The Moto Morini Story RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel Magazine

29 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on The Moto Morini Story RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel Magazine

The Moto Morini Story

Text: Andi Seiler • Photography: Andi Seiler, Eric Bergman

After a long snowy winter and six busy months of restoration it’s time to face the truth. Did I do a good job and will the Italian primadonna finally sing?

Alfonso Morini, the owner of the little Italian manufacturer from Bologna, started out in the motorcycle business in 1924. Together with businessmen Massi, Mattei and Mazzetti, he founded the Fabricca di Motobiciclette Brevetti M.M. di A. Mattei Co., M.M. for short. In the beginning they produced 125 and 175cc two strokes, and in 1930 they began to produce four strokes.

Alfonso himself won the 125cc class at the GP of Monza in 1927.

In 1937 Signore Morini left the company to start his own enterprise: Moto Morini. At first, he manufactured small three-wheeler trucks and aircraft parts. Later on, in 1946, he started producing motorcycles, mainly two strokes with small capacities.

The first model was the Turismo 125. At the end of the forties he built a 125cc four-stroke racebike. The first 175 followed in 1952/1953.

It was the precursor of the famous race version, Settebello, which appeared at the end of 1953. This bike won many national races and championships, and one of its riders was Giacomo Agostini.

Even more acclaimed was the 250 GP Bialbero developed by Dante Lambertini. In 1963, Tarquinio Provini almost won the world championship on this bike and placed second behind Honda four-cylinder rider Jim Redman. Even today, the 40-hp Bialbero remains the strongest 250cc four-stroke single ever built.

At the end of the season Morini quit GP racing. From 1967 through 1975 the make successfully entered off-road events like the traditional Six Days with their 125/150/175 Regolaritá Casa.

Alfonso Morini died in 1969, leaving the business to his daughter, Gabriella Morini. It was time for a change. At the Milan show in 1973 Morini presented a brand-new 350 with a compact V-twin four-stroke engine, called the 3 ½ Strada. The parallel valves were operated by pushrods and rockers, the ohv-cam was belt driven.

Moto Morini 350 Kanguro

The Heron combustion chamber was integrated in the pistons. From this bike other models like a 3 ½ Sport developed that were responsible for the make’s success in the seventies. A 500 version (478cc) came in 1978, later on 125 (H) and 250 (T) singles, as well as a 250 V-twin (J).

The first enduro model was the 500 Camel in 1981, followed by a 350 Kanguro in 1982, and a bigger 501 Camel (507cc) in 1985. For the U.S. Herman Baver, the proprietor of Herdan Corporation, imported and distributed these bikes from Bologna. He used to travel to Italy twice a year and built a following and good reputation among American Morini enthusiasts. That hasn’t changed.

He’s still in business and can supply a lot of parts (address and phone number in the technical specs box).

(End of preview text.)

For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the Fall 2002 back issue.

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Moto Morini 350 Kanguro

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