By: Kevin Hipp
The new Honda PCX150 Scooter, introduced as a 2013 model, is compact, eye-catching and sports a bigger engine than its previous incarnation, the PCX125. That means it can do the one thing many scooters can’t—go legally onto the freeway (at least in California). While not providing supersonic speed, the PCX150 allows commuters to zip along beyond the surface streets, making it more practical for daily use and longer trips.
The 153cc liquid-cooled engine is surprisingly useful on a six-lane freeway, at least for short bursts, bringing my 135-pound mass to an indicated 70 mph. That should be enough power for most scooter fans, though even that velocity can make you a moving chicane on SoCal freeways. The large-for-a-scooter 14-inch wheels roll over bumps and dips in the tarmac without getting knocked off-line. Few small scooters, the PCX150 included, are truly ideal for the open road, but, as expected, the Honda excels in stop-and-go traffic and when cruising down to your local market.
Power delivery through the automatic transmission is smooth and easy, yet there's still enough “oomph” to make it fun. Honda’s CBS linked-braking system works well, stopping the 286 lb. machine smartly by applying pressure to the front brake (a disc) even when the operator only pulls the rear brake (a drum) lever.
An advantage scooters have over most motorcycles is built-in lockable storage compartments, and here the PCX follows the trend. A 1.5-liter compartment just left of the steering column holds gloves, wallets, house keys and other small items. Under the seat, a 25-liter storage bin can hold most full-face helmets, a jacket, or a few bags of groceries. The seat pops open with a button to the right of the ignition switch. The key must be turned to the proper setting on the switch for it to work, and there's a small device on the back of the key that allows a cover plate to slide over the keyhole, preventing thieves from jamming a screwdriver into the switch and possibly riding off with your scoot.
The non-step-through design may take a little getting used to, and taller riders may feel a bit cramped in the cockpit. But the majority of riders will be happy with the PCX's ergonomics and simple operation. With a 102 mpg estimated fuel economy, modest price tag, and stylish modern looks the PCX150 is one strong contender in the mid-size scooter market.
Lastly, while this scooter generates enough power to go on most open roads, highway requirements for scooters vary by state, so check yours before you plop down the $3449 for the PCX.
Originally published in the November 2012 issue of Motorcyclist.