The Suit-And-Tie Friendly Commuter

Piaggio’s MP3 scooters were a game-changer when they hit the markets back in 2003, and Italy’s premier scooter maker has hit a new pinnacle of refinement with its MP3 Business HPE ABS ASR. That alphabet soup of features adds to the yummy-goodness already under the hood to make this new variant particularly suitable for the office/student commuter, even if they’ve no previous riding experience. New details abound. Of course, the obvious selling point is the two-up-front trike arrangement that grants the MP3 the stability of a trike with the fluidity and sensation of flight normally reserved for two-wheeled machines. Power, performance and safety; what’s not to love?

Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio MP 500 HPE Business.

  • 2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    493 cc
  • Price:
    9199
  • Price:

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business Design

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
- image 785548
Overall, a really nice-looking maxi-scooter that would look right at home next to Yamaha's XMAX or Beemer's C 650 GT.

In profile, the “Business” cuts a fairly standard figure from the abbreviated step-through on back, but the front end looks almost automobile-ish with a proper wheelwell that leaves plenty of room for wheel travel. Move around front and you’ll see an updated visage with a brand new decorative grill and a smoked windshield with dual recessed headlights nestled in between.

Short standoffs mount the new LED turn signals to complete the forward lighting. The screen design leaves it with ample ventilation to reduce the head-buffet effect and associated fatigue; just the thing for someone trying to arrive at their destination fresh, not strung out from the road.

Naturally, the front end is much wider than your typical scooter to accommodate the unique front suspension and steering setup, but it’s only a skosh wider than the rest of the machine unlike some of the other Delta-trike machines out there. The fairing flows back toward the pilot with lines that are then picked up by the subframe enclosure to give it a mature and elegant look that ties the machine together quite nicely. Inside the inner-fairing brow, a pair of analog gauges and an LCD monitor display all the usual metrics, but tucked away in the handlebar fairing, the Business mounts something that makes it really special. I’m talking about “Vio,” the TomTom navigator that displays your position for easy course-plotting on the fly. Pretty nifty, huh?

A short tunnel breaks up the step-through a bit ahead of the narrow saddle that starts out narrow, but quickly flares out to cradle the rider’s butt at a comfortable 31.1-inches high. The rise to the pillion forms a lumbar support for the pilot while the passenger gets a butt-stop of their own to help keep them aboard, plus a J.C. rail that doubles as an anchor for your bungee net.

Recessed taillights ride tucked away neatly under the rail with turn signal standoffs down on the mudguard that is big enough to mount the tag, but keeps it nice and tight with a minimal extension to control the rear-wheel fling. Overall, a really nice-looking maxi-scooter that would look right at home next to Yamaha’s XMAX or Beemer’s C 650 GT.

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business Chassis

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
- image 785549
The true beauty of the front end lies in the safety; since you have double the contact patch area you also have double the traction.

A double-cradle frame made up of tubular-steel members forms the support structure rather than the brand-typical monocoque system that uses a stressed skin for its rigidity. The typical swingmount arrangement uses the engine and transmission as structural members in lieu of a swingarm out back, but it’s the arrangement up front that is anything but ordinary. An articulated quadrilateral setup allows the Business to lean into the corners with an electro-hydraulic suspension-block feature that allows you to come to a stop, step off and walk away without even using the stand. Oh, it has a centerstand alright, you just don’t have to use it.

The true beauty of the front end lies in the safety. Since you have double the contact patch area you also have double the traction, and since it’s split between the front wheels with independent suspension, this system is very good at handling rough surfaces such as poor pavement or wet cobblestones.

Dual coil-over shocks float the front end on 3.34 inches of travel and fixed damping values with two more coil-overs in back that sport variable preload on 4.25 inches of travel. A set of 110/70 hoops leads the way followed by a 140/70 with integrated disc brakes all around and ABS protection for the first layer of electronic stability control.

Frame: Double cradle in high strength tubular steel
Front suspension: Articulated quadrilateral - Stroke: 85 mm. Electro-hydraulic suspension blocking system.
Rear suspension: Dual hydraulic shock absorber with pre-adjusted spring in one of 4 positions - Stroke: 108 mm
Front brakes: Two 258 mm discs
Rear brake: 240 mm Ø disc
Front wheel rims: Aluminum alloy 13" x 3.00
Rear wheel rim: Aluminum alloy 14" x 4.50
Braking system: ABS with braking integrated with the pedal
Front tires: Tubeless 110/70-13”
Rear tire: Tubeless 140/70-14’’

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business Drivetrain

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
- image 785546
It's all about ease of operation, stability, and safety.

The second layer can be found in the new “High Performance Engine’s” electronics. A ride-by-wire throttle controls the induction with dual maps, “Eco” and “Std”, and an Automatic Stability Control (traction control) feature comes standard that intervenes by reducing power when a speed differential is detected between the front and rear wheels.

A single over-head cam times the four-valve, twin-spark head that caps the single, 94 mm barrel with a 71 mm stroke for a total displacement of 493 cc. It puts out a claimed 44.2-horsepower at 7,750 rpm with 35 pound-feet of torque that peaks out at 5,500 rpm; pretty good numbers until you look at the 606-pound wet weight that it’s pushing. Oh well, we had to know that third wheel and fancy suspension was going to add some mass.

Liquid cooling carries away the waste heat and an inductive, closed-loop exhaust handles the waste gasses to meet Euro 4 emission standards and be city-friendly just about everywhere. As usual with scooters, a centrifugal clutch couples engine power to a continuously-variable transmission that uses pulleys and a belt instead of a gearbox for the twist-and-go operation that people expect. Ease of operation, stability, and safety; see, I told you it’s good for inexperienced riders.

Engine: MASTER hpe 4-stroke single cylinder
Displacement: 493 cc
Bore x Stroke: 94 x 71 mm
Power: n/a
Torque: n/a
Distribution: Single overhead cam shaft (SOHC) with 4 valves and roller tappets
Fuel system: Electronic injection
Ignition: Electronic with inductive exhaust and variable advance integrated in the injection CPU. Closed loop system with Lambda probe for the exhaust. Electronic immobilizer, block of injection pump when the vehicle is tilted. Twin spark ignition. Dual map for throttle valve management (STD and ECO). Traction control (ASR)
Cooling: Liquid
Lubrication: Wet sump
Starter: Electric
Transmission: CVT with torque server
Clutch: Automatic, centrifugal dry clutch

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business Price

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
- image 785552
MSRP puts it just above the $9k mark, which isn't bad for what you get.

Looks like you can expect to shell out $9,199 for a 2018 MP3 500 Business. The colors are attractive, if a bit understated, with Blue Matt, Black Universo, White Iceberg and Gray Dust Matt on the palette.

Colors: White Iceberg, Black Universe, Matt Gray, Matt Blue
Price: $9,199

Competitors

no article
- image 724356
no article
- image 724357
2019 Yamaha Niken
- image 741658
2018 Yamaha XMAX
- image 733833
The problem is finding an appropriate competitor that is an apples-to-apples machine and is available in the U.S.

Again with the problem of finding an appropriate competitor that is an apples-to-apples machine and is available in the U.S. For argument’s sake, I’ll give Peugeot’s Metropolis an honorable mention right along with Doohan’s plucky little iTank, even though the former isn’t currently available here and the latter is an electric scooter, not a smoker scooter. Yamaha’s XMAX is a bit smaller in the powerplant with comparable looks, but it’s a two-wheeler with little else in common beyond the mature panache.

And the Niken? Yeah, it probably eats scooters for breakfast. I’d like to throw the Tricity into the mix as well, but have seen neither hide nor hair of it here in the U.S. since the lawsuit and aren’t even sure if you could import one from abroad. In short; the Business is enjoying a bit of a head start in the funny-backwards-trike urban mobility market; though for downtown business transportation, it’s right there with the BMW C 650 GT.

He Said

“Really cool stuff. One of the things I’ve always disliked about trikes is the loss of the lean. For me, the loss of the sensation of flying was a deal breaker, big time, but this thing gives the best of both worlds. Funny thing is, in many places you don’t even need a motorcycle endorsement to ride it; the regular license will do. That’s because since it has more than two wheels and doesn’t have to be held up at a stop, the authorities won’t call it a motorcycle and can’t seem to figure out what to do with it.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “There’s an MP3 300 Business in other markets, but I see the 500 doing better here for its intended use. This is a complementary companion to the MP3 500 Sport. These parallelogram-frontend trikes give a much more motorcycle-like ride and open the fists-in-the-wind to a whole new rider market.”

2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: MASTER hpe 4-stroke single cylinder
Displacement: 493 cc
Bore x Stroke: 94 x 71 mm
Power: n/a
Torque: n/a
Distribution: Single overhead cam shaft (SOHC) with 4 valves and roller tappets
Fuel system: Electronic injection
Ignition: Electronic with inductive exhaust and variable advance integrated in the injection CPU. Closed loop system with Lambda probe for the exhaust. Electronic immobilizer, block of injection pump when the vehicle is tilted. Twin spark ignition. Dual map for throttle valve management (STD and ECO). Traction control (ASR)
Cooling: Liquid
Lubrication: Wet sump
Starter: Electric
Transmission: CVT with torque server
Clutch: Automatic, centrifugal dry clutch
Chassis:
Frame: Double cradle in high strength tubular steel
Front suspension: Articulated quadrilateral - Stroke: 85 mm. Electro-hydraulic suspension blocking system.
Rear suspension: Dual hydraulic shock absorber with pre-adjusted spring in one of 4 positions - Stroke: 108 mm
Front brakes: Two 258 mm discs
Rear brake: 240 mm Ø disc
Front wheel rims: Aluminum alloy 13" x 3.00
Rear wheel rim: Aluminum alloy 14" x 4.50
Braking system: ABS with braking integrated with the pedal
Front tires: Tubeless 110/70-13”
Rear tire: Tubeless 140/70-14’’
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length/Width: 87.6 in / 31.5 in (2,225 mm / 800 mm)
Wheelbase: 59.0 in (1,500 mm)
Saddle height: 31.1 in (790 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 3.2 gals including 0.5 gal reserve (12 liters including 1.8 liter reserve)
Approval: Euro 4
Details:
Colors: White Iceberg, Black Universe, Matt Gray, Matt Blue
Price: $9,199

References

Yamaha XMAX

2018 Yamaha XMAX
- image 733831

See our review of the Yamaha XMAX.

BMW C 650 GT

2017 - 2018 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT
- image 752233

See our review of the BMW C 650 GT.

Yamaha Niken

2019 Yamaha Niken
- image 741640

See our look at the Yamaha Niken.

Yamaha Tricity

2015 Yamaha Tricity High Resolution
- image 625882

See our review of the Yamaha Tricity.

Doohan iTank

2016 - 2018 SSR Motorsports' Doohan iTank
- image 767623

See our review of the Doohan iTank.

Piaggio MP3 350

2018 Piaggio MP3 350
- image 783650

See our review of the Piaggio MP3 350.

Piaggio MP3 500 Sport

2016 - 2018 Piaggio MP3 500 Sport
- image 724063

See our review of the Piaggio MP3 500 Sport.

Motorcycle Manufacturers Are Scrambling For New Riders

Motorcycle Manufacturers Are Scrambling For New Riders
- image 725024

See our article on the new rider market.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, bmwmotorcycles.com, ssrmotorsports.com, piaggiousa.com, honda.com

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