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Moto Morini 350. No longer free

Morini 3,5. No longer free
ER Classics Desktop 2022

I have owned two myself, the Moto Morini 350. In return for some work for Harm Heuvelman from Back to Classics. We were both very happy with that solution, because at the time the Morini V-twins were 100% unsaleable.

The Moto Morini 350: The other V-twin from Italy 1973-1981

I was 'in' for the deal because I liked the Moto Morini 350 so much. And that one was missing the headlight and the other had an apparently unsolvable electrical problem? Ah, in the joy of the moment don't worry about that. The somewhat worn silver-grey Strada Touring from 1974 found a owner far across the IJssel. The beautiful example with the ghost malfunction kept bothering me for a few years until Rob Koster from Heemstede came up with the solution to the problems.


And that problem was 100% Italian in the way that I have had a mild love-hate relationship with for years. The coil of the ignition turned out to be provided with a water-attracting coating. So if the Morini was put away after a longer ride in an environment with a humid atmosphere, the coil became 'wet' due to condensation. Wet coils close short. And in the event of a short circuit, there are no sparks… If the matter had evaporated again, the Moto Morini 350 ran exemplary again. Rob Koster had figured out the problem and wound up a new coil. Problem solved! Morini, who has behaved perfectly ever since, then ended up in the collection of the late Hans Bezemer.

Meanwhile, that Moto Morini 350 twin was the first design that Franco Lambertini drew for Morini

And as beautiful as the engine was: Lambertini had intended nothing more or less than to design a high-quality, economical and reliable engine for daily use. Likewise, such a Moto Morini 350 cost almost as much as a CB 750. But hey, whatever Italians make: the appearance is apparently woven into their genes. The first advertisement for the new Morini appeared in the Italian monthly magazine Motocyclisme and made it clear that the Morini was intended for 'all kinds' of motorcyclists. The new Moto Morini was unveiled at the 1971 Milan Motorcycle Exhibition. In the years that followed, this power source would be further developed thanks to its modular design (for example, the cylinders and heads 'front and rear' were interchangeable).

That led to twins of 250-500 cc

To prevent cooling problems of the rear cylinder, the rear cylinder was set 5 cm 'to the side'. Thanks to the rider's legs, which act like a spoiler, the rear cylinder is often cooler than the front. Plan succeeded! In addition, 125 and 250cc blocks were made 'without the rear cylinder'. Models with the 125/250cc single-cylinders ultimately turned out not to be as great a sales success as the two-cylinders. But what really surprised the public at the unveiling of this motorcycle wasn't just the cylinders. It was the total package of technical solutions that, together with the appearance, immediately convinced. After all, from the start of production, the Moto Morini 350 V-twin was equipped with:

  • 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 fuel tap.

5 Comments

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  1. Have had a Morini 1981 in 82/500; very nice engine with great handling!! But always starting problems. I have often cursed the engine but when it finally ran you had forgotten the misery after a few hundred meters. Still sold after a year because as the only means of transport you want something you can rely on. But that descent…

    • Hi Theo, I know that problem! Fortunately, I ran into someone who knew the how and why: The Italians, in their utter futility, had sealed the ignition coil with a hygroscopic lacquer. When wet, that thing actually closed short. My coil was then rewound and sealed. Never had a problem with it again

  2. Bought an almost new Morini 1976 3/1 sport in 2 and drove it around with a big smile for a number of years. Super reliable motorcycle with an impressively effective 2 leading shoe for brake. Turned out to be a bit too "light" for longer highway rides. In the early 80's it made way for a Norton Commando 850, which could live up to my expectations even better. Nevertheless, still keep nostalgic memories of my Morini…

    • wow. Norton 850s have made people very sad. But that was mainly because they wanted to keep up with Honda CB750. Such a Morini is now great to have because highways with max 120 are no longer interesting

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