With no immediate solution to the worsening traffic in Metro Manila, competition in the scooter segment continues to heat up.
Car owners are still tempted to leave their four-wheelers in the garage, opting for more affordable, fuel efficient, and versatile scooters as their urban commuter just to make it on time for their daily appointments. Even when it comes to parking areas, scooter owners are the least of your worries because almost all shopping malls have dedicated an area for two-wheelers.
Talking about scooters, the Honda PCX 150 is emerging as among the top choices for this category. Seeing the PCX grow steadily in ranks, we started wondering why riders from the working class choose this particular scooter model. We hopped on a PCX 150 from Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI) and took it for a spin in Metro Manila for a few days to find out.
Hands down, the stylish fascia of the PCX 150 is its most striking feature. The full-size, bullet-shaped front fairing shows the efforts made by Honda engineers to come up with a design that’s not targeted solely at young riders, but aimed at professionals as well—and by the latter we mean those with steady incomes.
The PCX’s modern design also proves that Honda does not need to cling to the Italian motif and has become a standard for many of its competitors. From head to tail, the PCX’s silhouette highlights its sexy body lines reminiscent of the Shinkansen or Japanese bullet train, which is synonymous to speed.
The V-shaped LED headlight has better visibility at nighttime. At the rear end, the PCX becomes easily recognizable with its uniquely shaped LED taillight.
L0ok closer and you’ll notice the grab rail that looks more like a sleek, tiny rear wing from a supercar than just a safety handle for the passenger. Without the racing graphics and colorful logos, this scooter leans more toward elegance and luxury than sheer sportiness. No wonder it’s very appealing to professionals.
Riding scooters allow individuals to accomplish more than just one task in a day. But to be able to do this, your ride must be comfortable and convenient to use. Of course, the latter involves ease of parking and fuel cost.
The seat of Honda PCX is impressively wide and well-padded, pampering both the rider and passenger during long hours of travel. The seat is tapered toward the front end, allowing the rider to squeeze it with his two legs in order to have better control of the bike. When riding alone, the rider can move his bum anywhere on its spacious seat to stretch his leg and relax his muscles.
Propelled by a 149cc, single-cylinder SOHC engine with a claimed 13.3hp @ 8,500rpm and 13.3Nm @ 6,500rpm, the Honda PCX is a breeze to ride anywhere, anytime. From clear highways to traffic-prone areas, the throttle response of the PCX is always smooth as silk, without any signs of lag from its CVT (belt-driven).
Unlike other scooters with a single-cylinder mill, the PCX has surprisingly little vibration. Lesser vibration means lesser riding stress and fatigue.
Adding to the relaxing ride is the quiet exhaust system, allowing to enter the BGC area without fear of being flagged down by security guards who are on alert against noisy bikes.
Even in heavy traffic, the engine heat was almost unnoticeable while the idling remained stable.
Ride and handling
If I were to liken the Honda PCX 150 to something, it would be to a jet ski because of the almost identical body shape and relaxed, upright riding position. The Honda PCX glides on the road as if it’s floating on steady water.
The suspension damping was appropriately tuned to take different kinds of road conditions. The PCX performs well in any road condition—be it asphalt, concrete, cracked strees, and even speed bumps.
Tipping the scales at a lightweight 127kg, it takes little effort to lift the PCX and set the center stand. Although it appears to be a bit beefy and bulky at first glance, it’s easy to push it into a tight parking lot.
But I enjoyed the PCX most while attacking sweeping corners at high speed without fear of losing grip in the front or rear tire. It gave me the feeling the tires were on rails, helping me flawlessly execute racing lines. The ABS also helps boost my riding confidence.
Considering that the scooter segment eats up more than 50% of the sales pie, competition in this particular category has become tighter than ever. The model range for scooters expanded tremendously in the past years, giving prospective buyers a headache in gunning for the best choice.
So, what does it take for one to fall for the Honda PCX 150? First, its idling-stop system stretches fuel mileage (average consumption: 50km/L). Second, it takes rider ergonomics to a higher plane with its full LCD instrument panel. Third, a USB power outlet is installed inside the front compartment. And last, there’s a Smart Key System that allows the rider to start the engine without the hassle of inserting a traditional key in the ignition.
Honda is Honda. In terms of technological advancement and product quality standards, this iconic Japanese motorcycle brand really stands out among the rest. These is evident in the PCX’s fit and finish, seeing how Honda uses the best materials for its components and employing precision in the installation of every part.
In terms of styling and performance, this scooter commands respect on the road. We suspect this is why it’s among the top choices of riders from the working class.
SPECS: 2018 Honda PCX 150
Engine: 149cc SOHC liquid-cooled, four-stroke single cylinder
Power: 13.3hp @ 8,500rpm
Torque: 13.6Nm @ 6,500rpm
Transmission: continuously variable