Is the future of scooters four wheeled?

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The idea with multi-wheeled scooters like these is to make the transition from four wheels to two easer for car drivers. The extra wheel or two doesn’t just provide a psychological advantage, but also helps with low speed balance, stability under braking and while traversing obstacles like tram tracks and potholes. Now, the man responsible for the Piaggio MP3 has one-upped that design not just with a fourth wheel, but with a more advanced suspension mechanism too. This Quadro 4D is scheduled to go on sale next Spring and won’t even require a bike license.

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The Piaggio MP3 uses a mechanical solution for front wheel articulation and suspension. It’s effective and surprisingly simple, but locates the majority of the bulky components very high, raising the center of gravity and leading to…interesting looks. You can see the MP3’s front suspension in the photo below.

The USP of Quadro Technologie is hydraulic suspension and articulation that, as you can see in the photo below, is located between the wheels, not above them. This means that the Quadro 3D — as the name suggests, the three-wheeled version of this concept — has a center of gravity that’s 40 percent lower than that of the MP3. It should also allow more steering lock, leading to a decreased turning radius and could also facilitate a slightly greater maximum angle of lean.

The family behind Quadro Technologie is Luciano Marabese and his two sons Ricardo and Roberto. As Marabese Design they were responsible for bikes ranging from the Gilera CX125 to the Moto Guzzi Griso to the Triumph Speed Triple. Quadro is allowing them to realize a level of innovation not currently possible at traditional motorcycle companies.

Thanks to the reduced size of the suspension mechanism, the Quadro 4D is able to adapt a two-wheeled rear with drive delivered through a center differential. This allows it to achieve an even greater psychological air of safety and should make traversing obstacles, dealing with inclement weather and reacting to an emergency far easier for novice riders. As you can see, it can mount a curb at an angle without upsetting the vehicle’s stability, something that’s challenging on two wheels even for the most experienced riders. Extrapolate that capability to everyday challenges like panic braking in a corner or riding through a deep pothole and you can see why such a vehicle could make so much sense for urban riding.

The 4D will be powered by a 500cc engine with around 40bhp, making it capable of speeds in excess of 90mph. To make it licensable under European trike regulations (thereby allowing people with car licenses to operate one), the rear track is slightly wider than the front, but it should still be more than capable of filtering through traffic. Two extra wheels obviously do bring a weight penalty, the 4D weighs 240kg/530lbs. Still, that’s slightly lower than the weight of a Piaggio MP3 500, which has only three wheels.

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We rode that Piaggio MP3 500 over a several month period last year and found its three-wheeled configuration to be limiting only at extreme cornering speeds out of town. That’s not to say it wasn’t capable on mountain roads, more that you had to plan your corner lines as the maximum lean angle is only around 40 degrees. Elsewhere, the extra front wheel made the scooter very confidence inspiring while braking thanks to the doubled grip and made city riding an absolute cinch. Riding one is sort of like riding a scooter that’s free from the usual physical limitations; you can panic brake while leaned over and run over obstacles with abandon.

Quadro plans to bring both the 3D and 4D to market next spring and also plans an as yet unseen off-road version.

Quadro Technologie

  • Michael

    are they bringing these to the US at all???

    • Wes Siler

      It’s a small, new company based in Italy and these are designed specifically to take advantage of loopholes in European legislation. There’s also actually a market for scooters as transportation in Europe. That leads me to guess we won’t see these here any time soon.

      • robotribe

        It’s not for me, but I welcome any non-car that can keep up with the rest of us on the road. And I agree; I doubt there’s any financial incentive to bring them States-side.

        • Harlan

          I doubt a four-wheeled scooter would be considered street legal in the US. Although it is clearly not, my understanding is anything with four wheels is considered a car. Cars must past crash tests and be equipped with certain safety equipment such as an air bag.

          Although a four-wheeled scooter is not something I’d ever be interested in, its time somebody changed all these vague laws and opened the roads to more innovative transportation solutions.

  • Turf

    In the Us they’ll market these to newer riders, which will think it can’t fall over. Problem being it’s still crazy heavy and you’re average interested soccer mom won’t be able to keep it up. Same thing with the MP3

    • Wes Siler

      The MP3′s super easy to ride, you never feel the weight at all.

      • Turf

        If you’re a seasoned rider. Used to work at a shop that sold them, Nearly all of the 250′s came back with crash damage in under two weeks, the 400′s and 500′s were generally bought by people who used to ride and we’re okay.

        • Wes Siler

          Think it’s because they’re heavier than a normal scooter or because the people buying them were even worse riders?

          • Turf

            No doubt, the small Mp3′s got sold on the illusion of safety to and sold mostly to…no joke..Soccer moms who’d never ridden with a mini van and 2.5 kids. 450lbs that high up is too much for you’re smaller framed brand new rider.

  • skadamo

    The Smart Cars already have the wheel base. They should add some tilt.

  • slowestGSXRever

    I’m wondering if these things will ever achieve sport bike performance levels? Could be cool if they did.

    • Wes Siler

      They’re already pretty fun. I embarrassed a whole pack of squids on R1s and ZX-9Rs on a mountain road with the MP3. Passed the whole group, then they tried and failed to keep up.

      • Ted

        This is why you should be required to have a GoPro on you at all times. The viral potential of that video would drive a lot of traffic here :D

        • Wes Siler

          Man, we have had so much bad luck with our GoPros. A new camera system is first on the list of things we need to buy.

          • Ted

            Apparently they removed the “press the button a millisecond too long and get a lovely snapshot of your helmet instead of a video” feature on the current generation. Lost three hours of chase footage from Deals Gap that way…

  • Mdynamic

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an RSV4 engine in there. That would shake things up.

    So this isn’t a Piaggo? Or is it from an arm of Piaggo?

  • UrbanRider

    I must admit I’m tempted by a Gilera Fuoco, bit more badass than an MP3. The roads are getting worse in London and for winter it’d be super safe.

    3/4 wheels, not much difference to me.

  • Harlan

    Off-Topic: How does one go about adding a website link to their profile? I see all these red profile names linking to individual websites.

  • zato1414

    I’m not gonna ride it if I can’t fall down. Every now and then I pass a scooter geek putting along in his white T-shirt and sandles in the bicycle lane, I cringe and say a quick prayer for their unsuspecting lives. This thing is for them!

  • holdingfast

    It’s weird to say this, as I think the MP3 is retarded, but this 4D looks super fun to ride! Maybe its just the video though..

  • david folch

    there this american company for the motorcycle twist :

    PS: dunno if the first pic was shot in France but it look like a car from the gendarmerie (military cop) the Renault Kangoo !

    • scottydigital

      The link above is pretty cool ( I think this off-road application makes more sense then a 4 wheel on-road scooter. As a person who prefers to get on a dirt bike then a 4-wheeler, this could definitely be used as a new application. offroad drifting??!!!

      Forget about 4 wheels being legal as anything other then a car in the USA. If Dodge (with the Tomahawk) could not get any traction, this idea is dead in the dirt. 4 wheels in the US is a car for onroad, and that is it.

      Anyhow, it is pretty cool to see some innovation in this field. Definitely time to see a leaning car i full scale production!!