Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gaining appreciation

In case the last post didn't make it clear - I'm out on the West Coast for business, and I took advantage of the fact that renting an MP3 was comparable in cost to renting a sub-compact car. Since the motorcycle mags have been favorably-reviewing Piaggio's three wheeler, I decided to give it a whirl.


I've logged about 85 miles since my last post. While I still have to find some serious twisties to test out this machine, I did find one road that was a complete riot to run through with the MP3:

View Larger Map

Palos Verdes Drive - just South of the intersection with Hawthorne Blvd. For about 1 mile, the road is a "slide" area. Apparently this has something to do with the land constantly moving. I'm not too familiar with this geographic phenomenon, but the road is curvy, with constant, significant elevation change. These are short bursts of elevation change - not the kind of roadage that warrants "% grade" signs. I've never been on a road like this, but you could totally feel the coolness in the front suspension of the MP3 while rolling over the rough, inconsistent, twisty asphalt. Even though there's but a foot or so of distance between the two front wheels, you could feel them reacting differently as they rolled over the uneven pavement. It was a feeling like no other - definitely not the kind of feed back you'd ever feel on a two wheeler.


But while this sensation was cool and unfamiliar - it doesn't seem necessary. I could have had just as much fun on the SV650. This begs the question, why did Piaggio bother to make this vehicle? I hope to get a little internet research done tomorrow night to shed some light on possible answers to that question...


Michael said...

I believe that the thought process behind the mp3 was to be more accessible to those who are intimidated by the idea of riding a two wheeler. Also, it is more stable in low traction conditions (you can slide the front without crashing, much harder on a bike). What speeds are you able to reach with it on the highway.

Also, looked at your breakdown of vehicle fuel mileage. Have you considered putting tire cost into the equation? Other consumables? Just curious as to what the "total package" economy situation is in regard to riding vs. driving. Hope that rest of your trip goes well.

Walk_n_wind said...

I've hit about 75 on the Interstates - definitely a highway-capable machine as there's more top end waiting for me even @ 75 MPH. I've found myself with the throttle wide-open far more often than the SV...

I hear you on the stability - I can do U-turns much more sloppily on this thing, and still be quite successful. Plus, you can throw the thing into weird corners of uneven road and feel settled where the SV would be a little more unnerving.

Haven't devised a method of tracking down complete cost of ownership for the vehicles yet...more like, I haven't put in the effort to track it all. But I'd like to - maybe I will begin doing so!