Friday, January 25, 2008

Some MP3/Fuoco Updates

OR: The Day Late and a Dollar Short Scooter Report

Over several months, I've let scooter news items slide with the rationalization that Brian over at 2StrokeBuzz, Steve at The Scooter Scoop, and Dave at Scooter Cast, were covering this type of stuff earlier and better than I. Plus I get a lot of my scoops from the scooter forums, and feel a bit the leech if I repost stuff from there too often.

But there are several things which I've tempted to post lately, but haven't for these, and a variety of other reasons. These tidbits have congealed into such Sisyphean blockage, that I figured I might as well muscle 'em up that hill in one fell swoop. Like our old buddy Camus says, "One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

First off, Phil from Pride of Cleveland Scooters posted a doc from the Motorcycle safety Foundation about the use of MP3's in their classes, over on Modern Vespa's MP3 forum. It gets a little technical, but their final findings seem pretty solid and fair... certainly more understanding of the technology than various state legislatures (California, for instance, only requires a car license to operate the MP3, where Washington State requires a Trike endorsement in addition to a Motorcycle endorsement. Both of which miss the point, and basic functionality of the vehicle.)
Here's the bit I found most interesting from their study:

The only additional detail noted by the review team and specific to the PIAGGIO MP3, was that the RiderCoach should be aware of the twinned front wheel track when a student is negotiating an exercise with a boundary such as the U-turn box or the swerve. The twinned wheels, slightly over 1.5 feet apart overall, should represent one distinct path of travel for the coach to “watch” while evaluating a boundary cross. For purposes of evaluating, RiderCoaches should consider the twinned wheels as a single path of travel. Thus, for example, the criterion for deducting points would be stated by the RiderCoach as “Crossing a boundary is scored if the contact patch of both front tires clearly crosses completely over any of the solid painted or dashed lines, or if either tire hits or 'skips' an entry or exit cone or if the cone passes through the gap in the twinned wheels.”

Speaking of the Modern Vespa MP3 Forum, if you are hungry for news and rumors about Piaggio's three-wheeled wonder, it's definitely a place you should be frequenting. Whether you're seeking info on fabricating your own footpegs, a source for winter tires, or information on Piaggio's roof-accessory and killer trailer (seen below) for MP3 family, this forum has become THE place to go for information.

Dang that's hot! A PAV for the 21st century.

Also check out this video, posted by Dudel which shows the MP5/ MP3 500/ Fuoco being put through a variety of paces.
Or my favorite MP5 / Fuoco video thus far, this Israeli review from the Hebrew show Fullgaz. Unfortunately, it's in Hebrew, but it has rocking background music (by Spearhead, I believe, at least it sure sounds like Michael Franti) and the shots of my favorite scoot off-roading in the Holy Land are pretty inspiring. What would Elijah ride?, eh? Oh, yeah this excellent vid comes to you thanks of JFredrik.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Mp3 500 has even officially hit our backwards Yankee shores, but already I have copies of the parts book and shop manual, thanks to the MP3 forum's resident Brit curmudgeon, JimC. (You can find similar documents for the MP3 250, as well as a slew of other Piaggio and Vespa automatic scoots here, thanks to Modern Vespa's Patron Saint Jess.)

I'd like to spend a special thanks out to Jess, the founder of Modern Vespa, and kind soul who created a special sandbox there for those of us obsessed with these fantastic three-wheelers to play in. Jess has an MP3 250 himself, and his review of the bike is still the best and most indepth I've seen.

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