We introduced the Piaggio MP3 to you recently (and showed an action photo provided by Piaggio here). I had a chance to ride the unique machine for roughly two hours recently, and came away quite impressed.
By large scooter standards the MP3 is somewhat cramped (I felt like I was perched on a small school chair), and there is not a whole lot of wind protection for the upper body. Nevertheless, I felt comfortable with the ergonomics fairly quickly, and in complete control of this unusual three wheeler.
Control is the overriding impression after taking the bike through city streets, some twisties, and some high-speed freeway sections. Two front wheels, as expected, grip tenaciously in corners, and largely remove the need to balance (unlike a two wheeler). Nevertheless, the feeling is very much like a two-wheeled scooter, particularly when leaning the MP3 through corners. You can achieve some pretty impressive lean angles with this machine, and it tracks pretty straight through high-speed sweepers.
With only 250cc, the little four-stroke won’t set the world on fire with speed, but I was able to achieve an indicated 140 kilometers per hour (87 mph — although the bike took quite a while to get there). At that speed, the MP3 is still reassuringly stable, and maneuverable.
Coming from a motorcycle background, the three-wheeler did feel strange, at first, while riding aggressively through twisty roads. With a little more time on the bike, I think it would feel pretty natural and, as I said, lean angles and corner speeds are pretty high.
The MP3 should be available in the U.S. market early next year at a suggested retail price of $6,999. Expensive by scooter standards, but you get some impressive technology with this package. The braking was excellent (two large discs up front work together with the added traction of the two front wheels) and the suspension goes way beyond your typical scooter, particularly up front, creating the stable, reassuring platform for aggressive riding. The only things lacking are the greater wind protection and roomier ergomonics of the large displacement scooters, such as the Suzuki Burgmans.