New Honda PCX125: Britain’s favourite scooter gets updated for 2021

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The UK’s most popular two-wheeler, the Honda PCX125 has been redesigned for 2021; with a more powerful Euro5 engine, improved electronics, more storage, a new frame, updated rear suspension and more. 

The new PCX125 will cost £3169 when it arrives in dealers around February. That means a £120 price hike from the old model, which isn’t bad considering the redesign it has undergone. Despite costing a little more, the best selling two wheeler in the UK is still a chunk of change cheaper than Kawasaki’s J125 (£4249) and just sneaks in under the Yamaha NMax 125 (£3399).

Consistently outselling any other bike in the UK, the 2021 model will be the first proper update to the diddy PCX since 2018 – potentially helping Honda to maintain their position at the top of the L-plate friendly food chain and cash in on the current surge in small capacity bike sales seen during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Starting with the engine, the 2021 PCX gets a claimed more powerful and fuel efficient four valve water-cooled SOHC motor, boasting a peak power of 12.3bhp at 8750rpm. This carries the bike to a suggested top speed just shy of 61mph, with a fuel economy of around 112mpg – thanks in part to low-friction engine internals to help boost efficiency. 

Helping to control all this performance is Honda Selectable Torque Control (traction control to you and me) which helps limit rear wheel slip on loose surfaces. Indicated by a flashing 'T' on the LCD dash, the system can be turned off altogether, if required. Also featured is stop/start technology, which was first introduced to the PCX back in 2010.

Housing the new engine is a fresh steel frame and swingarm, with revised rear shock settings promising a more comfortable ride. A criticism of the current bike, which crashes hard over larger bumps in the road, the twin units now get heavier weighted springs, plus an extra 10mm stroke, at 95mm. The 31mm non-adjustable front forks are unchanged and overall kerb weight sits at 130kg – exactly the same as the current machine.

Away from the suspension, both tyre sizes are up, with the rear wheel descaled by an inch to a 13in diameter. Like before, an ABS-equipped two-piston caliper and 220mm disc feature up front, with a 130mm drum brake at the rear.

Shrouding all of these performance and handling components is a new look, complete with LED headlight, an extra 2.4-litres of storage under the seat and a USB socket in the glove box. The bodywork itself mimics the lines of the existing PCX, however adopts a more angular, jagged look. The front and rear lights are also re-shaped, with new pillion grab rails that save 310g. Seat height remains at 764mm, with an extra 30mm of footboard space available up front and to the sides.

Also new is a 'Smart Key' keyless ignition, which is used to start the bike, lock onboard storage and even opperate the optional 35-litre top box. A new LCD dash shrouded by the tinted black screen also displays features including an odometer, trip meter, fuel gauge, stop start indicator and more.

Scoots you sir: Further updates to 2021 twist-and-go Honda range

The 2021 Honda SH350i replaces the current SH300i scooter

Away from the all-conquering PCX, Honda have also whipped the covers off a new SH350i for 2021, to replace the existing SH300i. Equipped with a more powerful 29bhp 330cc Euro5 engine, alongside claimed improved acceleration and top end, the automatic machine also gets a new LCD display, fresh styling, hazard warning lights and a USB charging port. The tubular steel frame is now also 1kg lighter – bringing overall kerb weight to 174kg. 

The SH Mode 125 is ideal for commuters on a CBT or A1 licence

Alongside the larger 350, the Japanese firm have also updated their learner-legal SH Mode 125. Like the larger A2-friendly scoot above, the Mode gets a new claimed more powerful engine. Now, the learner-legal machine is kicking out 11.3bhp from a new Euro5 engine, as well as new looks with an LED headlight and lighter chassis parts. Kerb weight is up by 2kg - at a claimed 118kg, with other updates including fresh wheels with fuel-saving tyres and 10mm extra flat floor space up front.

MCN will bring you more on these machines as it becomes available. You can watch our detailed video review of the current PCX125 below.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade