2011 Honda PCX 125

Text: Florian Neuhauser • Photography: Christa Neuhauser, Florian Neuhauser

Honda’s recent addition to its scooter lineup is a fun alternative to driving to the office or around town in a car, and the 125cc engine is the heart of this sporty-looking commuter. The quality seat is firm and comfortable, and the passenger seat sits higher thanks to a raised rear section. Stop-and-go traffic is rare in this part of North Carolina, so even on super hot days, when the temperature passes 100 degrees, a ride on the scoot is just what the doctor ordered.

On a quiet, mild Saturday morning, I tag along with Christa for a visit to Old Salem, a historic district of Winston-Salem, NC, where RoadRUNNER has its offices. Members of the Moravian church originally settled this area. Visitors are often familiar with Moravians because of the group’s namesake cookies, which are especially plentiful at Christmas. In 1766, construction on Salem began by groups sent south from Pennsylvania, where space for the religious community was getting tight. Salem consisted of 100,000 acres in a tract named Wachovia. Salem was to be the economic and religious center of the Wachovia tract. Other communities formed around it, but its focus was on agriculture. When Forsyth County was created in 1857, Salem declined to be the county seat. It sold property to the north to create a new town, Winston, which became the county seat and grew into an industrial center. Salem merged with Winston in 1913, becoming Winston-Salem. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, founded in 1875, used its hometown for two of its cigarette brands, Winston and Salem.

We find out that the PCX’s suspension does a great job of handling uneven cobblestone streets, and even two up isn’t difficult. It doesn’t lose too much power as we ride on inclines, either. On straights the scooter can reach 55 mph, and crouching on downhill stretches brings the needle to almost 65. But in Old Salem, speeds like that will get anyone in trouble, so we maintain the speed limit. The PCX really is the perfect city commuter. Like almost every scooter, there’s a lag in the throttle because of the automatic transmission, but it pulls swiftly away from traffic lights. It handles very well, especially in tight city surroundings, and the side and center stand make it easy to park just about anywhere. It’s powered by a 125cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine. The scooter is easy to ride with its V-Matic transmission, which requires no shifting. The seat height is comfortable at 29.9 inches and is manageable even for a tall person. It holds 1.6 gallons of fuel and has a range of about 110 miles depending how much you twist the throttle.

As we continue to explore, I realize Old Salem is one of the most inviting and active historic districts I’ve visited. Volunteers dressed in period costumes roam the streets and buildings. And even as we scoot past the market square, where students at Salem College are practicing yoga poses, the community’s charm shines through. Touring the area doesn’t take long, but there is good food to be had at Salem Tavern. Plus there are fresh-baked goods at Winkler Bakery and hidden treasures up and down little side streets. Overall, the PCX was a fun and economical way to get around Old Salem, and best of all I got some crisp and sugary Moravian cookies out of it. RR