Piaggio MP3, the scooter formerly known as X2

Piaggio MP3 (X2) motorscooter

As promised, Piaggio officially announced their double-front-wheeled scooter today, as the renamed “MP3.” “X2” was apparently the “code” name, which would make sense if they didn’t have an X8 and X9 already on the market. Even so, “MP3” is about the worst product name available in terms of Google searches, other than the new “Kymco Porn” coming out later this month.

Ignoring the Italjet Scooop which may or may not have actually been produced en masse, Piaggio can’t find enough superlatives to describe the MP3: “revolutionary,” “innovative,” and “unprecedented” are their favorites. It is quite a sophisticated engineering marvel, and while purists may argue that the extra wheel and intricate suspension just overcomplicate things, a three-wheeled scooter could be just what reluctant new riders are looking for. While anyone who grew up near a farm knows a three-wheeled ATV is a deathtrap, Piaggio insists the MP3’s independently-tilting trapezoidal suspension (and three disc brakes on three 12″ wheels) result in a safer ride with better traction and unheard-of braking power. Those with an irrational fear of centerstands will note that the suspension can be locked and the scooter parked without a stand (though one is supplied).

The MP3 is available in Sky Blue, Ruby Red, Excalibur Grey and Graphite Black, with either of two engines: the Quasar 250 i.e. (fuel injected) or Leader 125, both four-valve, liquid-cooled four-strokes. Both meet Euro 3 standards. Piaggio describes the styling as “maintaining a clear resemblance to the Piaggio Gran Turismo,” but other than general proportion, the similarity is negligible.

A winter option package–with a large windscreen, winter tires, and a heated lap apron and waistcoat–will likely add to the MP3’s popularity with year-round European riders. Other options include a Tom Tom GPS package and a bluetooth-enabled matching helmet, as well as the usual racks, top cases, and anti-theft devices.

More photos in the 2sb Gallery

Update (noon 6/11/06) Piaggio’s MP3 website is live, and as the news reports trickle in (DNA India, AGI, ScooterScoop) it appears the 125cc version, at least, will be available in the USA, and that the 250cc version will cost 5,000 Euros, roughly the same as the Vespa GTS.

11 thoughts on “Piaggio MP3, the scooter formerly known as X2”

  1. Chances are, if you read the above story, as of this morning, you know more about the MP3 than just about anyone at PiaggioUSA, and I’d be surprised if you could find a dealer that’s even heard about it. Communication is not their strong point. Other than the teaser video and a story buried in the news section, it’s not even on Piaggio’s italian consumer website yet. (note: a barrage of hype suddenly appeared about five minutes after I posted this comment) So no idea on pricing, but if I had to guess, the 125 will be priced between a GT and a GTS, and the 250 will cost even more than a GTS. (See revised story for actual pricing and availability)

    A lot of money for a scooter, but people buy Silverwings and such. I think people who are interested in them because of perceived ‘stability” will be surprised to find they handle and feel like a motorcycle/scooter and not a trike (which is good, trikes are LESS safe than a motorcycle). I would LOVE to give one a try, but seeing as how Piaggio more or less ignores their “official” blog, I don’t think they’re going to be showing up at my front door with one anytime soon, despite all the free PR they get from us (There’s no such thing as bad publicity).

  2. Dang, Matt, I meant to make that joke in the story, and I forgot.

    Motoblog posted a report from the press event, with photos. They say that the name “MP3” is derived from “MP6,” better known as “Il Paperino,” the first Vespa prototype. Even in the midst of the 60th anniversary celebration, that seems like a stretch, seeing as how this isn’t a Vespa-branded scooter, nor does it look anything at all like a Vespa, new or old. Perhaps their intention was to imply this scooter is half-baked and ugly, but they’ll get it right with the next try, and it will be an icon along the lines of the Vespa? Perhaps.

  3. Damn and I just got rid of my Honda Gyro project bike! If that thing flops it will be the king of oddities. Way cooler than your nickisel Cosa.

    Trikes are inherently dangerous because of their tendency to pivot the rider into space if they are turned too fast. Those Honda Goldwing and Harley cum Volkswagen engines should be banned from the freeways. Yikes!

    Two tires up front helps avoid this geometry problem. It’s why the Messerschmitt (with two wheels up front) is safer than a Bond (with the two wheels in the rear). Messerschmitts and Isettas because of their tire layout can be driven fairly agresively. The Honda Gyro compensated for this by allowing the two rear tires to turn kind of like a skate board truck. It’s a pretty damn cool design. But this X2/MP3 is the ultimate fix. The two tires are up front and both steering columns lean independently. How exactly I’m not sure. It would be cool to see one up close.

  4. First, kymco porn didn’t bring back anythign funny for me

    Second, I think this will be substantially larger than the GT. The colorful CAD-like drawings show that the frame is super long. I think it is more fitting with the X designation as it will be a maxi scooter, where the GT stradles the boundry in my mind. The front end is clearly maxi inspired. The size is my biggest disappointment. The Gyro worked (didn’t flip over) probably more because it was small, low and didn’t go over 30 mph. But I’d hoped for something more ET sized.

    I think the 2 in front design makes it very unlike the standard farm country 3 wheeler that I know I’ve rolled before. If it had a reverse gear I’m sure it would be very tippy in that direction! That brings up to me the idea that I wonder how easy this will be to move backwards with ones feet. I like the idea that this coudl be akin to the microcars in terms of alternative transport, but very much less like a scooter or other 2 wheeler. Also, from the skeleton drawings I noticed that the easily recognizable piaggio single sided fork link is reversed to give a leading link design. I like that a lot. It should be anti dive. I’d like to drive one someday as well. I’m not sure that the 2 in front design with something more like an ATV front end with squared tires would be bad. It would allow more contact patch and probably do better on snow, though clearly not lean like the cool press release pictures.

    If it does turn out to be a useful commuter/tourer that could be a legitimate car replacement I think the MP designation could be more appropriate as a revolutionary design. But only time will tell.

  5. I keep wondering what they think the market will be for this thing. Like the gyro and other three-wheeled scooters are mostly made as cheap and easy delivery vehicles. Will there be an attachment for a huge pizza box for the front of this thing? If so won’t that upset the balance of the ride?

    I don’t know.


  6. This is aimed at Diamo customers (willing and able to shell out some clams) that realized the the roof isn’t worth the rest of the scooter and want to commute on one on a daily basis. Couriers probably wouldn’t like it because I bet it is actually not as inconspicuous to park. Maybe maxi scooter people that just want something trick. But they have cup holders for that.

  7. latest news
    french I was in italy for 2 weeks, near pontedora where vespa was born
    and also in milano and roma
    the mp3 should be produced, they say the price should be between 5500 and 6500 euros for the 125cm3
    but the big problem is the fiability, the X9 is a good scoot but it drives every users crasy, mostly with the electronic problems check it out on the european forums, and the mp3 is going to be full of electronics
    I hope you’ve seen this site:
    I think i’ll finaly take the yam XMax 125

  8. It’s in this morning breaking news in europe,
    anounced for september for 5500€ with the electronic front suspension lock
    I wasn’t far if you check my first message
    It seems that Piaggio made the smallest price possible with a production cost 30% higher, with the strong intention and the absolute obligation to get a very big sale success and “couper l’herbe sous le pied” (cut the grass under the feet) of their competitors.
    I’m looking for more news about the options

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