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The Moto Morini 350: the other V twin from Italy

Moto Morini
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In the meantime, that Moto Morini 350 cc twin was the first design that Franco Lambertini designed for Moto Morini. And no matter how beautiful the engine was: Lambertini had meant nothing more or less than a high-quality, economical and reliable engine for everyday use. Just as well, such a Moto Morini cost almost as much as a CB 750. But oh well, whatever Italians make: the appearance is apparently woven into their genes.


The presentation

The first advertisement for the new Moto Morini was in the Italian monthly magazine Motocyclisme clearly showed that the Moto Morini was intended for 'all types' of motorcyclists. The new Moto Morini was unveiled at the Milan Motor Show in 1971. In the years that followed, this power source, thanks to its modular design (the cylinders and heads 'front and rear' interchangeable), would be further developed. That resulted in twins of 250-500 cc.

To prevent cooling problems of the rear cylinder, this 5 cm was placed “sideways”. Thanks to the rider's legs, which act like a spoiler, the rear cylinder is often cooler than the front one. Plan succeeded!

From the start of production, the Moto Morini 350 V-twin featured:

  • A six-speed bin (very unusual in those days).
  • The fully electronic ignition (CDI, so without contact points) from Ducati Elettronica, applied for the first time to a motorcycle series.
  • The electronic tachometer (replaced by a mechanical counter on later models) and a fully electronic voltage regulator.
  • The camshaft drive through a timing belt (first applied to a motorcycle series).
  • The combustion chambers in the pistons. The cylinder heads are completely flat, according to the so-called 'Heron principle'. This system comes straight from car racing.
  • A dry plate clutch (also from racing).
  • The electromagnetic gas tap.

We found our fashion model at Star Twin engines in Loenen.

This motorcycle has lived with its first owner for a long time, a family member of a Startwin employee, and has lived with its second owner for a very long time. He has completely refurbished the Moto Morini and ... It was a shame then to drive it. Nice that these kind of 'finds' regularly appear. Just here in the Netherlands.

The minuses

The original Pirelli timing belts are apparently no longer available. Replacement industrial ones have a much shorter life. An advantage of the Heron construction where the combustion space is in the heads of the pistons and where the valves are perpendicular to the pistons is that if a timing belt breaks once, the damage is limited. Ignition is also a point of attention and requires knowledge to solve the problem in the event of a malfunction. The front drum brake was notoriously biting.

And? Are they in the meantime very sought after?

The Moto Morinis are still a kind of undervalued. The very first versions are now the most sought after, and it is definitely time to consider a possible adoption, as long as there are neat ones to be found in Italy.

The prices: Think of such an 3.000-4.000 euro for a nice and good one. The prices here are about the same as those in the home country of these V twins.


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