Details: Piaggio MP3 500

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We’ve had the 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 long enough that we’ve now gotten used to people gawking at it every second that it’s out of the garage, but we’re starting to develop a bit of a complex. Yes, the MP3 is seriously fast for a scooter. The front end is completely planted. But, we’re wavering on the styling. For all its edgy lines and cattle catcher bars and grills, the Piaggio still feels like Michael Cera wearing a muscle suit.
At first glance the Piaggio pushes all the right buttons. It’s matte
black on black, has menacing bars, crazy suspension, honeycomb grills,
tough headlights, multiple material finishes and hints of raw metal.
Sitting still it looks incredible. Blasting away from stoplights never
gets boring either. But casual riding is different. Personally, I
always feel like I should be doing more than just puttering down the
road for errands.

If I was blowing through zombie masses, the bull bars might come in
useful, but riding down Manhattan Avenue, they’re a bit much.

The problem isn’t the overt aggression or with the quality of the
details, because the thing is exceptionally well built. It’s the sheer
flaunting of the MP3′s overbuilt nature that pushes these details to
the point of theme. In art, we’d call it “baroque.” The MP3 suffers
from a kind of baroque aggression, if that’s possible.

Or maybe the scooter suffers from a bit too much fantasy, a bit too
much front without enough muscle to back it up. Deep down I know I’m
not really Batman when I take the MP3 out for a spin, I just kind of
look like I am. But if the MP3 had 100bhp instead of 40 and fat knobby
rear tire, I probably wouldn’t care.

  • Bill

    So what you’re saying is “someone needs to get on the ball and come out with an aftermarket ‘fat knobby rear tire’ kit”?

    I’d buy that for a dollar! … or a few hundred. :)

    • Wes Siler

      And a gun rack.

  • kiya

    Definitely a gun rack, preferably one with a side machete sheath.

  • hjworton

    I suspect the problem is you love riding bikes. The MP3 is not aimed at bikers at all, almost completely the opposite. It’s an alternative to your car, that is almost uncrashable. That is what Piaggio would want us to be thinking. Maybe if you thought of it in those terms – a car with poor storage – you might like it more.

  • anders

    Saw the thing in Milan last year, and its definetly not what you’d call a classical beauty. But thats not what its trying to be either, with its anteater front-end and ott detailing. I think they decided to design something very distinct as a reflection of the new techonlogy. In that they suceeded, question is whether I would buy one. Probably not. Reminds me too much of italian death metal. Better too wait for next generation (?) with an 850 v-twin and toned down design. That would be something

  • the_doctor

    I frequently see one ripping down the freeway, and every time I see it, I think, “Its too early for the Batman to be out.” Nevertheless, the zombie apocalypse could happen at any time, so you will be glad to have the bull bars. And the gun rack.

  • modelasian

    There’s one parked next to 600 Montgomery (the Pyramid) many mornings as I lock my bicycle or park my SV650s.
    Too me, the Big Black MP3 is aesthetically related closer to Mad Max’s Falcon than the Batmobile.
    It’s real, but over sized, but still in proportion.
    I’ll probably never own a 3 wheeler, but I’ll never own a Cobra or H1 either. If I had to choose an overbuilt vehicle with Death Race styling, this would be it.

  • will

    Verily, a scoot for Akira’s Neotokyo.

  • Core

    @Article above..

    So what your saying is that the Piaggio MP3 500′s mouth overloads its ass.

    It is sharp looking.