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Piaggio MP3 400 Scooter Motorbike Review

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Piaggio MP3 LT
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The biggest yet of Piaggio’s peculiar MP3s has an identity crisis. It looks like a scooter but the law classes it the same as a Reliant Robin three-wheeler car. Because Piaggio has added a footbrake and widened the space between the front wheels by 45mm, to 465mm, it falls into category B1 on European driving licences, defined as ‘three or four wheeled vehicles with an unladen weight not exceeding 550kg’. The category is granted automatically to anyone with a bike or car licence so someone who’s never even sat on a motorcycle can legally ride an MP3 LT. They don’t even need to wear a helmet. Probably just as well then that Piaggio is offering buyers free Compulsory Basic Training. Happily the confusion is only on paper. Riding the MP3 LT it becomes clear it’s a competent, comfortable but expensive maxi-scooter - with a twist.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

The 398.9cc four-stroke single will power the MP3 LT to an indicated 100mph without too much trouble but don’t expect a white-knuckle ride on the way. Acceleration is fairly sedate at all times, even by maxi-scooter standards. Yamaha’s 500cc T Max, which makes 9bhp more, would comfortably beat the MP3 LT in a traffic light grand prix. As with most large twist-and-gos, throttle response is slightly delayed. It’s more a case of twist and wait.  

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

Different. Don’t expect it to ever feel quite like a bike or two-wheeled scooter. You’re constantly aware while riding it of those two leaning front wheels. Their effect is that it’s nearly impossible to low-side. Even when the front end slides, the MP3 LT will under-steer like a car instead of going down. That inspires confidence by the spade-full and makes for quite a lot of fun. Riders who would never dream of grounding the centre-stand on a conventional scooter will manage it without breaking sweat on this. Ride comfort should easily be good enough to make long distances a doddle.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

It has everything you might expect from a big scooter - except the luggage space. It’s got a connected under-seat compartment and boot but neither was big enough to accommodate our tester’s full-face Shark helmet. Like its smaller brothers, the 125 and 250cc MP3s, it’s got a handlebar switch which locks the front wheels in position when stationary so there’s no need to use the centre-stand. Flick the handlebar switch again or simply twist the throttle and they unlock. Piaggio has made it idiot proof by adding a sensor in the seat which stops this happening if you’re not sitting on it. With a bit of practice it’s actually possible to stop and start without putting your feet down. The footbrake, linked to front and rear, works fine but seems pointless and in the way after a while. It’s right where you want to put your foot for a bit extra leg room. Tall riders may find the screen a bit on the low side. Buy parts and accessories for the Piaggio MP3 LT in the MCN Shop.

Piaggio MP3 LT (2009-current)

Detail Value
New price £6,499
Used price range View Piaggio MP3 400 bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 399 cc
Power 34 bhp
Top speed 100 mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 0
Engine rating is 3 rating is 0
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 0
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 0
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 0
Value rating is 2 rating is 0

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

Some of the plastics feel cheep. Turn the ignition key a certain way and a hatch between the rider’s knees should pop up to reveal the fuel filler cap but on our test model it didn’t quite work. The catch would release but the hatch still had to be prized open. Piaggio doesn’t enjoy the reputation for reliability of its Japanese rivals so time will tell.  


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 0

Okay, it’s quite clever, but is it really worth nearly £3,000 more than a Kawasaki Ninja 250R? As a three-wheeler the MP3 LT also doesn’t automatically qualify for financial benefits granted to bikes. At the time of writing Piaggio was waiting for a decision on exemption from London’s £8-a-day congestion charge. It’s priced in-line with the competition. Yamaha’s TMax is only £500 less and that only has one front wheel. But perhaps that means all large scooters are too expensive. Find a Piaggio MP3 400 for sale.


Insurance group: n/a

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Model History


Other Versions

Piaggio MP3 250
Piaggio MP3 125


Top speed 100 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 34 bhp
Max torque 27.7 ft-lb
Weight 253 kg
Seat height 785 mm
Fuel capacity 12 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 399 cc
Engine specification single cylinder four-stroke, CVT transmission
Frame Tubular steel double cradle
Front suspension adjustment none
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes 2 x 240mm discs
Rear brake 240 mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 12
Rear tyre size 140/70 x 14

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 0(0 reviews)

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OVERPriced Scooters



Does Everyone else think that these Big Scooters are OverPriced??? £6499 for a scooter with an extra wheel. When I sent a motorbike manufacturer a question over why their bikes were so expensive, the reply was "We develop these products on race tracks, and as such the costs to make a road going sports bike are huge".

What excuse do they have for the 3 wheeled wonders then??? They Don't race them, the concept is fairly simple, the 100mph top speed doesn't require huge brakes, high performance suspensions etc.

So, they are just ripping us off. When I can buy a brand new Toyota Aygo for £5,500 with my £2,000 scrappage allowance. How can they possibly justify £3,000-£3,5000 for a sports scooter 125cc or a 125cc race/supermotard bikes. Now to really rip the p**s out of bikers they charge us £6,500 for this monster. I do like them but for this price I want a V Twin 800-1,000cc beast. ABS, Electric screens etc etc


Its time for you MOTORCYCLENEWS and the other bike mags to stand up for US. Start a protest against these rip offs, and especially for the youngsters looking for 125cc and sports scooters, they shouldn't have to pay £3,000 + to get on the road with their first bike. How many potential bikers are going straight into buying cars because of this stupidity, this way we miss out on the rest of their lives as Bike Buyers.

Lets Start a Proper Protest guys n gals, if the magazines are too afraid of the manufacturers because of their advertising revenues, we will HAVE to do it ourselves.



07 July 2009 01:07

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