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The boom in scooter sales has cooled off but that hasn’t stopped an influx of new manufacturers releasing swags of new models. Honda has been one of the winners in the declining scooter market by increasing their market share and increasing sales while nearly every other brand has gone backwards.

With the arrival of their budget priced PCX 125 Honda are hoping that trend continues.

It might only be $3990 but the PCX 125 exudes quality. The fit and finish of the lustrously painted panels are better than most expensive motorcycles, let alone cheap scooters. In fact, I would say it is better finished than even Honda’s most expensive scooters. And it also brings to the table some useful new technology to help achieve excellent economy.

A new idle stop system automatically cuts the engine after three seconds idling and the engine is automatically restarted on positive throttle application. The system can be disabled via a button on the switch-block.

It takes a little getting accustomed to but I quickly learned to trust the system. I was a tad nervous at first when the engine would stop as I sat at a set of traffic lights surrounded by heavy vehicles but the engine bursts into life instantaneously and seamlessly as you hit the throttle.

The PCX 125 easily out accelerates most traffic to 60km/h, even if you wait for the green light before twisting the throttle and waking the engine up. It is very slick and clearly the way of the future. It even still allows the engine to warm up properly as it will only cut the ignition if idling when a rider is seated on the machine.

The idle stop system and smart fuel injection system help the PCX 125 to a claimed 46 kilometres per litre. In the real world I couldn’t achieve those numbers as I mainly had the PCX 125 wound to the stop on the highways nudging its 100km/h top speed. But even with that punishment and a tight 5km old engine I still managed to get 100km from 3.5 litres of fuel. I am sure that on the city commute, and the engine run in, it would be quite possible to get consumption down 2.5 litres per 100km. That makes for seriously frugal motoring.

Somewhat disappointingly Honda has not fitted the PCX 125 with ABS. Given the $3990 price point that is perhaps not all that surprising but it remains disappointing for a machine that will in all likelihood be ridden by learners or new riders. The brakes are however combined thus both brakes are applied when the rear brake lever is pulled firmly. If the rear brake lever is applied gently only the rear brake is activated. Of course maximum braking power is only applied when both brakes are pulled on hard but for commuting only the rear lever is generally needed.

All out emergency stops sees the PCX 125 pull up well with the suspension remaining fairly neutral and a slight skid from the rear as you come to a complete stop. It’s a good system.

The PCX 125 chassis is many steps above most entry level scooters. A huge 180kg carrying capacity puts some full size touring motorcycles to shame and the suspension is capable of carrying an average size rider and pillion while still shrugging off most bumps.

The instrumentation is clear and concise but annoyingly has no clock function.

A decent amount of under-seat storage is available and a small pocket in the front fascia swallows a little more gear. Convenience can be extended further with the fitment of the optional 26-litre top-box for $299 and Honda has an accessories line for the PCX as long as your arm.

The PCX 125 is comfortable, torquey, dynamically proficient and exudes quality and flair far above that of other scooters at its modest $3990 price point.

Honda are giving away five of the new machines; enter by clicking the following external link – Win 1 of 5 new Honda PCX 125 scooters

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Specs – Honda PCX 125
Engine – 125cc, liquid-cooled, SOHC, two-valve
Bore x Stroke – 52.4 x 57.9mm
Transmission – CVT
Seat Height – 761mm
Wet Weight – 124kg
Fuel Capacity – 6.2 Litres
Average Consumption on test – 3.5 litres per 100km
Range – 180km
Warranty – One year
Price – Expect to pay around $3,990 plus applicable stamp duties and registration charges

Verdict – ****

Positives
+ Great quality at a great price
+ Good suspension
+ High quality
+ Very stylish

Negatives
– An extra 25cc would make highway work much easier going
– No ABS
– No clock
– Screen could be a little taller

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