Piaggio MP3 530 HPE Unique First Experience
It’s a chilly, usually German day in Berlin, November 2014, and we’re using the then new and revolutionary Piaggio MP3 500 on Unter den Linden, the gorgeous stone-paved boulevard working east/west by the town. The street floor is glittering from a mixture of rain and snow, and the sleek, moist pavement doesn’t promise a lot grip… But the unimaginable Piaggio three-wheeler returns very strong, exact response and suggestions from its tilting from wheels. Within the distance forward, a courageous Berliner proceeds easily and neatly on his BMW R1100GS. It solely takes two roundabouts to seize his tail and cross him on the skin—that’s how protected the MP3 500 feels on the moist and slippery pavement.
The MP3 debuted in 2006 as a 250, Piaggio’s largest engine on the time. Though the machine (is it correct to name a three-wheeler a “bike”? A “trike” doesn’t appear proper on this utility both) was undoubtedly underpowered in relation to its dimension and mass, it was an absolute revolution with its impartial entrance suspension(s) joined to a steering system that allowed the dual entrance wheels to tilt into corners. The double-arm leading-link entrance suspension was utterly sorted out by way of camber, caster, and toe, and it returned a really exact straight-line feeling and really correct monitoring when leaned into corners.
The MP3 Resets the Requirements
From the beginning, the MP3 impressed nice confidence, even for completely inexperienced riders. Merely put, it radically reset scooter security requirements, opening up the svelte city commuter class even to persistent soft-seat motorists who would by no means consider using something that wanted to be leaned round corners.
Public response has diversified from market to market, with France main by a strong margin. The MP3′s recognition there reached a excessive mark when gossip-media paparazzi caught the then president of the republic, François Hollande, sneaking out from his official residence aboard a Piaggio MP3 for a liaison along with his secret girlfriend—an knowledgeable transportation selection given the poorly paved Parisian streets.
All through the years the MP3 grew in displacement and class, however at all times stored a primary, extra compact model in its vary. Known as the City, was additionally essentially the most inexpensive mannequin. Powered by the 250cc Piaggio SOHC four-stroke single, it grew to its current 300 HPE commonplace, delivering 26 hp and 19.2 lb.-ft. of peak torque.
Fashion Upgrades and Extra
For 2023, the upper-displacement MP3 fashions have been vastly restyled and upgraded. They now come within the very environment friendly 400 HPE/HPE Sport model and our check automobile, the brand new 530 HPE Unique. The 2 are mainly equivalent by way of styling and format, with the principal distinction of their respective digital suites. The 530 is the one mannequin obtainable within the US.
From a dimensional viewpoint, the 2023 MP3 evolves to supply improved passenger consolation, particularly two-up. Whereas the wheelbase has fractionally elevated to 61.0 inches, the handlebar has been repositioned to supply a better attain: 10mm up and 10mm again, and the floorboards are actually 20mm decrease as effectively. All of it ends in a extra relaxed using posture that goes with the highest mannequin’s new mission. Given their greater energy ranges and more-protective entrance bodywork and windscreen, medium-range touring is now a risk along with the normal metropolis commuting. To that time there’s additionally a brand new, extra precisely contoured seat that’s longer to extra comfortably accommodate a passenger.
To enhance the entrance finish’s dynamic response, the radiator has moved decrease and nearer to the entrance wheels. That in flip gave the stylists a free hand to revamp the entrance leg protect, making it extra aerodynamic and visually aggressive—perhaps somewhat too aggressive on this rider’s opinion.
The tilting entrance suspension elements are extra structurally inflexible, an applicable enchancment in view of the additional energy and torque generated by the 2 energy models. The liquid-cooled 400 HPE (Excessive Efficiency Engine) is an SOHC four-valve single advanced from the 350 HPE, a powerplant considered probably the most refined engines within the class. Within the current bigger displacement, the engine stays excellent by way of effectivity, reliability, and strong efficiency, delivering a claimed 35.5 hp at 7,500 rpm and 27.8 lb.-ft. peak torque at 5,750 rpm.
The 2023 engine underwent significant refinement to enhance its effectivity and preserve its energy and torque ranges whereas conforming to extra stringent Euro 5 emissions requirements. Notably related is an extended but lighter connecting rod: Bettering the stoke-to-con-rod size ratio helps make the engine run smoother by lowering the secondary imbalance typical of a four-stroke single. As well as Piaggio engineers “cleaned” the combustion-chamber profile to additional enhance combustion effectivity. Crankcase pumping losses are nearly utterly canceled due to an unique constructive crankcase air flow know-how developed by the Piaggio R&D staff.
The 400 engine could be very compact and light-weight for its class, and in addition encompasses a most superior CVT transmission. Moderately than the customary centrifugal dry clutch most CVTs use, right here we’ve got a multi-disc clutch setup working in an oil tub, and the entire affair is way smoother.
The highest-of-the-line 530 HPE engine advanced from the well-known 500 HPE, enlarged from its earlier 493cc displacement to 530cc. This isn’t a brand new engine, however this newest model reveals constructive enhancements, regardless that this design belongs to the earlier era and is neither as mild nor as compact because the 400 HPE. The additional cubes come from a bore enhance (from 94mm to an enormous 97.5mm), whereas stroke stays unchanged at 71mm. A want to ship as a lot energy because the earlier 493cc unit whereas complying with Euro 5 emission requirements lies behind the displacement bump. The engine’s 44.2 hp now comes at 7,250 rpm whereas the earlier 493cc unit needed to work more durable, needing 7,750 rpm to ship the identical energy. The extra displacement, although, pays additional dividend by way of peak torque, which has grown from 35 lb.-ft. at 5,500 rpm to 36.8 lb.-ft. at 5,250 rpm.
As with the smaller engine, the combustion chamber on this liquid-cooled SOHC four-valve single has a extra refined profile, and there’s additionally a bigger catalytic converter and a brand new and extra highly effective ECU. This model of the CVT transmission nonetheless makes use of a centrifugal dry clutch, however right here it additionally features a reverse gear. To make reverse operations safer—or for these too lazy to show their head and look again—a digicam now offers a transparent view of what’s behind on the brand new 7-inch TFT instrumentation display screen.
Highway Testing the MP3
As with that first trip in Berlin, late November and early December in Lombardy supply the proper environmental circumstances to understand the extra security margins the Piaggio MP3 chassis ensures—in different phrases, the climate right here sucks. Temperatures are barely above freezing, and the fog is thick sufficient to put down a difficult layer of condensate on the roads. Our check unit was Piaggio’s MP3 530 HPE Unique in full trim and with heated grips, an appreciated possibility this time of the yr, although the fairing profile usually implies that even at 41 levels Fahrenheit solely a pair of flippantly padded gloves are known as for.
Parking the MP3
This newest MP3 530 Unique feels heavy the second you unlock the entrance suspension models from their frozen vertical “parked” place. If the suspension is left unlocked, the system retains attempting to achieve a secure situation and retains “pumping” the shock absorbers, even when the MP3 is on its centerstand. This may drain the battery, which in flip causes the beginning system and the entire digital bundle to operate poorly, or under no circumstances. The remedy is easy: A swap on the proper grip actuates the locking system, and a hand-actuated parking brake retains the MP3 from rolling on a grade. The steering nonetheless works even with the entrance suspension locked, so pushing the MP3 by hand for remaining maneuvering is useless straightforward.
The seat is vast, snug, and set 31.1 inches above the bottom, so it’s a snap to flat-foot it when stopped. It is a particular plus, as a result of in each variations the MP3 weighs greater than 440 kilos, and also you’ll really feel it when balancing it whereas standing.
Our MP3 provided three energy response settings: Eco, Consolation, and Sport. With it set in Sport the throttle is easy, takeoff is exact, and there’s no hesitation due to the very environment friendly CVT transmission. The revised big-bore single progresses simply to previous 60 mph with minimal vibration and good wind consolation, solely somewhat of turbulence on the tip of the shoulders. Previous 60 mph and as much as the highest velocity of 77 mph the acceleration is much less vivid, and up there gas consumption clearly higher than the official 59 mpg of the homologation assessments. However cruising at 60–65 mph is nice and enough even on a freeway journey.
The GT Scooter Idea
Piaggio calls the brand new MP3 530 a GT Scooter, and this appears applicable. The massive underseat storage compartment will accommodate two helmets. The straight-line stability is superb, and the steering proved very exact when leaning into corners, with only a contact of understeering that may be simply countered given the additional grip. (This tendency to understeer is extra perceivable when maneuvering at very low velocity.) In slippery circumstances the MP3 proved each agile and surefooted.
Hand levers actuate the dual entrance discs, whereas a ground pedal calls all three discs into motion. A criticism: The pedal is positioned very awkwardly, too near the entrance cowl. A rider instinctively applies a lot of the foot stress to the cowl somewhat than to the pedal, with apparent embarrassment. Undoubtedly room for ergonomic enchancment right here.
Then again, the MP3 530 Unique is provided with a full suite of electronics that embody ABS, traction management, and a very wonderful instrument monitor that, as beforehand talked about, capabilities as a video display screen when selecting reverse. As well as, front and back sensors help in tight parking circumstances.
The 7-inch TFT instrumentation display screen capabilities because the management and connection middle for Piaggio’s MIA connectivity system. This is without doubt one of the strongest in manufacturing, and contains what Piaggio calls ARAS—Superior Rider Help System—primarily based on a complicated 4D imaging radar platform that gives blind-spot and lane-changing warning.
Options like this make Piaggio’s classification of the brand new MP3 530 Unique actually outline what a GT scooter must be. It’s received extra consolation, is sure-footed within the worst circumstances, and will get strong gas economic system. Oh, and you’ll cross these adventure-tourers on the skin within the rain.
Piaggio MP3 530 HPE Unique Specs
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|Engine:||SOHC, liquid-cooled single; 4 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||97.5 x 71.0mm|
|Claimed Horsepower:||44.2 hp @ 7,250 rpm|
|Claimed Torque:||36.9 lb.-ft. @ 5,250 rpm|
|Gasoline System:||Digital gas injection|
|Clutch:||Centrifugal dry clutch|
|Engine Administration/Ignition:||Digital w/ inductive exhaust and variable advance built-in within the injection CPU|
|Body:||Double cradle tubular metal|
|Entrance Suspension:||Articulated quadrilateral; electrohydraulic suspension blocking system; 3.3 in. journey|
|Rear Suspension:||Twin gasoline shock w/ steady spring preload adjustment; 4.3 in. journey|
|Entrance Brake:||Twin 258mm discs w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||240mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Entrance/Rear:||Aluminum alloy; 13 x 3.0 in. / 14 x 4.5 in.|
|Tires, Entrance/Rear:||110/70-13 / 140/70-14|
|Seat Peak:||31.1 in.|
|Gasoline Capability:||3.6 gal.|
|Claimed Moist Weight:||617 lb.|