Piaggio MP3 Yourban review

MF tests the new MP3 with the slightly bewildering name

This thing is the revamped Piaggio MP3 – the Yourban. The revolutionary MP3 has been round for a few years now but this new version has shed some cake, lost a few critical inches from its waistband and is easier to slice through the city as a result.

I’ve just been slithering around the very wet, very slippery streets of Cannes and the fact I haven’t landed on my ear is testament to how easy this thing is to ride. The margin for error is massive which is why it would perfectly suit a newcomer to two wheels or, err, three.

The 300cc version (drive it on a car licence) can filter through scooter sized gaps, will leave most things for dead at the lights and behaves exactly like a scooter apart from the critical fact that you’ve got twice as much grip and stability from the twin 13in front tyres.

I’d never ridden one before and, to be honest, it’s impressed me. We did a photo shoot on a sopping wet, off camber Teflon-coated roundabout and it was possible to push the MP3 hard enough to make the front start to tuck yet still remain in control. It’s incredible, really. Perfectly suited to first time bikers who are hacked off with public transport or sitting in jams in their car. A fool-proof scooter.

At low speed the Yourban’s steering feels like someone’s wound a steering damper up to its hardest setting, it’s undeniably a more sluggish, slower, heavier steering feeling than a conventional solo but it’s only a matter of a few degrees. Considering the weird articulated, quadrilateral front suspension and two thirteen inch front wheels, the Piaggio team have done an amazing job at keeping the same bank-to-bank feeling as a ‘normal’ scoot.

The same ingenious electromagnetic bank-lock switch still features on the Yourban (Your+Urban – can you see what they’ve done there?). With a bit of practice it’s possible to operate it just before you come to a stop meaning you never actually have to put your feet down. Nifty when you’re having to wear carrier bags on your feet to keep your shoes dry.  You can operate this lock at any angle of lean which means it’s possible to park the Yourban sideways on, on steps or slopes. Nifty.There’s also a parking brake.

Piaggio have flogged the thick end of 80,000 MP3s in 4 years. It’s hoped this new, city-friendly version will swell those sales further. The 300cc version costs £5649, the 125cc model is £4749 – in other words, the cost of a season rail ticket from the suburbs…