General MP3 500 purchase question
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Member
GTS250
Joined: 12 Jun 2017
Posts: 33
Location: Vancouver
Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:31 pm quote
I’m thinking about getting a 500cc MP3-
I’m pretty ignorant about the model…
I had a GTS 250 for a long time and I loved how it handled and Rode…
For myself the best part about it was the upright riding position where my hips were approximately same height as my knees or slightly higher… This helped out greatly with my back.
Had a pretty bad injury a few years ago..
Was thinking about getting something larger such as a SilverWing or a Burgman …
The Honda reliability certainly appeals to me…
But the riding position not so good…
When I had my GTS they were lots of little issues such as the dreaded wobble…
I later found out that that was actually more associated with steering head bearings play…
I got that resolved but that was certainly a challenge and most mechanics don’t seem to understand it.
I’m wondering what I should be aware of if I get into an MP3..
With the extra wheels and steering stuff it looks a lot more complicated…
And the local dealerships certainly thrive on that.
That was the only thing I didn’t like about my Vespa…
Was having to put up with the lack of good service available…
But I guess All problems are solved by throwing money at them…
So I’d like to get an idea of what I’m in for…
I sure appreciate any responses I hate surprises later…
Thanks in advance
Hooked
2008 fuoco
Joined: 19 Jul 2015
Posts: 328
Location: United Kingdom.
Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:56 pm quote
There VERY top heavy,riding position is sit up and beg,seat is not that comfy thats just for starters ,never mind the NOTCH ( do a search on the forum) . I would go and see if you could get a ride on one first then check out Mr Honda and suzuki.I have the fuoco /mp3 500 (USA) ask me would i buy another one and the answer would be NO. For me the one positive is the locking suspension and thats because of my disabiliy. O and i love the styling of the Gilera fuoco but hate the Piaggio mp3's.
Hooked
2009 MP3 400, 2004 Honda ST1300
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 254
Location: Sayre, PA
Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:30 am quote
Opinions about aesthetics aside, they are quite large and heavy. I got a chuckle yesterday when I realized the MP3 was bigger than the Harley bobber parked next to me. The trade off for the size and weight is the smooth and comfortable magic carpet ride that you don't get from a smaller scoot.

Yes they are more complex than a regular scooter and the maintenance costs can eat you out of house and home if you're taking it to a dealer for everything. If you're able to do most of the work yourself it's not so bad. They are fairly reliable and will go a long way.

Best thing to do is find one and sit on it to see if the ergonomics suit you.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Buddy Kick 125
Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 11505
Location: Oregon City, OR
Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:36 pm quote
A few important things to know. The MP3 is fairly heavy. It is mechanically and electronically complex. The experienced mechanic problem you alluded to regarding Vespas is much worse with the MP3 as only a few Piaggio/Vespa dealers have an experienced MP3 mechanic. Most MP3 owners do the majority of their own wrenching for this reason.

I personally far prefer the Piaggio BV350 which is less expensive, a better performer, and much easier to maintain (I have owned both). What causes you to direct your interest toward the MP3?
Member
2016 Mp3 500ie Sport
Joined: 28 Jul 2019
Posts: 38
Location: California
Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:54 pm quote
I apologize for the long post - I like writing long-form for these kinds of "Do I like the motorcycle" posts to answer the question as honestly as I can.


When I got my M1 license I wanted a 2-wheel motorcycle. My wife vetoed anything with 2 wheels so that ended that. Then I asked if 3 wheels was acceptable and she acquiesced that 3 was acceptable. So I bought my 2016 Mp3 500ie Sport. Its much more like a motorcycle than she initially thought.

The first few weeks with the bike I thought I had made a mistake. It was MUCH bigger and heavier than I initially expected. I found it difficult to steer at low-speeds due to the heavy front-end and accidentally parking facing down-hill was a problem. But then I learned how to handle the bike and now none of those are an issue and I love it.


Things I love about the bike.

* People smile when they see it. When I ride to the local bike hang out place or around town no one pays attention to the regular traditional motorcycles. Sure people chat and talk about the 2-wheel motorcycles or admire them but only my Mp3 has people walking over specifically to ask about it. I'm regularly approached by people curious about the bike or getting waves and smiles from drivers. The other day I pulled over to check my map and I heard someone yelling "MP3! MP3!" I looked up and it was two guys in a huge pickup truck driving past and waving happily at the weird 3-wheeler. Only the other 3-wheeler the Can-Am's get smiles and waves like like the Mp3 does.

* Storage. I often look longingly at my alternative bikes (Royal Enfield Continental 650Gt) that are faster, sleeker, and more aggressive traditional motorcycles. But none of those bikes have storage like my Mp3 does. It makes longer trips easier as all the storage I need for a night or two is in the bike and top-box which keeps the profile slim enough to split-lanes. Its way too useful having all that storage that when this Mp3 goes to rust I'll probably buy another.

* Parking Brake. This makes others jealous when stopping on a hill or slope. I can pull to a stop, set the brake, fiddle with the phone map or fetch a drink, then resume. No other motorcycle has a parking brake quite like the Mp3.

* Parking lots. With the 2-front wheels locked and using the proper technique my local dealer showed me its very easy to push around into and out of spaces. Being 3-wheels I never felt like I was going to drop it.

* Low center of gravity. This one surprised me as the front-end is very heavy with all the linkages up-high. But when I tried riding a traditional motorcycle I found that the weight distribution on the Mp3 actually felt lower. I dont know if it actually is lower but it feels lower to me at least.

* Traction. You are not going to win races or speed trials on this thing. But thats okay. In the twisty mountains near my home the bike more than keeps up with all the sport bikes. Having 3 wheels means I'm not worried about tar-snakes, sand, or other traction hazards that a 2-wheel bike has to fear. The mp3 is not invincible so you still have to pay attention to traction hazards, but riding in the rain or along mountain roads I was very confident in the corners while at speed.

* Easy 90 Mph on the highway. The Mp3 will not get up to 100 Mph without favorable circumstances, but as most of my area is a 65 Mhp or lower this is meaningless as long as I can maintain 75 to keep up with highway traffic.

* Twist-n-go. This is common for all scooters but its still great. No clutch to fuddle with when out riding. However because its a CVT there is very little engine breaking which makes going downhill interesting. Its not a big issue but its something to be aware of on long steep down-grades that you will probably use the break allot.

* range. I regularly get about 50 Mpg on my bike giving me an estimated range of around 150 miles on a full tank with a little reserve. I always fill up after 100 miles just to stay safe. My uncle rented a Harley 800cc V-twin to go riding with me; he ran out of gas while I still had half a tank so we had to get gas for him. On longer trips I carry a 1-gallon regular fuel-jug strapped to the bike where its out of the line of fire in a fall but I've never had to invoke it due to planning and the bikes inherent good fuel economy.

* Big windshield. The upright seating position is very comfortable and having a big front-end and windshield keep me out of the cold winds. I've ridden in the rain and found that while my helmet might get wet due to spray and I'm just a bit taller than the windshield; the rest of me is mostly dry. So its very comfortable being on the highway behind that big windshield and large front-end.

* Feels planted in winds. I road along the ocean coast road a few times with strong on-shore winds. The bike was being bounced around a bit and I could feel the wind gusts trying to shove the bike and throw me. But the bike is so well planted on the road I was able to maintain control easily and never felt like the winds would throw me or cause a crash. And the high-windshield was great here too.

* Narrow enough to split-lanes here in California. Unlike a can-am or other very large motorcycles I can split lanes easily on the highway and most stop-lights on surface streets. Its nice being able to pull to the front of a line of stopped cars or thread my way through grid-lock. That said, do not split-lanes when traffic is flowing fast; risk is too high. The wife demands I only split lanes in stopped traffic and I'm okay with that to keep the risks low enough.


Things I do not like.

* Heavy and big. its 570 lbs which is frustrating when I dropped it at stop signs or lights. Usually because I miss judged the angle of the stop-sign or light and ended up being hard-over. As others have noted its allot bigger than you think. It fully fills up traditional motorcycle parking slots and can be difficult to maneuver in very tight parking lot lanes.

* Tilt-lock. Love it and also dislike it. This takes getting used-to as its manual. I put my feet-down at stop-lights and signs because I'm not practiced enough to time engaging it properly. It can also be finicky and refuse to disengage leaving you awkwardly trying to move while annoyed cars honk. So I dont use it when out riding; only when parking or pushing the bike around. I've almost dropped the bike a few times when I locked the bike at one angle in a sloped parking lot, when I rolled it out to take off I found that I had locked it at a steep lean that then became a hazard when rolled out of the parking space. Thus the moment I disengage the tilt-lock the bike tried to fall over. This can be avoided with planning and practice but it will catch you off guard and you'll struggle not to drop it and then have to pick up 570 Lbs. But having lockable front-wheels on this thing is also a godsend most of the time due to the convenience of the bike simply standing on solid footing combined with the parking-brake.

* Expensive. Expensive to purchase and to maintain. Dealers and service groups for the Mp3 are rare. The nearest full-service-shop for my Mp3 is 45 miles away and I can expect to pay almost $1,000 for a full round of rear-wheel, brakes, oil, brakes, hub-oil, and more. Don't buy this bike if you are on a budget and not mechanically inclined to work on it yourself. You must make sure there is a shop that is willing to work on the bike for larger complex jobs. I had to beg and plead my local shop just to change the 2-front tires; they refused to work on anything else on the bike.

* Not as fast or nimble. its not the fastest or most nimble bike out there. Its great in the mountain roads and twists but it's not as responsive as a small sport bike or lighter-weight scooter like the BV-350. If you want something that is "flick-able" nimble then this is not the bike for you.
Enthusiast
Piaggio MP3 ie 400
Joined: 01 Jul 2017
Posts: 94
Location: Sydney
Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:21 am quote
Good scoot but what do you want?
I bought one thinking that the 3 wheels will be safer in the rain as I wanted to ride more in the rainy times, but I found out that it is not different from a 2 wheeler in performance. I do not regret buying it, but if I went back in time and knowing that point, I would not buy it, don't get me wrong, I love it.
Here are things to consider before buying:
It is more expensive to maintain than a 2 wheeler: 2 front wheels instead of 1 wheel, 2 sets of front brake pads instead of 1 set, and then finally the wheel bearing maintenance, as for me, I was aware of those issues before I bought it and I was ready to pay for them,
it is more heavier than others, for me I like that as I love speed and this one way to control the speed demon in me,
Upon fixing it (other than maintenance such as in accident) parts are not available as others and they are more expensive,
there are fewer people who know about some parts of its mechanics,
so you have to think about why you want a scooter and then you can decide. I am not trying to put a bad image on it, but it is a very good scooter and I love it, but you need to know what you want.
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