How it happened I know not, but in the excitement of new Indians, Svartpilens, and whatever else I rode this past year, the freshly upgraded 2019 Honda PCX150 escaped my attention. When my mistake hove into view, I immediately alerted the Honda authorities and borrowed one up.
“Endowed with a new frame, revised intake and exhaust system, multiple comfort-enhancing features, and optional ABS,” says Honda, “the PCX150 combines practicality and fun, now with a more premium feel and improved handling.”
Specifically, to wit, directly from Honda’s PR:
No, that’s not Mike Hailwood in the lead photo, it’s Christine Rogers in her first starring role for Motorcycle.com, throwing the mighty Honda on its side at Creg-ny-baa. Okay, really it’s a barbershop downtown; the beauty is you don’t have to leave town to have a hoot on this Honda. Chrissy’s been having the itch to ride her own motorcycle ever since she took up with me a few years ago (not severe enough to scratch it), but when the sweet PCX150 showed up at the compound, it was time. Right after we obtained her learner’s permit at DMV, of course.
CORRECTION! It was time right after she attended a two-day Motorcycle Safety Foundation safety course, courtesy of Honda, at its Colton rider education facility, at the insistence of the MO Legal Department.
With the 2.1-gallon tank topped up, Honda says the PCX weighs 289 pounds, and the nature of the scooter means most of that weight’s located just about cankle height. Stepping over with her haughty yet nimble 5-foot zero-inch self, Rogers felt in complete command. As always.
Following a bit more instruction, in a much bigger parking lot than the MSF one at more realistic speeds, our little bird was ready to take flight.
Here’s her report:
I found being in the front and not the rear of a moto to be a real joy ride!
I was apprehensive about handling and keeping all that weight upright at stops; I feared my short legs wouldn’t work, but even at 5’0″, I found I could get my feet where they needed to be to hold us up just fine at stops. Don’t know what I was afraid of; I managed fine and gained confidence quickly. Let the record show this is the first time John has been right about a thing.
It is awesome how quickly it was to learn to ride the PCX. Going slow is not the way to learn! As soon as I gassed it after first take-off, I left the wobbly zone behind and all was a hoot after that. Like learning to ski all those years ago, get past the snowplow, get a little speed up, all is revealed. Not shifting was awesome; I could concentrate on traffic and not running into things.
Managing turns was also easier than anticipated. I was using only back brake like a bicycle at first, but found conjunction of front or front alone easily and quickly stops the scooter with no fishtailing.
The seat is supercomfy, and the cutout at the front means you could ride the thing even if you were shorter than I am. Handlebars, too, are fine for shorter arms like mine. The only sore spot for me is that the brakes are a bit high-effort compared to everything else; stopping is like using those grip exerciser squeezers, a thing I normally eschew.
Aside from that, I love that scooting is a fun way to hop, skip, and tend to a normally boring errand. I can’t wait to hop on and go shopping for new helmet, jackets and boots! I’ll probably need the trunk accessory.
Christine’s right about the brakes. I wasn’t able to engage ABS up front with two fingers, and when I tried again with all four from about 50 mph, YEeeoww SCREECH!, I realized mine’s not the ABS model. It was a Marquez moment. You CAN lock the front using four fingers, but if you generally only use two, the brakes are weak enough you probably don’t need to pay extra for ABS unless you ride in the wet a lot. Neither brake lever is span-adjustable, and both are also less comfortable to squeeze than a flatter style lever would be. Easy enough to replace.
Thus endeth the complaints, really. Four years ago, when we comparison-tested the PCX against Yamaha’s SMAX scoot, the Honda lost mainly because it was governed to a top speed of 63 mph indicated. For 2019, the Honda has thrown off its shackles, and accelerates, not exactly smartly but fast enough to put the hurt on most cars, to 69 mph. We like to think that’s in homage to the late, great Nicky Hayden, but now and then the digital speedo will even flicker to the big seven-oh. Seven mph more may not seem like much, but it is enough to feel like you no longer have a target on your back on the freeway if you keep it in the right lanes, and 10% more top end does feel like a big improvement.
On its 14-inch wheels at top whack, stability is never an issue, and the ride is reasonably comfortable and well-damped, even two-up. Maximum weight capacity is 366 pounds, which means we can both balloon up to 183 without risking structural failure. Which could happen, since this thing encourages you to take advantage of every local Earlybird special.
Not on the freeway, which is where the PCX really belongs, is a hoot, like Christine says, and makes realizing you’re out of cumin or cat food or whatever a happy occasion. I’ll be right back! Zipping around residential streets from 20 to 60 mph, grabbing the little scoot’s linked brakes and flinging its 289 pounds into corners and tight spots in traffic makes you want to get out more. There’s a condo complex between me and the grocery and hardware stores, with curving streets laid out to slow the cars down; it’s become my own little Circuito Catalunya. They’re not powerful, but the brakes do have great feel, and the power feeds back in nice and smooth. Drag the rear like Doohan. The PCX is a tiny CBR in disguise.
And, you’re so cute, nobody objects when you park right in front of wherever it is you’re going. Like riding a Harley, lots of people want to tell you about the scooter they used to have but had to quit riding because they were going to kill themselves, or their brother or aunt had… while you slowly paddle out backwards, nodding, and rrrreeeEEEEEE off you go.
The storage compartment isn’t huge, but it’ll handle a 12-pack of cans (not bottles) and a smallish bag of groceries. My Shoei Neotec 2 won’t quite fit without causing a gap between seat and bodywork, but a smaller helmet will – and Honda includes a helmet loop and underseat hook so you can lock a helmet or two outside the storage compartment. A small glove box in the left fairing will hold small items including your phone, and contains a 12-volt cigarette-lighter outlet for charging it: Hello, Siri.
There it is, faster, more fashionable and just as freeing AF as ever. I don’t understand why more people don’t keep one of these things around the house. When I’m President, I may proclaim that every American youth shall be issued one upon their 16th birthday, which would serve the dual benefits of getting the kids off the couch, and negating the need for local public transportation, at a fraction of the price. In the meantime, no need to thank me.
|2019 Honda PCX150 Specifications|
|MSRP||$3,699 ($3,999 w ABS)|
|Engine Type||149 cc, liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke|
|Fuel System||PGM-FI with automatic enrichment|
|Valve Train||SOHC, two valves|
|Transmission||Honda V-Matic belt-converter automatic transmission|
|Front Suspension||31mm hydraulic fork; 3.94 inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension||Twin shock, 3.33 inches of travel|
|Front Brake||Single 220mm disc with three-piston caliper and Combined Braking System|
|Rear Brake||130mm drum with CBS|
|Seat Height||30.1 inches|
|Weight||289 pounds (claimed, ready to ride)|
|Fuel Capacity||2.1 gallons|
|Tested Fuel Economy||85 mpg|
|Available Colors||Bright Bronze Metallic|
|Warranty||Transferable one-year unlimited-mileage limited warranty|