How My Moto Wanted Me To Know Front Suspension Calibration Didn’t Check Out

Posted By Debbie on October 15, 2014

I drive a Piaggio MP3 500ie. As much as possible because it’s so beautiful.

But sometimes in vehicles, things go wrong and we have to message this to users. My car has all sorts of lights that can warn me about things like my tyres being low, the tyre pressure checking system not working, time for an oil change, etc…

My bike is no different. It has a few lights as well as some symbols that can appear on what looks like some sort of LCD. I’ve seen the gas symbol light up. That’s an easy one. I have a light that reminds me my parking brake is on. I have a light that blinks when I use either directional or the hazards. I wish that were three lights instead of one.

I also have a light I wasn’t familiar with until 2 nights ago. It turns out this light is supposed to tell me that my front suspension isn’t quite right. How is it not quite right? Not sure. After reading forums, people had a variety of reasons that this light can go on, but nearly all were temporary issues. Could just be a momentary calibration issue. Like once in a while, my car will say my tyres are low. When I turn on the car next time, they’re magically fine (and I haven’t filled them up). Calibration.

Not everybody sees or notices lights.

In the daytime, it’s not always easy to see my dashboard lights. Also, when I take very long trips, I attach a little pouch to my handlebars where I can glance at Google Maps to see where to go. That covers my lights.

Piaggio had a solution for that. The manual says that if this light goes on, the bike will be limited to 19 mph for safety and to get your attention. I actually found that the bike was willing to go faster than that.

What really got my attention was that with the light on, the bike insanely jacked up the idle. The bike wanted to go forward without me hitting the throttle. The bike fought me at red lights when I had the brakes on.

That got my attention. That was kinda scary actually, mostly because I hadn’t experienced it before and didn’t know what the light meant.

But it made me think about user experience and messaging. How do you get someone’s attention for something? And how do you decide what is important enough to make the bike drive differently to get that attention?

Ultimately, the front suspension issue was fine once I shut the bike off, sat for a minute, and turned it back on. Calibrated fine, drove 20 miles perfectly. Idle back to normal. I read the manual and found out that this error can usually be cleared out by hitting a certain button twice (which I didn’t know). So this shouldn’t be a permanent issue.

It sure got my attention. If only we could do that with websites and apps… make them physically behave oddly to get someone’s attention. 🙂