Piaggio‘s MP3 has been one of the most distinctive motor vehicles of the past decade, using two wheels up front, but able to lean like a true motorcycle. And it’s attracted an amazingly large fan base. The Italian company says it has sold 150,000 MP3s since the model line’s introduction in 2007.

And with more than 12,000 of them sold in France, it was only natural for Piaggio to launch its latest 500cc high-tech version in Paris. Paris is in fact, the world leader for three-wheeled scooters. You can’t go anywhere without seeing one.

Read our review of the first Piaggio MP3s

The new and longer seat is superbly comfortable, and underneath it boasts more space than ever. Piaggio have eliminated the thin wall separating two compartments and made them into one large one. This easily accommodates two full-faced helmets.

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ABS/ASR works better on the MP3 than on any other scooter/motorcycle I have tested, and that’s because of the third wheel. It’s virtually impossible to lose grip from the two front tires, and the traction control takes care of the single rear wheel. Fantastic stuff.

In some countries, the MP3 can be ridden with a car license. Car drivers need not worry because the MP3 is really easy to ride and nearly idiot-proof with its many safety features.

Review and video of the 2008 Piaggio MP3 500 i.e.

A relatively powerful engine pushes you as the automatic drive is delivered to the rear wheel only. Full lean on wet cobalt roads was especially impressive, as the MP3 does this much better than any motorcycle or scooter.

All the details will be revealed in our full ride review you’ll see in the next few days.

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  • If only BRP had designed the Spyder like this so you could lean…

  • frankfan42

    Looks like a nice scoot to me, particularly for those who have some balance issues. Ride what you like.

    • Jason

      The 3rd wheel isn’t for balance issues, it is there so when you slide the front over cobblestones, a manhole cover, or some oil, the front end doesn’t wash out.

      • frankfan42

        Yes, but aren’t stability and balance very closely related Jason?

        • Jason

          No. When I think of balance issues I picture an elderly rider that can no longer physically hold up a motorcycle at a stop or manage one at parking lot speeds. That is completely different than losing the front end after hitting some gravel or oil midcorner.

          • frankfan42

            I have a friend who is an occupational therapist and for her the two are really closely intertwined. She had a brain tumor removed some years ago and the balance issue definitely affects her stability. We are headed the same direction, just coming from different doors I suspect my friend.

          • Jason


            For me the main disadvantage of a motorcycle is that, for the vast majority of riders, if the front tire loses traction the motorcycle crashes. Yes, professional racers and good amateur racers can save a front end slide most of the time but most mere mortals cannot.

            A leaning trike almost completely solves this problem. When the MP3 first came out I went to my local dealer for a demo rider and the dealer said you cannot low-side the MP3. Of course videos online prove that is not the case but it is very difficult to do so. During my demo ride I purposely hit gravel patches in corners to see what the MP3 would do. It predictably slide across the gravel then regained traction and continued on unfazed. That is the beauty of a leaning trike.

          • frankfan42

            Keep the rubber side down whatever you ride or drive my friend.