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:
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
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
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
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 by 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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