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.
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.
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.
£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.
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.