2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport

Improvements to the new engine increases power by 16% and torque by 30%

LISTEN 11:03

Piaggio significantly expanded its renowned MP3 range upwards for MY2021 to include the new MP3 400 hpe and 400 hpe Sport. The new engine boasts a clean, Euro-5 emissions rating and comes with some comfort-enhancing elements along with mobile-phone connectivity to bring the lump into new territory. Like it’s predecessor, the MP3 400 siblings are configured as a Delta-trike with two front wheels that lean into the corners to deliver a rare combination of safety and fun.

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe Design

  • GT design
  • Dual round instrumentation with LCD digital display
  • LED lighting with DRL
  • Spacious underseat storage
2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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Modern and elegant, the MP3 400 hpe is built to appeal to a more mature rider with its graceful lines over a practical platform.

Piaggio borrowed from the automobile world with a car-like grille on the MP3 400 hpe that leads the way with the blue-and-white brand badge. The way it fits with the look of the forward bodywork below recessed headlights that, honestly, does look like the front end of a car that someone left in the dryer a little too long. It really is a nice look.

LED projectors make up the headlights that sport DRLs for improved daytime safety, but it’s too bad the LED front turn signals aren’t as smoothly integrated instead of the standoff-style blinkers, but perhaps the factory was forced to do so in order to meet the separation requirements. There’s always the mirrors guys, just sayin’.

A tall windshield punches a hole in the weather for the rider’s comfort, and since it is well vented, the wearisome head-buffet effect is largely mitigated. Down low, the screen widens out to provide some protection for your hamburger shovels, not quite as well as proper handguards, but better than nothing to be sure and part of the comfort package. The instrumentation is a bit of a letdown with its dated LCD technology, but it does come with a Bluetooth connection that pulls your phone into the network through Piaggio’s MIA app.

The step-through is fairly open though it isn’t dead flat. A short tunnel makes for a short step-over ahead of the large under-seat storage compartment. Capable of holding two full-face helmets or a computer bag, the flip-up seat covers it and comes stock with remote opening as part of the Bike Finder feature package. The pilot’s seat rides at 31.1 inches off the deck, fairly average for the genre, but the pillion pad comes full width with a short butt-stop to keep you from driving out from under your riding partner.

An LED taillight and turn signals finish the rearward lighting over the rear mudguard that doubles as a tag mount. All-in-all, I find this to be a very mature design that is definitely targeting the young urban professionals and perhaps even college students looking for affordable fun transportation.

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe Chassis

  • Dual independent, tilting front wheels
  • Sportbike-like handling
  • three-channel ABS
  • front suspension blocking mechanism
2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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An articulated quadrilateral arrangement up front delivers the lean that sets this machine apart from run-of-the-mill, standard non-leaning trikes.

High-strength tubular-steel members make up the the double-cradle underbones, and naturally, the MP3 relies on the standard drivetrain arrangement with engine and transmission as stressed members that make up the swing-mount unit to finish the structure. Dual coil-over shocks float the rear end with a quartet of preload settings that’ll let you dial in for changing passenger and cargo loads on four inches of travel, but the real magic is at the other end.

An articulated quadrilateral arrangement up front delivers the lean that sets this machine apart from run-of-the-mill, standard non-leaning trikes. The genius of the two-wheel front end delivers double the usual contact surface for greater safety and comfort on irregular surfaces. It’s just this detail that makes the MP3 so popular in Paris and other old European cities where it isn’t out of the ordinary to find yourself on ancient brick or cobblestone roads.

The front forks come with 3.34 inches of travel, and while it runs sans adjustability, it does have an electronic-hydraulic lockout the keeps the MP3 from sagging to one side or another when parked. A pair of 13-inch hoops lead the way ahead of a 14-inch rear tire with dual, 258 mm discs up front, a 240 mm disc out back and stock ABS protection all around.

Frame: Double cradle in high strength tubular steel
Front Suspension/ Travel: Articulated quadrilateral, Electro-hydraulic suspension blocking system/ 3.3”
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Dual hydraulic shock absorber with pre-adjusted spring in one of 4 positions/ 4”
Front Brakes: Dual 258 mm discs
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc
Braking System: ABS with braking integrated with the pedal
Front Wheels: Aluminum alloy 13" x 3.00
Rear Wheel: Aluminum alloy 14" x 4.00
Front Tires: Tubeless 110/70-13”
Rear Tire: Tubeless 140/70-14’’

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe Drivetrain

  • New 399 cc liquid-cooled thumper
  • 16% more power and 30% more torque
  • Innovative PCV system
  • ASR traction control
2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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The MP3 is in rare company as we don't often see such technology on scooters, but it plays into the reputation for safety and stability the MP3 has established for itself.

Power for the MP3 400 hpe comes from a newly-retuned, four-stroke thumper to the tune of 35.4 horsepower at 7,000 rpm backed up by 27.8 pound-feet of torque that comes on fully at 5,500 rpm with a top speed around 88 mph so it’s fully capable of interstate travel with plenty of top end over the 70 mph speed limit.

An 84 mm bore and 72 mm stroke gives it a 399 cc displacement. Induction is managed by an injection CPU that operates with feedback from the Lambda probe in the exhaust to help meet the spanky new EU-5 emissions rating. It comes stock with an electronic immobilizer that acts as a dead-man’s switch to kill the fuel pump, hence the engine, if you manage to somehow lay the thing down.

The top end is kept simple with a single over-head cam timimg the quartet of poppet valves that really open up the combustion chamber for effective exhaust-gas scavenging and a high volumetric efficiency. Perhaps the most interesting feature in the drivetrain is Piaggio’s Acceleration Slip Regulator (ASR), a fancy name for traction control. Needless to say this puts the MP3 in rare company indeed as we don’t often see such technology on scooters, or even small motorcycles for that matter, but this does play into the reputation for safety and stability the MP3 has established for itself.

This engine also comes equipped with a pair of fan blades that are part of the Positive Crankcase Ventilation system that helps to mitigate pumping losses to increase sustained power output. Power flows from the engine to the CVT gearbox via a proper wet clutch pack that delivers smoother engagement and transitions. It also sports a new high-pressure injector for effective fuel atomization, and runs with less-viscous engine oil to wrap up the performance tweaks for this year.

Engine: Liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke
Displacement: 399 cc
Bore x Stroke: 84 mm x 72 mm
Power: 35.3 hp (26 kW) @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 27.8 lb-ft (37.7 Nm) @ 5,500 rpm
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. Traction control (ASR)
Lubrication: Dry sump
Starting: Electric with oil-bath free wheel
Transmission: CVT with torque server
Clutch: Centrifugal multi plate wet clutch

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe Price

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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MSRP on the MP3 400 hpe is $11k and the Sport model starts at $11.2k.

This is a lot of scooter to be sure, and as such, it fetches a premium price. The MP3 400 hpe rolls for $10,994 in a choice between two colors with Nero Lucido (black) and Grigio Materia (gray) on the palette. The “Sport” variant adds its own hues to the mix with Nero Meteora (black), Bianco Luna (white), Argento Cometa (silver), and Blu Zaffiro (blue) up for grabs for $11,238 MSRP.

Color: Nero Lucido, Grigio Materia, Sport: Nero Meteora, Bianco Luna, Argento Cometa, Blu Zaffiro
Price: $10,994, Sport: $11,238

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe Competitors

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe / 400 hpe Sport
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2021 Yamaha Tricity 300
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Leany Delta-trike scooters are still a rare thing under the sun, even as they gain popularity with the metro-commute crowd, but the Piaggio MP3 is not unique, enter the Tricity 300 from Yamaha.

Yamaha Tricity

2021 Yamaha Tricity 300
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The difference in power will be felt in the acceleration where the Piaggio's snappier punch will get you going a bit quicker, to be sure.

The Tuning Fork Company floats their model on a quartet of hydraulic forks much like its full-size Delta-trike sportbike the Niken (literally ’two swords’) rather than the quadrilateral scissors that makes the MP3 work. Yamaha hits many of the same tech points with ABS and traction control as part of the standard equipment package to break even in rider safety, plus it rocks a Standing Assist feature to keep the thing from sagging in the parking lot or falling over on you at a light, same as the suspension blocking mechanism on the MP3.

The wheels are a skosh bigger up front with 14-inchers all around, and the front end is wider for the rider protection it affords. Unfortunately for Yamaha, a 292 cc lump is the biggest engine Yammy has to offer in its Tricity, and that brings with it a concurrent drop in performance with 27.6 horsepower and 21.3 pound-feet of torque against 35.4/27.8, respectively. In spite of that displacement difference, the Tricity still claims a top speed around 85 mph, so its just as capable on the interstate. The difference will be felt in the acceleration where the Piaggio’s snappier punch will get you going a bit quicker, to be sure. Yamaha gets some back at the checkout with its $7,399 starting MSRP.

He Said

“Just wow. I’m typically not very impressed by scooters in general, but in this case, it’s apparent that not all scooters are created equal. The safety of a trike with the same sensation of flight that makes two-wheelers so much fun plus ABS and traction control features that put this model on the top shelf. If there’s a downside, it’s the price. Piaggio typically doesn’t use the sticker as a selling point, and it shows. However, when you buy a Piaggio, you’re paying for the name as much as the machine, not entirely unlike Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle in the U.S. market.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “All things considered, I like the leany-trike scooters, but if you’re a scooter person looking at one of these, there are differences to consider. Yes, you have the convenience of the CVT twist-and-go capabilities, but you lose the city maneuverability of a scooter. Filtering traffic isn’t going to be as easy because of the size. You are basically stepping up to a motorcycle in size, but you have the stability of two front wheels. Fuel economy is attractive if you are moving down from a motorcycle or a car, but in the scooter world, the fuel economy on the MP3 400 hpe isn’t going to impress you all that much. Still, it is a blast to ride, let’s not ignore that.”

2021 Piaggio MP3 400 hpe Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke
Displacement: 399 cc
Bore x Stroke: 84 mm x 72 mm
Power: 35.3 hp (26 kW) @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 27.8 lb-ft (37.7 Nm) @ 5,500 rpm
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. Traction control (ASR)
Lubrication: Dry sump
Starting: Electric with oil-bath free wheel
Transmission: CVT with torque server
Clutch: Centrifugal multi plate wet clutch
Chassis:
Frame: Double cradle in high strength tubular steel
Front Suspension/ Travel: Articulated quadrilateral, Electro-hydraulic suspension blocking system/ 3.3”
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Dual hydraulic shock absorber with pre-adjusted spring in one of 4 positions/ 4”
Front Brakes: Dual 258 mm discs
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc
Braking System: ABS with braking integrated with the pedal
Front Wheels: Aluminum alloy 13" x 3.00
Rear Wheel: Aluminum alloy 14" x 4.00
Front Tires: Tubeless 110/70-13”
Rear Tire: Tubeless 140/70-14’’
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length/Width: 86.6” / 31.5” (2,200 mm / 800 mm)
Wheelbase: 61.4” (1,560 mm)
Seat Height: 31.1” (790 mm)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.5 gallons with 0.5-gallon reserve (13.2 liters with 1.8 liter reserve)
Fuel Economy (WMTC): 61.9 mpg (3.8 l/100 km)
Details:
Color: Nero Lucido, Grigio Materia, Sport: Nero Meteora, Bianco Luna, Argento Cometa, Blu Zaffiro
Price: $10,994, Sport: $11,238

Further Reading

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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: piaggio.com, yamaha-motor.com

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