2013 Honda PCX150: City Slicker

2013 Honda PCX150: City Slicker

Scooters are great for urban rides, so I borrowed Honda’s 2013 PCX150 for a day. Starting at California’s Huntington Beach Honda, I take the long way to the Lyon Air Museum near John Wayne Airport, stop for lunch at Memphis Soul Café in Costa Mesa, and then take the freeway back.

The 2013 PCX has an updated, more powerful 153cc engine, which is now freeway capable. The single-cylinder, four-stroke engine in the new PCX is not just a bored-out iteration of the 2011 125cc version. It was totally reworked to run cooler and more efficiently. However, the additional 28cc on the PCX didn’t change its exceptional fuel efficiency much–it gets about 102 mpg (the 2011 model squeezed out around 110 mpg), so it will run for about 160 miles on its 1.6-gallon tank.

The freeway-capable PCX has 14-inch tires and Honda's Combined Braking System.

At 286 pounds, the new scooter is six pounds heavier, and the rear suspension has more travel (3.1 inches compared to 2.9). The seat is more cushioned. The PCX has distinctive Honda-sporty looks and appears similar to the CBR 250 R from the front. Nimble is an understatement, and it zooms around corners easily with its motorcycle-style bars. Stopping is handled by Honda’s Combined Braking System (CBS), which unites the front 220mm disc and the rear drum brakes. The right lever does front braking like normal. The left lever activates both front and rear but not precisely at the same time. A spring mechanism delays the activation of the front, minimizing the risk of front-tire lock up.

Take the key fob, twist it over the ignition, and a cover appears to hide the keyhole.

While most full-face helmets can fit inside the 25-liter under-seat storage, my modular helmet doesn’t, so at the Lyon Air Museum I use the hook-and-loop helmet lock. After taking in the impressive collection of rare machines, including old Indian motorcycles, DC-3 and B-17 aircraft, and some of Steve McQueen’s bikes, I head over to Memphis Soul Café for gumbo and Zuni frybread. I stow the leftovers in the storage compartment.

The PCX150 has roomy floorboards, even for taller riders. A centerstand and a parking brake means it can be left on hills or in the tightest of spots. A locking front compartment is handy for expensive gadgets, and if you take the key fob and twist over the ignition, a cover appears over the keyhole to discourage would-be thieves.

Flip-up helmets won't fit under the seat, but there's a hook-and-loop holder to secure your lid.

On the freeway back, the scoot did not disappoint. Many scooters have wheels that look like they came off a Tonka toy, but the PCX has 14-inchers that add to its freeway confidence. It has excellent stability even at 70 mph, although it takes a bit of patience to get to that speed if you are used to bigger bikes.

The PCX150 meets current California Air Resources Board (CARB) and EPA standards, and a 35-liter top box is coming soon, which will surely accommodate a modular helmet. Despite all the upgrades the PCX received, the MSRP only increased by $ 50 (now $ 3,449). This scooter is available in Candy Red and Metallic Black. True, it can’t go as fast as a “real” motorcycle, but what’s the hurry anyway? The journey is the best part.

Technical Specs

+          Freeway capable and ridiculously fuel efficient.

-           Modular and larger-sized full-face helmets don’t fit in the underseat storage.

Distributor                  Honda
MSRP                             $ 3,449
Engine                          SOHC single-cylinder four-stroke
Displacement            153cc
Bore and Stroke       58mmx57.9mm
Fuel Delivery             PGM-FI w/ automatic enrichment
Power                            n/a
Cooling                         liquid
Ignition                        digital w/ electronic advance
Transmission            Honda V-Matic belt-converter
                                         automatic transmission
Front Suspension    31mm hydraulic fork; 3.5in travel
Rear Suspension      twin shock; 3.1in travel
Rake/Trail                   27º/3.4in (86mm)
Brakes Front/Rear  single 220mm disc w/ 3-piston caliper / drum w/ CBS
Tires Front/Rear       90/90-14/100/90-14
Curb Weight                286lbs
Wheelbase                    51.8in (1316mm)
Seat Height                  29.9in (759mm)
Fuel Capacity              1.6gal (6l)
Fuel Consumption   102mpg
Colors                             Candy Red, Metallic Black