What started out as the PCX125, quickly morphed into the PCX150 with multiple changes throughout its run as one of Honda’s best selling scooters. Now, for 2021 Honda has taken the PCX150 that so many loved around the world and really created the best version of this scooter possible with many new changes from top to bottom. The 2021 PCX150, isn’t the 2021 PCX150 any longer as Honda has changed its name to just the 2021 Honda PCX. In some other corners of the world (also here in Singapore) it is also being called the 2021 Honda PCX160 with them rounding up the engine size due to its new and larger displacement of 157cc. The previous PCX150 went through multiple engine variations ranging from 153cc, down to 149cc in 2019 to where we land at today with 157cc. We’ll dive more into all of those changes and more below on the new 2021 Honda PCX scooter.
The Honda PCX160 gets significant upgrades that include new, elegant styling, advanced equipment and a larger, 157cc engine that is freeway-capable. A redesigned chassis further enhances the experience, offering reduced weight and improved cornering performance. Styling, convenience and safety are addressed through features including all-LED lighting, a larger, 30-liter under-seat storage compartment and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) plus even more that we’ll get into below:
Always highlighted by a stylish design and enjoyable performance, Honda’s PCX lineup has long been the ideal choice for riders who want to have a little fun while getting around. Thanks to its liquid-cooled engine and smooth lines, the PCX turns heads wherever it goes, while also offering great range and considerable comfort through its well-tuned chassis and dual rear shocks, now featuring 3.7 inches of travel. With a light curb weight of 286 pounds, a nimble 51.7 inch wheelbase and a low 30.1 inch seat height, the PCX is an easygoing scooter that brings an element of enjoyment to any ride.
Its success is down to a formula Honda has had many years’ experience in perfecting: its strong, modern design allows it to slip elegantly into a style-conscious urban lifestyle, while compact dimensions ensure it can plot a path through busy traffic – and park – with ease.
The sit-in riding position, underseat storage for a full-face helmet and all-round build quality provide the ‘X’ level of Personal Comfort which give the PCX its name. And not to forget, outstanding value for money – both at purchase and throughout ownership – has always helped underpin the PCX’s popularity.
Since it was introduced abroad in 2009, the PCX125 (as it was called then) has always been about a high-quality, relaxing scooter experience. It grew to a 150 in 2009, with the fuel-sipping eSP engine. LED lighting came five years later, and the PCX150 was first offered to customers in 2015. A new double-underbone frame structure offered an improved ride starting in 2018. For 2021, it has been renamed as the Honda PCX160.
It’s a scooter that’s always moved with the times and the 2021 PCX160 leaps forward once again with a new engine and frame combination, increased convenience and comfort, plus a bold evolution of its avant-garde style – all aimed to retain the PCX’s hold on the scooter market around the world.
A consistent design signature of the PCX scooter lineup has always been the bodywork – with its strong character line and ‘block’ primary paint color – flowing together as a whole, front to rear. For the 2021 update the theme continues – but bolder and crisper, with a heightened sense of the futuristic style that has always been part of the PCX appeal.
And full, premium LED lighting also sets the PCX apart from the crowd. The headlight is new and features a signature running light with 5 narrow flash lines positioned in parallel. It’s matched to an X-shaped taillight using multi-optic technology to give an intense, 3D effect.
All of the lines and angles have been subtly re-carved, to dramatic effect. The front fairing flares in its upper portion but elegantly draws in at the waist; alongside a slightly larger, blacked-out screen this produces improved wind protection without excess bulk.
The seat is contoured for both rider and passenger comfort and the footrest area was extended forward and outboard by 30 mm each, resulting in a riding position that is adaptable to riders of differing body sizes. Seat height comes in at 30.1 inches, but is very manageable with a ‘straddling’ height of 21.3 in.
The swooping lines also hide more storage capacity under the seat. An extra 2.4L brings the total volume up to 30.4L – perfect for a full-face helmet, and more.
There’s also now a USB Type-C socket in the glovebox, replacing the ACC charger of the previous design, ready to plug a smartphone straight into. There’s also enough storage space (1.7 liters) to store a plastic bottle. Even the fuel filler cap cover has been revised, featuring space to store the fuel cap during re-fueling.
As with many new scooters and motorcycles from Honda, the 2021 PCX160 now has a Smart Key. As well as controlling the main ignition switch knob and compartment locking it can also manage the (optional) 35L removable Smart top box. With the Smart Key in the rider’s pocket the box is unlocked, and automatically locks when the rider walks away. It can also be locked from the key.
A new, wider gauge setup has a high-visibility LCD display in the center and displays a wider range of easily readable information. As before, a fuel-consumption readout, clock, speedometer, odometer, trip meter and fuel gauge are all supplied, and now a low-battery voltage warning light and V-belt replacement time indicators have been added. The meter shape matches the scooter design’s relaxing image, and the three-dimensional bezel structure looks stylish even when the meter is not lit.
Wide, chrome handlebars are a PCX signature. Mounted in traditional clamps (with newly optimized rubber density) they offer excellent leverage around town and are a neat retro touch. The engine cover has also been redesigned to match the scooter’s design lines.
Hidden beneath the PCX’s updated styling is a chassis with significant changes, aimed at reducing weight, improving handling and increasing the comfort for which this scooter was already known.
The new PCX has a redesigned duplex steel cradle frame designed to deliver the durability needed for the rigors of urban life, without losing the in-town maneuverability the PCX has always been famous for, plus its user-friendliness and relaxed riding position.
A simplified frame structure delivers a comfortable ride and good cornering performance by optimally balancing weight reduction and rigidity. Using CAE analysis, engineers optimized pipe diameters, material selection, material thickness and joint locations. The changes resulted in a weight reduction of over a tenth of a pound, aiding vehicle handling and maneuverability.
The rear grab rail has a new shape and thickness for improved passenger hand grip and reduced weight (.44 pounds). By cutting weight of components that are located far from the vehicle’s core engineers further centralize mass for improved handling and maneuverability.
Wheelbase is set at 51.7 in., with 26° 30’ rake and 79mm trail. Overall curb weight comes in at 286 lbs and the optional ABS system only adds 2 pounds, bumping it up to 288 lbs for the PCX with ABS. The aluminum wheels (14-inch front, 13-inch rear) have been completely redesigned with five Y-shaped spokes for optimum rigidity balance, contributing to a safe, comfortable, smooth ride. The tires have also been redesigned with a wider profile—100/80-14 front, 120/70-14 rear—and the increased air volume contributes to good linear handling performance and a comfortable ride.
The 31mm telescopic front forks now offer 3.9 inches of travel, while the twin rear shocks have 3.7 inches of suspension travel (up by .4 in.), and use heavier weight springs for a smoother ride on rough city streets.
Stopping power is provided by the twin-piston front caliper and 220mm disc, matched to a 130mm rear drum brake; an optional single-channel ABS system operates on the front brake for the PCX160 ABS model.
As before, the large 2.1 gallon fuel tank is located under the floorboard, contributing to a low center of gravity and enhanced riding traits.
For 2021, the PCX gets a larger cylinder bore (up from 57.3 mm to 60.0) and a shorter stroke (down to 55.5 mm from 57.9), resulting in a 157cc displacement (up from 149cc). Not only is the new engine freeway-capable, but the short stroke reduces sliding friction and improves compression ratio (up from 10.6 :1 to 12.0:1) for enhanced power. Also, the PCX engine’s head now has a four-valve layout, enhancing intake and exhaust efficiency for improved power.
The 2021 Honda PCXs new, enhanced Smart Power Plus (eSP+) four-valve, water-cooled SOHC powerplant delivers 15.8 horsepower @ 8,500 RPM, with peak torque of 11.1 @ 6,500 RPM.
An additional technology, new to the PCX, to boost rider confidence in wet conditions and other situations with limited traction is Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) which works in the background to deftly manage rear wheel traction. The system monitors wheel-speed sensors and throttle opening and, when slip is detected, intervenes by limiting engine torque. A ‘T’ indicator flickers on the dash when HSTC is actively reducing wheelspin, and the system can be turned off completely.
Honda’s eSP+ low-friction technologies are found throughout the engine; clever packaging of items like the oil pump (which is built into the crankcase) help to further ensure efficiency. A compact combustion chamber and PGM-FI fuel injection – with 28mm diameter throttle body, 2mm larger – optimizes burning velocity and cooling performance. The inlet system has been redesigned and has a high-capacity 4.9 liter air cleaner.
The crankshaft has been redesigned to be more rigid, and a roller bearing was adopted, reducing the crankshaft flex generated by inertial force and combustion energy at high rpm. The result is reduced noise and vibration. An offset cylinder reduces friction caused by contact between piston and bore, efficiently transmitting combustion energy to the crankshaft. A ‘spiny’ cast-iron sleeve – with tiny surface extensions – keeps in check any distortion of the inner bore diameter. This design lowers tension in the piston ring, reducing friction. A new hydraulic cam chain tensioner further improves engine efficiencies by reducing internal vibrations and improving fuel economy.
Piston-cooling oil jets—technology used in high-performance models like the CRF450R motocrosser—are adopted for 2021. Engine oil is sprayed on the underside of the piston, aiding cooling and preventing knocking while also enabling ignition timing advance for enhanced power output. A number of friction-minimizing technologies maximize engine efficiency. For example, a new hydraulic lifter operates the cam-chain-tensioner so that the tensioner reduces chain vibration and mechanical noise, while improving fuel efficiency.
A high-efficiency radiator – integrated into the exterior of the right-side crankcase – employs a small, light fan reducing frictional losses and lowering drag. Rolling resistance within the transmission unit is reduced by the use of three low-friction main bearings, all designed to deal with the loads they individually receive. An optimized clutch – and pulleys – complement the performance increase. The transmission shaft has also been upsized, improving the clutch’s vibration characteristics for smoother acceleration from stops from Honda’s low-friction V-Matic automatic transmission.
The electronically controlled, brushless ACG starter is an integrated component mounted directly on the end of the crankshaft, serving as starter motor and alternator. It spins the engine directly, eliminating any noise from gear engagement or meshing.
The PCX exhaust system has also been redesigned, with the catalyzer repositioned to better clean exhaust gases, allowing good power while protecting the environment.
A selection of genuine Honda Accessories are ready to customize the 2021 PCX150, including:
- Taller Windscreen
- Rear Box
- Rear Rack for Box
- Inner Key Cylinder
The Honda PCX160 is now available for booking from local agent Boon Siew Honda with a list price of over S$15,000. The PCX was never able to garner as much market share as the more popular Yamaha NMax 155 that it competes directly against and by bumping up the engine's capacity, would Honda be able to snatch the crown of the "King of Scooters" from the NMax? Guess we'll just have to wait and see!
P.S. Also, don't forget to check out @TRI333PLE's review of the 2021 Honda PCX160 in the link below: