MD First Ride: 2011 Honda PCX 125 -…

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Honda ANF 125

MD First Ride: 2011 PCX 125

Do you need a scooter?

Even of you who despise scoots as fruity girl-mobiles may have asked this question. That’s a scooter is designed as a transportation first and a recreational tool Contrast that with motorcycles, which are often with performance, cosmetics or considerations placed before how the thing actually gets … from one place to

Let’s face it: anyone who has a scooter will tell you for short commutes and errands, hard to beat. Easy to no need to work a clutch, clothes stay cleaner, and room for your stuff the seat or in a locking trunk.

If was a perfect scooter size, it probably be on the smaller side of the It’s always nice to more power, but to make a fast, it also has to be pretty and that weight is usually where you don’t want it: in the swingarm/drive unit. Once you get too over 150cc, that mass starts getting If you need to go really fast, you have a motorcycle or a car already,

Of course, too small and you start ridiculous, not too mention terrified as you losing stoplight drag to homicidal Volvo-driving soccer and distracted delivery-van drivers. The spot? 100 to 200cc, if you ask me.

Honda must agree: Big Red now has models in that zone: the and now, new for 2011, the PCX 125. hopes it’s the perfect not too fast, not too slow, not too small and not so big it will discourage newbies. The is 60 percent of PCX owners will be buyers.

They may be a little over the pros and cons of the PCX vs. the 110, as the two products perform and are priced within $300 of other, but Honda is probably shoppers want more one style of scooter in this category.

For $3,399, that new gets some technology have to look hard and for 10 years ago. The 125cc is a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single cam design with an 11.0:1 ratio. Honda’s V-Matic transmission gets power to the wheel.

The frame is steel with a unit-construction swingarm, and the stretches 51.4 inches; but not tiny. Wheels are 14-inchers skinny bias-ply tires, a in front and 100/90-14 in back—a between the full-size wheels on the (which means less under the seat) and smaller that give a jouncy, ride over urban and bumps.

Braking is another area sets the PCX apart. There is a disc and three-piston caliper in and a drum out back, but there’s an interesting combined braking The rear drum is linked to the three-piston caliper with a mechanism that prevents the brake from being before the rear, maximizing by evenly distributing stopping between the front and rear

That’s a lot of tech on a 125cc So to keep costs down, the PCX is first offering to the USA market its Thailand factory, so it can still be affordably, if not exactly cheaply. But one trick left out is an “idling system” that automatically the motor during prolonged and restarts it as the throttle is turned.

claimed to net a five-percent savings in economy but was left off the USA version riding here tends to be a mix of city and rural riding, would minimize the benefits of the system.

Like all Honda the PCX felt well-made, familiar and Build quality is quite with interesting design like the chrome bezel swivels with the handlebar. I the seating position very and natural, but taller riders me (I’m 5′ 6”) may be a little cramped.

The seat isn’t especially low at inches, but it’s narrow at the front, so shorter folks can easily handle the bike.

obsessive product development through when you ride the The motor isn’t what you (or would call fearsome, but it pull the 280-pound (ready to scooter ahead of competing letting you maintain your cushion and ride safely. I the motor felt a little in the mid range, and a little rough and nearing maximum rpm, but at average 30-50 mph boulevard-cruising it was just right.

Top speed can an indicated 60 mph if you have a gentle slope.

Handling is where scooters endear themselves to me, and the PCX has it Steering is quick and light, but still stable and confidence-inspiring in sweeping turns. There’s cornering clearance to have fun too, although I did manage to the centerstand tang once or riding Rancho Palos tight, bumpy coast

The bike’s light weight is handy when it comes to as the small disc and three-piston joined forces with the drum to produce quick, stops—it was difficult to skid the tire.

After an hour of riding, the PCX it’s not a tourer. Even the seat is comfortable for a while, ample legroom for average-sized and there’s even a bit of wind eventually I was feeling a little and cramped. But I was stunned to find the LCD fuel gauge hadn’t a single bar, even 50 or more miles on the odometer.

it was broken, but Honda claims 110 which means the PCX could 176 miles out of its 1.6-gallon tank.

Honda ANF 125

a good place to stop and about the economics of scooter At such a low buy-in, it’s a scooter owner would thousands, even tens of of dollars if he or she replaced a car with a But who’s going to do that?

likely you would supplement car with a scooter, using the car to passengers and cargo and the scooter it’s just a short to work or the store. So I did some if you rode the scooter 1/2 the time, and a 15-mpg SUV 1/2 the time, would the gas justify the approximate $1700 cost of financing, maintaining, and gassing up a scoot like the

Figuring you drive 15,000 a year it wouldn’t make with $3.00-a-gallon gasoline: only save $1,300 a on gas, and the scooter would run you $1,506 (not counting the first year. But at four a gallon, you’d save a year. And if gas got over the six-dollar (“oh, that could happen here,” you may say, but it time), you’d save a bucks a year, and still be to drive a manly-man truck you wanted to.

Of course, there are other to riding a scooter: parking may be reduced or eliminated, in California, you can through stopped traffic, and go crazy for scooters. Really.

the Italian company that Aprilia, Piaggio and Vespa-branded even has a word for this: It’s as if some cosmic is paying you to ride a scooter. And can you put a on the fun you know you’ll have (so as your friends don’t see zipping along on a sunny Sure, scooters are slow, but a 280-pound motorized vehicle is addictive.

Just ask a Shriner.

In bopping-around-town mode, the PCX shines. stowage is generous—there’s room for a and other gear under the (25 liters, in fact), and an accessory can fit another helmet. No room to grocery bags (or a purse) on the like some scooters—the comes up too high.

But there’s a parking brake, instrumentation, a locking ignition (to keep screwdriver-wielding thieves and a remote fuel-door release. classy. But the PCX is expensive compared to 125cc scoots.

Aprilia’s 125 is only $2899, and Kymco’s 125 is just $2049. But some are good enough to deserve a price; if you can afford the good get the good stuff.

So do you need a Not if you’re 100-percent satisfied the way a motorcycle handles short-range But if you do decide a scooter makes the PCX is affordable, friendly, well-made and fun to

Wear a full-face helmet a mirrored visor, and nobody ever know.

Photos by and Kevin Wing


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