Motorcycle Types Cruiser 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 | Motor Scooter Award

2009 Piaggio MP3 500 | Motor Scooter Award

Scooter Achievement in Design Award

As part of their efforts to broaden the motorcycling market, motorcycle manufacturers have been giving three-wheelers favor in trying to entice less-than-confident motorcyclist to join the fray. Harley-Davidson has embraced the trike with its new Tri-Glide touring machine, which is essentially a modified Electra Glide with two rear wheels. A completely different take is the Can-Am Spyder-its two wheels are placed in front of the rider. Both solutions offer an experience more rewarding than automobile travel, but lose much of the motorcycling feel as both vehicles stay upright through turns, rather than leaning.

A third and compelling variation on the theme is the intriguing Piaggio MP3 which successfully merges three wheels and motorcycling in a very distinct way. This iteration features two 12-inch wheels in front as part of a parallelogram front suspension that enables the machine to tilt conventionally in a turn. The four cast-aluminum arms, four hinges and two steering tubes allow independent action for each wheel, and the dual-tire stance provides an extremely stable platform, particularly in the low-traction conditions-cobblestone, railroad crossings, and rain-often found in Italy, where it was conceived and designed.

Cornering the MP3 hard, the technology quickly removes any rider’s skepticism. It produces an authentic motorcycling experience, and enhances it by offering staggering confi dence- the dual front contact patch simply refuses to push or tuck. Braking is impressive as each front hub carries its own disc.

At rest, the flip of a switch triggers a hydraulic mechanism that locks the bike upright. Once locked in place, dead-engine maneuvering of the MP3 is superior to two-wheelers, as the need to maintain balance is removed. With the hand-operated parking brake, the bike can be parked securely on steep hills.

Available in 250, 400 and 500cc configurations, we prefer the sporting nature and aggressive styling of the 500, which has decidedly more acceleration and highway capability than its lower-displacement stable mates. ULTIMATE MOTORCYCLING FEBRUARY / MARCH 2009

Photography by Don Williams and Piaggio

2021 Harley-Davidson Road King Special First Look: Hot Rod Bagger

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Road King Special is a Touring model that The Motor Company puts in a sub-category—Hot Rod Bagger. To earn that title,...

2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally Coming To America

We told you all about the new 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally last month. Although we fully expected the pair to be imported...

2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 First Look (Specs, Photos, Prices)

The distinctive Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is back for 2021, with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 powerplant and machined solid cast aluminum Lakester wheels. We tested the...

2021 Husqvarna 701 Lineup First Look (6 Fast Facts + Photos)

There are two 2021 Husqvarna 701 motorcycles to choose from—the Enduro and the Supermoto. Although they are closely related, with the same frame and...

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide First Look (5 Fast Facts + Photos)

The 2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide is here, and it has several updates. Returning is the Milwaukee-Eight 177 V-twin powerplant that cranks out a...

Bring the Honda Solo to America: One More MiniMoto

We were poking through the archives, and this little gem re-caught our attention. The 2003 Honda Solo was part of Honda’s N Project. According...