Piaggio Mp3 is a unique three-wheel scooter that’s a concrete response to an ever-increasing demand for easy and extremely safe city vehicles. Its two front wheels and patented suspension system, conceived and developed by Piaggio before anyone else, are designed to offer an ideal combination of safety, simplicity and fun for urban commuters who are looking for an alternative to traditional car driving.
The MP3 was first released in 2006 as a 250cc machine that was a massive change from the old school single-wheel designs that Piaggio Mp3 had been using for so long. It also pushed the boundaries of what could be done with a scooter.
It was the first of its kind. The MP3 has a clever system of steering tubes that sit between the frame and the twin front wheels. Instead of a conventional triple tree clamp, the steering tubes and frame are supported by four pivoting aluminum arms that act as a parallelogram. This system allows both steering tubes to lean into corners and soak up bumps without affecting the twin tyres or the frame.
That genius of the steering system means that it can handle a wide range of road conditions with great ease. Compared to other scooters, the MP3’s braking is much more linear and precise and it has an exceptionally responsive throttle.
In terms of ride quality, the twin front wheel set-up does give a slightly higher centre of gravity than many other scooters, but this doesn’t affect the way in which it handles. The MP3’s suspension is incredibly well balanced and the two tyres are very capable of damping down bumps, making it very supple on the twisties as long as you don’t take them too seriously.
It is also very stable at speed and, although there was a little bit of understeering when I leaned into corners at low speed, it’s easily countered by the added grip. The MP3 is certainly one of the most agile and surefooted scooters that I’ve driven, a fact that makes it an attractive option for car-driving converts who are looking to ditch their four-wheel vehicles for the sake of beating the congestion on urban streets.
I spent several days testing the MP3 around the streets of London and while it did take a bit more effort to maneuver than my usual 250cc scooter, it was actually quite easy to keep a steady pace. The two front wheels help the MP3 to remain as slim as any comparable capacity scooter and the lockable front tyres make it a breeze to park in confined spaces.
The styling of the MP3 has also been overhauled, with the aim of giving it a more automotive appearance. It now features broader bodywork across the front for increased protection, full LED lighting and turn signals integrated into the bodywork. The MP3 also has a seven-inch TFT display in the dashboard and a bespoke MIA app that connects the rider’s smartphone for standard fare like navigation, music and phone calls on the go.