Tagged: Moto Morini

Brains Versus Brawn: 1977 Moto Morini 3½ for Sale

1977 Moto Morini 350 L Side

Today’s Moto Morini 3½ offers up classic Italian style from a forgotten brand. Or they would be forgotten, if it’s possible to forget something you never knew in the first place, and I’d expect that very few Americans have any idea the brand ever existed. A relaunch was tried a few years back, with the usual range of sporty nakeds and adventure-touring bikes. But they were never available in the US and while those bikes were throbbing and dangerous, they didn’t offer up anything new to buyers, except a nameplate with dubious cachet. Those bikes also seemed to lack the traditional Morini virtues as well, as the brand typically stressed handling over brute power.

1977 Moto Morini 350 R Side Detail

Motorcycling history is filled with bikes specifically built for the American market. They were often powered by newer, larger versions of existing engines and these updated powerplants were apparently intended to help us conquer the wide-open spaces of the West. There’s a reason Harley has the big bike market cornered here, and it stems from the kind of riding we do and the kind of roads we have, since many people have to drive quite a ways to find a twisty section of asphalt to enjoy. But either through hubris or simple economic necessity, Moto Morini never developed a bike bigger than the 500cc version of their 72º v-twin: the oddly-named “3½” was basically a 350 and would have been classed as a “middleweight” at the time.

1977 Moto Morini 350 Dash

Instead, they focused on handling, and Moto Morini twins are famously enjoyable to hustle through the canyons, with a surprisingly sophisticated rubber belt-driven camshaft, Heron-heads, and a six-speed transmission. In 1977, many bikes made do with just four gears, and that six-speed would have been a very exotic selling point.

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Moto Morini 3½ for Sale

For sale is a red and black 1977 Moto Morini 3 1/2 has 8,499 miles that has been well-maintained. This Italian sports bike in a great original bike in good condition with matching numbers. This bike is all factory stock down to the twin factory pipes, paint and all of the informational stickers applied by Moto Morini. This bike has a V-Twin engine, 344cc motor and a 6 speed transmission. Carburetors were recently rebuilt.  It is a low maintenance bike.

The exterior is red and black paint with hand pin striping.  The paint is in excellent condition with just one minor ding in the right hand side of the gas tank by the seat.  The black leather seat is comfortable and in excellent condition with no rips or tears.

This is a great bike to commute on, or blast around on a curvy road, or as a sport tourer. It is a great original bike in good shape.

1977 Moto Morini 350 R Side Engine

With less than 10,000 miles on the odometer, this is a pretty clean little motorcycle. Bidding is up to $3,750.00 and is very active, with the reserve met. Values on Morinis have seen a rise in the past year or two, but they’re still incredible bargains, compared to basically any Ducati and most Guzzis. This 3½ is stylish, sophisticated, easy to maintain, and a great choice if you’re looking to buy a classic Italian motorcycle and want something just a little bit different.

-tad

1977 Moto Morini 350 R Side

Champagne Taste, Beer Budget: 1975 Moto Morini 3½ Strada For Sale

1975 Moto Morini Strada L Side

Still the bargain of the vintage Italian biking scene, today’s Moto Morini 3½ Strada needs a bit of cosmetic work, but the price is in the ballpark and is said to run very nicely. With just 344cc’s and two valves per cylinder, you’ll need to make the most of the bike’s prodigious handling capabilities to keep up with bigger bikes on back roads but, like the RD400, these were famous giant-slayers in their day.

1975 Moto Morini Strada R Side Rear

The unconventional 72º v-twin was more compact than a 90º engine, and the smaller displacement meant that vibrations weren’t noticably increased. And while many machines still made do with a four-speed gearbox, the Morini’s six-speed part made sure riders could get the most from the bike’s 35-ish horses. The engine used pushrods to operate its valves, but the camshaft was driven by a toothed rubber belt, and the heads themselves were “Heron”-style, reducing manufacturing costs while allowing nearly 60mpg.

The bike came in two flavors: “Strada” and “Sport,” with the Sport being the sportier of the pair. The Strada came equipped with lower pegs and higher bars and a slightly lower state of tune for the engine.

1975 Moto Morini Strada R Side Engine

Period reviews found very little to complain about, other than the performance-per-dollar when compared to Japanese four-cylinder machines. But the Morini had vastly superior handling and that difficult to quantify Italian style that made it worth the cost then, and a complete bargain now.

1975 Moto Morini Strada Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Moto Morini 3½ Strada for Sale

The bike has been in storage for many years (at least 15 years)  There is a workshop manual with the bike, there are some original tools.  the timing belt was just replaced and there is another new belt and the puller for the flywheel needed to replace the belt, with the bike.

It has a new rear chain. I went through the fuel system.    The bike runs beautifully, it has a 6 speed gearbox.  electrical system is good, system charges, Lights all work. new battery. the tires are very old.

The miles are correct, it is missing the right side tank emblem, there is a dent in the gas tank and some rust at the very rear of the right muffler. ( see pictures)   The alloy ball end is broken off the clutch lever but the bike does not appear to have any road damage

1975 Moto Morini Strada Rear

The $3,450 Buy It Now price seems smack in the middle for Morinis right now. This one has some cosmetic imperfections, including the missing tank badge on one side and the dent along the top, but with such low miles and in running condition, it looks like this will just need a basic tune up and a new set of tires to be ready to go!

1975 Moto Morini Strada Tank Detail

These are uncommon motorcycles that provide a ton of bang for your buck, so if you’re a fan of Italian twins but your budget won’t stretch to a vintage Ducati, grab one of these unintimidating little machines and get ready for the spring riding season!

-tad

1975 Moto Morini Strada R Side Front

Budget Italian Racer: 1982 Moto Morini 250

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike L Side

Another unusual racebike up for sale this week, this time a very funky Moto Morini 250 with an enormous, wind-blocking fairing. I’m not sure if this would increase or decrease the bike’s top speed, but it should make it easy to relax on long straights, tucked into the bubble of still air behind it. You could maybe read a magazine…

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike Dash

With no real modern presence, at least in the US, Moto Morini is still the forgotten Italian marque, although they survived well into the 1980’s in Europe. Part of the reason for their relative obscurity here is their insistence on small-displacement bikes: they never got bigger than 500 until they were resurrected in 2004.

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike Front Drum

But Morini, in spite of modest top speed performance, always built sophisticated bikes with impressive handling. The 72º v-twin was designed to be compact and smooth, and put power though a six-speed gearbox. This innovative engine utilized traditional pushrods to operate the valves, but used a toothed belt to drive the camshaft instead of a heavy, noisy chain and the engines famously featured Heron-style heads that gave excellent fuel economy and simplified manufacturing.

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Moto Morini 250 race bike for Sale

Dunstall tank, Grimeca hub, Akront front rim, Takasago rear rim, Paioli forks, Adj Progressive shocks
Fitted with Moto Morini 3½ top end.
Reportedly raced at
Sears Point in the early 80’s, and clearly set up for racing, with wired nuts and bolts, and engine breathers connected to overflow bottles. No battery, lighting, or brake lights, etc, (Bike runs without battery)
Appears to have been in good shape when stored with gas removed from tank and carbs. Engine sounded good upon start up (see video below from last summer) After this run it was drained of fuel and back into storage
Bike will need work to make it roadworthy, tank sealing, paint, tires, mechanical work, tuning etc.
This bike is not a show bike. It was set up purely for functionality, not looks.
I’m not an expert in this field so use your own judgment and research before bidding.
Clear title in my name (secured by bond)
Mileage listed for ref only, actual miles not known
Stand not included in sale
Bike must be picked up within 30 days

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike Rear Hub

While this is very cool, it is obviously modified from stock, with heads from a 3½ [350cc] bike, so be careful to read the rules of whatever race series you plan to enter this in. Conveniently Morinis came with both electric and kick start, so this bike simply ditches the heavy, unreliable electric system and goes with the lighter kick that eliminates the need for a battery.

-tad

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike R Front

Classy Little Italian: 1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 for Sale

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Front

If you’re looking to ride something a bit different and don’t have a ton of cash to spend, you can’t go wrong with a Moto Morini like this 350 K2. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Morini’s v-twins were available in both 350 and 500 flavors. This example is clearly a child of the 80’s, but the styling is relatively restrained for the period and very tasteful.

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 R Rear

Powered by a little 72° v-twin that was more compact than the 90° engines from Ducati and Guzzi but was still very smooth, the 344cc engine generated a respectable 37hp and it put those horses through a six-speed gearbox and dry clutch combo. While pushrods were a slightly low-tech feature, the engine was otherwise very sophisticated: the camshaft was driven by a toothed rubber belt and Heron-style heads helped provide excellent fuel economy, as well as yet more interesting trivia for bike-night discussions.

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 Dash

Largely overlooked here in the US because of their small displacements, Moto Morinis made up in handling what they lacked in outright power. Famously nimble and sophisticated, they’ve been overlooked by collectors for a very long time, although prices have been on the rise in recent years. Morini twins featured both kick and electric start but, as the seller mentions: the “electric leg” was always a bit temperamental…

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Rear2

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 for Sale

If you are looking at this, then you already know that these Moto Morinis are renowned for their razor-sharp handling and their nimble, fun-to-ride nature. This one is no exception. The V-twin is surprisingly powerful for a 350 and road tests had their top speed around 100 MPH. The 6-speed trans is a delight to use, snicking up or down with a left-hand shifter that was much improved over earlier versions. The dry clutch is easy to pull but it never slips. It starts easily with the kicker and it also has an electric starter that works-sometimes. These engines have a reputation for reliability and durability. They need very little maintenance with their electronic ignition and simple screw-type valve adjusters.

When I bought the bike four years ago I was amazed at its excellent original condition. When I got it home I changed the oil, cleaned the oil filter and adjusted the valves. Since it had the original timing belt, I changed it for a new one that I got from North Leceister Motorcycles. They are the experts on these and they have a great stock of parts. They hold the K2 model in very high regard.

I have since put about 750 miles on it. Some of those were from riding it in the Cycle World Rolling Concours at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2012. It was in the Modern Classic class along with some really over-the-top restorations, so I felt almost guilty about it winning 3rd place since all I had to do was wash it!

The bike shows well, but there are the inevitable imperfections that one finds in a used, original bike. The windscreen is cracked. The flopping keys have worn the paint away at the ignition switch. There are a few nicks, the worst is shown in the pics.

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Rear

Bidding on this is active, although at just $1,500 or so, the reserve has not been met. Which is no surprise: aside from a couple minor scuffs, this thing is in amazing condition and is very rare. Morinis are rising in value, but are still very affordable. If you’re looking for a quirky, collectable Italian that you will definitely not see at your regular bike meetup, give this one a serious look.

-tad

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 R Side

Low Miles, Low-Buck Exotica: 1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport for Sale

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Front

For those of you who thought Italian exotica were far out of reach, check out this very nice 1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport.  Postwar Italy saw a boom in two-wheeled motorcycle manufacture: the population of a country devastated by war was eager to get back to work and was hungry for cheap, stylish transportation. Obviously, many manufacturers of scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles came into existence and quickly disappeared during this period, but a few survived into the modern day, or have been resurrected, like zombies in Armani suits.

1980 Moto Mornini 500 Sport Dash

Moto Morini was one of the latter, a company that actually began before World War I, then faded after a purchase by Cagiva in the late 1980’s, only to be brought back again during the late 90’s as a sort of brutish Ducati rival, a shame considering their earlier history of making smaller-engined sporting machines. In fact, Morini’s insistence on not catering to the American market by creating larger-displacement bikes may have sealed the company’s doom: the 500 Sport shown here was as big as they got.

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport R Side

But don’t let the relatively small engines fool you: these are serious sporting machines with revvy and sweet v-twins that made useful power and returned excellent fuel mileage, capable of embarrassing much more powerful machines in the corners and on the brakes. With a very rare for the period six-speed gearbox and a compact 72° engine with a rubber belt to drive the cam and Heron heads, Morinis were technologically advanced, brains-over-brawn machines.

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Engine

Of course, no Italian bike of the period would be complete without some sort of mechanical foible. In Morini’s case, it was the fitting of a kickstart lever as well as a generally useless electric start. While it is possible to find bikes with the electric starter in good working condition, they’re far from reliable and most Morini owners seem to just ignore them when they fail and use the kick start.

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Rear

From the original eBay listing, which includes more of the seller’s history with the marque than of the bike itself: 1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport for Sale

I was witness to the entire history of this particular machine from when it left Herm Baver’s (Herdan Corp.) Dealer/Distributership to the present time. Sometime in the early eighties I bought my 1980 3 1/2 Sport Morini from my friend Jason who was a real Morini fancier and who had bought a number of machines from Herm. I was living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the time and my neighbor Ira, who was riding an old Triumph Bonnie then, liked my 350 Morini enough that he bought this 500 Sport from Jason soon after. Both these Moto Morinis, it should be noted, had only the mileage registered that’s required to ride them from Port Clinton, Pa (the home to this day of Herdan Corp.) to Jason’s house in Greenwood lake, N.Y. They were barely broken in.

Anyway, the city’s a tough place to have a really nice motorcycle and Ira was never comfortable leaving it any- -where so he sold it to an Englishman I’d sold some other bikes to and went back to his old Bonnie. Soon after, John, the Englishman, went back to Jolly Old leaving the bike with me and here it jolly well is(still in Ira’s name) ready for a new “la Strega” transfer (included with the bike) on the saddle tailpiece and probably a set of tires, as the mint originals are maybe getting a bit wooden after 34 years. Aside from that there’s a hairline crack in one of the side covers and a scratch at the back of the tank near the saddle (see photos). Otherwise it’s the thing of beauty “time capsule” you see here.

Funny, I’ve been referring to my Ducati as “la Strega” since I got her. For those of you not fluent in Italian, “Strega” translates directly as “witch”, although my Italian buddy also reliably tells me it’s also used as a synonym for “bitch.” In either case, probably not the best nickname for such a fun little bike! The seller doesn’t include all that much detail regarding the actual maintenance history, but you can probably infer from his background and the cosmetic condition that it’s been pretty well cared for.

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport Clocks

These bikes have been climbing in value for a while now: 7 or 8 years ago, when I was bike shopping for budget Italian machines like this, they could be had for $2,500, if you could actually find one. They are typically well-loved, but also generally well-used and patina’d bikes in keeping with their low-cost exotic status. But this may be the very nicest example I’ve seen for sale, although perhaps that’s just the really nice, high-resolution photos talking!

Bidding is active, but the reserve has not been met at just over $4k with about six days to go on the auction.

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Side

The Morini name may not have the cache of Ducati or MV Agusta, and their smaller-displacements and slightly forgotten status has kept prices comparatively low. The bikes are reliable, and maintenance parts are generally available for them if you don’t mind doing a bit of research. If you’ve always fancied a classic Italian, but thought they were out of reach, keep an eye on this one!

-tad

1980 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Front Close

1980 Moto Morini 3½ Sport for Sale

1980 Moto Morini 350 L side

With even the unlovely Ducati 860GT and Mark II and III Moto Guzzis rapidly escalating in value, riders on the hunt for budget Italian exotica may finally be turning to Morini to get their fix.

Either because of a lack of development budget or sheer stubbornness, Morini never got caught up in the frenzy to develop larger machines for American buyers that afflicted… Well just about every other major manufacturer. They stuck with their middleweight philosophy that stressed handling and light weight, and the 3½ [344cc] was the little brother to their 500, but was in no way de-contented or stripped-down: it was a legitimate sportbike that could easily embarrass larger machines with an experienced pilot at the helm.

1980 Moto Morini 350 Dash

The 72º v-twin was compact and smooth, and made the most of its respectable 37bhp [in Sport form] with a rare-for-the-period six-speed gearbox. This innovative engine featured traditional pushrods, but used a toothed belt to drive the camshaft and featured Heron heads that gave excellent fuel economy.

This particular example features an angular full fairing that, until recently, I hadn’t seen before on a Morini. Does it work? Probably. Is it particularly good-looking? Well I’m not a fan, but if you love early 80’s Guzzis, this might be right up your alley. It’s likely easy to remove and reinstall if you ever intend to sell it.

1980 Moto Morini 350 R Bar

From the original listing: 1980 Moto Morini 3½ Sport for Sale

Offered for sale, a fully-sorted Morini 3 1/2 Sport (yes, a real Sport, has the “S” stamp on the engine, see pics). 

Was owned (we believe original owner) by a motorcycle collector who unfortunately cannot ride anymore due to injuries from a car accident, then acquired by long-time Italian motorcycle specialist in 2012. All issues sorted out and is now turn-key, unlike a couple other vintage Morini’s that have popped up here recently. Had posted this here a few times and decided to throw some more maintenance items at it before re-posting. 

Original paint and tires

Factory fairing and lowers

Modified mufflers with re-packable inserts.

Electric tach and starter working fine

Cracked red turn signal reflector, right rear, repaired poorly

Bike is being ridden daily, mileage may change. Just put 200 miles on last weekend, no problems.

The seller mentions that the starter is working fine, which is definitely notable, since it wasn’t exactly reliable, even when new. No worries though: the bike also featured a kick-start and that’s generally how people get them going these days.

1980 Moto Morini 350 Front

The listing also features a very nice video of the bike being started and revved.

These are popular bikes among fans of classics who like to use their bikes, and parts are available to keep these on the road. Honestly, these have always been hard to find, but prices have been almost embarrassingly low for far too long and are slowly on the rise. Grab one now and stash it in your garage, or show up at bike nights and impress with your eclectic taste.

-tad

1980 Moto Morini 350 R Side

1967 Moto Morini Corsarino for Sale

1967 Moto Morini Corsarino R Side

As you may have picked up from previous articles, I’m a big fan of both Italian bikes and small-displacement machines. There’s just something so fun about them, something sporty, but not too serious that strikes the right chords for me. In an era of 2000cc v-twin cruisers and 180bhp sportbikes, bikes like that remind us that there’s more to motorcycling than size, that maybe your first motorcycle really shouldn’t be a Suzuki Hayabusa.

And this little 1967 Moto Morini Corsarino expresses that perfectly.

1967 Moto Morini Corsarino Decal

As you may have guessed from the little pirate decal, “corsarino” translates to “little pirate, which pretty perfectly evokes the spirit of this machine. Intended for younger riders just getting into the world of motorcycling, it gave Moto Morini an affordable, entry level product to get their hooks in early.

There’s not much performance here, but the sexy looks and sporty name would be ideal for a young person looking for some mobility to help them explore their bourgeoning independence.

1967 Moto Morini Corsarino Dash

The 48cc motor was actually a four-stroke, unusual in a sea of two-stroke competitors, and although early models got by with a 3 speed twist-grip shift, this later example has a four-speed foot-shift gearbox. These big-bike features gave the Corsarino a much more adult character than its more moped/scooter-like rivals.

From the original listing: 1967 Moto Morini Corsarino for Sale

1967 moto morini corsarino model z t 49 bike is in perfect condition has been stored since new. only 79 original miles.. .you will not find one as good as this.. .this is a rare find, in this condition.

As you can see, there’s not a ton of info here, although the background in several pictures suggests a good home full of bigger motorcycles that I’m sure are great role-models.

1967 Moto Morini Corsarino R Side Day

These things are really cool, and I’d love to have one in my garage. Bidding is up to $3,500 with the reserve not yet met. It has extremely low miles and is certainly rare, although it does seem like the seller may be aiming pretty high for what was intended to be a budget-friendly learner. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it looks to be in nice shape. Obviously, there are probably a few issues that would need to be addressed before putting this on the road, but if you’re looking for an original showpiece, you certainly won’t find one with lower mileage.

Or uglier handlebars. Seriously, no matter what the buyer plans for this, they need to go.

-tad

1967 Moto Morini Corsarino L Side

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Side

Looking for a sporty Italian classic with handling, rarity, style, and a reasonable price? One you can own, maintain, and ride without having to sell a kidney or two? Look no further: I’ve found your ride, a 1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport.

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport R Engine

Moto Morini never developed a big motor to compete with rivals from Guzzi, Laverda, MV Agusta, and Ducati, which likely explains why they’re largely forgotten in this country. It certainly isn’t because they’re lacking in the technology department: compact 72º v-twin, interesting Heron-style cylinder heads, a six-speed gearbox, and electric start? Which one of those other manufacturers offered all that in one package?

And while these aren’t horsepower kings and won’t win too many drag races, you should catch the bigger boys in the corners: by all accounts, Morini’s are sweet-handling and very nimble. And keep in mind that, with 46hp, the 500cc version certainly isn’t slow.

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport Dash

This particular example is claimed to start “on the button”, which is notable since Morini’s electric start is generally thought to be decorative…

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport for Sale

Up for bid is a pristine 1983 Moto Morini 500 V Sport. I bought the bike with 460 miles and it has only 1300 now. The bike is in pristine condition as the mileage would indicate.

Under my ownership, I added stainless mufflers, billet V stacks for the Dellorto carbs (which were re jetted), CRG mirrors, metal/enameled tank, side cover and triple tree badges,stainless hardware throughout the bike, and rear sets from Wolfgang Tritsch. The rearsets required a modification to the kick-start lever and new shift lever linkage to be fabricated.

The bike starts on the button or will kick over and start on first kick. It runs flawlessly and is a joy to ride.

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Engine

This later Morini lacks some of the classic styling cues of earlier versions, but on the plus side it has obviously been very well cared for and has almost impossibly low miles for a bike that must be very tempting to ride. Also note the vented clutch cover, with the dry clutch peeking out.

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport L Wheel

Bidding is at $4,500 with the reserve not yet met and plenty of time to go. These used to be available at that price just a few years ago, when you could find them. It looks like values of nice Morinis are on the rise, although maybe that’s just inflation…

-tad

1983 Moto Morini 500 Sport R Side

Almost New:1983 Moto Morini 500

1983 Moto Morini 500 L Front

Unlike their other European competitors, Moto Morini never succumbed to the pressure to create bigger-engined motorcycles to compete for the American market. This 500cc machine is about as big as they got, and owners had to rely on “sweet handling” and “economical” and “six-speed gearbox” for bragging rights. Specifications were interesting, with a 72º v-twin that struck a good balance between smoothness and packaging, “Heron”- style heads that are probably worth an article all on their own, the aforementioned six-speed transmission, and a flexible powerband that peaked at 46hp.

1983 Moto Morini R Side Rear

This particular Morini 500 features a bar-mounted fairing. I’m not sure whether or not this is actually a Morini part or something aftermarket. In the early 80’s aerodynamics were clearly “in” and many manufacturers of sporty machines that couldn’t really compete with the Japanese in terms of outright performance began to repurpose their machines with a more sport-touring style.

Although Moto Guzzi had their very own wind tunnel to fine-tune their bodywork, most of these early factory efforts were trial-and-error and the results were aesthetically challenged at best… And those bikes that didn’t come from the factory with touring equipment could be fitted with all manner of JC Whitney-esque Windjammer fairings with dubious aerodynamic advantages.

1983 Moto Morini 500 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Moto Morini 500 for Sale

This is a beautiful original Moto Morini.  Has been sitting in a museum for 10 years.  Will need the carbs cleaned and a new battery.  A few small scratches on the tank.  Look at photo.  Great opportunity to own a virtually new Moto Morini from 1983. 

What is it with Morini owners and their very thin descriptions? I guess they figure, “If you have to ask, you’re not the kind of person I want to sell it too, anyway…” But the listing has some photos that perhaps speak for themselves and it does mention that the bike has less than 500 miles on it, making this machine about as new and as sharp as you’re ever likely to find.

1983 Moto Morini 500 R Engine Detail

Bidding is currently at about $5,600 with active interest and several days to go on the auction. I’m not sure if that fairing is from the factory or aftermarket: most Morini’s I’ve seen are unfaired, until we get to the very cool little Dart that looks like a ¾ scale Ducati Paso…

Although Morini prices have risen over the past few years, they still represent a much more affordable way into classic Italian ownership than Ducati or Laverda and are much rarer than a Moto Guzzi.

-tad

1983 Moto Morini 500 R Side

1974 Moto Morini 3½ Strada for Sale

1974 Moto Morini 350 Sport L side

Wow, two Moto Morini 3½’s in one week! These are cool bikes and can be hard to find, although prices have stayed relatively low, in spite of their rarity, and offer a great value if you’re looking for a classic twin and want something unusual to ride around on.

1974 Moto Morini 350 Sport Dash

In case you missed the 3½ that was posted up here earlier this week, the number refers to the approximately 350cc displacement of this little v-twin from one of the forgotten Italian marques. Moto Morini is sort of still making bikes, but they’ve definitely gotten caught up in the “bigger is better” craze, and it’s probably much simpler to just buy one of these.

Their 1970’s bikes were sweet “middleweights”, with handling, class, and good fuel economy at a time when it wasn’t just the big boys that got some serious hardware. Morinis featured six-speed gearboxes, great suspension, and even an electric start. That generally didn’t work. But still…

1974 Moto Morini 350 Sport Kick Start

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Moto Morini 3½ Strada for Sale

I bought this bike (for the second time) in 1994. Took it apart to fix some minor oil seepage in 1996, replaced seals, and didn’t put it back together until 2010 or 2011. Reassembled and briefly ran it to make sure I hadn’t lost any parts, then took it back apart intending a full restoration. Tore it back down. Had frame and pegs, engine mounts, etc powder coated. Painted tank and side covers (not a professional job, I’d rate it a good 5 foot paint job). Intended to replace pistons (useable, but not great) with Sport and also Sport cam. Changed my mind and put it all back together. Too many projects, too few resources (time/money), so I’m selling this to finance other projects. Last week, I put oil in it. It has a small weep at shift shaft. May be due to seals sitting dry since 1996 or maybe I dinged it putting it together. Put gas in it the other day thinking I’d fire it up and set the timing, but then thought I’d better not. I DID NOT clean the sludge trap in the crankshaft. After this many years idle, I think it would be too risky to run without doing so. Also, the timing belt looks good but is at least 20 years old. It has good compression and spark,and shifts through the gears but I won’t run it without doing those 2 things. It needs fork seals and wipers. I intended to replace the fork tubes. They have dings between the triple clamps. I suspect someone used a pliers on them at one time. The kickstart lever needs to be rechromed. Wheels are very nice for their age. To the best of my knowledge, mileage (in kilometers) is accurate. Has both the Strada and Sport seats, some spares I’ve picked up over the years, the few special tools needed for engine overhaul, and all three manuals- service, parts, and engine overhaul.

1974 Moto Morini 350 Sport Parts

I realize that modern discs do a much better job stopping you, but there is something really appealing about the huge front drums on old Laverdas, Guzzis, and Morinis.

While this bike does need some work before it’s ready to demonstrate the handling for which it is so well known, the seller appears to be representing the bike fairly. He mentions a “reasonable” reserve, so this might be a great chance to find out if those cool Heron-style heads really are interchangeable front and rear! Bidding is at just under $1000 with the reserve not met yet. I’d say that, if you have a couple grand burning a hole in your pocket and some space in your garage, you should keep an eye on this one!

-tad

1974 Moto Morini 350 Sport R Rear