Peugeot Speedfight 4 Smartmotion 125 review | ROAD TEST
Peugeot’s Speedfight is 20 years old and has now sold 0.6 Million units around the world over four series. For 2017 they’ve upgraded the Speedfight 4 125 to the latest Smartmotion engine, but is it any good?
Sticky travels to Paris to ponder that question…
It’s a classic
It hurts to acknowledge that I went on launches for the first Peugeot Speedfights all those years ago. Back then it was probably the sportiest looking scooter available, with a dash of eccentric French engineering in its single-sided leading arm front fork.
Nowadays, in its 4th incarnation, the Speedfight has become a little more sober, with conventional telescopic front forks, but the styling is as sharp and youthful as ever.
What is new this time is an upgraded engine that gives the ‘big’ Speedfight more power than before.
Ironically, the large capacity Speedfight was always more racy in its styling than its performance. While Gilera and Italjet released the celebrated 125 and 180cc watercooled two-strokes, Peugeot’s hot offering was a 9hp 100cc air-cooled expansion of the 50cc engine layout.
Fast forward to the era of environmentalism and all the over-50cc two-strokes have gone. The scooter world has gone 4-stroke, but with the introduction of Euro 4 many manufacturers have had to restrict performance slightly to meet the new emissions targets. However, I’m pleased to say that Peugeot have done exactly the opposite. Their new water-cooled Smartmotion engine is actually slightly up on power compared to the carburetted air-cooled Speedfight 125 first released in 2014. Hurrah!
VIDEO | first impressions of the Speedfight Smartmotion
Rather than going to the expense of a new 4-valve engine, Peugeot have squeezed out much more performance and economy from a 2-valve layout. Like recent releases from Honda and Piaggio, they’ve gone water-cooling with an engine-mounted radiator and fan. This allows them to add liquid-cooling to the Speedfight 125 without additional plumbing or compromises to the styling.
Power is up to 11hp, but far more important than that is the massively increased torque which is achieved by shifting the engine’s operating rpm far lower in the rpm range than before. Lowering the engine rpm so that peak torque comes at only 6,500rpm is also an advantage in fuel economy. Peugeot claim that the Speedfight 125 can cover 100km (62miles) on only 2.1 litres of fuel.
On our busy test route around Paris we never got a chance to test the Speedfight 125 flat out, but Peugeot are claiming an increase in top speed of 5km/h. Compared to the similarly-engined Belville we were riding with, the Speedfight seemed a little more urgent on acceleration and slightly bassier in exhaust note.
Some credit for the excellent fuel economy of the Speedfight 125 must go to new technologies which have been used in the Smartmotion engine; which is built for Peugeot by Taiwanese giants SYM. Apart from making efforts to reduce internal friction, Peugeot have also licensed the Synerject AGC system which disconnects the stator from the battery during acceleration and deceleration, and only charges the battery during cruising.
AGC allows a few more watts of engine power to reach the rear wheel rather than being used to generate surplus electricity in the charging system. The net result of AGC is improved acceleration and a claimed 5% fuel saving.
Overall my first impressions of the Smartmotion engine were positive. It’s responsive, very quiet, economical and with a service interval of 5,000km and a belt change at 10,000km ownership shouldn’t be expensive.
The drive of your life?
My riding time on the Speedfight 125 was quite brief, but enough to enjoy it. Ergonomics have improved over the various versions, so this didn’t feel cramped, but still considerably less roomy than the Belville or Citystar.
With smaller wheels the Speedfight feels nimbler when swerving through the traffic. Unlike the ABS-equipped Belville, the Speedfight comes with Synchro CBS braking which means the left hand lever operates the rear disc brake as well as one piston in the front caliper. For most occasions it means the left lever is enough to slow you down, but for quicker stopping the right hand brake lever operates the two remaining pistons in the front caliper.
Typically, Peugeot have spent a lot of effort making the Speedfight look sharp. The three vertically-striped claw-mark arrangement of the rear LED lights works even better than on the Belville, but the Speedfight 125 also backs this up with full LED headlights and signature lights at the front as well.
One natty feature is a central compartment in the handlebars which can be fitted with an accessory smartphone X-grip. For navigating in safe areas it’ll be a boon, but I wouldn’t fancy putting my phone on display where it could easily be pinched in either London or Paris.
The Speedfight 125 also includes the following:
- A 100% digital backlit control panel for a more modern urban look
- A USB socket for smartphone charging
- A 12V socket in the locker box
- Enough under-saddle storage for an integral helmet
- Retractable aluminium foot-rests
- Bag hook
In my opinion the 2017 Speedfight 125 scores in two areas: style and price. The anticipated UK retail price of £2,599 undercuts even the Peugeot Belville, thanks to savings like the use of CBS instead of ABS braking. However, even at that price you still get the upgrade to the water-cooled Smartmotion engine.
Where the Speedfight really wins is where it has always found victory. Not in being the fastest scooter in its class, but by looking like it’s the fastest, even when standing still.
With so few genuinely sporty 125 scooters now on sale, this looks like a niche that Speedfight is set to occupy for many more years yet.
More information: Peugeot Scooters UK
Peugeot Speedfight 125 Smartmotion specifications
New Speedfight 125 and 125 R CUP
Bore x Stroke
52.4mm x 57.8mm
Four-stroke injection – twin-valve – SOHC
8.1kW (11hp) at 7400 rpm
L x W x H (mm)
1895 x 700 x 1150
Seat height (mm)
Kerb weight (kg)
Fuel tank capacity (litres)
Front/rear: 130/60 – 13
Front: Ø 215
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