I bought an MP3 500 yesterday from Nick at Vespa in Albq. Very good experience there.
Today I rode it for 4 hours. What was I thinking??? I need a new spine! I just couldn't get off it I was having so much fun.
My first impressions - love it!!! It has all the power on the hills I need. I live at 7,000 feet. Saw some posts earlier about whether or not these mp3's have enough power for the mountains - they do. At least the 500 does, I should say.
It had good power even going up a hill at 60 mph and trying to accelerate. Probably the steepest hill I was on was a 6% grade but a long one (several miles). If I wanted more speed, I had it. Never had to open the throttle all the way. The main problem was the cars in my way keeping me from really testing the mp3.
I think I might have dropped the mp3 once or twice if I didn't have some experience riding a motorcycle. When I started up on a hill it caught me by surprise a couple of times when I started to hit the throttle and the bike actually started rolling backwards downhill and going a little off balance. I have to be more careful with that. Because there's no clutch, there was nothing similar to the friction zone on a bike which would have helped me on the hills. There's also a moment after you hit the throttle and before the bike starts moving that I found disconcerting - but mostly on the hills.
Smooth ride mostly. I did notice I felt the bumps of the road more on the 500 than I do on a bike, but it wasn't bad. I also noticed that once I got up to 70mph there was some vibration but again not bad.
It's really nice not having to clutch all the time like you do on a motorcycle. Turns great and it's really fun leaning into those turns. It handled better than I thought at slow speeds. I did find I needed a little more speed on U-turns than I do on a motorcycle. Very easy to balance, especially if you rely on the engine and keep up some momentum.
I rode it on gravel and it felt pretty solid, especially the front end. The back wobbled a bit but I never felt like I was in danger of slipping the bike.
The seat is very upright for someone used to riding a motorcycle. Even a cruiser. Somehow it just feels like you're sticking more straight up in the air. I appreciated that the front of the bike blocked some of the wind on my legs since today was a little cool out. It was pretty windy today and the mp3 did well with the wind , I guess because of the weight of it. The upright riding position doesn't help any in a gusty wind though.
I found one weird thing about the mp3. It's got a seat height close to 31" which makes it hard for a short person to ride and flat foot it. But the mp3 doesn't leave you a lot of room for your legs if you're tall. I thought it was kind of a strange combination.
I got several stares and some approving nods from bikers - especially when they saw it lean on a curve. It was kind of fun riding around watching the heads turn.