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.