1975 Moto Morini 3-1/2 Sport — Classic Italian Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics

25 Янв 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 1975 Moto Morini 3-1/2 Sport — Classic Italian Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics отключены
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring

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Moto Morini 3-1/2

Years produced: 1972-1987

power: 39hp @ 8,500rpm

Top 107mph (period test)

344cc air-cooled 72-degree

Weight (half tank 353lb (160kg)

Price $1,795 (1974)/$3,500-$4,500

John likes his Moto Morini Not because it’s rare (it is) or (that too) but because a joy to ride. “It’s a rev happy, handling, great stopping It’s a keeper,” John of the first Moto Morini 350

Never heard of a Moto You’re not alone. Although northern Italian company has constructing interesting motorcycles 1937, Morinis have been built in large and only a few ever made way to the United States.


Alfonso Morini started out motorcycles before World War I. the war, he partnered with Mazzetti to build two-… on which Morini, an accomplished won numerous races under the name. The partnership broke up in at which point Morini Moto Morini, building three-wheelers in Bologna, Italy.

factory was destroyed during War II, but he gathered up the pieces and was back in by 1946, building 125cc Morini designed its first four-… single in 1949, and the Fifties and Sixties fielded an racing team in the lightweight with Giacomo Agostini and Provini in the saddle at different In the mid-Sixties, Morini started its lightweights to the United States.

Gabriella Morini, Alfonso’s took control of the company her father’s … in 1969, one of the few women ever to manage a factory. In 1970, she convinced Lambertini to leave Ferrari to for Moto Morini, where he himself an innovative designer.

The Morini 3-1/2 GT was the first design to come, displayed at the show in 1971 and on the market in the of 1973. Lambertini envisioned the as one of a series of modular motorcycles, and in to the 350 twins Morini produced 125 and 250 to Lambertini’s designs.

In 1974, the Corporation started importing 3-1/2s to the United States. Baver, the spark plug Herdan, still runs the At the time, he was a Triumph dealer and an of accessories from Europe. says Ivan Boyson, an manufacturer, brought Morini to his “I read about Morinis in a then called the factory.

I understand what they talking about, so I went there and worked out a deal,” recalls.

Herdan was (and is) a company. “It was tough,” Baver “I worked hard, though, and had one or two dealers in almost every I never had a problem with — that was the main thing. I there was going to be a problem if I supply parts.”

When the Morini 3-1/2 hit these in late 1974, it was available in two the Sport (or Café Special) a large twin-sided drum clip-on bars and an excellent seat, and the Strada (or Standard) slightly less power, a seat and touring bars. motorcycle enthusiasts and period motorcycle magazines were by the peppy little 350.

Morinis in the U.S.

This was very different from the midsize bike of the era. To with, the Morini’s 344cc was a 72-degree V-twin, decidedly from what most were used to. With a exhaust note, good and smooth power delivery, its was unique on the market.

While cam engines were the talk of the valves on the 3-1/2 were operated, due to a lack of development but the top end was otherwise quite unusual. heads, where the combustion is machined into the piston of the cylinder head, were on racing cars of the 1960s. So it was for Lambertini, with his automotive to use them on the Morini.

Another idea incorporated into the new was a toothed timing belt the camshaft, a first for a motorcycle The lower end featured a wet sump and a crankshaft with automotive-style, connecting rods riding on bearings. The transmission was a six-speed, fed a dry clutch.

These innovative added up to a 353 pound (with a tank of gas), 39 horsepower (Sport version) that 24.8 foot/pounds of torque. appreciated the peppy engine, the gear changes from the box, the light clutch and the handling. “Once clear of the of city and traffic, the Morini smiling, as does the rider,” Cycle World in an August test report.

While generally liked the 3-1/2, it did some issues. Many out the lack of an electric start and the awkward ignition switch under the left rear of the gas tank. And while the bike easily enough, it took to warm up.

However, the main the Morini 3-1/2 had, at in the U.S. market, were and economic. While … in Europe might be drawn to a 350, in the U.S. a 350 was what a kid — or worse, a “girl” — and it was expected to be and undemanding. In 1974 the Sport at $1,795.

At the time, that kind of would buy a nice used CB750 or a brand new CB550 with a few bucks left for insurance.

Rider magazine the Strada version of the Morini durable and easy to maintain on an trip. It was, they a miniature touring machine combined great looks, gas mileage and excellent handling. all this, most testers obligated to soften their for the Morini because of its price, way up there for such a “little

Shortly after the 3-1/2 in America, Morini introduced a version of the twin, which was imported to the U.S. Sales got a jump-start when Playboy featured a Morini among its in one issue. “Things went for a few weeks,” Baver remembers.

The changed little over the 15 it was built. A front disc was added in 1977, and an electric appeared in the early Eighties. as the 1980s wore on, sales, huge, started dropping. In 1987, Gabriella Morini in the towel and sold Morini to

Aside from developing a few like the odd Moto Morini Cagiva ultimately showed interest in producing motorcycles the Morini name, and the brand moribund until 1999, a nephew of Alfonso Morini the name back in partnership the Berti family.

Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring

In 2005, the and the 9-1/2, the first new Moto in 17 years, appeared. Like the these 1,200cc fuel-injected sport bikes were by none other than Lambertini. Like his previous the new Morinis quickly acquired an reputation, and even sold until the economic downturn in and 2009.

At this point in time, Morini is in economic difficulty and for a buyer.

Back to basics

the sale of Morini to Cagiva, the Corporation kept busy parts to American Moto fans — and running a small John Burkhard, a collector of motorcycles, learned about from a long-time fan. “I Italian bikes in general, and are such cool looking Someone told me about particular bike, and I pursued it. I the owner an offer, but it was not accepted.”

The had been a dealer, and said he the revvy engine too much to with it. Two years later, he called John. “He said he had his house and was moving to Oregon,” recalls. “He said he could get his in the van, but not the Morini, and asked if I wanted the Morini. I said I come get it!”

Retrieving his Morini, John realized the had been repainted with a can. Yet aside from the paint job, everything was original and correct. John riding the bike, and was very with it for a few months — until he hearing a noise from the

Unsure what it was, he had pal Saunders, a well known journalist who also happens to be at diagnosing engine ills, it a listen. “He said it was a crank John recalls.

There as you might imagine, few Morini out there, but luckily John was to split the engine case on his The original owner had the factory and most of the factory tools, and he them to John along the bike, which made and reassembly easier. “I looked at A bearing was sloppy, but a friend a new crank bushing, which the play out of the crank,” John

Still, as all mechanics know, with the best set of tools and things can and will go wrong.

“I to ride the bike on that Moto Melee ride,” remembers, “so I was up ‘till 1 a.m. the before the ride. I put in all new seals and assembled the motor, installed it and to bed. The next morning, I I only had sixth gear.

I another bike.” Some after the ride, he disassembled the transmission and found he had put the gear in backwards. “It’s very to do — the two sides look almost I put it back together, and it’s a happy runner ever

John had the bike repainted in the colors, and it is all original except for the “The original owner them himself; they stock, are well thought out and well. I decided to keep Shifting is right side, one up and down, as was common on Italian before DOT regulations mandated side shift and down for

John does not baby twin — he rides it hard. “I can all day at 75mph,” he says. The only problem he has had was a failed ignition “I rewound it myself and it works Otherwise, the Morini is still on the original wire and switches, to the reputation of Italian electrics for apart at a moment’s notice.

is simple, as John explains: it’s cold you use the chokes. neutral, gas on and it will fire on the third kick.” However, the takes quite a while to up, and won’t idle until it is

Once up to temperature, the 3-1/2 is a partner to the sporting motorcyclist, and to control in traffic. “It revs like a two-…,” John “The controls are a little and you will hit the brakes before you the horn,” he continues. “And got a big front drum brake. not the lightest of brakes, but it works and I’m happy.”

The original springing — Marzocchi and rear — still has plenty of and the Morini will perform on dirt roads. On the highway, it has vibration, but John points out the in size between the 3-1/2 and else on a six-lane road can a rider feeling intimidated. are a small moving object in a large world.”

Maintenance is to a modern bike — after the Morini has electronic ignition. just more of it. The Dell carbs seem to go out of tune often, and the bike needs frequent oil changes than machines.

John estimates he the oil every 1,000 to 1,500 and tunes the carbs every miles. He also changes the cam every couple of years. from cleaning off the road and keeping an eye on the remaining tire that’s about it. “Things tend to rattle loose,” he “It’s a joy to ride.

It’s fun and — and you won’t see another one coming at It’s a keeper.”  MC


more about the motorcycles in this article:

Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring
Moto Morini 3 1/2 Touring


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