Tagged: six-speed

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

Little Blue Bomber: 1975 Honda CB400F Super Sport for Sale

1975 Honda CB400F R Side

The introduction of Honda’s CB750 in 1969 did more than simply redefine what a range-topping bike could be. It heralded an onslaught of sophisticated, reliable machine across their entire range: while sporty midsized offerings from the other Japanese manufacturers were often quick and nimble, but powered by peaky, noisy, smoky two-strokes, Honda used sophisticated overhead-cam twins and fours. In fact, their direct competitor for the famous Yamaha RD350 was this bike, the four cylinder CB400F. 1975 Honda CB400F L Front

Powered by a bored-out version of the 350, the 400F engine actually displaced 408cc, and the bike featured a relatively novel six-speed gearbox, something nearly unheard of outside racing circles in an era when most bikes still used only four.

1975 Honda CB400F R Side Detail

The Honda couldn’t hold a candle to the RD in terms of quick and dirty speed, but it beat the little smoker hands-down when it came to sophistication. Unfortunately, the sportbike market wasn’t especially interested in refinement, so the Honda didn’t sell all that well when new, with buyers in the middleweight sports market opting for the light weight and personality of the Yamaha.

But while the Honda was much heavier, handling was still excellent, and riders of the period found plenty of success on track, with race-prepped bikes capable of true giant-slaying ability and top speeds of over 130mph.

1975 Honda CB400F Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Honda CB400F for Sale

This 1975 Honda 400 Four Super Sport is equipped with a side stand and a center stand which is handy for maintenance. It also has an electric start & a kick start. This is handy if the battery is low, as the starter robs the voltage to the ignition coils. After starting the bike from cold, it needs to warm up on part choke for a few minutes before setting off, or you could find yourself fumbling with the choke whilst riding.

This little guy pulls well from the start (even with its peak power of 37 bhp at 8,500rpm and redline at 10,000 rpm), and with 6 gears to choose from you’ll find your left foot is kept busy if you want to make the most of it. It accelerates well from 0-70 mph, which is the range where most riders will find themselves on this urban super sport. The seating position is slightly bent forward, giving a dominant street fighter feel. The bike handles very well at all speeds providing good cornering and a comfortable ride, and would make a great city commuter anywhere in the world.

This well preserved 1975 Honda CB 400 F only has 12,655 miles on the odometer. The VIN number is CB400F-1027692, Date of Manufacture is 03/75, and Engine ID# is CB400FE-1028229. It is in very nice condition. The bike starts, runs, and shifts very well. The bike is all original with the following exceptions – which were made to get it roadworthy for the new owner:

New “Varnish Blue” paint on gas tank and side covers (professionally done and very nice)

New chrome exhaust muffler

New dash lights/ console  (replaced with new)

New seat cover  (replaced with new)

New tires

New cables for throttle, brake and clutch

New master cylinder

New switch gear for starter and kill switch at throttle side of handlebar

We have gone through this bike and cleaned it from top to bottom and performed the following services:

Installed new brake pads and rebuilt front caliper (with new brake fluid)

Repainted front brake calipers

Polished all chrome parts and accessories

Cleaned and tuned all 4 carburetors

Replaced all fluids

All lights and electrics work perfectly, and the horn work so it will easily pass Texas vehicle inspection. There is not a bit of grease or dirt on this bike anywhere as it was given a very thorough detailing, even in the places you can’t see.

1975 Honda CB400F R Side RearThis one has been repainted and looks to be in excellent physical and mechanical condition. The seller also includes a nice video of the bike being started and running.

These are great little bikes, and can still be found for very reasonable prices. They make excellent “starter classics” since they’re physically on the small side, are reliable, and have decent parts availability.

-tad

1975 Honda CB400F 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

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