“Demystifying the Piaggio MP3”

Scooter in the Sticks borrowed a Piaggio MP3 for the weekend.

From the first time I read about the Piaggio MP3 I began collecting a series of misperceptions. Until I finally had a chance to take it for a long ride last weekend I didn’t realize how completely I misunderstood this machine. I was wrong about how it worked, about why someone might choose one, and most of all about the stability of the MP3.

I’d argue that most of his misperceptions were stoked by Piaggio’s marketing of the scooter, where they constantly implied it was somehow easier to ride (and safer) than a regular scooter. I concur with Steve’s conclusion that it’s an amazing bike that’s fun to ride, but absolutely not a good bike for first-time riders.

As always, the writing and photos are great. It must be foggy in Pennsylvania about 80% of the time.

3 thoughts on ““Demystifying the Piaggio MP3””

  1. I’m not sure what caused my misperceptions but they definitely were present. Glad to know better now.

    I’ts not foggy all the time in Pennsylvania. I just travel with a big fog machine on my back!

  2. And Steve, I bet you have your own SHAFT-esque theme music blaring, too, wherever you go :)

    (As a note-payer of an MP3 500) I strongly agree that MP3’s aren’t for beginners. First time I rode a 250 in Seattle, I almost dropped it at an intersection. Today, for that reason, I would never entertain the idea when someone casually asks,”Hey, man, let me ride your scooter?” When they rode it a bit for the state inspection the other day, I was right there, watching nervously.

    It’s subtle; but you have to “relearn” how to ride when you get an MP3._Lorenzo

  3. I would respectfully disagree with the idea of the MP3 being a different ride, which is what I thought before I rode one at Amerivespa 2007.

    I found once I stopped thinking about how weird it looked and just rode it, it just felt like a large, heavy scooter. Yes, it was a much smoother ride (big wheels and more compliant suspension), yes, it tracked through the downhill sweeper of Dexter Avenue N more precisely than anything I’d ever ridden (ditto, plus the extra wheel), yes the brakes could probably stop a bus (ditto, ditto). But I would say it’s not a good bike for a beginner because it’s big and heavy, not because of the praying-mantis design.

    We were strongly admonished not to lock the front wheels until coming to a complete stop with both feet on the ground. I locked the front wheels on flat ground, and lifted my feet, gingerly, once, just to see what it was like.

    I would actually consider that a more useful feature for someone who may have difficulty holding the bike up, or putting on the center stand. And considering all the sidecars, trikes and “training wheels” I’ve seen on Harleys, Gold Wings and the like, it might make the MP3 another option for older riders. Which given the United States’ changing demographics would seem to be a wise marketing move…

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