As South Africans commuters, impelled no doubt by the cost of running even a small car with petrol hovering around at R12, buy into the scooter lifestyle in increasing numbers, more 'mainstream' bikemakers are introducing stylish small-capacity scoots to compete with the basic Chinese offerings.
Honda says the PCX is intended to combine the compactness and agility of a 125cc urban runabout with the smooth styling of the big Japanese 'leisure scooters' - and a decent amount of luggage space.
The distinctive front styling has a dual-headlight cluster with sleek, uptilted indicators below a dark-tinted screen, and an up-to-date, motorcycle style instrument panel with a speedometer needle that sweeps its dial on ignition, as if to say, “Let's go!”, as well as warning light for the idle-stop function (there first we've heard of on a two-wheeler), a fuel gauge and all the usual idiot lights.
The seat is low, with a distinct step lending support to the rider's hips and elevation to the pillion seat - and the storage box under will take a full face helmet with room to spare. There's also a glove compartment in the leg shield for the gadgets and gizmos that urban living is heir to.
NUTS AND BOLTS
The fuel-injected 124.9cc SOHC single is tuned for a wide spread of torque to keep you ahead of the pack in the Urban Sprint - Honda quote 8.33kW at 8000rpm and 11.56Nm at 6000, good enough to dispose of the first 50 metres - which is where it matters - in 5.5 seconds.
Honda's PGM-FI electronic fuel-injection and idle stop keep consumption down to a quoted 2.2 litres per 100km, which should give you about 280km on a 6.2-litre thankful.
A brushless starter motor - Honda's first on a 125, although the system has been used on 50's - acts as an alternator once the engine is going, making the engine more compact, reducing fuel consumption and noise on start-up.
The chassis is based on a classic 'underbone' frame with a 1305mm wheelbase, 31mm conventional forks and simple 'in-unit' rear suspension, running on 14” cast-alloy rims at both ends.
And being Honda - the company that never uses one component where three will do - they have gone out of their way to make the brakes as complex as possible, and a combined system linking a 220mm front disc to a 130mm single leading-shoe rear drum brake.
The Honda PCX 125 costs R18 500 and is available in black, metallic silver or pearl white.