Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Aug 01, 2010 – Tweeking that darn saddle

Yesterday I shimmed the front of Red Dog's saddle up ¼” using spacers under the mounting bracket. The difference in riding position was noticable so today I added another ¼” of spacers bringing the total change to ½”. It was a simple enough operation; I used 3 thick steel washers under each of the 4 mounting bolts and that did the trick.
The saddle shims went under this bracket

I also moved the backrest towards the rear about 3/16th of an inch which doesn’t sound like much but I think it’s enough. Back rests are funny critters, they can take the load off your back while riding but if they’re positioned too far forward they work against you and can cause fatigue or worse.

A friend of mine recently experienced some very painful back problems that were traced to the position of the back rest on his Goldwing. It was too far forward and whenever he hit a hard bump it telegraphed to his kidneys. After five days on the road it was so bad he had to stop riding for several days to recuperate. Until then I'd no idea such a thing could happen.

Once the adjustments were made I was ready for a test run. I rode south on 101 around 20 miles to Port Orford, then on the way back I rode out to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Once I left highway 101 and headed west I could see solid fog banks moving in along the cape. By the time I reached the park area it was totally socked in and the temperature dropped dramatically. It was so cold I had to turn the heated grips on.
Freezing cold in August no less! What's that all about?

Choppy cross winds made riding very rough, one moment they hit you hard enough to drive you off the road and the next moment they stopped. By the time I arrived home I’d only logged around 60 miles but felt as if I’d ridden 100. That’s how it is on the coast sometimes, you never really know what to expect.

Time for a repaint Coos County!

At least the saddle issues seem to be improving to the point I probably won’t take it back to Rich’s. The shims raised it enough that I'm not sliding nearly as much and that’s what I was after.

Some time in the next few days I’ll do some riding with the Unigo trailer hooked up and see how that affects things. The last time I pulled it I had it loaded to the point it was overloaded and the handling was affected.

I may get in touch with the manufacturer for some additional advice on loading techniques. Once it’s all sorted out I should be ready for my first outing with it, something I’m very much looking forward to.

Stay tuned...



  1. Larry,
    This must not be your first "bike" the way you set it up with the grips and back rest. I had
    a 1800 Wing which was totaled in a head on. I have one bad leg from the accident and was thinking about the MP3 if that could work. The Wing was the best bike I owned but won't be able to handle that again. I was hoping the MPEcould be a "mini" wing.

  2. If you have issues with either strength in your injured leg or balance I'd go for a CanAm Spyder or a trike or possibly a hack before an MP3. They're a bit on the top heavy side and when they go over it's hard to stop them. Plus they're fairly tall in the saddle, much more than the wing. A lot of riders think the dual front wheels are easier to balance but they both tilt in unison like a regular bike. In effect they're a bit more stable but may not be the solution you're looking for. Before you buy one be sure to test ride first.

    You're right, the MP3 isn't my first "bike" but it's definitely my first scooter. For sheer fun you can't beat a hack and they'll take you places no other rig can.

  3. Larry,
    I have the "fever" for the mp3 but it may be a year away. I liked the spyder rt but I think it's a lot of bike for just running around. I loved my wing
    but I doubt that will happen again. The wing was bullet proof. I had a 1200, 1500 & 1800. I had one electrical problem in 75,000 of riding them. I think your Vulcan is a very good bike as I mentioned
    in another post to you. I had a 80mph head on, me 55, stooge was going 25 in the oncoming lane. I was wearing jeans and a golf shirt. Only thing that survived the wreck was my 2 rings 1 smashed watch and 1 sock. Riding gear is good for low speed accidents, the rash doesn't hurt all that bad.
    It will be a year this week walking with a cane, not able to do a lot, no golf. Next year will tell what I can do. The Good Lord was good to me as most would be dead after a crash like I had. I was 62 at the time to old to take a hit that hard. I'm not afraid of riding again, knew all along some one could
    drive through the envelope of saftey. Sorry to ramble, love reading your post!!