Tagged: Marzocchi

The bigger brother: 1986 Moto Morini 500 Sport

For Sale: 1986 Moto Morini 500 Sport

OK readers, here is a genuine rarity for your enjoyment today. In the last post on CSBFS as well as this post on RSBFS, we introduced you to the gem known as the Moto Morini 3 1/2. The little 350cc vee twin is well known for its handling, but also known to be down on power. Since there is no substitute for cubic inches, Moto Morini released a larger version of the bike, known as the 500 Sport. This example is about as pristine as you will hope to find, should you be lucky enough to find one of these rare models at all.

With a beefier frame and larger displacement, the 500 Sport was a physically larger – as well as faster – motorcycle than the diminutive 3 1/2 Sport. Will 11 or so ponies on the standard edition smaller bike, the 500 was good for approximately 46 HP. The 72 degree vee twin was connected to the six speed transmission by way of a dry clutch arrangement – and offers up a dry clutch rattle similar to Ducatis. There is no bespoke oil pump to pressurize the upper rocker boxes. That duty is left to crankcase pressure venting oil mist up the pushrod tubes. Thus, Moto Morini riders will do themselves well to let these bikes warm up before riding them in anger.

On the chassis side, rear suspension was Ceriani while the front forks were supplied by Marzocchi. Braking duties were handled by a trio of Grimeca discs. A steering damper is standard equipment. Overall, the Moto Morini brand was known for using high-end equipment on their bikes, which resulted in a high price point.

From the seller:
The final stage of the early Moto Morini twins’ evolution, the 500 Sport is a handsome and affordable – and very unique – Italian classic. With its Heron cylinder heads, dry clutch and six-speed box and top-drawer Italian components, these are exotic yet reliable machines. This example shows very little evidence of its low 6,854 miles and has spent the better part of its life on display in a climate-controlled environment.

Check out the hi-resolution pics HERE and you’ll see just how well-preserved this machine is. There is unfortunately some staining on the left side lower frame and swing arm from a battery acid overflow and a couple of small chips (visible in the hi-res photos) from normal use. Otherwise, mint.

It seems to be a given that as soon as we find a rare and unique bike on either RSBFS or CSBFS we immediately find one or two more just like it. Since good things happen in threes, here is the third Moto Morini found inside the space of a week or so. That is great news for the collector, however – as Moto Morinis do not come around often.

This beauty – by far the best example I have seen in a long time – is available on eBay right now. The seller has provided some good information, as well as a link to some gorgeous high-resolution pictures. If you are at all interested in the brand, I recommend you check them out. As for the bike, the auction has not yet crossed the $4k mark, and the reserve is still in place. Expect this to go to over $5k before the action heats up; bikes in this condition do not appear with great frequency.

For more information and to see those great pictures, . Good luck!!


Don’t call it a Ducati: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra

For Sale: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650

The Italians have a certain style that seems to captivate the enthusiast. They also have a manner of procedure and nomenclature that befuddles everyone who tries to follow along. This bike, this company, and this piece of corporate history are perfect examples of style and confusion rolled into a beautiful design.

Cagiva was a producer of mopeds, scooters and small offroad bikes. Formed by legend Giovanni Castiglioni, the company name is what is known as a portmanteau: a blending of multiple words into a single name. In this case, Cagiva takes its name from the founding father as well as the region where the company was born: CAstiglioni, GIovanni, and VArese (this is similar to how BIMOTA is named). Originally started as a metal manufacturing concern in the 1950s, Cagiva did not turn to the motorcycle world until the 1970s.

The Alazzurra is one of the more confusing bikes produced in the modern era of motorcycling. Long considered a form of “badge engineering,” the bike started out as an engine deal – namely the Ducati 650cc Pantah engine – and comprised a Ducati engine married to a Cagiva-designed and branded chassis. And while Cagiva and Ducati were separate entities when the Alazzaurra was first introduced, one was bought by the other by the time this 1987 bike was introduced. Confused yet?

Cagiva, lead by Giovanni Castiglioni, actually purchased Ducati in 1985. That same year the company also completed a buyout of Moto Morini. Two years later Cagiva added to their holdings by purchasing Husqvarna. Meanwhile, they continued to market in the US under Cagiva, failing to understand the strength of the Ducati brand in America.

If we are to follow the story to its natural conclusion (i.e. to the present day), Cagiva purchased the rights to the MV Agusta name in 1991, sold off Ducati and Moto Morini to US-based investment firm Texas Pacific Group in 1996, restructured under the MV Agusta banner in 1999 (MV Agusta now holding rights to Cagiva and Husqvarna), were acquired by Harley Davidson in 2008, and in late 2010 after HD poured millions into MV Agusta in terms of production facilities and clearing the books of debt, Giovanni Castiglioni stepped in and bought his old company back. Ironically, Ducati has also been resold (private firm Performance Motorcycles SpA), and is now Italian owned once more.

From the seller:
Up for auction is a 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650. I am selling this for my Dad who is selling his collection. The bike has 1,667 Miles on the odometer. It has been fully serviced within the last 200 miles and is ready to ride now. The service included all of the mechanical maintenance as well as New Tires, POR 15 sealed the inside of the gas tank, Powdercoated the frame and wheels, all of the bodywork newly painted (except for the tank), and new BUB exhaust pipes.

This seller has offered many classic and rare bikes on eBay as of late – somewhere in Michigan there is an awesome collection slowing being parted out. Thankfully, there is a video of this particular bike running:

That is a classic Ducati sound, and those BUB pipes sound awesome. The bike is not stock, has had some re-paint work done, and has had other modifications that one can only find out by talking to the seller (for example: do the lack of belt covers simply make a statement or indicate other modifications below the surface?).

The value of an Alazzurra – the closest thing to a “real” Ducati you could purchase in the US during the early 1980s – is downright reasonable. This particular gem, with only 1,667 miles, is currently sitting at $1,000. And this is a no reserve auction! With a capable chassis, Marzocchi suspension and the legendary Ducati L-twin desmo powerplant, this is a classic that begs to be ridden. For more information, pictures and info, . Good luck, and tell ’em you saw it on CSBFS!


1980 Reno Leoni Ducati 900SS

For Sale: 1980 Reno Leoni Ducati 900SS

There was a time that a Reno Leoni tuned bike would practically guarantee your sucess at the racetrack. Just ask Jimmy Adamo, Mike Baldwin or Freddie Spencer….. Reno Leoni is most famous for his cylinder heads, but built very capable, complete motors. In the day, Reno Leoni bikes would post the fastest trap speeds, namely due to advanced cylinder head porting.

This particular Ducati 900 Super Sport, a classic bevel-drive beauty, bears the distinction of Reno Leoni. The bike itself is immaculate, and is – in and of itself – a gorgeous time piece from a different era. Adding Reno Leoni tuning to the mix only adds to the value, mystique and exclusivity of this particular offering.

From the seller:
I have owned this Ducati 900SS for several years and it has been on display during the entire time in a heated and air conditioned facility. It is extremely clean, having been partially restored a number of years ago to a very high standard. It was ridden after the restoration and now has an extremely nice patina to the paint. Of course there are a few paint blemishes, but overall it is a beautiful Ducati 900SS. It will be a standout at any Ducati show!

It has not been used since my purchase, deciding to have it on display rather than add any additional miles. If you want to see and hear the Ducati….click on You Tube and enter 1980 Ducati 900SS Reno Leoni. You will be viewing the actual Ducati that I am selling.

The date of manufacture was 07/79, however it is being sold as a 1980. The case # is 089238/DM860. The original Brembo brake tags are still on the front fork and are dated 05/79. Forks are Marzocchi.

What good are pictures when you can also have sound? Here is a video of this exact bike in action!

This beautiful 900 Super Sport has a mere 6,200 on the odometer. There is some discrepency with the model year, apparently: Date of Manufacture is 1979, the model year is 1980, and the title – due to some clerical error – shows it as a 1974. As we always caution buyers, do your homework up front and be sure and ask lots of questions. There is no reason to believe this bike is not what is is being portrayed as, but it never hurts to be careful.

If the details all check out, this is one pretty valuable 900 SS – not that bikes in this condition these go for peanuts to start with. However the Reno Leoni connection, together with the condition and general appearance will only bolster the already strong market for this era motorcycle.

The opening ask for this bike is a sobering $20,000, with reserve not met. The BIN is set for $25,000. Somewhere in between, someone might just go home with an amazing piece of racing legend history: A Reno Leoni tuned Ducati 900 Super Sport. For more details on the auction, to look at more pictures and to read more from the seller, . I believe this one is really worth a look!