Restyled on the outside and a new, larger engine on the inside

LISTEN 07:58

Honda went far beyond the cursory Bold New Graphics treatment for 2021 with a newly rebuilt and rebranded PCX for riders seeking an affordable urban-mobility solution. The ground-up redesign features a new frame with an equally-new-and-improved engine, all wrapped up under newly refined bodywork. You are given a choice between a base model and an anti-lock brake version that won’t break the bank and promises to be inexpensive to operate as well.

  • 2021 Honda PCX
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
    PCX
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    156.9 cc
  • Top Speed:
    85 mph
  • Price:
    3799
  • Price:

2021 Honda PCX Design

  • LED lighting
  • Updated styling
  • Smart Key system
  • Expanded storage
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976240
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976215
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976221
The smoother lines of the curves and angles are toned down a bit from the somewhat more expressive 2020 model.

The bodywork on the PCX may qualify as new, but the genetic markers of the previous model are still plainly evident. Built to appeal to students and young urban commuters, the PCX has an elegance and sophistication all its own that rolls without any of the whimsy of the traditional Italian scooter designs and the like.

The reworked front fairing houses a new LED headlight with built-in running lights, and it comes topped by recessed turn signals to finish the forward lighting. A slightly larger blackout windscreen comes fully vented for low-turbulence travel, and it serves to protect the all-digital instrumentation from the elements. The factory added a low-battery warning and belt-maintenance reminder to the instrumentation this year plus a Smart Key function that operates the ignition and unlocks the seat.

Overall, the curves and angles are toned down a bit from the somewhat more expressive 2020 model. The smoother lines lend it a somewhat more laid-back attitude kind of like an Eighties mullet – business up front and party in the back – as it rolls with a stock pillion pad, fold-up footpegs, and a grab rail so you can share the fun with a friend.

Under-seat storage also benefited from the rebuild with an extra 2.4 liters of storage to bring the total up to 30.4 liters that’ll accommodate a full-size bucket plus some cargo, or serve as a passable grocery-getter. Back up at the inner fairing, the glove box now comes equipped with a USB Type-C outlet so you can power/charge your mobile devices. The fuel door in the step-through hides the fill cap along with its new cap-holder feature for your fueling convenience and to keep you from driving off with your cap left sitting on top of the pump.

2021 Honda PCX Chassis

  • Re-engineered duplex-cradle frame
  • Nimble handling
  • Sidestand and centerstand
  • Combined brake system and optional ABS
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976245
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976219
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976214
Honda's new duplex steel cradle frame maintains the nimble nature that is a favorite within the scooter community.

Honda relies on a new duplex steel cradle frame for strength and rigidity on the PCX while maintaining the nimble nature that is a favorite within the scooter community. The factory relied on CAE material analysis to dictate tube diameter and thickness, and that paid off with a slight loss in weight alongside an increase in rigidity.

Rwu, 31 mm telescopic forks float the front end with a short, 26.3-degree rake and 3.1 inches of trail that contributes to the PCX’s positive handling characteristics. New aluminum wheels round out the rolling chassis with a 110/70-14 ahead of a 130/70-13. Yeah, that’s a little on the small side, but they are proportional to the rest of the machine and so it works out okay in the end.

Suspension travel measures at 3.9 inches up front, and was increased a skosh out back with a new, 3.7-inch travel. Heavier springs on the dual rear shocks absorb more abuse from your local urban jungle. Honda’s Combined Brake system operates the anchors with a 220 mm disc and twin-piston caliper up front, but out back, the factory kept things old-school with a 130 mm drum brake. You can take or leave the ABS as you please since both versions are available.

Front Suspension/ Travel: 31 mm telescopic fork/ 3.94 inches
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Twin shocks; 3.72 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 26° 30’
Trail: 3.1 inches
Front Brake: Hydraulic w/ single 220 mm disc and CBS (optional ABS)
Rear Brake: Mechanical w/ single 130mm drum and CBS (optional ABS)
Front Tire: 110/70-14
Rear Tire: 130/70-13

2021 Honda PCX Drivetrain

  • New, larger 159.9 cc engine
  • 15.8 hp and 11.1 lb-ft of torque
  • Honda V-Matic automatic transmission
  • Traction control
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976243
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976217
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976230
The engine architecture was completely revised for smoother operation and a larger displacement.

Engine architecture was completely revised this time around. The 57.3 mm bore of the previous PCX generation was punched out to an even 60 mm, and the stroke was shortened from 57.9 mm down to 55.5 mm for a total displacement of 157 cc and spicier, 12.0-to-1 compression ratio. Yeah, premium fuel or an additive, nothin’ for it.

Emissions improved on this engine, partly due to the new four-poppet valvetrain that improves aspiration. It’s liquid-cooled, which reduces the waste heat felt by rider and passenger and has the added benefit of attenuating the mechanical noises in the cases for a quieter engine overall. Induction control falls to a 28 mm throttle body, but the real star of the show in the electronics has to be the traction control feature that comes with the stock equipment package to deliver a level of safety that is hard to top in this market segment.

The power figures are typical with 15.8 horsepower and 11.1 pounds o’ grunt that washes through a continuously-variable transmission. The CVT delivers twist-and-go operation with a top speed in the neighborhood of 85 mph. Inside the cases, a new crankshaft and roller-bearing bottom end joins with a new forced-oil system that directs engine oil to the bottom side of the piston crown and draws heat away from that critical component. A chain drive turns the single over-head cam with a hydraulic chain tensioner so it always stays adjusted properly and operates more quietly.

Engine: 156.9cc liquid-cooled 80º single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 60 mm x 55.5 mm
Induction: PGM-FI; 28 mm throttle body
Ignition: Full transistorized ignition
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Valve Train: SOHC; four valves
Transmission: Automatic V-Matic belt drive

2021 Honda PCX Price

2021 Honda PCX
- image 976246
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976224
2021 Honda PCX
- image 976244
MSRP starts at $3.8k; add ABS for $200.

The base model without ABS rolls for $3,799, but if you want that extra protection, you’ll have to cough up another two Benjamins. No matter which you choose, you’d better like Pearl White paint ’cause that’s the only hue on the palette this year.

2021 Honda PCX Competitors

2021 Honda PCX
- image 976239
2014 - 2020 Suzuki Burgman 200
- image 789420

It’s hard to talk about urban mobility and business-class scooters without thinking about Suzuki, so I grabbed the closest displacement possible with the Burgman 200.

Suzuki Burgman 200

2014 - 2020 Suzuki Burgman 200
- image 789399

In the looks department, it comes down to personal taste, but both bikes enjoy a certain je ne sais quoi with a heavy dose of urban-professional styling across the board. The Burgman actually displaces an even 200 cc in its single-cylinder layout to gain a handful of cubes over the PCX. This gives it a higher output at 18.1 horsepower but a lower top speed at around 75 mph, and you are liable to miss that top ten miles per hour, especially on the superslab.

To compound the pain for Suzuki, it seems to have no answer for Honda’s torque control feature, though to be fair that’s a rarity in scootertown. Still, it’s a selling point, and so is the PCX ABS’ sticker that’s a full grand less expensive than the $4,999 Burgman.

Read our full review of the Suzuki Burgman 200.

He Said

“Honda doesn’t disappoint, and it’s impossible to overstate the significance of traction control on such a bottom-tier machine. That said, the PCX beats the socks off that Burgman, Suzuki is going to have to tighten up considerably if it wants to remain competitive in this new landscape, and it looks like Honda has a head start.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Known as the PCX160 in other markets, the redesigned chassis improves cornering on what was already a capable scooter. The new, larger engine will better handle highway speeds and the updating styling makes the PCX a more grownup-looking commuter.”

2021 Honda PCX Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 156.9cc liquid-cooled 80º single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 60 mm x 55.5 mm
Induction: PGM-FI; 28 mm throttle body
Ignition: Full transistorized ignition
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Valve Train: SOHC; four valves
Transmission: Automatic V-Matic belt drive
Chassis:
Front Suspension/ Travel: 31 mm telescopic fork/ 3.94 inches
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Twin shocks; 3.72 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 26° 30’
Trail: 3.1 inches
Front Brake: Hydraulic w/ single 220 mm disc and CBS (optional ABS)
Rear Brake: Mechanical w/ single 130mm drum and CBS (optional ABS)
Front Tire: 110/70-14
Rear Tire: 130/70-13
Dimensions & Capacities:
Seat Height: 30.1 inches
Wheelbase: 51.7 inches
Curb Weight: 288 pounds (ABS: 286 lbs)
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons
Miles Per Gallon: TBD
Details:
Model ID: PCX150 (ABS: PCX150A )
Warranty: One Year transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty, optional extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®
Color: Pearl White
Price: $3,799, ABS: $3,999

Further Reading

Honda

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 794666

Read more Honda news.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

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

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