Newbie 1st Post: Questions about Piaggio MP3-500
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Addicted
2008 MP3-500
Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 553
Location: ANAHEIM CA USA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:52 am quote
Hello All,

My wife wants a MP3-500 as her first "bike", so I need to ask a few questions. (I'm a Goldwing motorcycle rider myself)

Maintenance:
1. Are the maintenance costs typical per any 500cc motorcycle?
2. Where to you order parts from? (eg Would like to locate an Online source)
3. Any unusual difficulties obtaining parts? (I heard mention of 6 week delays, for other Piaggio scooter parts)
4. Is it easy to work on? Any specialty tools typically required? --(I wrench on bikes all the time).
5. Service manuals availalable?
6. How long do the brakes (pads, rotors) typically last? --Given that the bike is an Automatic, I presume that you can't use the engine for braking, and hence the brake wear is greater.

Tires:
7. How long do the stock tires last?
8. Where do you order tires from? (eg Only Piaggio?) My big concern is for long-distance riding, for which it might be difficult to find a replacement tire out in the sticks.

Erognomics:
9. Is the stock-windshield generally acceptable for either cold weather, or extended high speeds? (eg Is a large windshield req'd?)

Lifetime
10. How long do these vehicals last? (Highest I've heard of is 25k)

Licensing Requirements
11. Here in CA a "Trike" does not require a Motorcycle License... So then, are all the MP3's considered Trikes? (eg I hear that some have a narrower front wheel base that does not fit the CA definition of trike... Am unsure if those narrow models are sold in the US or not)

Storage
12. Are the MP3's prone to Clogging, as typical of most small bikes when having sat parked for more than 3 weeks? (eg I hear that they are Fuel Injected, which typically means that they can sit longer than a bike using carbs)



Thanks,

Alex Bereczky
Anaheim CA
Addicted
'10 Aprilia Mana GT
Joined: 16 Aug 2010
Posts: 720
Location: Central New Jersey
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:05 am quote
Quote:
Maintenance:
1. Are the maintenance costs typical per any 500cc motorcycle?
2. Where to you order parts from? (eg Would like to locate an Online source)
3. Any unusual difficulties obtaining parts? (I heard mention of 6 week delays, for other Piaggio scooter parts)
4. Is it easy to work on? Any specialty tools typically required? --(I wrench on bikes all the time).
5. Service manuals availalable?
6. How long do the brakes (pads, rotors) typically last? --Given that the bike is an Automatic, I presume that you can't use the engine for braking, and hence the brake wear is greater.

Tires:
7. How long do the stock tires last?
8. Where do you order tires from? (eg Only Piaggio?) My big concern is for long-distance riding, for which it might be difficult to find a replacement tire out in the sticks.

Erognomics:
9. Is the stock-windshield generally acceptable for either cold weather, or extended high speeds? (eg Is a large windshield req'd?)
---
1. Maybe a little more that a 2 wheel 500.
2. Several online dealers. Athens and Scooterwest are two but check prior posts.
3. JCosta parts can be a PIA to acquire.
4. Pretty standard to work on most things. Need a variator tool to pop the CVT.
5.Look at Stooter's signature for link to all manuals.
6. Near 10k miles and no brakes yet. CVT DOES brake well on 500.
7. Rear 5000-6000 mi, fronts ~11000.
8. Online. Motorcycle superstore has good prices.
9. YOU NEED AN AFTERMARKET SCREEN or her arms will stretch a couple inches! Madstad is my personal choice.
10 & 11. Can't help with those. Only 10k on mine and not in Cali.
12. Fuel injected. No issues with sitting for several weeks. Use Stabil or Seafoam to ensure no gumming if laying up for months.
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 21445
Location: Palatka, Florida
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:16 am quote
Athens is great but I read in the general section that they are going to be dropping Piaggio products. But like Ray said there are other online sources. Know though going in that Piaggio parts can be hard to find and you sometimes have to wait a long time for them.

Here is some stuff in the Wiki that may interest you.

Workshop Manuals

New Owner Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Vespa Dealers

Scootering Laws by Locality

Good luck.
Molto Verboso
Piaggio mp3 500
Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1295
Location: Longview,Texas 75604
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:22 am quote
I too would recomend Madstad for the windshield.www.madstad.com
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:24 am quote
Ignore the remark made about JCosta - it is an add-on that you probably will never see unless you go digging.
Costs are higher in general - that's why a lot of us do our own maintenenace. Belts are pricey - $120 and you replace every 6000 miles by the schedule - 8000-9000 is actually attainable assuming you keep an eye on them.
Tires are sorta pricey - rears are about $80, fronts are $100 (both). Expect a rear to last about 6,000 to 8,000 depending the fronts 9,000-12,000 easy.
Never had mine clog up - they're pretty reliable fuel system wise.
The stock windscreen is for looks only and the selection is limited. Highly recommend the MadStad screen at about $350.
Bracketmeister
Bracketmeister Emeritus (retired)
Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 2519
Location: New Jersey
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:42 am quote
>My wife wants a MP3-500 as her first "bike"

Alex, you do not seem to have asked what might be the most important question of all: is the MP3/500 suitable as a "first bike"? The answer is definitely not if by first bike you mean she has no or very little experience driving motorcycles. Many newbies incorrectly assume that the three wheels make the MP3 significantly easier to drive or more stable, and it is neither - at speed it is much safer (faster stops, more forgiving in turns) but at slow speed it is more challenging, and under no circumstances is it a beginner bike.

But if she is already past the novice stage, and especially if she is able to drive your GW, she'd be fine.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21308
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:50 am quote
no real savings ordering parts on-line. there are quite a few dealers in southern Ca. why not just use them for parts.

Not personally sold 100% on the madstat, Also look at the Givi. it is a very good shield.
Addicted
2008 MP3-500
Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 553
Location: ANAHEIM CA USA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:53 am quote
stickyfrog wrote:
> I notice that CA's website says that you can't ride a passenger on a scooter... Is that correct?

" Operation of Motorized Scooters: Prohibitions
21235. The operator of a motorized scooter shall not do any of the following:
(e) Operate a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator."

Source: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21235.htm
Addicted
2008 MP3-500
Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 553
Location: ANAHEIM CA USA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:00 am quote
rjeffb wrote:
...Alex, you do not seem to have asked what might be the most important question of all: is the MP3/500 suitable as a "first bike"? The answer is definitely not if by first bike you mean she has no or very little experience driving motorcycles. Many newbies incorrectly assume that the three wheels make the MP3 significantly easier to drive or more stable, and it is neither - at speed it is much safer (faster stops, more forgiving in turns) but at slow speed it is more challenging, and under no circumstances is it a beginner bike.

But if she is already past the novice stage, and especially if she is able to drive your GW, she'd be fine.
> Ok you caught me off-guard with that view point. I've focused only on the engine size, believing that a 500cc bike Is appropriate for a beginner, hence the MP3-500 would be no different.
> She is a very experienced motorcycle Passenger (20k miles), but only twenty (20) miles as the Driver of her Rebel 250. At best I can say that she by-now knows what a bike can/should do, but has not had the hands-on experience of doing it herself.
> Her planned riding, on the MP3, would be mostly local slow-speed.

Guess I'd like to get More Input from you guys, especially anyone who has ridden the MP3-500 as a "first bike".... Was it a mistake???

Last edited by ALEXB on Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21308
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:02 am quote
ALEXB wrote:
stickyfrog wrote:
> I notice that CA's website says that you can't ride a passenger on a scooter... Is that correct?

" Operation of Motorized Scooters: Prohibitions
21235. The operator of a motorized scooter shall not do any of the following:
(e) Operate a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator."

Source: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21235.htm
they are talking about 50cc stuff. read what else they talk about like not going over 25 mph in a bike lane.

have a look here:

http://dmv.ca.gov/motorcycles/motorcycles.htm
Enthusiast
MP3 500
Joined: 18 Aug 2011
Posts: 99
Location: Apopka, FL
Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:10 am quote
It depends...
...I had a motorcycle for 6 weeks in my late 20's, and didn't ride again until I got my 500 in August this year; to me, it may as well have been my first bike.

There IS a learning curve involved, and I think it's a highly individual and subjective assessment as to whether it'd be a good first bike. In my opinion, it's not a BAD first bike. Given resources and time, would it be better to work through some smaller bikes and build some confidence? Perhaps. But most of us don't have those resources or access.

As she has experience riding pillion, and a competent, experienced guide (you), a venue for the questions and concerns (ModernVespa.com) - I'd say go for it.

That said, can I interest you in a Piaggio windshield for the MP3 500? MP3 500 Piaggio Windshield and Bracket

-Earl
Bracketmeister
Bracketmeister Emeritus (retired)
Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 2519
Location: New Jersey
Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:15 am quote
> Ok you caught me off-guard with that view point. I've focused only on the engine size, beliving that a 500cc bike Is appropriate for a beginner, hence the MP3-500 would be no different.
> She is a very experienced motorcycle Passenger (20k miles), but only twenty (20) miles as the Driver of her Rebel 250. At best I can say that she by-now knows what a bike can/should do, but has not had the hands-on experience of doing it herself.
> Her planned riding, on the MP3, would be mostly local slow-speed.

Guess I'd like to get More Input from you guys, especially anyone who has ridden the MP3-500 as a "first bike".... Was it a mistake???[/quote]

Riding an MP3/500 as the first bike right after a Rebel will be a challenge, but only marginally more so than any other bike in the 500-750cc range. It is heavy for its size and it has weight where other bikes do not (over the fork). But generally speaking, the main issue (as you well know) will be moving to a larger bike, period. The MP3 does not generally require any new skills than she would need to go to any larger bike.

The exception, as I alluded to, is at slow speed. I don't mean "slow" as in driving in city traffic, I mean "slow" as in not yet countersteering (below 10 mph) and turning. The MP3's design causes it to fall over in a flat ellipse rather than an arc, and this can be very misleading - your bike tilts a little and you think it's nothing, but then it just falls away from you. Nothing to worry about at all but it is something to be aware of until you get used to it. Also, since she is used to a wet clutch and a light bike, there is a completely different technique to making very slow turns that will need to be practiced; coming from a lighter bike, that makes it doubly challenging because you have to learn this completely new technique (goose throttle a little to force the clutch to engage and bleed off speed with rear brake) at the same time as learning to cope with the extra weight. Be prepared to spend some time practicing in a parking lot. Finally, unlike any other bike the MP3 transitions from steering to countersteering at different speeds under different situations (flat, uphill, downhill) and that takes some getting used to; but of course, after a few hundred miles you no longer even notice it. It's not like you're thinking "I'm on a 20 degree downslope making a 50 foot radius turn so I will transition to countersteering at 6.22 MPH," it becomes automatic with a little practice. Sort of like riding a bike!

The MP3 is a very dangerous scooter for someone who has never ridden a motorcycle before. But to someone reasonably experienced, it just poses a somewhat steep but entirely manageable initial learning curve. If she has such a limited amount of experience driving a Rebel, then you should consider if she's ready for a move up in weight; but whether or not that move is to an MP3 is really beside the point since the bigger weight is the main consideration and would be no matter what bike in the power range was selected.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:13 am quote
I'm going to read between teh lines here. She has a rebel so you're looking to get something bigger to tour. Right? The 500 has a seat designed to torture your ass like no other. An hour in the seat and you'll be hurting. It's as simple as that and about 98% of 500 riders will agree with that. Aftermarket seat mods are top on most people's list that do any mileage. If this is important then get a 400 as there is a seat by Shad available that most riders really like.
Addicted
2008 MP3-500
Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 553
Location: ANAHEIM CA USA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:33 am quote
BubbaJon wrote:
I'm going to read between teh lines here. She has a rebel so you're looking to get something bigger to tour. Right?....
> No... She wants [long story] an MP3 because here in CA she can drive it without having to get a Motorcycle License .
> I got her the Rebel250 and she rode in a parking lot for 20 miles... just long enough to decide that she wants to ride more. (The Rebal has been parked for a year now, sigh)
BubbaJon wrote:
...The 500 has a seat designed to torture your ass like no other. An hour in the seat and you'll be hurting. It's as simple as that and about 98% of 500 riders will agree with that. Aftermarket seat mods are top on most people's list that do any mileage. If this is important then get a 400 as there is a seat by Shad available that most riders really like.
> Is there any significant difference, other than engine size, between the 400 & 500? Offhand, I imagine that the 400 would be just as capable at freeway speeds.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21308
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:06 am quote
ALEXB wrote:
BubbaJon wrote:
I'm going to read between teh lines here. She has a rebel so you're looking to get something bigger to tour. Right?....
> No... She wants [long story] an MP3 because here in CA she can drive it without having to get a Motorcycle License .
> I got her the Rebel250 and she rode in a parking lot for 20 miles... just long enough to decide that she wants to ride more. (The Rebal has been parked for a year now, sigh)
BubbaJon wrote:
...The 500 has a seat designed to torture your ass like no other. An hour in the seat and you'll be hurting. It's as simple as that and about 98% of 500 riders will agree with that. Aftermarket seat mods are top on most people's list that do any mileage. If this is important then get a 400 as there is a seat by Shad available that most riders really like.
> Is there any significant difference, other than engine size, between the 400 & 500? Offhand, I imagine that the 400 would be just as capable at freeway speeds.
more storage room under the seat with the 400. better aftermarket accessories available for it. windshields and seat are my first 2 more availables. Gas mileage is real close to the same. top spedds the 400 lacks about 5-8 mph, still will run down the interstates at 80-85 mph.
The Givi AF 504 shield is adjustable, the shad seat is comfortable and both are reasonably priced.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:10 am quote
ALEXB wrote:
> No... She wants [long story] an MP3 because here in CA she can drive it without having to get a Motorcycle License .
No go man- this has been discussed to death a motorcycle license is required everywhere including CA.
Enthusiast
MP3 400
Joined: 31 Aug 2011
Posts: 87
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:12 am quote
As a "newbie" biker myself, I can weigh in a little on this.

I just picked up an MP3 400ie a couple months ago. Other than a Peugot 150cc bike I had when I was 14, I have never ridden.

I bought mine without a license and took it to the adjacent Wal-Mart parking lot and rode it for a few minutes then hit the road for my 10 minute commute back to the house.

Having owned this now for 2 months (and 2500 miles), I can say that I was genuinely crazy for having done this!

I took the MSF BRC and learned on a little 250 bike 2 weeks into ownership and the two bikes feel dramatically different in how they menuever. At no point since owning the bike have I regretted my purchasing decision and at no point have I felt that the bike was dangerous (or in any way more dangerous than a regular bike). That being said, it is different. As was already pointed out, you'll feel the bike lean at slow speeds thinking that it's okay, you'll allow it to keep leaning. It goes from a light lean to a deep tip fast. REALLY fast.

Just yesterday, I scraped my center stand going into a tight left turn at 7 MPH. I had to check my pants for extra payload, but thankfully, I was able to goose the throttle into the turn and get the bike back vertical without even looking that stupid in the process. On a regular bike in this much of a lean, I'd be pulling the bike out of the ditch.

I can't speak to any of your maintenance questions yet as I only have the 2500 miles. I'm a tinkerer myself, so I plan on doing as much of the maintenance as I can myself. As for the mileage, I sure hope to get more than 25K! At my average of 2K per month (though I assume this will taper off once the uber-coolness factor wears off), I'd be out of the bike in a year. Hell, I financed it for 5! (But I did get a 4 year warranty...)

I would urge, even if not required, to get the license and to take the MSF BRC and ERC. VERY WELL worth it.

Just some thoughts.
J.
Addicted
2008 MP3-500
Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 553
Location: ANAHEIM CA USA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:13 am quote
BubbaJon: "No go man- this has been discussed to death a motorcycle license is required everywhere including CA."

> CA DMV website says only a Car License required:

"Three wheeled motorcycles or a motorcycle with a side car require only a Class C driver license. California Vehicle Code (CVC) 12804.9"
Source: http://dmv.ca.gov/motorcycles/motorcycles.htm

I also verified this with my insurance company, State Farm.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:21 am quote
ALEXB wrote:
BubbaJon: "No go man- this has been discussed to death a motorcycle license is required everywhere including CA."

> CA DMV website says only a Car License required:

"Three wheeled motorcycles or a motorcycle with a side car require only a Class C driver license. California Vehicle Code (CVC) 12804.9"
Source: http://dmv.ca.gov/motorcycles/motorcycles.htm

I also verified this with my insurance company, State Farm.
Simple to the point answer: they don't know squat. It is required. Guaranteed - I promise.
Of course if you're a betting man we can set a stake.

Edit: the three wheelers they refer to are like Goldwings and VW conversions - things that don't fall over.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37422
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:30 am quote
Bubba - 'tis true - in CA the MP3 rider does NOT need a motorcycle licence or endorsement. It can be ridden on a car licence. That doesn't mean that's a sensible thing of course.
Enthusiast
MP3 500
Joined: 18 Aug 2011
Posts: 99
Location: Apopka, FL
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:37 am quote
Quote:
Bubbajon said:
"Simple to the point answer: they don't know squat. It is required. Guaranteed - I promise. Of course if you're a betting man we can set a stake.

Edit: the three wheelers they refer to are like Goldwings and VW conversions - things that don't fall over."
The lack of a motorcycle license requirement was one of my buying points as well; the officers I've spoken with directly (without ticket books in hand) were aware of the statute, and 'falling over' never entered the discussion. The issue was 'three wheels', and the MP3 qualifies.

That said, I'm *sure* there's a LEO somewhere in the state dying to ticket an MP3 based on an assessment similar to BubbaJon's. Most of the riders on here would encourage your wife to get a motorcycle license anyway, AND take the MSF course no matter what.

If the State legislature ever gets around to it, rumor has it they'll close this loophole, and we'll be required to have an MC license to ride. I don't have one yet myself, but best to be prepared.

-Earl
Addicted
'10 Aprilia Mana GT
Joined: 16 Aug 2010
Posts: 720
Location: Central New Jersey
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:46 am quote
Quote:
I got her the Rebel250 and she rode in a parking lot for 20 miles... just long enough to decide that she wants to ride more. (The Rebal has been parked for a year now, sigh)
Hmm. That statement sounds too much like my wife's (passing?) interest and raises a big red flag.

My wife got her MC license a couple years back with all good intentions of riding along with me on my other (Kymco 165cc) scooter. Since then she has tossed out every excuse known to avoid going out riding. I figure she has ridden the scoot less than your wife's 20 miles in the 2 years.

Moral of the story is: An MP3 is an expensive experiment. I'd wait until she logs a lot more miles on the 250 just to verify her enthusiasm is real IMHO.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21308
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:57 am quote
BubbaJon wrote:
ALEXB wrote:
BubbaJon: "No go man- this has been discussed to death a motorcycle license is required everywhere including CA."

> CA DMV website says only a Car License required:

"Three wheeled motorcycles or a motorcycle with a side car require only a Class C driver license. California Vehicle Code (CVC) 12804.9"
Source: http://dmv.ca.gov/motorcycles/motorcycles.htm

I also verified this with my insurance company, State Farm.
Simple to the point answer: they don't know squat. It is required. Guaranteed - I promise.
Of course if you're a betting man we can set a stake.

Edit: the three wheelers they refer to are like Goldwings and VW conversions - things that don't fall over.
hope you got deep pockets for that bet. and can I get in on it too even though I don't live in CA or really care what , how or why they do the things they do out there, right wrong or indifferent.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:06 pm quote
jimc wrote:
Bubba - 'tis true - in CA the MP3 rider does NOT need a motorcycle licence or endorsement. It can be ridden on a car licence. That doesn't mean that's a sensible thing of course.
Wow. They must really be changing things in the code since I was there. My buddy had a VW trike and had a helluva time with license requirements.
Ok then - yoiu were just out there and should know. My bad you can ride it on a car license. Bet rescinded.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37422
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:14 pm quote
Your buddy just had the usual problems with the CA DMV. If you ask 20 CA DMV employees the same question you'll get 20 different answers, some of them flat contradictory.
Molto Verboso
NC700XD
Joined: 28 Dec 2009
Posts: 1372
Location: Richmond, VA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:45 pm quote
The main differences price aside between the 400 and the 500 are looks and storage. The 400 has more storage and more "off the shelf" parts like the Shad seat and the Givi AirFlo windshield; both excellent products from all accounts. The 500 can get an even more comfortable seat and a more adjustable windshield for close to the same price. I saw to those personally.

With that said, I'd vote with logging more miles on the 250 (she decided that she wants to ride more then parked it for a year has me baffled) and get the full MC endorsement as well as the BRC. It's best to let an uninvolved but experienced stranger teach a loved one that to do it yourself. Weird relationship dynamics there.

Everyone's different though, so she might take to it like water.
Ossessionato
MP3 500, Ducati ST4s, Honda Silver Wing
Joined: 21 May 2008
Posts: 2646
Location: Nomad currently in Placerville, CA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:56 pm quote
While I think a leaning three wheeler should require a M/C license; in CA the fact is a car license is all that's required.
Hooked
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 19 Jul 2010
Posts: 391
Location: Seattle, WA
Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:35 pm quote
I know that the general consensus is that the 500 is inappropriate as a first motorcycle; however, I bought the 500 as my first and have had no problems. Of course I'm a six foot tall, 190 lb guy. Plus I've had 17 years of experience as a mountain biker sliding out in mud and hopping tree roots. In terms of judging traction I think riding off road teaches you more about safe riding than you can ever learn on the road. I also took a motorcycle training course.

Personally I wouldn't discourage the 500 as a first bike, but it should depend on the person's experience on two wheels as well as their ability to judge riding conditions and adjust accordingly.
Hooked
MP3 400, 2008 build, purchased 2009 ex demo.
Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 263
Location: Orange, NSW, Australia
Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:24 pm quote
I took up scooter riding after only ever having ridden a 95 cc Honda Step-through, 40 years ago. I was 70 y/o when I purchased it.
I bought a 400.
I also have a Givi screen and a Hawk air-seat pad, that is marvelous. Solved the seat discomfort and I have no need for further expense on that,
The 400 will perform well and highway speeds and overtaking are no problem. I find it very stable at speed and wind gusts from other traffic is not normally a problem. It is a heavy bike.
I also ride a lot in town.
I was careful for a week or two - particularly on slow round-a-bouts but have had no problem at all, except to let it drop in my driveway once when caught unawares. Everyone needs to learn the 'trick' of the suspension lock.
I recommend it. If you travel to Europe you will see 'heaps' of women, of all sizes and ages riding them all the time.
Good luck.

PS: This forum is great with lots of help and advice if required. However, with any forum it is easy to think that every problem that anyone ever had will all happen to you. That is just not the case as many factors determine the service life of any vehicle. So don't be put off by the problems some people have - you may never experience them. Being Italian, it does have its foibles -but that gives it its charm also.
Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:15 am quote
I never had a bike.. ever.. and started with the 500.. and love it.. but that is, of course individual.. I was 60 when I started.. but also have been an active skier all my life (balance) bicyclist.. (counts for something I guess.. hence the CVT - comfortable with the brakes), and long distance off shore single handed sailor (being crazy really helps sometimes).. and all in all, like I said have really enjoyed it..

In terms of miles on a 500 someone on here has a lot more than 25,000.. a lot more.. and check out this thread.. a great dialogue.. and I wonder where he is now? MP3 500 to Alaska
Ossessionato
Red MP3 500 RUBY DRAGON
Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 2626
Location: Northern CA
Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:38 am quote
jimc wrote:
Your buddy just had the usual problems with the CA DMV. If you ask 20 CA DMV employees the same question you'll get 20 different answers, some of them flat contradictory.
Gee Jim, it's like you've been here.
Ossessionato
2009 MP3 400
Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 2004
Location: Saratoga, N.Y.
Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:50 am quote
Piling on
Buying an MP3 to avoid getting a mc license would be a big mistake. When she crashes, being able to say "mc training/license wasn't required" will be cold comfort.
Bracketmeister
Bracketmeister Emeritus (retired)
Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 2519
Location: New Jersey
Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:57 am quote
>you'll feel the bike lean at slow speeds thinking that it's okay, you'll allow it to keep leaning. It goes from a light lean to a deep tip fast. REALLY fast.

I've been meaning to address this for a while. In the picture below I show a two-wheel bike, an MP3, and a wide-track MP3/LT (left to right) tilted at angles of zero, 15, and 25 degrees (top to bottom). Any time the two-wheeler is tilted at any angle whatsoever, it wants to fall because its Center of Gravity is not above the contact point. The rider of a two-wheeler must always be on guard because essentially the bike is always falling down.

Looking at the middle picture, we see that the MP3's CoG is approaching the pivot point of the contact patch on the lean side. It's still between the two wheels so the bike is overall still stable. If you let go of everything at this point, the bike will not "fall," it will continue to "rotate." But that leads to...

At 25 degrees (middle bottom), there's no more rotation - the CoG is no longer between the wheels and in fact is now outside the lean side axle. This bike isn't "rotating," it's just falling down. Note that the MP3/LT's CoG is still between the wheels, so I predict that an LT has a wider range through which the bike continues to feel manageable - and an ever quicker drop if and when you go past the limit!

Note that this is not to scale and the CoG (especially with a rider) is no doubt much higher than shown - meaning the real tilt angles that lead from "stable" to "rotating" to "falling" are much smaller than shown.

BTW I suspect that this is behind the MP3's unusual tendency to transition between steering and countersteering at different speeds. If you think about it, the pitch of the bike will change the location of the CoG relative to the front wheels, where it sits between the wheels at small banks, and the rear wheel, where the CoG is nearly always outside the contact patch. (Just draw a tall triangle on a piece of paper, with the corners representing wheels, and mark an imaginary CoG on it, and look at where that CoG is exerting the most downwards force as you tilt the paper through various angle.) It's no wonder that the MP3 can't make up its mind when to start countersteering!

1274998

Tilting.jpg
Not to scale, just emphasizing the principle!



Last edited by rjeffb on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
Addicted
2009 Piaggio MP3 250
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 788
Location: Michigan; USA
Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:08 pm quote
ALEXB wrote:
rjeffb wrote:
...Alex, you do not seem to have asked what might be the most important question of all: is the MP3/500 suitable as a "first bike"? The answer is definitely not if by first bike you mean she has no or very little experience driving motorcycles. Many newbies incorrectly assume that the three wheels make the MP3 significantly easier to drive or more stable, and it is neither - at speed it is much safer (faster stops, more forgiving in turns) but at slow speed it is more challenging, and under no circumstances is it a beginner bike.

But if she is already past the novice stage, and especially if she is able to drive your GW, she'd be fine.
> Ok you caught me off-guard with that view point. I've focused only on the engine size, believing that a 500cc bike Is appropriate for a beginner, hence the MP3-500 would be no different.
> She is a very experienced motorcycle Passenger (20k miles), but only twenty (20) miles as the Driver of her Rebel 250. At best I can say that she by-now knows what a bike can/should do, but has not had the hands-on experience of doing it herself.
> Her planned riding, on the MP3, would be mostly local slow-speed.

Guess I'd like to get More Input from you guys, especially anyone who has ridden the MP3-500 as a "first bike".... Was it a mistake???
I bought the MP3 250 this year, and I had never drove any bike before. My only experience was riding on the back of my dad's Harley when I was a kid. I spent a few weeks in a parking lot practicing turns, emergency stops, swerves, etc over and over until I felt confident. When I finally got on the road the only problem I had with the bike was something that others have mentioned - taking slow turns caused me to dump it a few times. But I learned from my mistakes, figured out how to handle it better, and I feel quite confident zooming down the road at about 55-60MPH now.
Hooked
MP3 400
Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 215
Location: Seal Beach, Ca
Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:57 pm quote
Re: Newbie 1st Post: Questions about Piaggio MP3-500
ALEXB wrote:
Hello All,

My wife wants a MP3-500 as her first "bike", so I need to ask a few questions. (I'm a Goldwing motorcycle rider myself)

Maintenance:
1. Are the maintenance costs typical per any 500cc motorcycle?
2. Where to you order parts from? (eg Would like to locate an Online source)
3. Any unusual difficulties obtaining parts? (I heard mention of 6 week delays, for other Piaggio scooter parts)
4. Is it easy to work on? Any specialty tools typically required? --(I wrench on bikes all the time).
5. Service manuals availalable?
6. How long do the brakes (pads, rotors) typically last? --Given that the bike is an Automatic, I presume that you can't use the engine for braking, and hence the brake wear is greater.

Tires:
7. How long do the stock tires last?
8. Where do you order tires from? (eg Only Piaggio?) My big concern is for long-distance riding, for which it might be difficult to find a replacement tire out in the sticks.

Erognomics:
9. Is the stock-windshield generally acceptable for either cold weather, or extended high speeds? (eg Is a large windshield req'd?)

Lifetime
10. How long do these vehicals last? (Highest I've heard of is 25k)

Licensing Requirements
11. Here in CA a "Trike" does not require a Motorcycle License... So then, are all the MP3's considered Trikes? (eg I hear that some have a narrower front wheel base that does not fit the CA definition of trike... Am unsure if those narrow models are sold in the US or not)

Storage
12. Are the MP3's prone to Clogging, as typical of most small bikes when having sat parked for more than 3 weeks? (eg I hear that they are Fuel Injected, which typically means that they can sit longer than a bike using carbs)



Thanks,

Alex Bereczky
Anaheim CA
Like so many here my 400 is also my 1st ever bike. At 500# it is a very heavy bike for its power, its expensive too. So be prepared for when she drops it.

There are very few shops that work on them around here. there is a guy ing Newport and a Dealer in Sherman oaks. but there are a lot of guides here to help you out and the self maintenance doesn't seem to bad if you like that sort of thing. Opening the transmission every 6k miles is the worst of it. Well, rear tire, brakes and belt should be good for 9k but the manual says 6k on the belt.

I like the wind on my helmet, some hate it. if she wants an open face helmet the a bigger windscreen as a must.

True about the trike thing, but only for now. Send her to a MSF course anyway. Its only a couple of days and I had a ball.

Storage? this is SoCal, no need to put it away for the winter, we don't have one. And i've only heard of battery issues for long term storage.

...
While a "scooter" is a type of motorcycle, a "motorized scooter" per the DMV is not any kind of motorcycle. Its those skateboards with handlebars that teenagers ride down the sidewalk at 40mph.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Typhoon 125
Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 10821
Location: Oregon City, OR
Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:38 pm quote
ALEXB wrote:
No... She wants [long story] an MP3 because here in CA she can drive it without having to get a Motorcycle License .
I'll make the story shorter. An inexperienced rider needs to take the MSF basic course. Once a rider passes the safety course they have a motorcycle endorsement, so - licensing problem solved. You don't really want someone you care about turned loose on a bike weighing over 500 lbs and capable of speeds up to 90 mph with nothing but an automobile license <period>

(and all the warnings about low speed handling of an MP3 are spot on - it is a heavy bike and requires some low speed practice, and care with use of the suspension locking system)
Bracketmeister
Bracketmeister Emeritus (retired)
Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 2519
Location: New Jersey
Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:56 pm quote
+1, well summarized.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21308
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:36 pm quote
Dooglas wrote:
ALEXB wrote:
No... She wants [long story] an MP3 because here in CA she can drive it without having to get a Motorcycle License .
I'll make the story shorter. An inexperienced rider needs to take the MSF basic course. Once a rider passes the safety course they have a motorcycle endorsement, so - licensing problem solved. You don't really want someone you care about turned loose on a bike weighing over 500 lbs and capable of speeds up to 90 mph with nothing but an automobile license <period>

(and all the warnings about low speed handling of an MP3 are spot on - it is a heavy bike and requires some low speed practice, and care with use of the suspension locking system)
inexperienced and experienced riders should take a class. experienced riders would be surprised what they can learn and fine tune on.
Molto Verboso
MP3 500
Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Posts: 1422
Location: Arlington, Republic of Texas
Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:03 pm quote
I found this last weekend, so I thought I would share it because it was in a discussion dated 2008.

Has to do with the MSF and the MP3 ...

And other feeds has also discussed this, especially those living in the State of California.

MSFpositiononPiaggioMP3-Jan2008.pdf
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  MSFpositiononPiaggioMP3-Jan2008.pdf
 Filesize:  40.53 KB

Veni, Vidi, Posti
. . 2008 Blue MP3 400. . di Peluria Orso .... 1993 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 ....... 2013 Honda NC700XD; 2017 Versys X300
Joined: 02 Jun 2008
Posts: 6146
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:18 am quote
FunkyMonkey wrote:
I found this last weekend, so I thought I would share it because it was in a discussion dated 2008.

Has to do with the MSF and the MP3 ...

And other feeds has also discussed this, especially those living in the State of California.
Would probably be a good idea to carry a copy of this to a MSF class or license exam as many still are not sure how to evaluate it.
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