Piaggio unveils three-wheeled scooter – June 5, 2006

Piaggio recently unveiled a three-wheeled scooter company officials say marks the start of a new personal transport revolution from the manufacturer.
Piaggio says the MP3, with two independent tilting front wheels, provides increased stability on wet and rough surfaces and offers better braking and more rider-friendly ammenities compared to a conventional scooter.
While visitors to the 2003 Indianapolis Powersports Dealer Expo may recall seeing a similar unit called the Scooop, marketed by now-defunct Italjet, Piaggio describes the MP3 as a “revolutionary” unit offering original design.
Clearly resembling Piaggio’s Gran Turismo (GT) range, the MP3’s size and proportions are similar to those of a normal GT scooter. However, it has an overall front-end width of 16.5 inches and a large 17 gallon storage area.
The rear of the MP3 is damped by a normal swing-arm suspension with dual hydraulic shock absorbers, a helicoidal spring and four-position preload, and the unit’s high-tensile steel tube frame is linked to an innovative parallelogram front suspension. The tilt mechanism is composed of four cast-aluminium control arms with four hinges fixed to the central tube and two guide tubes on either side of the parallelogram, connected to the arms via suspension pins and ball bearings. The tubes on the right and left enclose the steering tube.
The MP3 uses three 12-inch wheels with large tires — two 120/70s in front and a 130/70 in the rear. Together with the front suspension, the wheels provide a tilt angle of up to 40 degrees to carve sharp turns.
The company says the unit’s 240mm three-disk braking system and front-end road holding reduce braking space by more than 20 percent on normal road surfaces and as much as 24 percent on slippery roads compared to similarly powered conventional scooters. That translates to deceleration of about 8 meters per second.
Easing use, no side- or center-stand is necessary to park — the MP3 is equipped with a electro-hydraulic front suspension locking system that keeps the vehicle upright. The rider simply presses a switch on the handlebar to activate the system that stops the tilt mechanism. An electro-actuator activates a central clamp on the tilt mechanism and generates hydraulic pressure to lock the suspension dampers. Furthermore, a lever on the inside of the front shield activates the parking brake, making it safe to park without using the stand even on sloping ground.
Aiding to rider-friendliness, Piaggio plans to offer dedicated accessories, including an optional Winter Pack that makes it possible to use the vehicle year-round. The Winter Pack includes an extra-large windscreen treated to make rain slide off, hand protectors, tires made of a composite more suitable for slippery roads, a battery-powered heated leg cover and a battery-powered heated waistcoat.
Other optional accessories include TOM TOM Rider GPS navigator with wireless Bluetooth link and 3.5” LCD screen; Piaggio X-Jet Bluetooth Intercom helmet with a built-in communication system; rack with flip-down plate; 12.5-gallon rear top case; windscreen with built-in hand protectors; disk lock anti-theft device with siren or remote-controlled electronic anti-theft device; and three different helmets.
Piaggio says the MP3 will be made available in two engine displacements, powered by a Piaggio Quasar 250 i.e. and a Leader 125. The company has not revealed information regarding availability.

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