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.