Gilera Fuogo 500ie

 

 

 

Make Model

Gilera Fuogo 500ie

Year

2007

Engine

Four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valves

Capacity

492 cc / 30.0 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 94 x 71 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 10.1:1

Induction

RON 95 unleaded petrol

Ignition 

Electronic inductive discharge and variable spark advance in electronic unit with electronic immobilizer. Fuel pump shutoff when bike tips over. Two spark plugs. 

Starting Electric

Max Power

40 hp / 28.11 kW @ 7000 rpm

Max Torque

42.2 Nm / 31.1 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm

Clutch

Dry centrifugal type with damping plugs

Transmission 

Twist-and-go CVT
Frame Double cradle trellis made of high strength steel tubes

Front Suspension

Parallelogram composed of four aluminium arms supporting two steering tubes, cantilevered suspension. Travel: 85 mm. Electro-hydraulic suspension locking system.

Rear Suspension

Oscillating engine fixed to the frame with a swingarm and two dual effect hydraulic shock absorbers with four-position spring preload. 100 mm wheel travel.

Front Brakes

2x 240mm discs 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 240mm disc 2 piston caliper

Front Tyre

2x 120/70-12

Rear Tyre

140/70-14
Seat Height 790 mm / 28.7 in

Wet Weight

238 kg / 524 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

12 Litres / 3.17 US gal

Standing ¼ Mile  

16.7 sec

Top Speed

142 km/h

My introduction to the Gilera Fuoco's three-wheeler technology came in 2006 year when I tested the Piaggio MP3 scooters on which it was pioneered
I emerged from that baptism grinning. Cornering with an additional wheel demands none of the care needed on conventional motorcycles. Twin front wheels married to electro-hydraulic suspension beg the rider to corner fast.

I thrashed the little Piaggios and found their roadholding exceptional but, with the MP3 range limited to 125 and 250cc, I wondered how much better the technology would feel with proper power.

Answer: It feels good. Leaping astride an unfamiliar motorcycle, pegging the throttle open and pointing it at a sharp bend is not normally my style but I made an exception. The Fuoco accelerated eagerly and I pitched into the roundabout at 60km/h. The exhaust touched the tarmac but the tyres didn't flinch. In fact the risk of a front-end skid is, for all practical purposes, eliminated

With twice as much rubber in contact with the road, the Fuoco tilts and grips with Tigger-ish enthusiasm but resolutely refuses to bounce.

Ride quality is smoothed by the separate shock absorber on each of the parallel front wheels. These devour bumps, even two-up, making the Fuoco comfortable as well as frisky on pot-holed streets.

That extra rubber comes into its own again when you apply the brakes. Emergency stopping distances are about 20 percent better than on a two-wheeler and, though it is possible to lock both the front wheels and the rear one, there is no risk of falling off if you do.

Riding the Fuoco in town is a breeze, not least because of the brilliant "roll lock" suspension-locking system. It works like this: as speed drops below 10km/h warning light and beeping audio alert on the instrument panel combine to inform the rider that they can stabilise the scooter. This is achieved by flicking a switch on the right handlebar. Result? No need to put your foot down to keep the Fuoco upright at standstill.

With the lock engaged, those tilting front wheels lock firmly in position.

'Please, what is it?'

Pulling up beside car drivers is fun. The Fuoco's additional wheel, enormous front bumper and twin headlights are striking even to the unobservant. So is its big, comfy seat but little compares to the look of astonishment when you pull up at the front of the queue and sit there with no visible means of support.

In nearly 20km of urban riding I drew pointing, stares and a man who just lowered his window and said "Please. What is it?" With practice, I managed to lock at an angle to the vertical and remain seated while canted over. There is no risk. The lock is released as soon as you open the throttle. You cannot accelerate away with your suspension and steering frozen.

You can always guarantee being at the front of the queue because the Fuoco retains scooter dimensions. The single-cylinder 500cc engine used here is a slightly enlarged version of the unit deployed on the Piaggio X9 and Gilera Nexus two-wheelers (32cc bigger). It whisks the Fuoco away from the lights at a rate cars cannot match and which surprises motorcyclists.

Then it pounds up to a motorway maximum of about 160km/h and cruises comfortably at 140. I didn't feel intimidated in the fast lane. In my mirrors I could see the occupants of the Micra behind debating exactly what was pulling away from them.

Luggage limited

Gilera is the giant Piaggio group's sporty marque and the Fuoco is quick enough to justify the branding. Is it practical? In terms of comfort and safety it certainly is. You can hustle this machine over greasy, wet cobbles without risking a tumble. The riding position is relaxed enough for long journeys and cockpit instrumentation is excellent.

Luggage space is limited though; you cannot fit a laptop into the underseat storage compartment but there is a rear platform.

In the end this motorcyclist will always choose two wheels over three. I've spent too long learning to corner properly to really cherish a machine that helps a novice to lean like a GP racer. My suspicion is that most people who have the full licence required to ride this cute hybrid will agree.

Whatever, that's subjective. The Fuoco is fast, safe and expensive. It attracts envy and fits into motorcycle parking spaces. - The Independent, London