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

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The 350 cc twin was the first design that Franco Lambertini drew for Morini. And as beautiful as the engine was: Lambertini had meant nothing more or less with it than a high-quality, economical and reliable engine for daily use.

An expensive thing

Likewise, such a Morini 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 clearly showed that the Moto Morini was intended for 'all kinds' of motorcyclists. The new Moto Morini 350 was unveiled at the Milan Motorcycle Exhibition in 1971.

A construction kit concept

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 from 250 to 500 cc. To prevent cooling problems of the rear cylinder, it 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!

Also as single cylinders

In addition, 125 and 250 cc blocks were made 'without the rear cylinder'. Models with the 125/250 cc single-cylinders ultimately turned out not to be as great a sales success as the two-cylinders. But what really surprises the public at the unveiling of this motorcycle isn't just the cylinders. It is the total package of technical solutions that, together with the appearance, immediately convinces. 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 by a toothed belt (applied for the first time on a series motorcycle).
  • 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.

In the meantime, the Morinis have been discovered

But because the trend in classic country is still 'a heavy one is your true', the prices remain on a human level. What does count: the Morinis are slender and slender. For the eye it is therefore nice that the sizes of the proud owner are slightly in line with this. The parts supply is reasonable, only the gear drive in the block deserves some attention. Due to the scarcity of the original, an industrial timing belt sometimes needs to be fitted. And those things are really not suitable for that job. Due to the current market situation, it is recommended to go for such a beautiful and good copy.


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  1. My 1975st motorcycle in 1 when I turned 18. Swept up Yamaha moped secretly traded in and go. They weren't very happy with it at home.
    Get a test driver's license for fl.2.50 at the municipality and drive with that stuff. I got my driver's license on it. However, after 1 year, the gearbox was finished.
    Sober shifting right and left braking was not such a problem. But at that time, the alcohol flowed freely during the weekends and a number of wrong braking on the right turned out to be disastrous for the tank. Otherwise great memories of this beautiful little machine.

  2. Besides 6 Ducati's and two Laverda's there are also three Morini's here, one of which is still under construction (1974 3 1/2 Strada) but I often enjoy the 1981 3 1/2 Sport. Truly a wonderful motorcycle, although an extra disc brake at the front could have been added as standard. What is so strange about those Morinis is that with two on them (a bit tight) you just don't seem to lose any power.

  3. Approx. 50 years ago, as a boy of around 10 – 12 years old, I had to walk through the city center of Haarlem to the judo school ( KenAmJu ). My route ran through the Koningstraat and motorcycle shop “Karel van de Wal” was located there. And he had those fantastically beautiful Moto Morini's in the shop window, both the 350 and the 500. The result was that I always stood looking and daydreaming in front of that shop window for too long to "ever" own or ride such a motorcycle and so invariably showed up late to judo lessons, ha ha!

    • Good memories! Judo is more dangerous than riding a motorcycle in my opinion. A comrade of mine has suffered permanent neck injuries. And such a Morini is still affordable. And just as fun as then! Whoops! Directly to MP and the sites of Earley Motors or Dutch Lion Motors

  4. Pink-red and pale-green, and combining those 'colours' again… on a motorcycle. I can't explain it, but maybe a psychiatrist with experience who also rides a motorcycle? Despite this screaming disguise, there is the most classic version that I think is the most beautiful.

  5. This engine was also one of the first, factory fitted with a turbo, unfortunately never made it to production, later Kawasaki based my lovely zx750 e2 turbo on it 😉

  6. They enjoyed driving around on a Morini 70 3/1 Sport during the late 2s. It turned out to be an extremely reliable and absolutely trouble-free machine. Rank, light, tight steering with a beautifully smooth running V twin block. The 4 leading shoe front brake in my copy braked like a ship anchor, and that with 1 finger. Especially lovely on secondary roads, which is slightly motorized for the highway, although cross speeds of up to 140 km/hr were perfectly achievable. Traded in for a Norton Commando 850: also a pleasure, but I will always cherish the Morini in my memory!

  7. Remains a beautiful motorcycle to see, that sweetest 3 1/2. Italians do indeed make beautiful looking and endearing stuff. What continues to surprise me a bit, are the specified performance of such two-wheelers. With only 40 horses it should go towards 160 km/h. Well, the prospect remains very nice, shall we say. BMW could also use it. With a 27hp weak R45N it should even go 140 km/h. Yay….In your wildest dreams!! With 130 per hour you were really a fat buyer. And then only with the wind and the sun at your back, downhill and cafe in sight. Well, it was worth a try. Often such attempts were punished. That once you have arrived, you sometimes have to push the under-motorized 4 1/2 further yourself because the valves had gone off with the record attempt, that is another theme.

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