The Trautwein-Roller: MP3 in 1984?

The Trautwein-Roller

Check out Marcus Kabst’s fantastic history of the Trautwein-Roller: Is this proof that Piaggio’s groundbreaking MP3 three-wheeler is actually based on a design tested and patented 22 years ago? Here’s a very rough — and condensed — translation:

“Are scooters steered with two front wheels conceivable? If you subscribe to the ideas of inventor Wolfgang Trautwein, vehicles of this kind may soon appear on the streetscape. […] Dr. Wolfgang Trautwein, 53, engineer from Meersburg at the Bodensee, received two original Vespa scooters in the middle of 1984 from Piaggio from Genova, in order to build prototypes. [This concept was] suggested by [Trautwein,] using the Vespa platform, exactly three decades after the first Motorcycle was equipped with a double-front chassis. Under their hoods, the Vespa tricycles hide the newest variant of the Trautwein front axle for motorcycles, a parallelogram axle […] Thus, the scooter effectively avoids wheel-flutter. […] The suspension is arranged so that the wheels do not only turn when rolling, but also tilt. The floorboards of the Vespa are firmly connected to the lower parallelogram, and follow its movements. […] Trautwein stresses that this changed style of driving comes relatively easily to the driver. And according to Trautwein’s statements, the chassis offers some safety advantages: Decreased hazard of front end slip on wet pavement, rails, etc. Safer braking, and improved cornering. Better handling. […] Space for a trunk over the front axle. […] Also, the comfort is quite convincing.”

So if the translation is marginally close, it appears Piaggio assisted in the development of, but did not produce, an MP3-like version of the Vespa PK 125 and a PX 200 more than two decades ago. They even filed patents for the design. Judging by the photos, at least one working prototype of each version was made. The PX200 model sported hydraulic disc brakes — twelve years before they became standard on the PX200. Amazing. (Thanks for another great link, POCphil. Note that there’s also some great info on Marcus’ page about other three-wheelers and similar concept scooters.)

6 thoughts on “The Trautwein-Roller: MP3 in 1984?”

  1. ya, but I don’t want to tilt. I want it square so it can handle snow better and I can roll on 19″ dubs.

  2. I had a pic of the PX version on my old computer! I hadn’t seen this PK version but it is truly awesome! If I were to get a Scooooop or PiaggioMp3 would probably be my favorite thing ever.

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