Peugeot Pulsion 125 RS | ROAD TEST
This is Peugeot’s latest learner legal 125. A ‘compact GT’ in the same mould as the Yamaha X-Max and Honda Forza. The idea is that these upmarket 125s offer at least some of the benefits of a long-wheelbase maxi-scooter – more legroom and a good spec – in a handier, more compact package. In Peugeot’s line up, it effectively replaces the CityStar.
So what have we got? At this price, 125s don’t make do with a budget air-cooled motor, so the Pulsion benefits from the same liquid-cooled four-valve PowerMotion as the three-wheel Metropolis, though here in 125cc form. With a balance shaft, single overhead cam and the obligatory fuel injection, it easily copes with Euro 4 emissions and won’t have any problem with the upcoming Euro 5 either, according to Peugeot.
Making 13.8bhp at 9000rpm, it’s not far off the permissible power limit for A1 125s, backed up by 8.8lb ft at 7000. That’s slightly more than an N-Max, less than a Forza, but even with a kerb weight of 176kg, should be enough to make it pretty nippy. There’s the usual CVT transmission, ABS linked brakes, keyless ignition and various other clever bits and pieces which we’ll come to later.
Knowledge is Power
Showroom appeal was clearly at the centre of Peugeot’s thinking for the Pulsion, something which shows as soon as you turn the key. Or rather not, because the keyless ignition means you just push and turn the ignition switch. Do that, and the big-screen dash lights up. Some of it, like the analogue speedo and rev counter, looks conventional enough, though the fuel and temp gauges are displays, not analogues. The clever bit is a whole raft of options for the information shown, everything from mpg to language, backlighting, colour (choice of three), voltmeter…and so it goes on. The system can also link with your phone through bluetooth, alerting you to calls and showing a simplified sat nav system on the dash.
It’s all selectable by two switches – left and right – on the clusters, which sounds complicated but they work quite intuitively, enabling you to scroll through and select options pretty quickly. Peugeot have said before that the philosophy behind their pricier scooters is to provide all the gizmos a typical car driver would expect, all the better to tempt them out of the tin box – the Pulsion certainly has plenty of those.
Anyway, what’s it like to ride? The motor needs 5-6000rpm to get moving, but from there acceleration is pretty good. It doesn’t have the grunty feel of a 250 or bigger scooter but winds up to an indicated 50-60mph acceptably quickly. It’ll hold an indicated 70mph easily on the flat and even creep up to eighty (with almost 10,000rpm showing on the rev counter), which is good for a 125 and only when baulked does it take a while to get back up to speed. Acceleration away from 30 limits on the other hand, is instantaneous.
In town, there’s plenty of urge to get away from the lights, and the scooter’s narrow dimensions mean it’s quite easy to filter to the front of a queue, one benefit of that ‘compact’ part of the equation.
You sit high – 790mm off the ground – so the short-legged will be on tiptoe but the upside is decent visibility in traffic, where the scooter really feels in its element. The steering is light and the Pulsion handles well on its Michelin CityGrips, despite a multitude of wet leaves and damp tarmac when I rode it in late November. I did think the rear shocks were a bit harsh though, even on the second softest setting of five – maybe I should eat more pies.
The brakes are excellent, the rear lever operating both front and rear discs, and the ABS tripping in on the rear on hard stops, with the front lever for the front disc only. Unlike some linked systems, this one was nicely controllable at low speed, which is useful in town.
Peugeot offers two versions of the Pulsion. The Allure is the deluxe one, with a taller screen (in red above) and a plastic cover to hide the bars and top clamp, while the RS is the sporty job (in blue/white or black) with a shorter tinted screen, exposed bars/clamp and stainless steel inserts in the floor. Otherwise they’re identical, apart from the colours, and even come in at the same £4499 price.
Either way, the Pulsion is a very comfy scooter – a six-footer might want more legroom, but there’s enough space for a semi-feet forward position and even the RS’s shorter screen kept the breeze off well at high speeds. If you need more height the Allure’s higher screen bolts straight on anyway. Pillions get a good deal, with a big portion of seat, proper folding pegs and two big grabrails.
Under the seat, there was enough space for my bulky Schuberth flip-up, with plenty left over for shopping, plus a small front cubby and a shopping bag hook. You won’t fit two full-faces under the seat, but it’s still a pretty useful space. A topbox would spoil the lines, but it is an option if you insist.
I’ve already gone on a bit about the Pulsion’s equipment, but it did convince me of the handiness of keyless ignition when you have two or three quick stops to make – it’s just a case of hopping on and off instead of fumbling for keys. Otherwise, as well as that multi-tasking dash which will act as an extension of your phone, there’s a USB socket, LED lighting all round and automatic hazard warning lights.
£4500 seems a lot for a 125, however sophisticated it is, but with PCP deals available I can see the Pulsion appealing to a commuter who likes their gizmos, and it does save over £200 compared to a Forza, over £300 on the X-Max. And behind all the flash features the Peugeot is also a comfy, practical scooter that does the job. You could always save over £1000 on any of these and have a 125 with fewer toys– you pays your money…etc
Words: Pete Henshaw, photos Peugeot and Pete Henshaw
2019 Peugeot Pulsion 125 RS specifications
Engine: PowerMotion 125cc, 4-stroke, 4-valve, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled
Power: 13.8bhp @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 8.8 lb ft @ 7000 rpm
Brakes: Front and rear discs with linked ABS
Suspension: 35mm telescopic front forks, twin adjustable rear shock absorbers
Wheels: Front 120/70-14, rear 140/60-13
Dimensions: Length 2065mm, width 765mm, height 1290mm, wheelbase 1440mm
Seat height: 790mm
Fuel capacity: 12 litres
Standard equipment: ABS, keyless ignition, USB port, multi-function dash
Kerb weight: 176kg
Contact: Peugeot Scooters
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