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The other V twin: The Morini 350

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I myself have had two. In return for some work for Harm Heuvelman from Back to Classics.

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

I was 'in' for the deal because I liked the Morini's. And that one was missing the headlight and the other had an apparently unsolvable electrical problem? The somewhat worn-out silver-gray Strada Touring from 1974 moved to Lochem. The beautiful specimen with the ghost disturbance bothered me until Rob Koster from Heemstede came up with the solution to the problems.

And that problem was 100% Italian. The ignition coil was found to be provided with a water-attracting lacquer layer. 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 will short. And with a short circuit there are no sparks ... If the matter had evaporated again, the Morini ran exemplary again. Rob Koster wound a new coil. Problem solved! The perfectly behaved Morini ever since ended up in the collection of the late Hans Bezemer.


A new design

In the meantime, the 350 cc twin was Franco Lambertini's first design for Morini. Lambertini had meant nothing more or less than a high-quality, economical and reliable engine for daily use. Likewise, such a Morini cost almost as much as a CB 750. But hey, whatever Italians make: apparently clean looks are woven into their genes.

A motorcycle for everyone

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

That resulted in twins of 250-500 cc. To avoid 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 one. Plan successful!

In addition, blocks were made 'without the rear cylinder' of 125 and 250cc. Models with the 125 / 250cc single cylinders turned out not to be as big a sales success as the two cylinders. But what really amazes the public at the unveiling of this bike isn't just the cylinders. It is the total package of technical solutions that, together with its appearance, immediately convinces.

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After all, from the start of production, the 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 gas tap.

7 Comments

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  1. But hey, whatever Italians make: apparently clean looks are woven into their genes.
    With the Fiat Multivla in mind, I can't quite agree.
    But yes, "clean appearance" is subjective, otherwise, for example, all women should look the same🤔😎.
    There will probably be someone who likes the Multivla.

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