These new style 3-wheel scooters have been on our roads for more than 10 years now but still remain a somewhat exotic and unusual sight. Many of them can even be ridden with a car driver's licence (as long as you are over 21) and make for excellent commuters and even tourers.
What differentiates them from the traditional trikes of the past is their ability to lean and handle like regular scooters thanks to their clever suspension setups.
In this blog I'm going to look at some of the best three wheel machines out there in 2020 with a range of different options and styles. So lets get to it!
Piaggio MP3 HPE 300 Sport
When I think about 3-wheel scooters, the MP3 immediately comes to mind. First appearing over a decade ago now, in 2020 Piaggio's 3-wheeler is going stronger than ever with multiple iterations to fit a range of riders.
One of the newest additions to the line-up is the MP3 HPE 300 Sport. This particular model is now Piaggio's entry level MP3 with an on the road price of £6,999 and features a number of improvements over the previous version.
Firstly the most noticeable upgrade is the engine. Now utilising the same 300cc HPE engine seen in the Vespa GTS but with a few tweaks to squeeze even more power out of it. According to Piaggio this results in the MP3 HPE 300 gaining a 24% increase in power over its Yourban predecessor. Not bad at all!
The improvements don't stop there either, as this new model has a brand new visual design that cuts away some of the old bulk, resulting in a more streamlined and agile aesthetic. Then there is Piaggio's Mia multimedia platform, able to connect to your smartphone and provide a range of handy functions including reports on the general state of your scooter, as well as providing maps and details of the trips you've made.
The MP3 HPE 300 can also be ridden with a standard car driver's licence, as long as you are over the age of 21. It handles much like a twist and go scooter with it's quadrilateral suspension allowing you to lean like a regular bike but with the increased traction and stability of 3 wheels. A locking mechanism allows you to remain upright when you come to a standstill and there is even a hand break to make sure it remains that way when you park it!
Engine type: Single cylinder four-stroke
Power: 19.3kW / 7750 rpm
Torque: 26 Nm at 6500 rpm
Front brake: Twin 258mm discs
Rear brake: 240mm disc
Fuel Capacity: 11L
Features: ABS, upright locking system, multimedia, ridden with a car licence
Yamaha Tricity 125
Yamaha's Tricity 125 is a little bit different to other 3-wheel scooters. The front wheels are set up with a closer spacing, the aim of which is to create a more agile and streamlined scooter that can cut through the traffic on an urban commute. Each wheel has independent suspension allowing the Tricity to lean and handle like a traditional scooter.
The narrower front end does mean that this scooter can't be classified as a trike and can not therefore be ridden with a car licence. Yamaha have made this a 125cc machine however, meaning it can be ridden on an A1 licence (basically a slightly more advanced version of a CBT that allows motorway access and pillion passengers), ensuring it's still a very accessible scooter.
This also results in a very light weight - just 164 kilos with a full tank of petrol, so putting a foot down when stopped in traffic is not an issue and no suspension locking mechanism is required. All these things help keep the cost down too, at just £3,949 this is the cheapest scooter on the list.
The Tricity 125 has Yamaha's latest Blue Core engine, offering great 125cc performance and excellent fuel consumption. All in all, If you're curious to try out a 3-wheeler this could be a cost effective way to get started!
Engine type: Single cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4-valves
Power: 9.0kW / 7500 rpm
Torque: 11.7 Nm at 7250 rpm
Front brake: Hydraulic single disc, Ø220 mm
Rear brake: Hydraulic single disc, Ø230 mm
Fuel Capacity: 7.2L
Features: Unified braking system (UBS), A1 licence
Peugeot Metropolis 400
The Metropolis 400 is Peugeot's entry into the 3-wheel scooter market and comes in 4 variations, starting from £8,099 with 2 new 'Ultimate' editions available for an extra £300.
The Metropolis meets all the requirements to be ridden with a car licence - an upright locking mechanism, foot pedal brake and wide front wheel spacing all present and correct. In fact the visuals of the scooter are very reminiscent of a Peugeot car with its angular headlights, front grill and familiar badge.
A lot of technology has gone into the Metro 400 with it's dual tilting front wheels, ABS and even switchable traction control on the more deluxe versions. There's a tyre pressure sensor in place, as well as daytime running LED lights for maximum visibility. Aspherical mirrors aim to increase your field of vision in traffic and there's an electronically adjustable windscreen.
The Metropolis 400 offers great performance with its 35.6hp 4-stroke engine and the extra comfort you get from a 3-wheeler's spacious proportions means you can easily take this thing out on tour, as well using it for commuting.
Engine type: 4-stroke single cylinder
Power: 26.5kW / 7250 rpm
Torque: 38.1 Nm at 5750 rpm
Front brake: Single disc, Ø230 mm
Rear brake: Double disc, Ø240 mm
Fuel Capacity: 13.5L
Features: ABS, keyless ignition, Traction Control System, Car Licence
The Niken first arrived in 2019 and remains one of the most unusual machines in the current market. Whereas most of the 3-wheelers on this list can be ridden with a car licence or A1, the Niken is a full fledged motorcycle and requires a category A licence to match.
The Niken is essentially an MT-09 but with Yamaha's new Leaning Multi Wheel (LMW) technology on the front end. A pair of front wheels each supported by telescopic forks and able to reach 45 degree lean angles for some mean corner performance. The Niken is 70 kilos heavier than its 2-wheel counterpart however, so don't expect quite the same hooligan performance. With that said, it's no slouch either, easily hitting 120mph top speeds - hence the full motorcycle licence requirement.
Where the Niken excels is in its stability, not to mention the extra comfort and wind shielding its design offers. This 3-wheeler is very well suited to touring as a result and Yamaha have recognised this, adding a new GT version to the line-up.
The regular Niken starts at £13,799 with the Niken GT costing £14,999, both versions come loaded with features including traction control, adjustable suspension, ride modes, slipper clutch and cruise control. If you're looking to try something new - there's nothing else on the road quite like this.
Engine type: 3-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves
Power: 84.6kW / 10,000 rpm
Torque: 87 Nm at 8,500 rpm
Front brake: Hydraulic Double Disc, Ø298 mm
Rear brake: Hydraulic single disc, Ø282 mm
Fuel Capacity: 18 L
Features: TCS, QSS, A&S clutch, D-MODE, Cruise Control
Unlike all the other models here, the Can-Am Ryker is not a motorcycle or scooter with 3 wheels, it's a more traditional trike that handles like a super powered go-kart or quad! It does have a twist and go automatic transmission and motorcycle style handlebars and saddle but that's about where the similarities end.
The Ryker weighs in at 280 kilos with an empty tank which makes it the heaviest machine on the list but comes with a 900cc in-line 3 cylinder engine with 82hp and 79 Nm of torque, so this thing can go. There is a 600cc version available as well but it's only 10 kilos lighter.
As a more traditional trike, it can be ridden on a car licence, it also has a reverse mode which you don't get on a motorcycle. The Ryker has sport and economy ride modes and one more nifty feature - interchangeable panels. You can buy one of their panel kits for around £300 and actually change the colours to your taste and mood!
The Can-Am Ryker starts from £8,000.
Engine type: Rotax® 900 ACE™ in-line 3 cylinders, liquid-cooled
Power: 61.1kW / 8,000 rpm
Torque: 79.1 Nm at 8,500 rpm
Front brake: Nissin 2-piston floating calipers, Double Disc, Ø270 mm
Rear brake: 1-piston floating caliper, single disc, Ø220 mm
Fuel Capacity: 20 L
Features: ABS, ride modes, USB port, UFit system
Before you go...
One final model I wanted to mention here is Yamaha's Tricity 300, currently due for release later this year. We don't have all the info just yet so I will update this list when everything has been revealed. What we do know is that it will feature the same engine as their XMAX maxi-scooter and unlike Yamaha's other 3-wheelers, will be rideable with a car licence!