2008 Piaggio MP3 500 Road Test Rider Magazine

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Piaggio MP3 500
Piaggio MP3 500

2008 Piaggio MP3 500 Road

Leaning on three wheels, a thunk it.

Rider Magazine

9, 2008

If Batman owned a the Piaggio MP3 500 would be it. In the immortal of Robin, the Gotham-city hero’s “Holy mechanical marvel,

And that it is, with its three and parallelogram steering and suspension that allow the MP3 to lean up to 40

Its appearance would suit the Crusader, too–rugged- and futuristic-looking, the MP3 ATV-like front end with headlight shields, a double bumper and metal mesh give the impression that indestructible. Though it is rugged and looking–and let’s not forget with those two wheels up surprising ease of use inspires of confidence.

Italian maker successful introduction of its three-wheeled MP3 to the U.S. market last inspired the company to build a version, ostensibly for riders in going longer distances in with an increase in stability and Piaggio is hoping that the MP3 500′s claimed 54 mpg, it can entice some car drivers to joining two-…uh, three-wheeled enthusiasts.

Our test scooter 52.1 mpg, though fuel is recommended in the 3.2-gallon Yes, you countersteer and lean it a motorcycle, but at stops and when the MP3′s electro-hydraulic suspension system secures the trike in the position with the push of a isn’t a sidestand to be found.

The electro-hydraulic suspension locking secures the MP3 for stand-alone parking. forget to use the parking brake,

The MP3′s liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, SOHC single has four and an automatic constant-velocity transmission. twist and go. With a claimed 40 at 7,250 rpm, the MP3 will you up to highway speeds in no time at

It’s kind of sneaky as the comes on smooth and stealthy; than once I looked to see that I was cruising through a area at 40 mph-plus. The MP3 500 has a claimed top of 89 mph; I got it to an indicated 82 mph and then off the throttle simply because I interested in getting a ticket.

At speeds the trike is stable, but in conditions it can get blown around a All that front-end armor some windblast and road from the rider, but your still gets buffeted by the wind. Even with two wheels up front, the MP3 is still the same width as a motorcycle, and is as one in most states, including

So maneuvers such as lane do not pose a physical problem. It to be seen, however, if every Highway Patrol officer I will approve of the MP3 straddling the divider (lane splitting is here because it’s for a bike to share a lane a car).

Each front wheel has its own suspension, mounted on a parallelogram that lets the wheels with the scooter.

The front as measured from inside rotor to inside rotor, are 13 inches apart. The parallelogram front suspension is comprised of aluminum arms supporting two tubes. The rear suspension is of two dual-effect hydraulic shocks.

makes four shocks on scooter! In general, the suspension is on the highway and surface streets, but bumps and potholes is a body-jarring The four-position adjustable rear are not very compliant, and when I into my driveway where the wheels go over one at a time, it harsh and wobbles the front end

One of the coolest things about the MP3 is the suspension locking system: It has no because the scooter can be locked at any whenever you stop. This means straight up, but you can (and should) angle it uphill parking sideways on an incline. It has a brake as well, of course.

I get a out of practicing with the electrically locking system when in for a landing at red lights and stop You can actually push the button to it as you roll to a stop, wait, and ride off again, all without a foot down. A safety keeps the scooter from being knocked over parked.

The ignition must be on and there be substantial weight (preferably …) to trigger the seat and allow the suspension to unlock. As as you’re onboard, start attention, though, because it takes blipping the throttle to the shocks and start leaning.

The MP3 is no with a claimed dry weight of 538 Once you’re comfortable the extra wheel and get over crazy sensation going a turn, you’ll find it lighter, and can be leaned over well. Getting it to change through a series of left and turns takes more than on a sportbike, but it holds a well and stays on track–it’s quite a hoot in the twisties.

The is placed about 3 inches off the so it’s the first thing to when you’re leaned More stability and available for braking and cornering are the MP3′s roads, wet and dirty surfaces, tracks…you name it, the MP3 tackles with tripodlike stability and contact patch than motorcycles.

An extra wheel extra rubber on the road, makes for more available when braking and cornering.

Piaggio MP3 500
Piaggio MP3 500

the photo shoot, after through the same corner a dozen times, I got to know how far the MP3 lean over and came the sweeping right-hander at a good When I reached the turnaround and braked hard, I hit a patch of and holy crucial moment, I thought the MP3 would never skidding. Fortunately, it stayed which probably would not been the case had I been on two

Each front wheel has a disc brake with an two-piston caliper, and the rear has a disc with a two-piston caliper. The brakes are strong and and used together can haul the down to a stop in a big hurry. will want to be mindful of the brake. It’s not foot-operated as on a but up on the left handlebar where the lever usually takes up

Several times I’ve in the “clutch,” only to come to a stop.

There’s good space under the flip-up though not enough to fit a full-face

For front wheel service, you lock the suspension while the is partly leaned over it will fall all the way over like a two-wheeler), lean it onto a support and change a tire. The MP3 also comes with a centerstand to service the wheel or in case the locking fails–or if you just prefer to it that way. The ignition key has a that releases the seat, flips up toward the handlebar.

There’s decent storage under the seat (though not deep enough to fit a helmet), and a few wrapped in plastic that fit in a along with a warning that reads, “No Pets.” OK, I Fido stays home. The grabrail could be used in with a cable to lock and jackets to the scoot, and there’s for a duffel on the luggage rack. the handlebar is a folding hook to things such as a grocery bag or a

The wide, one-piece seat was enough for me to spend the majority of a day in the without complaint, and the floorboards both rider and passenger leg movement compared to footpegs. In to scoots with longer rails, however, the MP3 500′s are so that larger riders want for more legroom on rides. As there’s also storage and wind protection, looking for a practical, efficient and touring scoot should look elsewhere (perhaps to Piaggio’s own MP3 400).

Comprehensive includes the usual suspects, as as a clock, ambient temperature and a light indicating if the suspension is The red numbers on the speedometer are kph; are mph.

The MP3 500 is fast, furious and and is most likely the sportiest in the MP3 line. It’s easy to and get on and off because of the step-through seating, has storage capacity and a comfortable And if you’re traveling alone and some company, there’s a chance you’ll find it.

It’s so unusual that it not gets noticed, it draws a People at gas stops, grocery and restaurants usually surround rare gem. About the drawback we can think of is the high of $8,899.

Holy priceless of Etruscan snoods, Batman! Robin really did say that in one of his That’s pricey for a scooter. But again, you get an extra wheel. And if more a lover than a and the Demon Black paint here is not your style, the also offer the MP3 500 in Passion

The MP3 500, 400 and 250 are available through dealers; currently there are 220 in this country.

Piaggio MP3 500
Piaggio MP3 500
Piaggio MP3 500
Piaggio MP3 500
Piaggio MP3 500


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