New Piaggio MP3 500 and MP3 500 Sport

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Piaggio is replacing the MP3 400 with a new MP3 500 for 2010, and the Gilera Fuoco 500 is now branded the MP3 500 Sport.

Both MP3 500s share the same 492cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with CVT transmission, putting out 40bhp.

The standard MP3 500 is much the same as the rest of the MP3 range introduced in 2007, with the unique twin side-by-side front wheels with their own independent brake and suspension systems that allow it to lean like a conventional motorcycle, but with the added grip under braking, cornering and in wet weather that the extra tyre affords.

A button on the handlebar allows the rider to lock the suspension in the upright position below 3mph with the throttle closed, so you never need put your feet down.

The commuter-orientated bodywork and styling is the same, and it still has the huge underseat storage area and helmet compartment ‘boot’ in the rear.

The Gilera Fuoco 500’s tranformation in to the MP3 500 Sport is nothing more than a branding exercise – it has a sportier suspension and chassis design than the standard MP3 but with the same safety benefits.

The bodywork is more minimal with damage-limited bars around the panels, and weather protection is reduced too. Underseat storage is less than the MP3 500, but still enough for a full-face helmet.

Both machines will be on sale in 2010.

Chris Newbigging

By Chris Newbigging