Piaggio USB concept: feet-forward, 150lb/ft, 157mpg

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Combining a two-stroke direct-injection gasoline engine with an electric motor and a plug-in capable battery pack gives the Piaggio USB (Urban Sport Bike) a very unique set of claimed performance characteristics. The combined torque is said to be around 150lb/ft (only slightly less than a Triumph Rocket III Roadster) and all it has to power is 130kg/287lbs. Piaggio says that light weight and the ability to recharge from a wall outlet gives it a scarcely believable fuel consumption figure of 157mpg.
Of course, it’s not just the numbers that get us all excited about the
USB, it’s also the looks. Adapting the feet-forward, laid back shape
made famous by the Akira bike, the USB packages those proportions into
an unprecedentedly compact package, it looks like it’s the same size as
a Vespa. Being a concept bike, cool details abound. We love the
headlights, windscreen, clamshell seat and the metal-ribbed foot rests.

All that creates what should, as Piaggio so vehemently expresses in
this release, be a near perfect urban commuter combining the pace of a
sportsbike, the comfort of a maxi-scooter, the size and weight of a
Vespa and the fuel consumption of a bicycle. Now let’s just see if they
can put it into production.

Here’s the press release:
At EICMA 2009, Piaggio explores the idea of urban mobility of the future: the result is Piaggio USB, a prototype, an exercise of style, a workshop of solid ideas.
Designed by the Style Centre of Pontedera, directed by Marco Lambri, Piaggio USB takes our references beyond the boundaries of existing categories, combining ecology, pleasure, safety and connectivity to give shape to an original and innovative, two-wheeled mobility proposal for the third millennium.
Piaggio has always stood for innovation on two wheels. This has been the case ever since Corradino D’Ascanio’s intuitive spirit who, more than sixty years ago, created the scooter par excellence – the Vespa – a bestseller whose philosophy of construction and use has been reinterpreted by different models, such as Beverly, up to the most technological scooter – MP3 Hybrid – the first scooter incorporating a parallel hybrid propulsion system, with three wheeled technology and Ride By Wire accelerator.

In line with this tradition, Piaggio has now developed Piaggio USB (Urban Sport Bike), a prototype that represents the synthesis and, at the same time, the potential evolution of the idea of urban mobility on two wheels. It is designed to offer an innovative solution where environmental protection, safety, fun driving and connectivity become the key to the cities of the future.

A hybrid of shapes, technologies, motor vehicle architecture: Piaggio USB breaks the mould and stands as a new species in the metropolitan scenario of the future.
In a world where the range of vehicles is constantly changing, Piaggio USB draws inspiration from the scooter, motorcycle and car world. Its design, whose distinguishing feature is its pure and sinuous shape, draws from worlds that are not the ones that are conventionally referred to for two-wheeled scooters. Its enveloping shape turns the scooter driver into the protagonist and conceals what is superfluous. Man is once again the centre of attention and the vehicle becomes a modern instrument to move SMARTLY in all conditions.
The benefits of innovative ergonomics, scooter-typical protection and convenience are combined with motorcycle dynamism. Rationality and excitement merge into fluid and dynamic shapes. Piaggio USB is incredibly sinuous and its smooth surfaces make it a quick, dynamic scooter, ready to take over any road.

Easy and intuitive, light and compact, Piaggio USB is designed to offer the convenience of a scooter and the comfort of a compact car, without giving up sporty and fun driving. Utmost comfort is guaranteed by its highly protective surfaces, ensuing from a smooth and aerodynamic design, and by its ergonomic seat, an innovative position that is halfway between a scooter and a car.
The prototype can develop into three different configurations: single-seater, like a sporty vehicle, two-seater like a coupé, or with top-box, for the highest load capacity.

Innovation and distinction, in line with Piaggio’s outstanding tradition, both in its design and technology.
The propulsion is guaranteed by a power-pack made up of an evolved 2T GDI heat engine, coupled with an innovative electric machine installed in the back wheel. The electric propulsion makes the most of the innovative quality of nanotechnologies, thus offering top performances and top reliability.
The series hybrid configuration, with plug-in option, has been devised to ensure an average speed of use of 60 Km/h, and an over 100 Km/h maximum speed.
For the electric propulsion only, the 2.5 Kw/h lithium-polymer batteries installed in the vehicle guarantee a 50 Km endurance at a cruising speed of 60 Km/h.
In performance terms, the power pack stands out for its high torque values – around 200 Nm – that guarantee excellent acceleration and very low consumption – around 1.5 l every 100 Km.
By making the most of the plug-in option, the vehicle turns into a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle).
Its weight – less than 130 Kg – its high torque values and its low centre of gravity make Piaggio USB an easy and fun-to-drive, other than an eco-friendly vehicle.

  • s0crates82

    i like the look, i like the concept, i like what looks like a fold down seatback, i worry about the lack of storage space that maxiscooter owners are used to, and i hate hate HATE marketing mumbo-jumbo.

  • DoctorNine

    Feet forward. Backrest for comfort. Wide bars. Piaggio has taken the rider’s triangle of a Harley cruiser, and applied cold logic to the design. I don’t care what you think of the design, but that alone makes me laugh out loud.

    • http://www,voyager03.coluk Voyager

      Try looking at it from another point of view.

      Bikes with seat backs already exist – some of us are already riding them about. These are NOTHING to do with Harleys and everything to do with looking at a blank sheet of paper and wondering what people would invent if they were thinking about PTW’s that are not derivative motorised bicycles.

      Start with this and there is more to look at here and here


  • Cramer

    MP3, USB. If Piaggio owned Harley Davidson, their first concept would be called the HDMI.

  • Mike B

    I want a red one. I’d ride around all day yelling “TETSUOOOOO!”

  • Sean Smith

    This post is missing one key thing: Booth Girl. Jalopnik has this sort of thing down, and to be frank, I think you should know better. In the fifth photo, we’re teased with what I’m going to assume are the legs of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, that’s all I get so see. It’s pure torture, terrorism even. And in ‘merica, we don’t take kindly to no terrorists. You should be ashamed of yourself, and possibly even have your man card revoked for not posting a few good shots of that (possibly) beautiful woman.

    That is all.

    Oh, and uh… the bike looks kinda appliance like.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We try to avoid the gratuitous babe material over here. So many bike publications are filled with so little substance and so much silicon.

      • Sean Smith

        I know, I know. I can see what you guys are going for, and really, it’s much more classy and respectable than most of what’s out there. Unfortunately for me, I read jalop, and I’ve been spoiled with such things as the Megan Fox mega gallery, and the shanghai booth girls. It’s bad, and it’s an addiction. I should probably get help.