Pantra is the shortened version of the Filipino colloquial term “pantraysikel” (for tricycle use). It refers to motorcycles that are commonly utilized commercially, like in food deliveries, courier services or in public transport. These types of bikes have robust frames, heavy-duty suspension and modest but capable engines. Because of their conventional design, the Pantra also often serve as the blank canvass for builders who like to customize their rides. This is why even if we classify these types of motorcycles as Business models, in other parts of the world they are simply known as the Standard motorcycle. Honda’s premium offering in this segment is the TMX Supremo.
The TMX Supremo is powered by a 150-cubic centimeter, single-cylinder four-stroke engine that produces 7.85 kW (10.50 horsepower) at 7,000 revolutions per minute and 11.58 Newton-meters at 5,000 rpm. It may not seem much on paper but this enables a Supremo with a sidecar to carry passengers like a compact car, albeit in a significantly slower pace. When used solo as a city commuter, you get more than enough acceleration to keep up with the flow of traffic. Unlike most competitors in its class, the Supremo is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. The extra gear allows the rider to cruise comfortably at higher speeds and it also helps in fuel consumption. The tank has a capacity of 10.3 liters so you’ll get a good amount of distance between fill-ups. However, there is still noticeable vibration on the handle bar and on the foot pegs, and this should be put into consideration if you plan to do long distance commuting regularly. Fortunately, the thick comfy seat remain buzz-free…this may be a downer for some, though.
The TMX Supremo handles lighter than what its 129-kilogram curb weight would suggest. The grips are raised to allow a relaxed, upright riding posture and the flat bench-type saddle lets you slide into a suitable position relative to the pegs. As with most utility vehicles, suspensions on Business Models are known to be stiff because they designed to carry heavy loads. Hence, I was expecting a jarring ride at best. Surprisingly, the Supremo took on road imperfections quite well. As a bonus, you also get metal tube casing on both front and rear shocks for that clean, classic bike look. It also keeps them free of dust and grime that contribute to premature wear. Add tall 18-inch wheels to the good suspension set up you get a relatively plush ride. The frame has a provision for an additional pair of shock absorbers in the rear in case you are planning on using the Supremo for some serious cargo hauling.
The Supremo is easy to ride even in heavy traffic as the clutch pull is light and the gearbox is smooth and precise. The convenient N-1-2-3-4-5 shift pattern coupled with the see-saw type shift lever keeps your left shoe free of scuff marks; upshift by pressing down with your toe and downshift by pressing backward with your heel. It does take a bit of adjustment if you are used to the return-shift pattern of most bikes. Another thing that you’ll need to get used to are the conventional drum brakes. While they have adequate bite, they must be applied a little earlier especially when running at higher speeds. You also have to use all four fingers to squeeze the brake lever.
At a price tag of P69,900, you get analog speedometer and tachometer, an odometer with a separate trip meter, plus a digital gear indicator. You also get an electric starter as standard. To protect your investment, Honda threw in a magnetic keyhole shutter. So if you’re an entrepreneur who needs a reliable delivery mule or if you are a custom bike builder on a budget, you might want to consider the TMX Supremo.