It’s a bike, but not as we know it!

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure - - Your View - Mar­tyn Boyd

On a quiet morn­ing, long, long ago I en­coun­tered a strange and in­trigu­ing ma­chine. Walk­ing to the bus stop to be­gin my daily com­mute, around the round­about came some­thing that stopped me in my tracks. Was it a trike? Was it a bike? It looked like both, banked over on the bend but with TWO wheels planted firmly in front! It was my first en­counter with a Pi­ag­gio MP3. I’d never even heard of them then, but I know about them now be­cause I’ve just bought one for my wife! She was to­tally put off by the cur­rent mo­tor­cy­cle train­ing and test­ing regime, but since she holds a full driv­ing li­cence is­sued be­fore Jan­uary 19, 2013, she was en­ti­tled to ride the MP3 with just a car li­cence – pro­vided she rode an LT model of MP3.

Next thing was find­ing a suit­able used MP3 LT. I fi­nally found a 2012 MP3 300 LT

Tour­ing for sale within my bud­get. A lit­tle bit of TLC, and it was on the road. I took it for a test flight and dis­cov­ered that it is in­deed a to­tal hoot to ride! It has some in­ter­est­ing idio­syn­cra­sies, like the au­to­matic lock­ing when stopped and un­lock­ing when mov­ing off of the front sus­pen­sion, which feels weird. Ni­cola ac­tu­ally turns that off and sits one foot down when stopped, bike style. But it lit­er­ally does ride like a bike. The front end feels a bit heavy and a bit numb but it steers fine and it is planted on the road. It can lean to 40º each way and I think I got it over to that at least once on my lo­cal round­about with no ad­verse ef­fects.

My wife loves the thing.

Its un­der-seat stor­age and gen­er­ous colour co­or­di­nated

Givi top box pro­vide plenty of hand­bag space (I’m gonna have a bruise for say­ing that!), the seat is well comfy, weather pro­tec­tion is great, brakes are ex­cel­lent (but that foot­brake pedal is rub­bish, use the han­dle­bar levers for best con­trol), it’s re­ally nippy and ma­noeu­vrable and can ride along at na­tional speed lim­its just fine though I’d say 60 would be op­ti­mum cruis­ing speed.

And it’s not thirsty: Ni­cola is get­ting 200 miles or more for a ten­ner! It’s also quite well put to­gether and ac­cess for rou­tine main­te­nance is fairly straight­for­ward de­spite all the body­work.

Ul­ti­mately, Ni­cola loves the MP3, and it has en­abled her to be­gin en­joy­ing mo­tor­cy­cling and start ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and un­der­stand­ing all the things about bikes that I have en­joyed for many years but with­out hav­ing to deal with what she con­sid­ered the off-putting cur­rent mo­tor­cy­cle train­ing and test­ing sys­tem. I’ll let Ni­cola have the last words:

“I to­tally love my Pi­ag­gio! When I ride it I have a big silly grin on my face, and peo­ple re­ally do look at it rid­ing by. I ride it to work ev­ery day and I get my own mo­tor­bike park­ing space, it uses hardly any petrol and I love the stor­age space, it even has a boot! But mostly I love it be­cause it’s given me a new ad­ven­ture and new things to dis­cover and we are go­ing to go on wee trips to­gether on our bikes in­clud­ing rid­ing over to visit our son in Ed­in­burgh.

I just love it!”

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