New On The Outside, New On The Inside For 2018

Much like Honda’s mid-size Forza125 got some love ahead of the 2018 model year with new body shapes paired with features that fans of the family will readily recognize. An all-new foundation supports the PCX125 from the wheels up through the suspension and frame with ABS as the icing on the cake. A more powerful, 12-horsepower engine drives the 2018 model that targets that hotly-contested, and all-important, entry-level market. Will it be enough to compete in this field? Let’s dig right in and see how it stacks up against the most likely contenders.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda PCX125.

  • 2018 Honda PCX125
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    125 cc
  • Price:

Design

The new PCX125 delivers a mature, business-commuter junior look that should fit in nicely around town.

Honda’s little “Mini-Forza” has always had a bit of swank about it with much of the same flow that graced the earlier PCX125 versions, but this year the Red Riders stepped up the swagger-factor even more with new curves and contours. Dual, LED headlights split the wind at the entry of the front fairing with recessed turn-signal housings at the upper shoulders. As clean as that is, it pales next to the mirror-mount turn signals the factory used on the Forza, so there’s definitely some room for improvement there.

A shield like design dominates the front end as it spreads upwards from the headlights to form a small, vented flyscreen that provides the rider with some protection, though certainly not as much as a proper windshield. Tucked in behind the flyscreen is the digital LCD instrument panel that comes braced by a handful of idiot lights and turn-signal indicators to complete the package.

The step-through is significantly obstructed by the tunnel that also obliterates the ’tween-feet storage space, but the under-seat storage area was boosted by one liter. That gives a total of 28 liters and will easily hold a full face helmet. Plus, there’s always the secondary cargo area — otherwise known as the pillion seat — that comes complete with grab rails that make a good place to hang your bungee net. At the inner fairing, a left-hand fairing pocket that can hold a water bottle or charge your electronics from the 12-Volt adapter, not sure I’d do both at the same time, though.

The rearward lighting is pretty cool looking, I must confess, with stylish LED light bars to take care of business. Overall, the new PCX125 delivers a mature, business-commuter junior look that should fit in nicely around campus/town.

Chassis

2018 Honda PCX125
- image 780163
The rebuild knocked weight off the skeleton for increased maneuverability and agility.

The PCX’s underbone-style chassis was on the receiving end of an extensive rework that saw a duplex cradle made of steel-tubing members added as the foundation with a weight-saving main fairing brace made of plastic to replace the older/heavier steel member. Overall, the rebuild knocked a total of 5.29 pounds off the weight of the skeleton for increased maneuverability, and the factory doubled down on the agility with a steering head angle of 27 degrees and 3.38 inches of trail over the 51.69-inch wheelbase.

Both rims went to fat camp over the summer and weigh-in a collective 18-percent less than last year, plus, they come with larger hoops with a 100/80-14 up front and a 120/70-14 out back. C’mon guys, it’s OK to go ahead and bump that on up to 16 inches; we all promise to act like it was your idea.

Right-way-up front forks roll with 31 mm inner fork tubes and 3.5 inches of travel, and out back, the dual coil-over shocks were fitted with triple-rate springs (up from dual-rate) that give up 3.3 inches of travel. I’m a bit disappointed, if not surprised, to see a 130 mm drum brake out back. They’re fairly ubiquitous in the bottom displacement brackets, and with only 286 pounds (wet) to manage, it’s undoubtedly sufficient for the task. Up front, a 220 mm hydraulic disc takes care of business with a twin-pot caliper and ABS protection to keep the front end from breaking loose when you grab a fistful of brake lever.

Frame: Tubular steel duplex
Caster Angle: 27°
Trail: 86 mm (3.4 inches)
Suspension, Front: 31 mm telescopic fork, 89 mm (3.5 inches) axle travel
Suspension, Rear: Twin suspension aluminum swingarm, 84 mm (3.3 inches) axle travel
Wheel, Front: 8 spoke cast aluminum, 14M/C x MT2.15
Wheel, Rear: 8 spoke cast aluminum, 14M/C x MT3.50
Tire, Front: 100/8014M/C (48P)
Tire, Rear: 120/7014M/C (61P)
Brakes, Front: 220 mm hydraulic disc with combined 2 piston caliper with ABS
Brakes, Rear: 130 mm drum

Drivetrain

2018 Honda PCX125
- image 780151
The CVT gearbox delivers the same holeshot performance with stronger mid- to top-end acceleration making it safer and more comfortable to hit city traffic.

The factory managed to make the mill put out more top-end without the usual trade off of a diminished bottom end. Part of this gain comes from the enlarged, 26 mm throttle body and free-flowing exhaust that lets the engine breathe more freely, and it pays off to the tune of 12 horsepower at 8,500 rpm with 8.7 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm.

The liquid-cooled thumper runs a 52.4 mm bore and 57.9 mm stroke with an 11-to-1 compression ratio for a total displacement of 125 cc, but it’s the cylinder construction that is the real item of interest here. A “spiny” sleeve binds more completely than ever before with the aluminum jug, a feature that helps to stabilize cylinder shape in order to cut down on blow-by gasses and improve emissions.

While the PCX doesn’t enjoy the torque-control feature of its big brother, it does come with a fuel-saving feature that is also quite environmentally friendly; the Selectable Idling Stop system that turns the engine off after three seconds at idle. You can turn the system off, and it will also turn itself off when low battery voltage is detected for a bit of a failsafe so you don’t run the battery down too far. A decompression mechanism helps on that front by allowing the engine to spool up without having to fight the compression.

To deal with the waste heat from the greater output, the factory enlarged the shroud and reduced the size of the fan for more efficient cooling. Twist-and-go operation comes courtesy of the CVT gearbox that delivers the same holeshot performance with stronger mid- to top-end acceleration to make it safer and more comfortable to hit city traffic.

Engine: Single cylinder, liquid cooled, SOHC 4 stroke 2 valve
Displacement: 125 cc
Bore x Stroke: 52.4 x 57.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Max. Power Output: 9.0kW (12 hp) @ 8,500 rpm
Max. Torque: 11.8Nm (8.9 lb-ft) @ 5,000 rpm
Carburetion: PGMFI electronic fuel injection
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Automatic, centrifugal, dry type
Transmission: V-Matic

Pricing

2018 Honda PCX125
- image 780162
The new PCX150 runs $3.7k without ABS and $4k with it, so I'd guess a little less than that for the 125.

I haven’t seen MSRP as of this writing and I doubt it will come to the U.S. market anyway. The new PCX150 runs $3.7k without ABS and $4k with it, so I’d guess a little less than that, comparatively speaking considering the currency exchange.

Color: Pearl Cool White, Pearl Nightstar Black, Matt Carbonium Grey Metallic, Pearl Splendor Red

Competitors

2018 Honda PCX125
- image 780169
2018 Yamaha XMAX
- image 733833
Yamaha brings front and rear ABS, but the real show stealer here is the traction control, which Honda can't touch.

When it comes to bottom-tier commuters with a mature finish, it’s hard to go wrong with Yamaha’s X-MAX 125. A sportbike-like fairing leads the way with an adjustable windshield to protect the pilot, and generous legguards form protective pockets for feet and legs; just what you need for a comfortable commute. Gotta’ say, the Yamaha is actually cooler looking than the Honda, by several degrees in my estimation.

Suspension is typically vanilla across the board, but Yamaha runs a rear disc brake against Honda’s drum, so the ABS feature applies at both ends of the scoot for greater safety and a more modern ride. Wheel size is also superior on the X-MAX with a 15-inch front wheel versus the fourteens on the PCX.

Yamaha runs with a 124 cc, water-cooled thumper that puts out a couple more ponies with 14 of ’em at 8,750 rpm, but the real show stealer here is the traction control. That’s right folks, traction control on a 124 cc scooter! This feature couples with the double ABS for stability control both coming and going, and that makes for a very safe first ride for someone. Like the PCX, price is still TBA.

He Said

“Ya know, the PCX is a good looking ride, and sufficient for service as a commuter or trainer bike, but after seeing the traction control on the Tuning Fork bike, I wonder if looks alone are enough to compete against that. I mean seriously, the battle for the bottom just took an interesting turn.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The updates for this year are quite nice. I still wouldn’t take it on the interstate; the highways might be doable speed-wise, but the scooter really is a bit small to be in that kind of traffic, imo.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Single cylinder, liquid cooled, SOHC 4 stroke 2 valve
Displacement: 125 cc
Bore x Stroke: 52.4 x 57.9 mm
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Max. Power Output: 9.0kW (12 hp) @ 8,500 rpm
Max. Torque: 11.8Nm (8.9 lb-ft) @ 5,000 rpm
Carburetion: PGMFI electronic fuel injection
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Automatic, centrifugal, dry type
Transmission: V-Matic
Final Drive: 10.65
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel duplex
Caster Angle: 27°
Trail: 86 mm (3.4 inches)
Suspension, Front: 31 mm telescopic fork, 89 mm (3.5 inches) axle travel
Suspension, Rear: Twin suspension aluminum swingarm, 84 mm (3.3 inches) axle travel
Wheel, Front: 8 spoke cast aluminum, 14M/C x MT2.15
Wheel, Rear: 8 spoke cast aluminum, 14M/C x MT3.50
Tire, Front: 100/8014M/C (48P)
Tire, Rear: 120/7014M/C (61P)
Brakes, Front: 220 mm hydraulic disc with combined 2 piston caliper with ABS
Brakes, Rear: 130 mm drum
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 1,923 x 745 x 1,107 mm (75.7 x 29.3 x 43.6 inches)
Wheelbase: 1,313 mm (51.7 inches)
Seat Height: 764 mm (30.1 inches)
Ground Clearance: 137 mm (5.4 inches)
CurbWeight: 130 kg (286.6 lbs)
Oil Capacity: 0.9 litres (0.95 qts)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 8.0 litres (2.1 gals)
Fuel Consumption (WMTC mode): 47.6km/litre (112 mpg)
Electrics:
Battery Capacity: 12V/7AH (10H)
ACG Output: 255W
Headlight: LED
Taillight: LED
Details:
Color: Pearl Cool White, Pearl Nightstar Black, Matt Carbonium Grey Metallic, Pearl Splendor Red

References

Yamaha X-MAX

2018 Yamaha XMAX
- image 733831

See our review of the Yamaha X-MAX.

Honda Forza

2018 Honda Forza
- image 779040

See our review of the Honda Forza.

Honda PCX150

2019 Honda PCX150
- image 777320

See our review of the Honda PCX150.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: global.honda.com, powersports.honda.com, yamaha-motor.com

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