Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What The Heck Was That?

One day recently my co-worker pulled up into the parking lot at work on this crazy scooter. He had just bought it and is getting used to riding. It is so crazy looking that every day we watch as people walk by our building, take a second look at the bike, and you can see the puzzled look on their faces as they notice the two wheels in front. Almost everyone turns and walks around the bike to see what it is. It's funny and entertaining to watch.

The scooter is a Piaggio MP3 500, made in Italy. Piaggio is the company that makes Vespas. This one looks like an evil babboon, or a crazy bug. They are kind of pricey for a scooter, but worth the attention that it gets from everyone. He's had people pulling up next to him at a stop light and asking, "What the heck is that thing?" There is one more Piaggio scooter rider in the Redmond area, which is the one my co-worker saw that made him have to have it.

I've heard there are other bikes now with 2 wheels in front, but I've never seen them. I guess it would be fun to ride, but kind of strange. I'll stick with my 2 wheel baby!


BiL said...

I'm still trying to figure out the reason for the extra wheel. I'd say it's more of an attention getter. I don't ride, but when I do I'm pretty sure it's only going to have two wheels.


Ronman said...

I've seen a couple of these around Middle Tennessee. One of the other manufacturers that make the three wheeled bikes I believe is Can Am. Their version looks like a snowmobile with wheels to me.


mrs road captain said...

Jay says it looks like it belongs on Star Wars!

Alan said...

It is, it really looks like that it comes from other planet, like we have seen in films, any ways its a nice trike (scooter) manufactured by these people.

Chip said...

Just got my own 500 and love it! BTW Bill, that 3rd wheel gives the rider 50% more contact w/ the road compared to a "traditional" bike, thus an increased safety factor. The two wheels work in unison, much like skis going downhill.

FLHX_Dave said...

Not my cup of joe, but cool looking. I can imagine it's a bit more forgiving if you forget to put your foot down at a light or fuel stop with the extra wheel.

"Joker" said...

That thing looks like an Escape Pod from the Starship Enterprise. This is one of those things that ends up as criteria in the motorcyclist vs. biker debate. I suppose if all you want is transportation and the Euro look is your thing, fine. Hate me if you want, but I'll pass. I'm a biker - not a motorcyclist.

Becky said...

Bil: By the time you are allowed to ride you'll have to get a 'rascal' like the old people ride.

Ronman: Those Can Ams look even scarier. You Tennesseeans are right on top of new technology!

Mrs. Road Captain: I agree the black model does remind me of Darth Vader.

Alan: These scooters look very futuristic. I hope the motorcycles don't take that turn.

Chip: I'm glad you are happy with your purchase. They seemed a little pricey compared to a 2 wheeled bike.

flhx_dave: Lord knows we've all done that....or can't get your foot down in time for some reason. The wheels on the Piaggio lock upright at a stop so you don't even NEED to put your foot down!

Joker: I detect a little attitude coming through. I don't classify a scooter as a motorcycle. I'm not sure how you distinguish between a biker and a motorcyclist. You ride a motorcycle, right?

"Joker" said...

That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. So said Shakespeare. A scooter is merely a name for a type of motorized cycle, so in a manner of speaking, it's a motorcycle. Just like a convertible is still...a car.

Attitude? Me? OK, maybe just a little. Maybe that's the best way I can distinguish it. A biker is a motorcyclist with some attitude, not necessarily bad. I'm not going to make the PC crowd happy by saying it's all the same, because it's not. I'm not trying to be mean, that's just the way things are in my opinion.

Lot's of folks ride vehicles with fewer than 4 wheels. Not all of them are bikers. There are bikers out there who don't think you or I belong because we haven't done time. That's their opinion too. Others demand H-D ownership at a minimum. You know I don't agree with that.

However you want to distinguish it, there's one thing real bikers don't do - and that's ride Piaggios.

Linda R. Moore said...

A couple of years ago those were at the motorcycle expo. They're really cool looking and I gather they're rather sturdy and maneuverable. Neat!

BiL said...

Yeah, my wife probably won't let me get a rascal unless I'm wearing a full helmet and body armor!

I'm not sure I'm buying into Chip's 50% more contact w/the road theory making things safer. So, if I add yet a fourth wheel am I another 50% or a 100% safer? Hmmmmmm....slap on some training wheels along with that and.....

Ok, I'm just having fun. I guess I'd have to try one out to know for sure.

iNinja said...

They are catching on here (DownUnder) as well... can't see myself coming around to that... looks like an invalid's ride... not that there's anything wrong with that....

Tinker said...

The extra wheel is to make it more stable, it has an electronic button that locks the suspension in place at a stop, and as you accelerate it unlocks, It provide stwice the front brake area of a standard scooter, and non-scooter owners seem to love the look. It has twice the front tires of a standard scooter so it makes turning even safer than it appears.

Would I buy one? No, I'll stick with my old-technology Hondamatic.
But thanks for asking.

Anonymous said... really have to try it to get the concept. I have a Ducati S4Rs Testastretta and one of the black Piaggio MP3 500s, like the one pictured. The Duc is an absolute beast, and I love every minute on it. But, the Piaggio is at least as much fun around most turns and is the best commuter for DC, especially when the road is wet or less than perfect.

The two wheels lean together and are independently suspended. It feels just like a two-wheeler (you countersteer and lean into turns), but you can't wash out or fold in the front wheel like you can on a traditional motorcycle. There's rarely a need to slow when entering curves--just pin it, push the bar and lean. It doesn't have the acceleration of something more powerful--true enough. However, it will pull to near 100 MPH with a passenger and stay rock stable when it does. And, it's comfortable, stores a bunch under the seat (full-face helmet plus) and quiet--quiet enough to lane split anywhere without getting a second look from law enforcement. That's not an option on the Duc (Termi exhaust). So, I'm much faster to work on the Piaggio, which also gets twice the MPG.

In short, if you just don't like the idea or looks, or are afraid of looking strange to bikers, forget it. But, if you just love great rides, try the damn thing. You'll be shocked at how much you like it. I know that I was.