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The Piaggio MP3 – The Three Wheeler, With Two Front Wheels!


By: Tasha Crook | Published 10 January 2007, 13:59 | Views: 89,529 | tags: bike reviews, piaggio, scooters, mp3
Piaggio introduced their very first Vespa model with the scooter phenomenon in the spring of 1946. And, with the scooter revolution came individual transport, giving us Europeans a sense of complete and absolute freedom. Now, sixty years on, Piaggio has conjured up another utterly radical product: the PIAGGIO MP3, a totally pioneering three-wheeler, with two front wheels! To see if this is true, later on in the article Westfazer tells us about how he’s getting on with his long term demo model.
Right, it’s said that the Piaggio MP3 is designed with safety and stability in mind and that Piaggio wanted to provide more road grip and more stability. In fact, on all of these levels, they wanted to do what no two-wheeler could try and match. The MP3 also has been blessed with power and performance, with all these elements in place, its ease of use should make for an extremely entertaining and compelling ride, even to those who are not too sure about getting on even two wheels!

The Piaggio MP3 re-defines the very notion of ride stability to provide an unparalleled riding experience with its two front wheels design. The front assembly, with two totally independent wheels that tilt, is said to be significantly more stable than any scooter. It grasps the road, providing the rider with the most performance possible and with total safety.

It had been said that the MP3 has no equal in terms of safety around town and city traffic. During road tests it has engaged on patchy asphalt, cobblestone streets and even tram tracks with the utmost of ease, remaining safe and steady at all times.

Not only has it got a compact super-scooter size and outstanding manoeuvrability, the Piaggio MP3 is said to be just at home in the hustle and bustle of town traffic as it is on the open road. Parking couldn’t be any easier, with an electro-hydraulic suspension locking system; this means that there is no need to even put the vehicle onto its stand.

The Piaggio MP3 is type-approved as a standard two wheeled motorcycle, thanks to an overall front-end width of only 420 mm.

The avant-garde MP3 requires much less braking space than any scooter, as it has a three-disk braking system and incomparable front-end road-holding reduce braking space by 20 per cent compared to the best scooters on the market today.

Its road grip, cornering safety and tilt angle of up to 40 per cent are unmatched for a scooter, adding to the pleasure of riding on different road surfaces at high speed, bringing the Piaggio MP3 into its own when heading out of town. The MP3 is available in two engine capacities; you can get the Piaggio MP3 in 125 cc and 250 cc. Both have up-to-date 4-stroke, 4-valve, liquid-cooled units in line with Euro3 emissions standards.

The 125cc engine offers an excellent power output of 15 bhp/11kW, the legal limit when riding with just a car licence. The 250cc, equipped with electronic injection, delivers a 22.5 bhp/16.9 kW power output, making the Piaggio MP3 capable of comfortably taking on much long-distance rides.

Three other versions will be available alongside the Piaggio MP3: The MP3 C with a high winter windscreen, the MP3 RL with an electro-hydraulic tilt lock mechanism and the MP3 CRL with a winter windscreen as well as a tilt lock mechanism.

We just simply had to find out more about the MP3, and to see whether Piaggio’s wacky and funky, all round three-wheeler actually, ‘Does what it says on the tin’.

In search of answers and opinions, our very own Westfazer, who is the manager of Scooter World, Westbourne Grove, in London’s Nottinghill Gate, took delivery of three of these beasties for his shop. Westie went to The Round House in Camden a few weeks back for the launch of the Piaggio MP3 and to pick up his demo’s, here he tells us how he’s getting on with his own long term demo.

Westfazer’s Opinion…

Well here we are, after days of talk I can finally reveal how I got on with the introduction to the new Piaggio MP3.

I arrived at the Piaggio location, which was at The Round House in Camden, North London at 1pm for a prompt show around the bikes, whilst we waited for the rest of the team to prepare the presentation for us. As soon as I saw the MP3, I completely fell in love with the design and beauty of this new maxi breed of scooter. This is no doubt a turning point in the eye of Piaggio, and means a whole new wave of things to come over the next few years. Woo, I can’t wait!

Whilst at the presentation, I met Kahl Harris from Bike magazine, who was very informative as to what we could expect from this bike, and how different and ‘bike like’ it is to ride, thanks again Mate!

Before we knew it, we were taking delivery of our three MP3`s, two 250`s and one 125. My own long term demo machine is in silver, and I was lucky enough to get one of the 250`s as well. As I stepped aboard and clicked the ignition on, a whole array of lights powered up and with the twist of the throttle I was away...

The amazing thing about this vehicle is the way it accelerates and brakes, when you are slowing down to around 10mph the braking light comes on allowing the use of the manual self levelling mode, which basically means when you are coming to a stop you can remain upright without the need to put your feet down, how cool is that! However this can be a bit tricky if you are on a slight camber as the bike will lock into the position that you are leaning, so hence, when pulling away you have to be a bit careful not to lean it over too much!!! The bike will also not pull away with your feet on the ground, its part of a safety feature designed by Piaggio to stop people accidentally twisting the throttle and going head first into a car or so forth!

There are also sensors on the seat and the floorboard, so you really do have to put your feet on the boards to pull away. As you twist the throttle there is no need to flick the switch, as it does it automatically, and if you do decide to stop without flicking the switch it’s no problem either, as you can put your feet down like you would on any other two wheel bike.

As for the ride, it is so fantastic for a scooter, you can really lean the thing over and it still remains stable, with no shuddering and no skidding, it remains planted at all times. The comfort is also great point to make, as is the overall stopping power. It’s so powerful with the twin discs at front and rear; there is also a manual handbrake for hills and for parking, which is located between the rider’s legs.

I have been throwing the MP3 into the corners and riding really hard over speed bumps, the ride is just so immense. I have a continuous giant smile on my face; this really is one very impresive tool.

Now, the actual design for the MP3 has been taken partly from the Piaggio X8 Range, so the MP3 also comes with the boot at the rear, it also has more under-seat storage, this can be got at via remote on the key fob. Powerful twin headlights light the road up at night, and you also have the twin rear lamps. Hazard warnings come as standard as do 2 trip meters, fuel countdown display and clock. Odometer is in LCD.

So my overall conclusion is a fantastic new bike that can handle, commute, and maybe even tour, but that bit is yet to come...

PIAGGIO MP3: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 125cc

Engine: Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 4-valve Piaggio LEADER with SAS and catalytic exhaust Displacement: 124 cc Bore: 57 mm Stroke: 48.6 mm Fuel: Unleaded Compression ratio: 12.0:1 Max power: 15 bhp (11 Kw) at 9,250 rpm Max torque: 12 Nm at 8,500 rpm Cooling: Liquid

Gearbox: ‘Twist and go’ automatic CVT, torque server Ignition: Electronic capacitive discharge (CDI) and ignition advance mapping Starter: Electric (Bendix) with automatic decompressor and automatic start Frame: Twin cradle: tubes in high tensile steel

Front suspension: Parallelogram composed of four aluminium arms supporting two steering tubes, cantilevered suspension – Travel: 85 (mm) Rear suspension: Two dual effect hydraulic shock absorbers and adjustable spring preload – Travel: 110 (mm) Front brakes: Two stainless steel disks, Ø 240 mm and floating calliper with two pistons, Ø 30 mm Rear brake: Stainless steel disk, Ø 240 mm and calliper with opposite pistons, Ø 30 mm Front wheel rims: Die-cast aluminium alloy, 12" x 3.00 Rear wheel rims: Die-cast aluminium alloy, 12" x 3.50 Front tyre: Tubeless 120/70-12” 51P Rear tyre: Tubeless 130/70-12” 62P

Length/Width: 2,130 mm/ 745 mm Wheelbase: 1,490 mm Seat height: 780 mm Dry weight: 199 kg Fuel tank capacity: 12 litres (includes 1.8 litres reserve) Max speed: 103 km/h

Consumption: (ECE 40 cycle): 25 km/l Emissions: Euro3

PIAGGIO MP3: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 250cc

Bore: 72 mm Stroke: 60 mm Fuel: Unleaded Compression ratio: 10.5 :1 Max power: 22.5 bhp (16.5 Kw) at 8,250 rpm Max torque: 21 Nm at 6,750 rpm Cooling: Liquid

Gearbox: ‘Twist and go’ automatic CVT, torque server Ignition: Port Injected Alfa/n type with closed loop system, Lambda sensor in exhaust pipe and three-way double catalytic converter Start: Electric (freewheel) with torque limiter Frame: Twin cradle tubes in high tensile steel

Front suspension: Parallelogram composed of four aluminium arms supporting two steering tubes, cantilevered suspension – Travel: 85 (mm) Rear suspension: Two dual effect hydraulic shock absorbers and adjustable spring preload – Travel: 110 (mm) Front brake: Two stainless steel disks, Ø 240 mm and floating calliper with two pistons, Ø 30 mm Rear brake: Stainless steel disk, Ø 240 mm and calliper with opposite pistons, Ø 30 mm Front wheel rim: Die-cast aluminium alloy, 12" x 3.00 Rear wheel rim: Die-cast aluminium alloy, 12" x 3.50 Front tyre: Tubeless 120/70-12” 51P Rear tyre: Tubeless 130/70-12” 62P

Length/Width: 2,130 mm/745 mm Wheelbase: 1,490 mm Seat height: 780 mm Dry weight: 204 kg Fuel tank capacity: 12 litres (includes 1.8 litres) Max speed: 125 km/h

Consumption: (ECE 40 cycle) 23 km/l Emissions: Euro3

Accessories:

Piaggio has lined up a set of innovative dedicated accessories to suit the exceptional Piaggio MP3 and let the rider personalise the vehicle in many different ways to further enhance comfort.

Piaggio’s Winter Pack makes it possible to use the MP3 all year round, with protection in all seasons including sub-zero winter temperatures. The Winter Pack includes:

• An extra-large winter windscreen that offers total protection. Equipped with hand protectors, the winter windscreen has been given a special surface treatment that causes rain to slide off, ensuring optimal visibility. • Thermal winter tyres made of a special composite that make it possible to use the PIAGGIO MP3 on slippery roads. • Heated leg cover. Battery-powered pads create a snug feel under the canvas. • Heated waistcoat. Battery-powered heated pads provide extra protection in particularly cold weather.

The innovative PIAGGIO MP3 also comes with a range of optional high-tech accessories: • TOM TOM Rider GPS navigator with wireless Bluetooth link and 3.5” LCD screen. • Piaggio X-Jet Bluetooth Intercom helmet with a built-in communication system to let rider and passenger talk or use a mobile phone in total safety. • Disk lock anti-theft device with siren.

The range of accessories includes other items to make the PIAGGIO MP3 even more practical to use:

• Rear rack with flip-down plate: makes it possible to use the rear boot lid even with a top case mounted. • 48-litre rear top case: together with the large under seat storage area, it gives the vehicle overall storage capacity of over 110 litres. • Windscreen with built-in hand protectors. • Remote-controlled electronic anti-theft device. • Dedicated helmets: the X-Jet for town use, the X-Tour, a comfortable modular helmet and the X-Sport, an ultra-light fibreglass full-face helmet.

If you would like to find out more about the MP3 or even test ride one, you can call Scooter World LTD on the details below. You can even email them at info@scooterworld.co.uk.

Scooter World Ltd, 105 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W2 4UW. Tel: 020 7243 1100 Fax: 020 7243 1141

Scooter World Ltd, 22 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London, W4 1TE. Tel: 020 72431100 Fax: 020 7243 1141

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 10.30am-6pm

Related Links www.scooterworld.co.uk www.piaggio.com
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