Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MP3: Conclusion

It's been about 5 days since I turned my MP3 back in to Eagle Rider in LA. And after a short trip today on my SV650, I realized how absolutely sure I am that once was enough on the Piaggio MP3.

It was hard to touch the ground on the heavy, three-wheeled scooter because the seat was so wide. Sure, some may claim that you are supposed to lock the wheels when you stop, but that's additional operator burden that I don't find necessary. The CVT left lots to be desired, as I found myself "wringing its neck" (a Taylorism) constantly to accelerate fast and to climb hills. It's just not the positive feedback I desire.

However, the machine isn't all bad. The storage capacity right out of the box is phenomenal. I was stuffing my whole leather jacket and textile pants under the seat after arriving at my destinations. And the machine can corner...


...which brings me to the Friday activity that wrapped up my time on the MP3. My buddy rented an MP3 for the day to join me in some West Coast canyon carving. Equipped with a SoCal Mad Map, we attacked some portions of route #9. Quality roads.


While these roads were wicked fun, they also brought out another shortcoming of the MP3: cornering clearance. Once you get into it, it doesn't take you long to start asking yourself what that scraping noise is. If you're in a left turn, it's the center stand. If you're in a right turn, it's the exhaust. It was actually a lot of fun to ride through the twisties, and it deserves credit for offering handling that makes you want to push it harder. However, it also deserves a wag of the finger for surprising you so abruptly with its sudden, low-hanging hardware. I imagine one could lift that rear wheel right off the ground should they come in to a left a little too hot.


So in conclusion, I applaud Piaggio for changing my general attitude toward three-wheelers. It can be done right, and I think they did it. Give me one with foot pegs and a direct-drive transmission and I'll try it again. Until then, hello SV! I missed you...

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