PIAGGIO MP3 400 (2008-on) Review

Published: 03 July 2009

"Largest incarnation of the Piaggio MP3 retains the same reassuring all-weather grip and stability afforded by the third wheel"

Piaggio MP3 400

"Largest incarnation of the Piaggio MP3 retains the same reassuring all-weather grip and stability afforded by the third wheel"

  • At a glance
  • 398cc  -  34 bhp
  • 46 mpg  -  147 miles range
  • Medium seat height (784mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £5,349

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The largest incarnation of the Piaggio MP3 retains the same reassuring all-weather grip and stability afforded by the third wheel, but with more power for motorway cruising. It’s no Goldwing, but if your daily commute mixes town work with high-speed open roads, this could be the motorcycle you’re looking for.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Like smaller MP3s, the 400 has unflappable stability and grip. It clatters through potholes due to having crude suspension, but it never changes course or loses grip. To crash it you’d have to ride it far to hard in to a corner and understeer it off the road – for normal riding the wheels grip tenaciously. Even if they do slip on diesel for a moment, they quickly refind grip before you have chance to crash. Ground clearance is limited by the centre stand and exhaust though, which stick quite far out to clear the wide engine.

Engine 3 out of 5

As with all twist-and-go engines, the MP3’s 400cc single has flat and featureless power, but it picks up quickly away from traffic lights and cruises happily at 70-80mph. Flat out, you’ll just about see 100mph on the clock, which is likely to be a real 90mph. It’s never going to the thrill you, but it’s got enough power for every situation you’ll realistically put it in.  

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

Piaggios suffer if they’re not looked after – the engine, exhaust and suspension riders corrode at the hands of owners expecting the enclosed machines to survive like a car. Reliability seems OK, but Piaggio machinery in general can be subject to occasional foibles typical of any Italian machine.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

£5349 is a lot of money for a bike that’s only really useful for commuting, but if you’re serious about commuting and only need it as a form of transport, the safety and practicality of the MP3 makes it seriously worth considering – especially given that the 400 will cruise on a motorway happily enough. Find a Piaggio MP3 400 for sale.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The dash gives a comprehensive selection of information, there’s a vast amount of underseat storage, a pillion seat big enough for two medium sized adults and a protective fairing. New for 2009 is a sensor in the seat which won’t allow the bike to move forward or disengage the suspension lock without someone sitting in the saddle – previously it was possible to send the bike flying forward riderless by opening the throttle accidentally. Compare and buy parts and gear for the MP3 in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

No owners have yet reviewed the PIAGGIO MP3 400 (2008-on).

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued -
New price £5,349
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £38
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 34 bhp
Max torque 27.3 ft-lb
Top speed 95 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 147 miles
Specification
Engine size 398cc
Engine type 4v liquid-cooled single cylinder four-stroke, constantly variable transmission
Frame type Twin tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 12 litres
Seat height 784mm
Bike weight 244kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension None
Front brake 2x 240mm disc, twin-piston floating calipers
Rear brake 240mm disc, twin opposed-piston calliper with cable-actuated parking brake
Front tyre size 120/70-12
Rear tyre size 140/70-12

History & Versions

Model history

2008: New model, using a modified version of the 250 chassis with a larger engine.
2009: New colours, plus sensor in the seat to prevent bike moving without a rider on board.

Other versions

Piaggio MP3 250ie – Same principle as the 400, but cheaper with a less powerful engine. Will handle A-road and dual carriageway riding, but longer high-speed rides are cruel to the town-orientated engine.
Piaggio MP3 125ie – The learner legal MP3 variant offers safe handling and grip for first time riders, but is sluggish due to the modest power output trying to propel the heavy dual front wheels and suspension mechanism. Worth a look as a first bike, but be aware it still needs some confidence and strength to handle it and a standstill or low speed until you get the hang of locking the suspension.

Photo Gallery

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