May 16, 2006 at 11:56 pm #12035
New Models: Piaggio launches three-wheeled scooter
16 May 06 15:17
Piaggio MP3 – bigger than an iPod
Piaggio, maker of the legendary Vespa scooter, has developed an all-new three-wheeler.
The MP3 has two independently-tilting wheels up front, said to provide ‘safety, road grip and stability levels that no two-wheeler can match’. It can cope with cobblestone streets, poorly-surfaced roads, tram tracks and other urban conditions, yet is said to make for an entertaining ride out of town on open roads.
With a three-disk braking system, its stopping distance is around 20% better than that of a two-wheeled scooter, with particular improvements on slippery roads. Its front wheels, with four-hinge parallelogram suspension, can tilt at up to 40 degrees, ‘while riding like any normal two-wheeler’, says Piaggio, ‘simultaneously ensuring better road grip on any surface, especially slippery tracks. The parallelogram suspension also ensure increased stability at high speeds: the Piaggio MP3 grips the road firmly, with no wobbling, even when tailing large vehicles.’
The MP3 is constructed around a high-tensile steel tube frame, using many cycle parts. It is the same size as a conventional scooter and just 420mm wide. It’s been tested in a wind tunnel, so features aerodynamic bodywork with one-piece front headlights and fairings.
Luggage capacity is provided by a 65-litre under-seat storage box that can hold two full-face helmets, a small bag or objects up to 1m long. Further practical touches include shock-resistant splash guards, a courtesy light and seat cover, and a seat with built-in backrest and ‘generous padding’. There is remote-control ignition and locking for the seat and boot lid, plus a suspension locking system and parking brake that enables the MP3 to be parked, even on sloping ground, without using a stand.
Driving the MP3 promises to be relatively simple: the tilt mechanism locks at speeds under 15kph if the engine is running below 3,000rpm and the lock can be deactivated by pressing a switch on the handlebars. The dash display includes a speedo, fuel gauge, coolant indicator, clock, oil pressure gauge and an immobiliser LED.
Two engines are offered, the all-new Piaggio Quasar 250 ie – a four-stroke, four-valve liquid-cooled unit with electronic ignition, fuel injection and a catalytic converter – or the Leader 125.
Piaggio dealers will also offer a range of accessories, including a Winter Pack (an extra large windscreen, hand protectors, winter tyres, heated leg covers and a heated waistcoat), Tom Tom Rider GPS satellite navigation with Bluetooth connection and 3.5-inch LCD screen, a Bluetooth intercom helmet, a brake disc lock and alarm, a rear luggage rack and a 48-litre top case. There are four metallic paint colours to choose from: Sky Blue, Ruby Red, Excalibur Grey and Graphite Black.
With scooter sales booming in Europe – and especially in London, where commuters are keen to avoid the congestion charge – the MP3 is expected to attract a number of buyers new to scootering, as well as existing scooter owners looking for a ride with greater performance potential. Piaggio distributors in the UK will announce prices shortly.May 17, 2006 at 8:30 pm #48902katanaParticipant
Anyone remember these? (not me , my Dad told me about them)
They were badged as an Ariel 3 and made by BSA.May 17, 2006 at 8:48 pm #48903
My brother’s next door neighbour had a barely used one in his shed in the early 1980’s and didn’t do one called the Stream about 1982 or so?May 17, 2006 at 8:50 pm #48904October 26, 2006 at 11:35 pm #48905December 30, 2006 at 11:16 pm #48906
Bike magazine have ridden one and reviewed it in the Feb 2007 edition. Seems to work well.
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