Piaggio prepares innovative MP3 three-wheeler evolution

Piaggio is preparing a new development for its three-wheeled MP3 scooter range, with a fixed front fairing emerging in patent filings.

Piaggio MP3. - Piaggio

Patent filings have been made by Piaggio indicating a potential upcoming change to its three-wheeled MP3 scooters.

The original MP3 was launched in 2006, and since then the model has remained at the forefront of three-wheeled technology. Recently, it became apparent that Piaggio is also trying to develop a four-wheeler in a similar style to the MP3.

However, that four-wheeler development does not mark the end of the Piaggio MP3 itself, as patent filings now show. Piaggio, as reported by Cycle World, is now developing a non-tilting fairing for the MP3. 

The new design would mean a constant front profile of the motorcycle, even while turning, allowing the whole bike to lean behind the fairing while the fairing itself remains in a constantly vertical position.

Two issues are confronted with this new design: headlight angle, and aerodynamics. 

Perhaps the primary issue is the latter, aerodynamics, as three-wheelers to now - with traditional, tilting, fairings - have been forced to have high-positioned fairings to allow the fairing to not contact the inside front wheel during turning.

What this creates is a large hole between the front wheels and beneath the front fairing into which air gets pushed by the two front wheels. Although the positioning of the radiator in that gap means this effect generates a cooling benefit for the engine, there are also aerodynamic losses.

The new, non-tilting, fairing is able to be positioned much lower than on previous versions of the MP3, allowing for better aerodynamics, because its static position on the bike means there are no concerns about inside wheel clearance.

To achieve the lower positioning, and fixed position, Piaggio have mounted the front fairing to the linkage above the front wheels which remains horizontal even when the bike is leaning.

The other advantage to the fixed fairing is a constant headlight angle. This is a problem shared by three-wheeled and two-wheeled motorcycles, but the static front linkage on the MP3 to which the new fairing is attached means it is a problem which can be eradicated. The fixed position means that the headlights will be constantly horizontal and, as a result, will create better visibility on the inside of corners while turning than two-wheeled bikes or three-wheelers with traditional, leaning fairings. 

The new fairing would also create more luggage space, with a compartment being installed in the new front bodywork, while mid-corner wind protection for the rider would be maintained by the mounting of the windscreen to the top of the front suspension which would still lean with the bike and rider.

There is currently no timeline on when we could expect this new design to make its way into production, or much certainty that it will enter production at all. But, certainly, it is a development with promising potential from Piaggio.

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