Dhe question is whether it makes sense to equip a scooter with reverse gear. The answer can be found in two ways. First, by looking at the data sheet. It reveals that Piaggio’s MP3 500 weighs 282 kilos with a full tank. Second, through clumsy parking with the nose downhill and the subsequent attempt to get out of the gap backwards. Push a good quarter ton up a slope … have fun!
In contrast to scooter drivers, drivers are used to having a reverse gear available. Now the MP3 500 in the luxury Sport Advanced version is the first three-wheel scooter to have something like this. Like its conspecifics, it can be driven with a car driver’s license – the minimum age in Germany is 21 years. Piaggio is asking 10 830 euros for the top model in its tricycle family.
Reverse gear is activated using a toggle switch in the cockpit. As soon as the starter button is pressed while the engine is running, the MP3 starts moving backwards with a jerky jerk with the help of a separate electric motor. At a slow pace of 2 km / h it goes back as long as the starter button is held, but no more than about 20 seconds. After this period, the electric motor stops automatically. The MP3 also climbs steeper climbs backwards, at least a few meters.
To prevent it from tipping over when reversing, you also poot. Another, the better, option is to hydraulically lock the tilting mechanism and the suspension of the front wheel duo at the push of a button. Then you can maneuver lordly like Count Koks with both feet on the running boards backwards in front of the garage door to the edification of the neighborhood. But it is important to make sure that the ground is reasonably level, otherwise it tilts seriously. Maneuvering the colossus over a curb with locked tilting technology is not a good idea.
The big 500 was the most popular of all MP3s in Germany. In the meantime, the MP3 300 hpe presented in 2019 has passed: more than 3000 euros cheaper, almost 60 kilos lighter, more manageable than the Maxi-Brummer, accelerates just as well. 26 HP, 26 Nm and a top speed of around 120 km / h are enough for commuting. However, the MP3 500 is responsible for prestige and pomp. Its 493 cubic single-cylinder delivers 44 hp at 7750 rpm and 48 Nm at 5500 rpm and guarantees sovereignty even in two-person operation. On request he trots over the autobahn with a speedometer 150, not bolt-stable at such a speed, but also not wobbly.
Our consumption was 4.1 to 4.6 liters per 100 kilometers, provided that we could get from A to B without dawdling. The new engine control of the Piaggio with electronic throttle enables different driving programs. In the Eco setting, which is available as an alternative to the normal mode, the MP3 seems sleepy, we hardly ever used it. In any case, it is probably only under laboratory conditions that you can find out with some degree of accuracy how much more economical you can travel with it. If any. According to the manufacturer, the tank holds 13.2 liters.
The Sport Advanced version of the big three is recognizable by the red springs on the shock absorbers. Stainless steel silencers, carbon imitation, LED daytime running lights, aluminum running boards, pretty seat covers partly made of smooth, partly made of rough material plus seat support on the front passenger seat make a difference. The comfort is excellent, the weather protection as well, although the generously dimensioned windshield causes considerable turbulence, so that it pulls from behind into the neck. Good lighting, visibility in the rear-view mirrors, instruments, clarity and handling in general testify to the concentrated routine of the Piaggio scooter empire. The storage space under the saddle is sufficient for – depending on the design – one or two crash helmets or for shopping or a briefcase plus spare clothing. There is a fold-out bag hook on the inside of the stem and a spacious, although not lockable, but still useful smartphone compartment with USB socket above the cockpit. You just have to pad it yourself somehow, with a cloth or a rubber mat, for example, so that the expensive cell phone doesn’t rumble around in it.
The braking system: powerful, but dull in the dosage. The suspension: satisfactory at the front, harsh at the rear, which is not surprising in view of the heavy drive train swing arm. The anti-slip control for the rear wheel, which can be switched off, is not as superfluous as one might think. Slippery ground often gets in the way, especially in winter. Smart systems regulate the propulsion of a spinning rear wheel so discreetly that the driver only notices it by the blinking of the corresponding indicator light in front of the handlebars. The Piaggio system, on the other hand, is carried out in the style of a guillotine.
Nonetheless, of all the versions that we have described since the archetype of 2006, this stylishly processed MP3 is the classiest so far. And so far nobody has had a reverse gear.