2013 Honda PCX150
Property of drumsmack Added May 2013 Location: Near Seattle, WA
Gone are the wild days of GSX-R600 titanium super-sport hyper-performance. Yes, I traded my 2004 “Buzz” the Gixxer for a 2013 Honda PCX 150.
The PCX is a freeway capable two seat scooter with enough zip to peak at 70mph, but rolls in style at the lower city / suburban interconnect speeds.
Lets face it, I go 50-55mph on the freeway in my car (Astro the Prius), so the PCX has all the gusto I need for commuting.
Howard's heart is a 153cc "Enhance Smart Power/ ESP) liquid cooled PGM-FI 4 stroke single that hums away with digital "Electronic Advance/ EA" ignition through a two valve SOCH head that exhausts with a PAIR, ECM, EGR, SCR-2Way clean emissions setup that produces about 13HP with ultra low emissions.
Power is transmitted to his rear wheel in a sealed belt driven automatic CVT type drive system that gives spry city acceleration along with frugal highway performance and around 100MPG's depending on riding style. This level of efficiency was achieved by redesigned the belt material and optimizing the bearings in the transmission to reduce friction. The final drive ratio is "CVT" and can vary from 3.7:1 to 0.8:1, essentially giving it the same ratio range as a 6 or seven speed conventional transmission.
The commuter friendly seating position is plush compared to the racing geometry of the Gixxer and with Meg on the back we can actually spoon ride now ;)
Unsurprisingly the shorter wheel base and smaller wheels gives the PCX nimble steering response akin to a pedal bicycle, while the highway rolling is corresponding less stable like a bicycle going at freeway speeds.
Howard has more than enough power to tow Meg and I up steep hills at 40+ mph, while cruising in traffic is a breeze with the automatic transmission. Even Meg will be able to operate this beast safely ;) once I train her well in the art of 2 wheel motorized transportation fashion.
Styling is a mixed bag and a far cry from the lust worthy sleek carved appearance of the foregone customized Gixxer. I feel like I lost a friend when I said Goodbye to buzz the Gixxer today. I know that he will make someone very happy with his spirited -1 rear gearing and power-commander/ K&N/ titanium yoshi combo. That said the under-seat storage, nav-mount friendly bars, plush seating position, stellar fuel economy, glove box, and high maneuverability give the PCX enough practicality pluses to out-way the cool factor of the Gixxer for my current and future purposes.
I spent 4 years on Buzz and had enough super-sport fun for the rest of my life. If I ever get another large bike it will be of the "adventure or touring/ cruiser geometry".
I must practice what I preach, and fuel economy has long been an interest of mine. In choosing to trade Buzz the Gixxer for Howard the Honda PCX I was reminded of choosing the Astro the Prius over a Subaru WRX. While the WRX is a much cooler car, the Prius is more “me”.
I am a nerdy energy conservation enthusiast, and the Gixxer was a quirk leftover from an era past when I was a motor-sports enthusiast with ICE zeal to spare. As you may well be able to tell, I still think about vehicles often :)
At only 286lbs ready to roll with a full tank of gas, Howard is a full 134lb's lighter than Buzz, and you can really feel it through the short wheel base and smaller wheel setup. Handling is fluid, crisp, and snappy like nothing else I have ever ridden. It dips and rolls effortlessly.
They sound completely different as well. Buzz the Gixxer got his name because of the “buzzy” engine noises emitted by the four individual throttle body stacks under his gas tank: the tight spring titanium valve setup in buzz let his heart race to a staggering 15,500 RPM's, and it made this delightful buzz when revved north of 5K, especially around 9K and 11K. Howard gets his name from his mild manner hum, which reminds me of the dull but comprehensible voice of an old man I once knew of the same name. You can hear Howards little engine sing, but the song it emits is soft enough to talk over easily, something that Meg and I enjoyed when riding together on Howard today.
Deep down I really wanted an electric super comfy touring cruiser bike with ultra long range, but those are clearly many years away from commercialization from a quality manufacturer like Honda.
For now my +1 is going from around 43MPG (Buzz's approximate average fuel economy) to north of 90MPG's and perhaps north of 100 if I am really frugal on the throttle positions. Range on a full tank is estimated at 160 miles, given the 1.6 gallon tank and estimated 102MPG's according to Honda. I will likely try to stick to fueling up every 100 miles for safety.
It is only my first day and I logged in just over 48 miles, so it will fun to see tomorrow when I fill up for the first time how the fuel economy turns out for the first tank. I expect it might be a little lower because the engine is still breaking in (for the first 600 miles). It will be an interesting summer. I plan to commute daily to work on Howard the Honda when the weather is fair. I will alternate between Howard and Ebert the Electric Bicycle. Ebert's profile is not on her because he consumes only a little tiny bit of electricity (to charge his 36v 12AH 430Wh Li Iron Phosphate battery)
Onward with Howard the PCX, Astro the Prius, Ebert the Electrified Bike and Schwinger the pedal only Bicycle.
*** Day 2 Update
Not done today, but logged in 116.5mi at my first fill up, using 1.176 gal of shells finest regular unleaded pump gas. When driven to keep up with traffic it appears to be super fuel efficient :)
*** Day 3 and 4 Update
After my second gas fill up I was smiling from ear to ear. Gas prices just shot up in my area, and having Howard in my fleet is a real pleasure :) Fun to operate and highly efficient! Well done Honda, Well Done!
Update July 2014
Switched over to ethanol free gasoline a while back to enhance the longevity of the scooter. Ethanol additives in most reformulated gasoline is bad for small engines.
With Meg on the back, we headed to the local ethanol free gas station and filled up before hopping onto I90 east to test the PCX150 on the highway climbing a mountain pass. At highway speeds climbing the pass the PCX behaves like a semi-truck, with the throttle mostly twisted it can go 55MPH on the steepest parts loaded down with Meg and I. With a wet weight of 286lbs, Meg and I weight a combined ~315lbs : add in 10lbs of gear and that brings the gross vehicle weight to 611lbs. Fuel economy fully loaded going over the pass was excellent, around 90MPG.
Most of the time I use the PCX it is with Meg on the back. In this configuration our fuel average seems to hover around 90MPG :)
The short wheelbase is not ideas for highway cruising, but it works fine on the highway for a 153cc scooter :) Honda's excellent engineering allows the PCX to return the fuel economy of a 50cc scooter, with cleaner emissions and performance that approaches the larger 300 size class scooters.
I admittedly find the 2014 Honda Forza quite appealing because of its longer wheel base, larger trunk, greater power, greater top speed, larger fuel tank, and more complete dash setup, but the fuel economy at ~65MPG is not that great. At 422lbs wet, the Forza is also a beast by comparison to the PCX. On this note I have also been eyeing the 2015 Honda CB300F. I love Howard the PCX and will keep him until something far more fuel efficient launches. When Honda produces a Scooter with 200MPH EPA (150MPG real world) that can go 90MPH max, and can cruise at 70MPH with Meg and I on-board, then and only then will we consider parting with Howard.
Honda claims 71MPG for some of their machines that interest me. While that is good fuel economy, it is not that great for a two wheel vehicle. My 2005 Prius at more than 3000lbs, with 8 air bags and air-conditioning, etc, returns 45MPG falling off a log and even better fuel economy if mild hypermiling techniques are utilized behind the wheel. A 300lbs scooter should be able to easily get 200MPG with performance similar to the Prius.
Speaking of which the PCX has an interesting transmission setup that gives it superlative off the line performance. The transmission gear is also such that by 68MPH the highest gear ratio is achieved and the engine is at 9600RPM. When Honda can squeeze something like 20HP out of the 153cc motor, they can change the gearing to let it spin slower at 55MPH, and that could be one way to get into stratospheric fuel economy territory worthy of future model year revisions. Turbo-charging and continuously variable valve timing would also help. Replacing steel with aluminum in the frame could shave off even more weight, and putting more effort into aerodynamics would reduce drag and improve fuel economy. While the PCX is wonderful, there are clearly many engineering tricks that Honda can deploy in future model revisions to give better fuel economy, improved range, and better performance.
The 2015 PCX150 is now out : from the Press Release check out the highlights
New for 2015
Upgraded 153cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine is more fuel efficient thanks to additional friction-reduction measures applied to engine internals.
New bodywork gives this modern scooter a sportier look that captures a distinctive, motorcycle-like style.
New passenger seat adds to rider and passenger comfort.
Larger 2.1-gallon fuel tank, up from 1.56 gallons.
Compact dual LED headlights, taillight, turn signals and license plate light add a distinctive look while producing brilliant illumination.
Large, lockable under-seat storage space, which can hold a full-face helmet and more, now features a new spring-loaded hinge so it stays open for more convenient access.
New hazard light function has been added.
Integral 12-volt adaptor is a convenient charging point for personal electronics.
Available in Metallic Black and Pearl White colors.
Instrumentation includes added fuel consumption readout and clock, plus speedometer, odometer, trip meter and fuel gauge.
Theft deterrent ignition system cover and steering lock help provide security when parked.
Sidestand and centerstand offer parking versatility.
Helmet hook under seat.
Storage compartment under dash for small items.
Fuel tank located under floorboard for lower center of gravity and enhanced riding traits.
- $3.93 Avg Price/Gallons
- $3.83 Avg Price/Fuel-up
- $0.04 Avg Price/Mile
- $57.42 Total Spent
Total Miles Tracked
Potential Savings Per Fuel-up
Using the last fuel-up as a guide, here is what this vehicle could have saved with better mileage.