Here in the Twin Cities we are lucky to have a large network of parkways and a fair number of surface-street alternates that allow us to get around without requiring high-speed freeways. Now that I think about it, those freeways aren’t very “high-speed” during rush hours. This allows us to consider scooters in the 150cc class as viable commuters. The Honda PCX – recently upped to 150cc displacement from its previous 125cc size – is a modern machine that looks to be a good choice for commuting duty.
The Honda PCX150 ($3,449) is powered by a 153cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected single cylinder 4-stroke engine and gets power to the 14-inch rear wheel through an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
The first thing I noticed when starting the scooter is how quiet that process is. The PCX doesn’t have a conventional bendix starter motor, but instead utilizes the alternator as a direct drive starter.
The seat has a fixed position support for the driver that is right on the edge of intrusive for me. Seat height is 29 inches and the floorboards on either side of the tunnel offer both flat and foot-forward positions for the rider. Passengers get flip-out foot pegs.
The exposed handlebar of the PCX made it super-simple to mount a GPS and begin testing. I headed on to a highway to test Honda’s claimed “faster” performance. It’s responsive off the line, if not quick, and acceleration is linear up to about 50mph; roll-on was good from 15 to 40mph. Honda lists the top speed of the PCX150 at 70mph, but I was not able to achieve that. The GPS showed 63mph was all I could get out of it.
The vast majority of scooters we test are optimistic to the tune of 10-15%. Not so with the PCX, at an indicated 30mph the actual speed was … 30mph. At 40mph indicated the actual speed was 39mph, and at 50mph indicated the actual speed was 48mph. The Honda PCX150 is ever so slightly optimistic. The odometer was right on with our actual test of 11 miles indicating 11 miles.
Fuel economy was very good. I ran three tests of varying distances. The first test was only 50 miles and included my searching for that top speed and some highway runs. That time I got 80mpg. The next test was 50 miles of just about all parkway riding at 30-40mph and I saw 93mpg. The last was the cumulative mileage over 180 miles and included the first two checks for an average of 88mpg.
Fourteen-inch wheels front and rear and adequate if a touch soft suspension give a very compliant ride over what passes for roads in the Twin Cities these days.
Braking was easy to modulate under normal conditions and didn’t prove dramatic. The disc front and drum rear combination is strong enough for a scooter of this size and the linked brakes help in most conditions. At 279 lbs., it’s one of the heavier scooters in its class.
The control configuration is mostly standard for a modern automatic scooter. The left hand controls the rear and front brakes – linked brakes are more commonly found in larger machines. The high and low beam headlight switch is above the horn, which is above the turn signal switch. This is a little unusual, the horn is typically on the bottom and I hit the horn switch by mistake thinking I was cancelling the turn signals more than once. The right hand controls the throttle, front brake, engine kill switch and electric starter. The multi-function key operated switch is also set up just a little differently from the standard configuration. There is a security cover to help prevent punching out the ignition. There is also a key position between “ON” and “OFF” that allows the switch to the right of the key-switch to operate the seat and fuel filler door releases. There is a parking brake lever on the left side lower down on the leg shield interior.
Lighting is adequate. The headlight is good, but the brake and turn signal indicators are conventional bulbs. LED would have been nice. The dash is relatively basic. A large round analog speedometer in the center, turn signal indicators on either side in the upper position, a temperature warning light in the left/center position along with the mode button and a high beam indicator below that. To the right side of the speedometer is a digital multifunction display that includes a fuel gauge and odometer. The mode button displays and resets the trip meter.
Storage is adequate with a small glove box and good underseat space. The tall tunnel eliminates any possibility of floorboard storage. I had no problem fitting my XXL three-quarter helmet under the seat. Adding a topcase requires the addition of a mount and it looks to me like drilling out the cover of the existing grab rail is the only way to attach a topcase mount.
As for looks, the fit of the body panels is flawless as is the color-coat. Glossy, even and durable are the words that come to mind. Nothing squeaks, nothing rattles, everything works.
Ultimately, the PCX150 is a practical scooter with Honda reliability and suitable power. So, if you’re looking for a modern surface street commuter, you’d have a hard time finding one better.
Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates the website JustGottaScoot.com