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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:31 pm 
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Before I get started... I never thought I'd be posting here about modding my PCX. There was a huge controversy at clubpcx (our previous rival -- the forum is now closed) over the JCosta variator. Clubpcx was run by a performance site that was reselling that variator, often pushing people to buy them unprompted, and most people didn't see a difference in performance. I was one of the skeptics, and was vocal against their unsubstantiated claims. I have NO proof of my mods (yet) because I haven't taken a video. I will get one soon.

This all started around the time me and wife started trying to get pregnant. I agreed to only keep one bike. I LOVE my PCX, it's the best bike I've ever owned. I get compliments constantly, and my dog can ride on it easily and safely. But, it's not highway capable. I HAD to have my only bike be highway capable, so I PM'd PCXDemon, who has done the most mods and has the most experience with tweaking the PCX (his epic thread is here). He recommended I order a Takegawa variator, belt, and some spacers. All I actually ended up using was the variator, which has the make/model: SP TAKEGAWA High speed pulley kit (02-01-0025). The entire order from Japan was under $100 shipped. At that price, it was worth the risk.


I bought a variator removal tool from Amazon. You ALWAYS should have the right tools to do the job. ;) I also used a 1/2" ratchet set, a 1/4" ratchet set, and a philips head screwdriver.

I apologize for the horrendous pictures, I used my iPhone. If there's interest, I'll make this into a proper how-to and take real pictures with good lighting.

Here's the parts!

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Variator, belt, spacers, weights. I didn't end up using ANYTHING other than the variator.
- My belt was still in-spec. I'll swap to the new one at 10k miles.
- The spacers took a couple of mph off of top end, but added slightly improved acceleration. I preferred the top speed.
- The weights that came with the variator were too light. I actually only got 54mph with just the variator swapped. I saw major speed gains when I put the stock rollers in the aftermarket variator.

Start by removing the floorboard on the left side. Gently pull up the rubber mat.

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Begin removing screws and bolts. (2 bolts, 7 screws) Remove where indicated on the next few pictures.

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Slide the lower left panel off. You will have to put down the kickstand to do so. It slides directly off to the left, then down and left.

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Now, you need to remove all the bolts from the variator cover. Remove em!

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Look at that beautiful variator! Ok, so the circular thing on the left is the variator. The thing on the right is the clutch. You can tell they're connected with a belt. I could ramble on for paragraphs about how variators work, but Wikipedia does it well. Scroll down to "Variable-diameter pulley" and look at the pretty gif.

Now, get out your tools. I used a 1/2" ratchet and extension and the aforementioned variator tool:

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Clamp that tool on, take hold of both, and CRANK IT OFF. It'll be difficult, Honda has this station at the factory manned by gorillas with wrenches. After you take off the nut, the outer pulley and a washer will slide off easily.

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This is what it will look like after you remove the nut, washer, and the outer pulley:

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Move the belt out of the way. Slide out the variator (which is also the inner pulley) and spacer. Note how the variator is a pulley with a cover on the back, and weights under the cover. Here's what it all looks like in a row:

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Now for a comparison shot! On the left is stock, on the right is aftermarket. Both have the covers over the weights removed (the cover just lifts off). You can't quite tell from the pictures, but the aftermarket one allows the weights to go slightly further out, allowing the pulleys to get closer together than the stock configuration. This is where the top speed is added -- it's like upgrading your bike's front sprocket from a 38 tooth to a 41 tooth. The added diameter in the front means you get more rotations in the back per rotation in the front.

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Take the covers off the variators, and put the stock weights in the aftermarket variator. Slide it back in:

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Slide on the spacer, put the belt back in place, put the outer pulley in place, washer in place, and put the nut on. Tighten to factory spec (40 ft/lb of torque). If you don't have a torque wrench, tighten it well, but don't gorilla-with-a-wrench it.

All done!

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I'll try to go get a video tonight if I have time. It's awesome seeing that speedo climb up way past 55! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:09 pm 
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No after market variator has made the slightest difference to any twist and go scooter that I've ever owned and modified

Why should it?

Sometimes, and only sometimes, gn2 is right

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:45 am 
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now when i put an aftermarket on my elite 80 i gained 10mph it took fine tuning weights and i actually gained acceleration too so yes it can help quite a bit if tuned right.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:50 pm 
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you you wrote:
No after market variator has made the slightest difference to any twist and go scooter that I've ever owned and modified

Why should it?

Sometimes, and only sometimes, gn2 is right


I tried the K-Mod on my Reflex and didn't get any gains, so I was skeptical here too. But, the variator added top speed. There's no dispute there, I have a video. I can say, the bike has NO guts there, and takes a long time to get to speed, but it did add more speed. Enough for me to go on the highway.

Why should it? Well, it's like adding a bigger gear to the front of your bicycle. If your legs still have the power to keep the new gear rotating at the same rotational speed as the old gear, your rear wheel will spin faster. The variator added steeper gearing, and ended up adding a bit over 10mph.

I think GN2 is USUALLY right. I don't think he'd outright say a variator is incapable of making any difference, that's hogwash. I'm uploading a video now of me reaching 65mph. The quality sucks, but it's proof. I'll embed the video once it's done uploading.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:05 pm 
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The video is "processing" but will show up below when done:



Note I only got to 65. It was cold yesterday (40s) and windy. Sorry for the crappy quality, my helmet cam isn't exactly high-end.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:07 am 
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Ok,few things...Seems like you have vibration on takeoff,well i can kind of hear it...Are you using 1mm washer to eliminate it (should not cost you any loss of top end bar maybe 1mph.. maximum) ?
To get the best out of the vario you would need to use the weights supplied with it 10g, they are not too light,they do make the engine bit more revvier at around 8k rpm. The reason why you have trouble getting high top speed of at least 75mph (speedo shown) as what other guys have been getting here with same vario is: your screen is just too big and is counterproductive at higher speeds vs comfort obviously..or your speedo is really that accurate and its showing its actual close to GPS speed..Our speedos over here are some 10% over optimistic...
Can you place the scooter on the centre stand and slowly rev it out to see what speed will it top out at? If it goes to 75mph then you will know its your screen hampering you,if not then can you gps your speedometer to see how accurate it is?
So far at least we know American Pcx is not electronically limited to 62mph as it has been said before!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:07 am 
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Pcxdemon, can you compensate for a larger screen/more drag with lighter weights to gain more speed with a slight top end loss?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:16 am 
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Mgalutia88 wrote:
Pcxdemon, can you compensate for a larger screen/more drag with lighter weights to gain more speed with a slight top end loss?

No,i feel it will happen as it happened to Maddie by topping out with less top end speed by having lighter weights, I think that screen while it offers great protection eventually robs lot of performance at higher speeds especially on small cc scooter. Only way to counter it to some degree is by increasing weights as he did but one would loose that greater acceleration speeds the vario would offer if used accordingly...The smaller Givi screen is a good compromise,it offers better performance top end but gives bit buffeting noise around helmet.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:58 am 
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I have both a small and a large screen that I use. I will put the larger screen on when it gets colder. The highs where I live are averaging 50 degrees during the days now. Once it drops another ten degrees I'll put my larger screen on.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:40 am 
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Assuming that the top speed with the longer gearing is now being limited by power vs wind resistance, the only way to go faster is with more power from some kind of advanced engine mods such as more displacement.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:50 am 
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sendler2112 wrote:
Assuming that the top speed with the longer gearing is now being limited by power vs wind resistance, the only way to go faster is with more power from some kind of advanced engine mods such as more displacement.


With taller gearing you will go faster downhill and on occasions on the flat, but slower uphill. I know some like to try modifying their scooter but with a 125cc engine you are not going to get too much extra without affecting the reliability.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:34 pm 
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Pcxdemon wrote:
Ok,few things...Seems like you have vibration on takeoff,well i can kind of hear it...Are you using 1mm washer to eliminate it (should not cost you any loss of top end bar maybe 1mph.. maximum) ?


No, I need to put that in. I got them, and didn't put them in place. I'll try that soon. There's definitely some vibration. Do you put them between the vario and motor, or between the two faces of the pulleys?


Pcxdemon wrote:
To get the best out of the vario you would need to use the weights supplied with it 10g, they are not too light,they do make the engine bit more revvier at around 8k rpm. The reason why you have trouble getting high top speed of at least 75mph (speedo shown) as what other guys have been getting here with same vario is: your screen is just too big and is counterproductive at higher speeds vs comfort obviously..or your speedo is really that accurate and its showing its actual close to GPS speed..Our speedos over here are some 10% over optimistic...


I'm more than happy with my current top speed -- I was cruising at 65mph today on the highway and hit 69 on a downhill. I lost speed with the light weights supplied with the variator. I do lose some acceleration with this setup, but I don't drag race, I like to cruise. If I want balls-to-the-wall acceleration, I'll go offroad on my friend's 2-stroke KTM. It puts out more horsepower than my car. :P

I'll try again with the light weights, but I like the way the stock weights feel. I need to borrow my friend's GoPro and get a better video too, the one I took looks like hell. It's just cold as hell now, and I'm not as willing ride as much.

The windshield is staying. I love that thing. ;)


Pcxdemon wrote:
Can you place the scooter on the centre stand and slowly rev it out to see what speed will it top out at? If it goes to 75mph then you will know its your screen hampering you,if not then can you gps your speedometer to see how accurate it is?
So far at least we know American Pcx is not electronically limited to 62mph as it has been said before!


I took off my centerstand, because of the 2011s having the engine case cracking defect from the centerstand.

Yes, the PCX is definitely not electronically limited at 62mph. I agree with that! :D


sendler2112 wrote:
the only way to go faster is with more power from some kind of advanced engine mods such as more displacement.


I agree with this. I doubt I'll see any more speed on top of this, and the ONLY reason I can get such speed is because me and the dog are so light. I've actually lost weight, so me + dog = 148 + 15 = 163lbs. Much lighter than most American riders.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:55 pm 
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maddiedog wrote:
Pcxdemon wrote:
Do you put them between the vario and motor, or between the two faces of the pulleys?

You slide on the washer after the vario and the boss so it sits between outer pulley and the boss..go with 1mm and as your belt wears down over time then reduce thickness of the washer to between .8-.6m..
You would benefit having sliders in there,they do feel better than rollers especially up on top rpm...
Just remember,your screen is the big handicap (well id like to think that..),easy way to see the diff is to remove it briefly and see what it does without it...


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:05 pm 
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Well, Maddiedog, now that your little scooter is giving you more top end maybe when the weather gets a bit better we can all go riding. I still have to tear down our PCX to do the tuneup, and my Burgman is within 500 miles of stuff that has to be done on it, but all of that will get done in time. Then maybe we can all ride up to Riders Hill.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:32 pm 
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maddiedog wrote:
you you wrote:
No after market variator has made the slightest difference to any twist and go scooter that I've ever owned and modified

Why should it?

Sometimes, and only sometimes, gn2 is right


I tried the K-Mod on my Reflex and didn't get any gains, so I was skeptical here too. But, the variator added top speed. There's no dispute there, I have a video. I can say, the bike has NO guts there, and takes a long time to get to speed, but it did add more speed. Enough for me to go on the highway.

Why should it? Well, it's like adding a bigger gear to the front of your bicycle. If your legs still have the power to keep the new gear rotating at the same rotational speed as the old gear, your rear wheel will spin faster. The variator added steeper gearing, and ended up adding a bit over 10mph.

I think GN2 is USUALLY right. I don't think he'd outright say a variator is incapable of making any difference, that's hogwash. I'm uploading a video now of me reaching 65mph. The quality sucks, but it's proof. I'll embed the video once it's done uploading.



I can't get a variator to work, you can't do the same with a co2 tyre inflator. Lets not argue about it

Let's be honest most aftermarket parts are pretty poor really

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:26 am 
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[quote=Pcxdemon]You slide on the washer after the vario and the boss so it sits between outer pulley and the boss..go with 1mm and as your belt wears down over time then reduce thickness of the washer to between .8-.6m..
You would benefit having sliders in there,they do feel better than rollers especially up on top rpm...
Just remember,your screen is the big handicap (well id like to think that..),easy way to see the diff is to remove it briefly and see what it does without it...
[/quote]

I've heard that about sliders, I'll check into it. I'll put the washers on when I change the belt at 10k miles.

The problem with removing the windshield is, anywhere that I could go 65+mph on the PCX is over 10 minutes from my house. I don't want to waste 1+ hour removing the shield, driving to a highway, then testing and riding home, then putting the shield back on. I know the windshield might be holding me back, but riding is SO comfortable with it on there that there's no way I'll ever remove it.


you you wrote:
I can't get a variator to work, you can't do the same with a co2 tyre inflator. Lets not argue about it

Let's be honest most aftermarket parts are pretty poor really


I'll agree with both those statements. The quality on the Takegawa variator is slightly lower than the stock variator's quality, there's no argument about that. The top speed is higher with it too though. ;)


[quote=Mel46][/quote]Well, Maddiedog, now that your little scooter is giving you more top end maybe when the weather gets a bit better we can all go riding. I still have to tear down our PCX to do the tuneup, and my Burgman is within 500 miles of stuff that has to be done on it, but all of that will get done in time. Then maybe we can all ride up to Riders Hill.[/quote]

I'm in! Sounds like a good time. We can do the PCX at my house, we just need to find a time our schedules match up! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:47 pm 
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now the chatter is it becuase the belt is too tight without the spacer or what causes it im looking into this mod but want to do it right, and maddie did you you an increase or decrease in gas milage

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:25 pm 
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The belt can chatter on take off if the new sliders or variator opens father than the stock set up which lets the belt go slack until the engine rpms increase to start throwing the weights out which forces the front pulley halves closer and closer together. The belt climbs up the pulley faces as this happens, yanking the belt deeper into the rear pulley against the force of the contra spring, making the gearing get longer, the faster you go until the weights get all the way out and then speed only increases further with increasing engine rpm.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:40 pm 
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will this hurt anything in the long run and with your 150 did you have this problem at all with just sliders im not going vario yet im more worried about acceleration and maintaining of a higher cruise speed i want to be able maintain around 65 easier

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:40 pm 
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will this hurt anything in the long run and with your 150 did you have this problem at all with just sliders im not going vario yet im more worried about acceleration and maintaining of a higher cruise speed i want to be able maintain around 65 easier.

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