The Truth About Tilt Lock?
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Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:31 pm quote
I just got a 2019 MP3 "Sport" and I love it. But to those of us who also have or still own sport bikes, hey, the sport nomer is overreaching just a tad This is one heavy mother, but it handles beautifully.

That said, I am confused about (a) the lack of info on recommendations on how to use the tilt lock system from Piaggio themselves and (b) the religious debates about it in here about you should never leave it locked if you're still putting weight on the bike etc etc etc

Is there a single source of truth somewhere on how the tilt lock should be optimally used... for how long... after you put your weight off the seat or not... how long will it stand up if you dont use the centerstand... all these things.

thank you more experienced MP3 folk!

...p
Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:36 pm quote
I should note I use the centerstand a lot, it's darn easy with this bike because with the tilt lock on, gosh, my grandmother after 10 tequila shots could engage the centerstand. That said... must one really unlock the tilt wheel after engaging the center stand? Does Piaggio recommend that anywhere? And if I just tilt lock... how long until the bike falls over? Or really stresses the system?
Member
2016 Mp3 500ie Sport
Joined: 28 Jul 2019
Posts: 44
Location: California
Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:36 pm quote
How the tilt-lock is used is a personal preference and ties directly to how comfortable you are handling the bike.

Essays could be written on the merits or issues of the system.

What follows is my own experience and thoughts on the tilt-lock after about 2.5 years of ownership.

I always put my feet down at quick stops (lights, stop-signs, etc) rather than rely on the tilt-lock. Using the tilt lock at a quick stop takes practice in coordination of the timing and balance of the bike. The system can be finicky, if it thinks the bike is not lined up properly it may refuse to unlock and thus prevent take-off at the green-light. Feet down on an Mp3 might seem like it makes the whole thing pointless, but I promise you its a very minor thing.

The tilt-lock is best used when parking or when the bike will be stationary for a longer period. This means I can pull to the side of the road and check maps without having to worry about the bike or uneven surfaces or gentle slopes. When parking the bike for the night the tilt-lock makes it very easy to push around the driveway or parking lots. Just be mindful of the angle of the bike relative to the road surface, the tilt-lock wont save you if you try to push it around perpendicular to a slope and lean it over too far. With a bit of practice an Mp3 with tilt-lock is very comfortable and easy to push around.

The utility of the unique parking brake is underrated. Seriously. I've stopped on steep hills in San Francisco, engaged the tilt-lock, engaged the parking brake, then was free to access the luggage without worrying about the bike. It makes parking lots or short stops much easier not having to maintain manual brake-pressure while you badge into work or drop something into the postbox. Combine that with the steering lock and the center stand it makes the bike difficult to steel unless someone wants to risk physical damage to the bike. This is the only bike I'm aware of with a fully working parking brake and all the useful benefits it gives when your out around town or on longer trips.

Disabling the tilt lock while on the center stand is supposed to help the hydraulics, suspension, and locking systems last longer. I believe this advise is good (especially if storing the bike for a long period) as replacing those parts is expensive. However you must practice and remember to engage the tilt-lock BEFORE taking it off the center stand. One time I forgot and when I took it off the center-stand with the lock disabled the bike promptly toppled over resulting in damage to the plastics. Totally my fault and preventable, learn from my mistake.

(update) Passengers. I never carry passengers but I suspect the ability to lock the bike in a stable state makes this easier. Unlike a regular 2 wheeler you can have the bike with engine-on and ready to launch while held steady for boarding passengers.

The tilt lock is a bit of a gimmick as it is manually engaged/disabled, can be finicky, and using it for the famous "keep you feet up" requires allot of practice. But when you understand the use-cases for it (parking, road stops, etc) then it becomes much more useful and enjoyable than a simple trick to use at stop-signs.


BTW,
Regarding the "This is one heavy mother, but it handles beautifully" comment.

The bike does indeed handle beautifully despite its weight and complexity. Yesterday I was able to keep close formation with a sport-bike going up-hill on the twisty mountain roads near my home. The dude on the sport-bike kept trying to gain distance or pull away but all that raw power and speed was cancelled out by the frequent corners and loop backs. Me in my heavier and technically slower bike hung on like glue and at few points I could have easily passed him if there was a safe opening. Perhaps if the sport bike rider was more confident or skilled he would have easily left me in the dust, but on that day he wasn't and the Mp3 showed just how fast and nimble it can be.

Its a big and heavy bike but its an absolute beast in the corners and twists of the mountain roads due to that crazy 3-wheel system.

Last edited by pinheadh78 on Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:48 am; edited 1 time in total
Hooked
2009 MP3 400, 2004 Honda ST1300
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 262
Location: Sayre, PA
Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:47 am quote
All what he said.

In addition to that..

The OEM switchgear on the handlebars is mediocre quality and doesn't like sitting on the rain. Even if you set up your stop and time it right to apply the tilt-lock, there's no guarantee that the switch will connect and the lock it will kick in when you planned. Then you just look awkward catching the bike and fumbling around to get your feet down. Been there many times.

Pulling away from a stop with the lock on is automatic. Unlock is triggered by engine rpm. Gas it and go. Just do not turn the handlebars between stopping and starting. The bike stopped in a balanced state. If you turn the handlebars before going, the thrust vector will be wrong and it will try to toss you off. You already have enough attention because of the weird contraption you're riding without clowning around.

Parking with the tilt lock on? If the system is in good health and not leaking, it will stand there for many months. If it springs a leak? Might stay up, might not. The tilt is mechanical cable operated. The shocks/springs are hydraulically locked so one side might release before the other.

Releasing the tension when pulled up on the centerstand? Easy enough to do if you remember. Without body weight and part of the chassis weight the front will usually pop up and center itself. Let it relax after a job well done.

Down off the centerstand with or without the lock, your choice. Just be prepared to balance the weight. I prefer off. That way if the ground is a bit uneven I can manually adjust and not fight whatever the wheels think is correct. I'm used to a bigger heavier two wheeler so I'm used to not having a lock.
Addicted
2010 gts 300 super. 09 MP3 500 lite
Joined: 02 Apr 2013
Posts: 659
Location: tampa
Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:35 am quote
the locking of forks has the redundant cable brake lock. so even when the hydro fails with time its very unlikely the cable lock would also fail. only one working is needed to do the job.

brake pads and clutch friction have metal particles bedded in the friction material. those particles oxidize with time and essentially micro weld the friction material to the disc or flywheel.

my first experience with this was as a mechanic at a porsche repair shop when I was a young pup. a Ferrari 308gti (think magnum PI) came in on a flatbed . the clutch was frozen to flywheel. the service manager tossed me the keys and instructed me to go drive the car with the clutch pedal on the floor. "see if you can break the clutch free" imagine the reaction on my face. this job requires starting the car in gear and rev matching during shifts as to not damage the transmission. very memorable experience. breaking clutch free took about ten minutes. the service manager didnt see me for thirty.

I have had clutch discs rust to the flywheel sitting on the shelf in my garage when the pressure plate wasnt even applying pressure.

seems to me it would be safe to keep the locks on regardless of time.
Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:28 pm quote
Thanks - truly appreciate the replies and experiences.

I still keep a sports bike on the side, so to me keeping feet on the floor is second nature and on lights most of the time I don't think about the tilt lock. If it's slippery and stuff I probably would.

I did practice stopping and engaging the system quite a bit, it certainly works well - matter of timing it right. But the constant beeping gets a bit irritating, and as stated before, I am fine just putting the feet on the ground, the other stuff is just for showing off.

I haven't tried to take it out with my other sportsbike friends yet, but especially now in the Northern Californian November with leaves and morning humidity, I am pretty sure I could leave them behind in the twisties, especially going downhill this thing must be pretty unbeatable. Then again of course I don't want to cause anybody crash.

And thanks - it's good to know the bike won't fall over if I just leave it on with tilt lock overnight. Out of habit I do put it on the centerstand at night when home, but good to know I don't have to if opportunity unexpectedly nocks and I spend the night elsewhere
Hooked
2009 MP3 400, 2004 Honda ST1300
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 262
Location: Sayre, PA
Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:15 pm quote
Aside from the obvious advice of not getting too carried away until the tires warm up, for me the performance limit so far tends to be ground clearance.


Once you start pushing it hard you're going to need to practice shifting your butt and hanging off the inside. Even a little helps.

The CVT and the smaller displacement engine won't pull as hard as a traditional "sport bike" so the more momentum you can carry through, the better.
Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:40 pm quote
Indeed, I always hang off some on the inside, and I am over 6ft so I definitely think knee down is a possibility on the MP3 500 "Sport"...

I think torque is pretty good for the twisties, it's off the line or very-very low speeds that the MP3 would get murdered by any sportsbike.

Anyhow I doubt any of us bought the MP3 to race... it's the immense practicality and everyday fun factor, at least for me here in California.

PS: I am thinking about an aftermarket exhaust - any recommendations? Any strong opinions on whether it's a stupid waste of $700 (seem to be what the Akro goes for)? To me it seems the horsepower differences are barely noticeable if you keep things halfway legal, but maybe the lawnmowerish-sewing-machinish sound will get a bit more engaging, silly as it is?
Hooked
2019 MP3 hpe 500 sport Advanced " Missy "
Joined: 21 Dec 2018
Posts: 286
Location: West Germany
Thu Nov 05, 2020 11:25 am quote
Tiltlock
PabloLie wrote:
Thanks - truly appreciate the replies and experiences.

I still keep a sports bike on the side, so to me keeping feet on the floor is second nature and on lights most of the time I don't think about the tilt lock. If it's slippery and stuff I probably would.

I did practice stopping and engaging the system quite a bit, it certainly works well - matter of timing it right. But the constant beeping gets a bit irritating, and as stated before, I am fine just putting the feet on the ground, the other stuff is just for showing off.

I haven't tried to take it out with my other sportsbike friends yet, but especially now in the Northern Californian November with leaves and morning humidity, I am pretty sure I could leave them behind in the twisties, especially going downhill this thing must be pretty unbeatable. Then again of course I don't want to cause anybody crash.

And thanks - it's good to know the bike won't fall over if I just leave it on with tilt lock overnight. Out of habit I do put it on the centerstand at night when home, but good to know I don't have to if opportunity unexpectedly nocks and I spend the night elsewhere
Hello Pablo Lie. I use my Tiltlock and leave it on when I park my MP3. What I always do is first is turn on the Tilt lock,put it on the center stand and then I release the Tiltlock thus releasing the pressure on Hydraulics. After doing that,I turn the Tiltlock back on. I have never had any problems with the Tiltlock, and in case of an uneven surface, this procedure will insure that your Roller doesn't fall over when you take it off of the center stand. Fred
Member
Piaggio MP3 300 HPE
Joined: 22 Aug 2020
Posts: 8
Location: Croydon
Thu Nov 05, 2020 3:48 pm quote
I never use tilt lock when coming to a stop. Each time I have, I have nearly fallen off or at least had the sensation of nearly falling off, even though it is stable. Also, the handling changes. I think it is because I have never had it perfectly upright so when tilt locking, I have been locking in the slight lean which makes the bike go slightly in that direction.

It is useful for giving your foot a rest at traffic lights (if like me you can only flat foot with one foot at a time) however.

As others have said, it is a godsend when you are manoeuvring the bike around with the engine off. Watch out if you are off the bike with the engine on and tilt lock engaged. Completely forgot about the revs and when shifting it back and forth in a parking garage, accidentally revved and almost dropped it onto a Merc.

Great tip for taking off tilt lock whilst on Centre stand. i haven't done it before but will start doing it.
Member
mp3 500 2018 (USA-version)
Joined: 21 Apr 2020
Posts: 21
Location: Belarus, Minsk
Thu Nov 05, 2020 11:10 pm quote
I often use blocking when stopping at traffic lights. It is quite difficult, but possible. And I never use the center stand. Wears nothing when the lock is on.
Hooked
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 21 Nov 2017
Posts: 296
Location: Austin, TX
Fri Nov 06, 2020 8:22 am quote
When the tilt lock is on, there are two things going on:

1) A cable tightens on a pair of friction pads to clamp on a plate to keep the front parallelogram from tilting.
2) A hydraulic system pressurizes to clamp the front shocks at the position they were in when locked.

A mechanical cable clamp is not so bad to leave on for prolonged periods. But leaving a hydraulic system pressurized for long periods is generally not recommended. That's why I put the bike on its center stand whenever possible, and only use the tilt-lock sporadically (like when parking on a slope). IMO, the tilt lock is a gimmick and misusing it leads to a lot of scrapes and scratches on the body panels. It seems that the people who have tilt lock problems (leaking switch, 5 beeps on the horn, etc.) are the folks who leave it on for long periods.
Addicted
MP3 400 "Orion"
Joined: 01 Jul 2012
Posts: 937
Location: Northwest Ohio
Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:32 am quote
I generally don't use the tilt lock when I'm on a ride, unless I get held up at a train crossing for more than a couple minutes, or if there's a stiff crosswind that makes routine stops dicey. Otherwise, I only use it when I park it, engaging it after I've lifted my weight off the saddle. If it's going to be parked for more than a couple days, I put it on the center stand and release the tilt lock.
Enthusiast
Piaggio MP3 ie 400
Joined: 01 Jul 2017
Posts: 99
Location: Sydney
Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:00 am quote
It is a great bike. I bought it thinking it was more safer than a two wheeler in the wet weather but it turned out it is similar to the two wheeler bikes as the distance between the front wheels is not that far, if I knew this before buying, I may not have bought, yet I don't regret buying it, I love it and enjoy riding it.
As for your points regarding tilt lock, it is a preferences as others stated, but I will write how I use it, I use the tilt lock when parking for shopping or getting something, knowing that I will not be more than 3 to 4 hours, if more, then I use the center stand, I read somewhere ( and maybe in the manual too) that it is not recommended to use the tilt for long hours like parking over night. In my opinion, why would you use the tilt lock for over night, it is safer to use the center stand in case the tilt lock goes off, then the scooter will not drop.
You need to practice using the tilt lock on and off when coming to a stop (like traffic lights), if you noticed that the yellow warning lights goes on and off when at low speed, but when you are at higher speed that light is off, which means when the yellow tilt light blinks, it means that the tilt lock can be activated. so this will give you indication when coming to a stop.

As for the weight on the seat to disable the tilt lock, as you may be aware by now, this is a security feature in this scooter that no one can disable the tilt lock while not sitting on it and therefore be dropped, so a person needs to be seated on it to disable the tilt lock.

I never owned a sports bike, but I don't prefer them due to the fact I heard from many that a person will get tried from riding long periods of time, I prefer the scooter over a motorbike as it is more comfortable, easy to ride (just twist and go) and storage (key point here). But I love both.
Enjoy and safe riding.
Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:46 pm quote
A friend of mine was kind enough to ask his brother in law, who actually worked with a key Piaggio supplier and sat in many meetings (he now works in aerospace).

He said that taking off your weight off the bike before engaging the tilt lock is intuitively a good idea, but that in theory the system is designed to take a lot of stress for many miles, since the bike is heavy no matter what. Also recommends the center stand for longer parking periods. Said to not overthink it, and just enjoy the ride. His own MP3 500 has close to 90.000 kilometers on it and he says he's never had an issue with the system, he lives in the Netherlands and rides on cobblestone for 2km every day he leaves his place to work...

Just FYI...
Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:22 pm quote
I should also note that two days ago I experienced one of those circumstances I would not have liked to go through on my sportsbike... damp cold early morning with autumn leaves on the ground, there is this two turn low visibility as I head out to the gym, and as I turn into the second turn a lady with her dog run in front of me while I am turning... I brake hard and the front slid some, but caught right on, and stopped 6ft sideways off them and gave them an angry look but she looked suitably guilty (her Pomeranian didn't). On my bike, I may have fallen off or not (lucklily I haven't fallen off a motorcycle on the streets in over 20 years), but with the MP3 it was a non event despite the front end slide.
Member
2019 MP3 500 Sport
Joined: 26 Sep 2012
Posts: 25
Location: California
Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:53 pm quote
because i am an idiot yesterday i dropped my shiny semi-new MP3 500 on its right side at a stop as i pulled into my parking spot. i had a brain fart and disengaged the tilt lock as i had stopped... and it was a bit humid and slippery... excuses... totally my fault. not a single scratch though, the thing is well designed. and i was surprised at how easily i could pick it up right away, i thought i'd struggle but not at all.

but note to self: don't get fancy with the tilt lock while you're thinking about other stuff...
Member
2016 Mp3 500ie Sport
Joined: 28 Jul 2019
Posts: 44
Location: California
Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:41 pm quote
I have dropped my Mp3 several times at simple stops like that. Almost always while parking or not properly judging the angle of the slope I'm stopping on.

Its remarkable how durable the plastic is as each time I was surprised by how little (if any) damage there was to the plastic after each "gentle" lay down.

That is until I finally dropped it in my drive-way where it landed funny and broke a turn signal, cracked the wheel-liner plastic, and finally scratched things up.

Great bikes. Still happy to own one.
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