Latest patent images reveal that Piaggio may be working on a brand new trike which will rival the Yamaha Niken. Based on the Aprilia Mana moto-scooter with an automatic transmission, the patent shows how Piaggio has been working on the Aprilia Mana base with a new tilting front suspension. Although the two-wheeled Aprilia Mana moto-scooter was dropped from the product line-up, the 839 cc Mana's automatic transmission and easy-to-ride personality seems to be the perfect fit for a large trike which will be easy to ride as a scooter, and with the added stability of a second front wheel.
The design is clearly an evolution of the Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled scooter, but it's developed for a heavier and faster bike, as well with better control over the front end, in both steering and suspension. Like the Piaggio MP3, the two-wheeled front end has two parallel upper links, with one placed above the other. Both the arms pivot at the centre as the Aprilia leans, and there's a steering head mounted on each end. The steering heads on the parallel links tilt along with the vehicle while cornering.
Also Read: Piaggio MP3 Recalled In The US
However, the system is different from both the Piaggio MP3, as well as the Yamaha Niken. The MP3's front suspension has leading links with a coil-over shock, while the Niken has a pair of telescopic forks on each side. Aprilia's new design employs a curved cast aluminium strut on each side, with four lateral links at the bottom connected to an upright suspension component, like a wishbone set-up of a car suspension.
According to the patent filing, the system is said to be better than both the MP3 and the Yamaha Niken set-ups, and in fact, said to be 'substantially' cheaper than the telescopic forks used by Yamaha. And the system also has less friction, so it's said to result in less wear and maintenance. Aprilia's patent filings show components which aren't just a design idea, and the illustrations are detailed enough to indicate that the system may be ready to be used in a prototype, rather than just an initial idea being patented.