Friday, August 25, 2006

Piaggio MP3: Three wheels, better than two?


Yeah, the Piaggio MP3 looks weird...

The Piaggio MP3 is a scooter with, er, two front wheels. Why? Because the company, which made the first Vespa scooter back in 1946, now claims that the three-wheeled MP3 ‘provides safety, road grip and stability levels that no two-wheeler can match.’ Oh, well.

The rear end is more or less conventional, but at the front, the MP3 has two independent, tilting wheels. The vehicle can, apparently, be cornered pretty hard – even on slippery road surfaces – without either end slipping or sliding off. Piaggio say the MP3 is almost uncrashable, by which I presume they mean it’s safer than conventional two-wheelers. Front end road holding, because of the two wheels up front, is said to be exceptionally good, and the three-wheel disc brakes are also supposed to be very powerful.

When it’s time to park the MP3, its electro-hydraulic suspension locking system means you don’t need to put it on a stand. You can also ‘lock’ the tilting mechanism while coming to a halt (at a traffic signal for example) and you can come to a complete stop without needing to put your feet down to support the vehicle.

Available with two engine options – 125cc and 250cc – and pegged at around US$6,500 this quirky little runaround should definitely be an interesting ride.

Update (24 Nov. 2006): Piaggio are now offering a new version of the MP3 - the MP3 400 i.e. With a single-cylinder, 4-valve, 400cc engine that makes 34 horsepower and 37Nm of torque, top speed for the MP3 400 i.e. is 147km/h.

Other interesting runabouts:
Volkswagen GX3
A home-brewed 800cc trike
Segway i2 and x2transporters
Bombardier Embrio
Campagna T-Rex
The Quadzilla!
Gilera Fuoco 500 three-wheeled scooter


Piaggio claim the MP3 is safer and more stable than any two-wheeler
A video of the MP3 in action!

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