Just Gotta Scoot - Because Even Thinking About Scooters Puts a Big Grin on Your Face 

Just Gotta Scoot Home Page    Just Gotta Scoot News Page    Buy Stuff From Just Gotta Scoot    Blah, blah, blah Scooter Talk from Just Gotta Scoot    Scooter Links and References    Search The Just Gotta Scoot Website
Paiggio MP3

Over the past few months there have been plenty of rumors flying around about a new three-wheeled scooter being developed by Piaggio. It's a rumor no more, it's a reality! Have a look at:

http://www.mp3.piaggio.com/index_eng.html

Be sure and look at the videos, this machine can lean! The two front parallel wheels and single drive wheel in the rear allow a lean angle of as much as 40 degrees. The front suspension is a parallelogram configuration. There are aluminum control arms attached to each side of the central steering column. The rear suspension is single-sided and incorporates the drivetrain in normal Piaggio style with two adjustable shock absorbers. The front tires (yeah, I know, hard to write "tires", plural, when talking about a scooter) are tubeless 120/70-12s while the single rear is a 130/70-12. Disk brakes all around, one disk for each wheel.

At this time, the engine choices are limited to 125cc and 250cc versions. Both are liquid cooled four-strokes with the 125cc making a claimed 15 horses and the 250cc 22 horses. The top speed on the 125cc is about 64MPH while the 250cc should see 78MPH.

June 2007 - AT LAST! We got to spend some time with an MP3. Scroll down to read the review.


Review of the Piaggio MP3

Beverly Harrington riding the Piaggio MP3 scooterJune 2007 - YES! At long last I got to spend some time with the Piaggio MP3. If you want to skip the review and just get to the conclusion, here it is: This scooter is amazing.

There was a lot of industry (and media) buzz around this scooter. The Piaggio MP3 is something really new in scooters - a three-wheeled machine that gives new meaning to stability and control in the scooter world. I have been (not so patiently) waiting for my opportunity to spend some time on one. Thanks to MotoPrimo and Jonathan Wheelock (the sales manager at MotoPrimo Central) I got my chance to get a fair amount of time on one. I did a mix of riding including highway, city, and (ahem) "sporting" time with the MP3. I am used to getting some "looks" and questions when reviewing new scooters but the Piaggio MP3 drew onlookers like nothing else I've ever ridden. Fuel stops took at least 20 minutes - 2 minutes to get gas and the rest of the time to answer questions. Without a doubt, the MP3 causes a crowd to gather. My wife Beverly (that's her in the picture) also rode the MP3 and was very impressed.

The Technology

Piaggio MP3 scooter front end

The Piaggio MP3 has a fuel injected, liquid-cooled four-stroke 250cc engine... oh wait, you wanted to hear about that front end. Yeah, TWO wheels up front, as well as TWO in-board disc brakes. The parallelogram suspension is an original Piaggio design. The tilt mechanism is composed of four cast-aluminum control arms with four hinges fixed to the central tube and two guide tubes on either side. It is connected to the arms via suspension pins and ball bearings. The tubes on the right and left enclose the steering tube. The result is a scooter that provides incredible stability when turning, braking, riding on wet pavement, you name it.

To get an idea of the real-world impact of all this, look at the picture of Bev again. She is NOT a spirited rider byPiaggio MP3 Summary any stretch of the imagination. She is also VERY cautious about trying out new scooters and only participates in these reviews to shut me up. At parking lot speeds after just a little practice, she was able to comfortably run figure eights with the MP3.

Specifications

In most of my scooter reviews, this is where the "comparison chart" would normally be. For the Piaggio MP3, it would be a "chart of one" so I'll just run through the specs.

The MSRP is $6,999. The standard warranty is one year and includes roadside assistance. There is an extended factory warranty available. The engine is a 244cc single-cylinder four-stroke with liquid cooling and fuel injection. Transmission is an automatic CVT. The front suspension was covered above and the rear suspension is a dual shock set-up with adjustment for spring preload. Brakes are disc all around (two in front, one in the back). The front tires are tubeless 120/70-12 and the rear is 130/70-12. Wheelbase is 58.6 inches, seat height is 30.7 inches and dry weight is 440 pounds. The fuel tank holds 3.2 gallons.

Features

Piaggio MP3 controls

The control layout of the Piaggio MP3 is a little different than other scooters because it includes a front end lock. On the right side control there is a button to lock the front end when at a stop. The mechanism only engages at very low speeds (near to stopping) and when the butterfly valve is closed and the engine is running below 3000 RPMs. With the mechanism engaged, one can sit at a stop with out having one's feet on the ground. The mechanism can be disengaged with the switch OR it will automatically disengage once the scooter is moving at low speeds. The factory specifications say that the auto-disengage kicks in at 9 MPH, but it seemed to me to happen at even lower speeds.

Piaggio MP3 features

Beyond the VERY sweet front end, the Piaggio MP3 has some other nice features. The seat is comfortable and has good passenger accommodations. There is a parking brake (highly recommended - one tends to forget about rolling on a hill with the front end locked) and luggage hook located in the front/center below the dash. The fuel filler is on the floorboard and there is a nice rain cover "built in" under the seat.

Piaggio MP3 storage

Storage space is quite good. There is a truck that "passes through" to the underseat storage area. As you can see in the picture, my XXL 3/4 helmet fit EITHER in the trunk or under the seat with ease. There is a bit of a back-rest for the passenger and even comfortable grab rails. Any passenger with likely need these grab rails as it's virtually impossible to NOT enjoy some twisty, leaning turns on this scooter.

Piaggion MP3 dash

Sorry about the poor quality dash pictures, I just couldn't find a spot that was free from reflection. The smallish windscreen provides limited protection but is adequate. The speedometer is on the left and the tachometer on the right with a nice multi-function digital display in the center along with a myriad of warning lights. These warning lights include a front-end lock indicator. 

Riding Impressions

OK, here are the basics. During my test, fuel consumption was 73 MPG which I consider to be quite good considering that this was a new scooter and was not yet broken in. The speedometer reads pretty accurately being only 4% optimistic. When the indicated speed was 60 MPH the actual speed was 57.5 MPH. The factory specifications list the maximum speed as 77 MPH. Again, this was a new scooter and I didn't really push it to the top end, but with my 200+ pound body on board, I only managed an indicated 75 MPH or an actual speed of 72 MPH.

This is pretty much my only "complaint" about the Piaggio MP3 so I might as well just get it out because the rest of this review is going to be pretty glowing. The power was disappointing. Acceleration throughout was adequate but not exciting. The top end is lacking and this may adversely impact the MP3's ability as a touring machine for some riders.

Handling is terrific, like no other scooter I have ridden. Braking and control were outstanding in all circumstances. I did not have the chance to try the MP3 on wet pavement, but I have no doubts that it would prove to be more stable than any two-wheeled scooter out there. The factory specs indicate lean angles of up to 40 degrees and I do not doubt this one bit. After about an hour of around-town riding I felt completely comfortable with the MP3 and found myself looking for excuses to push it a bit on turns. I found the MP3 to be one of the most ergonomically friendly scooters I have ridden. Seat position, controls, everything felt quite nice to me. I suspect that is you are outside of 5' 7" to 6' 2" you may have some issues but the only way to know for sure is to try one out for yourself.

My wife Beverly and I rode the MP3 two-up for about 30 miles, some around town but most on highways. It was comfortable and again (I know, I keep saying the say thing over and over) the handling and control were phenomenal. 

Conclusion

Piaggio MP3 Three-wheeled Scooter

If it's not obvious by now I'll just say it again - this is one impressive scooter. The fit and finish is top-notch, exactly what one would expect from Piaggio. The paint work was gorgeous and I find the overall design very pleasant. In my opinion, the Piaggio MP3 represents the state-of-the-art in scooter evolution as far as stability and handling go. I do wish there was a little more "oomph" in the engine department.

Do yourself a favour and check with your local Piaggio dealer to see when they will be offering test rides.

David L. Harrington - June 2007

Send mail to David@HarringtonBusinessGroup.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: August 09, 2017