance is excellent on the 2013 Honda PCX150. Again, the IRC tires do a great job. You can whip the scooter around with authority on twisting roads, or between cars. The motorcycle-style bars have a nice bend and strike just the right balance-they're narrow enough to thread needles, yet wide enough for good leverage.
The 2013 Honda PCX150 has a competent front disc brake, though you won't want to use it on its own. Instead, operate the left-hand brake lever, which actuates a mechanical linked braking system. With the rear drum and front disc working in concert, the PCX150 slows down quickly. The rear wheel can skid, so don't simply grab handfuls of brakes.
Ergonomics are compact on the 2013 Honda PCX150 scooter. The bars, as mentioned, are excellent. The floorboards are long enough to allow repositioning of your feet on longer rides, and the angle up at the front for even more legroom and comfort.
Seat padding has been improved for 2013-not a big deal, but the seat is comfortable and sits a manageable 30 inches high. The passenger will definitely be happy. The perch is sizable and the footrests wide and well positioned. However, be ready for a serious performance hit two-up. Remember, it's still just 153cc back at the rear wheel.
Honda offers the 2013 PCX150 in Metallic Black or Candy Red. I think the Candy Red is the way to go, unless you're trying to be stealth. The styling is modern, so it's not like you don't want to be noticed. Honda Genuine Accessories include a rear trunk and windscreen. We were big fans of the old 125cc PCX.
We had one for a while, and it did everything we asked. One thing we didn't ask was the older scooter to do was take on the freeway. With the 2013 Honda PCX150, the freeway is in reach, especially in urban areas where the speed limit is restricted to 55 mph. In town, the PCX150 is hugely fun and practical, and that's what a scooter is all about.
Originally published in the July 2012 issue of UltimateMotorcycling.com