With five variants, three capacities, a multitude of colours, well executed styling and a retro twist the Peugeot Django certainly has a lot to offer. Would it live up to expectations or be ‘just another’ retro-styled 125? We blasted around on a 125cc Django Evasion for a few weeks to see what all the fuss is about.
Jazz it up
Aiming itself squarely at the blossoming retro market, Peugeot raided their own rich heritage for this model. The Django burst onto the market in 2014. Boasting bright colours and modern features, all wrapped up in a classic silhouette. The shape vaguely harks back to Peugeot’s first ever scooter, the S55 and its named after French jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt so it should be, mmmmm, nice.
Unlike the S55, the Django has all the modern touches you’d expect, an electric start and four stroke automatic engine being two of the most practical. Even so, it still retains a little je ne sai quoi. It’s also a relatively nippy scooter in 125cc guise, which makes it both fun and much more practical than lesser 125s.
We had the Django Evasion for a few weeks, it’s the middle of the road (or at least middle of the price range) version of the Django. Currently priced at £2999 it’s not overly expensive, that’s thanks to an involvement with Sym, which helped to keep the price down to realistic levels, whilst still retaining the kind of quality feel you’d expect from Peugeot.
The Django line up goes like this:
- Evasion: Includes front screen and rack
- Sport: Single seat conversion and graphics
- Allure: Top box, rear rack and screen
- ‘S ‘: Matt black with ‘S’ graphics and single seat
As mentioned previously, the Django comes with Peugeot’s usual high standard of finish and equipment; namely very nicely executed crystal clear instruments, excellent brakes, high-spec LED lighting and on the Evasion you also get a stylish front screen and chrome luggage rack.
I tend not to read the specs, or pricing for a scooter before riding it. I like to let the feel of it and how it performs dictate what I think about it before letting on-paper specs and details cloud my judgement.
As a result I was surprised when I later found out that the 125cc engine is ‘just’ an air-cooled lump, rather than liquid-cooled. The reason for the surprise was because it’s quite lively. It’s quick off the mark, soon gets over 60mph and isn’t at all shy when it comes to overtaking. Much more useable than many of the lacklustre 125cc scooters out there. To be fair the Peugeot City Star 125 is one of the quickest 125s I’ve ridden, although the Honda Forza beats it on outright top speed.
Admittedly, speed isn’t everything but on a 125cc scooter you need it to be practical, and able to cope with the demands of faster moving roads – where not feeling vulnerable is a definite advantage. The Django is certainly willing and able.
On the road
There are plenty of cheaper end 125cc four-strokes I’d not even contemplate taking on the motorway, unless I had to, but with the Django there were no worries in that department. It’s got enough oomph to make you feel confident on any road. It’ll quickly get to 65mph and you’ll see close to 70 on the clock without it feeling like it’s being thrashed to within an inch of its life.
It’s a good all-rounder though really. Plush suspension, both front and rear makes easy work of the roads where I live, a former coal mining region with plenty of subsidence adding excitement to the regular pothole strewn surfaces. The Django takes them all in its stride and soaks up the bumps very well. Top marks for the suspension. Decent suspension helps to keep the scooter well planted, which means you can have fun in the twisties and I quite like the twisties.
Even on the standard CST branded whitewall tyres in the middle of winter I felt confident enough to have a bit of fun. There may be better tyre brands out there and I’d probably opt to stick something a bit more exotic on there when it came time to change them but they did the job well enough whilst I had the scooter. The only time I had cause for concern, (or at least a little wobble) was mid corner when I hit a patch of loose gravel. No harm done though.
Peugeot have a good reputation for their brakes so it was no surprise that the Django can stop well. Rather than having ABS it comes with SBC, Syncro Braking Control instead. It means you can use the right brake lever, as per normal just to operate the front brake. Or you can use the left lever to operate both front and rear brakes together. The SBC distributes braking force between the front and rear 200mm discs to stop the scooter quickly and safely.
A few years ago linked brakes were a bit clumsy, they had a tendency to sit the bike up if you wanted to trail brake into a corner. That isn’t the case with the Django and I pretty much forgot about them being synchronised and just braked as normal most of the time. Using the front on it’s own to scrub off speed if needed and using the rear (as I tend to on an auto) to balance the scooter at slow speeds, or trail brake if I’m having a bit of fun round the bends. There’s plenty of feel at the levers, lots of braking power on tap if you need to use it and no annoying ABS cutting in on occasions when it’s maybe not really needed.
How slow can you go?
Slow speed stability is another good attribute that the Django has up its sleeve. At a walking pace in slow moving traffic it’s a doddle to ride. It’s steady, controllable and despite having the feel of a larger scooter it’s very nimble so can carve through traffic easily enough. I don’t think there were many queues I didn’t get to the front of. It’s got enough punch to get you away from the lights before most cars as well so you’re not going to hold anybody up once the lights go green, in fact they’ll be lucky to keep up with you unless they’re trying hard.
We already know that it goes well, stops on a tanner and can get around corners but what’s the Django like on a practical level?
Firstly the Evasion comes equipped with a screen as standard. The screen is well finished, the brackets are good quality and it looks smart, not high enough to make it look geeky, not too low to be useless. It stops a bit of wind and rain so is well worth having.
The Evasion also comes with a chrome fold-down front rack, again this is great quality, easily on a par with the genuine Vespa accessories for the GTS. The only snag with the rack is that it sits quite high up so you can’t really fit much on it without it obscuring the headlight or indicators, it’s more of a fashion accessory than a practical luggage carrier. You’d probably get a small tent on there if you were going away for the weekend though. I’ve seen a few Django riders on scooter rallies in the last year or so as it happens. Having said that, the Allure version could be a better option if you needed extra storage space for your regular commute, because it comes with a top box as standard.
There is storage space beneath the seat (it pops open easily using the key in the ignition). It’s not a bad size under there so it’s useful enough. The rear part of the seat is separate so doesn’t lift up and it’s easy enough to bungee a bag, tent or your shopping to the back using the grab handle. Finally it also has a flat floor and the ever-useful bag hook. So you can load a Django up quite well if you put your mind to it.
In the centre of the legshields there’s a separate switch, put the ignition key in the slot, twist the key to the left and a little door pops open. That’s for the fuel filler. The fuel tank sits nice and low beneath the floorboards, keeping the weight of sloshing fuel low down adds to the scooters stability. Turn the key to the right and the right hand flap opens, this one contains the 12v charge point. This is useful for charging a phone on the move but not so good for powering accessories. I was using it for a heated vest but you can’t shut the door with it plugged in because the cable gets trapped, so I had to ride with the door swinging open.
Peugeot designers take note: a small moulded slot at the bottom of the door would be a good addition to allow a sat nav/accessory cable to pass through and the door to close.
The instruments are elegant and useful with an analogue white-faced speedo sitting around the outside of the digital display. The multi-function dash includes time, trip, odometer, temperature, fuel level and battery condition and has a push button in the centre to scroll the functions and clear the trip.
Ergonomically the indictor took a little getting used to, the button didn’t fall instantly to thumb and for the first couple of rides I found myself glancing down to find the button but you soon get used to these things. The starter button is on a spring and felt a bit wobbly (you can see it in the video), nothing major but it could be better.
The seating position is good, lots of room between my knees and the legshields so it doesn’t feel cramped, even Sticky (he’s almost 9ft 6″) remarked that it was roomier than it looked when he rode it. The seat is firm but comfortable, although I’m not a huge fan of sloped back seats, on longer journeys they stop you being able to spread out a bit. Even so, like pretty much everything on the Peugeot the seat is well finished, small details like the stitching and white piping all add up to give the scooter an air of quality.
With LED lighting and indicators all round the Django is bang up to date. The lights are bright and the indicators are nice and subtle, almost blending into the rear bodywork.
The retro market is hot at the minute, with the likes of Scomadi (and Royalloy/RA/Royal Alloy having a Thai/Chinese bun fight), various Vespa clones, the AJS Modena etc. and the new Lambretta on it’s way. Thankfully Peugeot chose to capitalise on their own heritage and development, rather than stealing somebody else’s and they’ve done it very well.
Ride at 16 & above
The Django is offered in 50cc. 125cc and 150cc capacities so there’s something for a 16 year old (or full car licence holder to ride), a learner over 17, or a full licence holder who wants a little extra power for the longer commute.
Style and tune it up
Add into the mix the choice of styles, the option to customise your Django and the tuning potential offered by the likes of Readspeed and you get a retro scooter with a lot of flexibility. We’ll be riding a Readspeed kitted Django shortly. We also sell the Django Scorpion Exhaust through our webshop.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on-board the Django, it was quite surprising to be honest – especially performance wise. It’s a scooter that feels quite substantial. It isn’t just a lightweight machine that bounces you around and feels cheap, it’s a quality bit of kit.
The fit, finish and decent engine all help to make it a rideable, useful and capable machine as well. I’d quite happily do a couple of hundred miles on it without worrying. Some of the lesser/cheaper 125cc scooters I’d not even consider using for a trip to the chippy. The Django can be used anywhere.
If you like the idea of a retro machine but don’t necessarily need it to have a ‘Vespa’, ‘Lambretta’ or even ‘Scomadi’ badge on the legshields but you want a practical, good looking scooter you really should have a good look at the Django.
Words and static photos: Iggy/Action shots & video: Sticky
Video edit: Charles Rabréud
Peugeot Django Evasion specs
Engine: 125cc single cylinder. 4-stroke, air-cooled, fuel injected
Suspension: Telescopic front fork, rear single shock absorber
Tyres: Front & rear 120/70-12″
Seat height: 770mm
Dimensions: Length 1944mm, width mm, wheelbase 1363mm
Fuel capacity: 8.2 litres
Colours: Orange, red, green, blue
Contact: Peugeot Scooters
Lab report: 9.3
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