Moto Morini Motorcycles

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Moto Morini Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Moto Morini was founded by Alfonso Morini in Bologna, in 1937, with headquarters in Trivolzio (PV). (2)

Earlier, Morini had manufactured motorcycles together with Mario Mazzetti under the name MM.

The first motorcycle was a 125 two-stroke with a three-speed gearbox. It was fitted with swinging arm and telescopic shock absorbers, many years before this system was widely adopted.

When war came he was forced to convert the factory to military-related products (mainly aircraft components) until 1943 when it was partially destroyed during allied bombing raids of the nearby railway yards in Bologna.

When hostilities ceased Morini returned to motorcycle production, releasing his first post-war model, the T125, in 1946.

The 1948 competition model could achieve 125 km/h, and this was followed by a machine with a chain-driven OHC engine capable of delivering 12 HP at 10000 rpm, good for 140 km/h.

In 1949 and following years, the power was increased to 14hp, then 15, and in 1952 to 16hp. In 1953 the 125 was replaced by an OHV 175cc machine, with which Mendogni won the Italian title in his class.

Three of the new models had names which referenced Italian card games - the Settebello, the Briscola, and the Tresette, or "Three Sevens." These were very modern machines, with swinging arm rear suspension and telescopic forks. Morini's 1958 Tresette was one of the first production motorcycles fitted with a "duck tail" - an aerodynamic extension of the bodywork fitted behind the seat.

The 1955 175 Settebello Sport was capable of 140 km/h.

The racing model that year developed 22 hp at 9000 rpm giving a maximum speed of 170 km/h. In 1957, a DOHC model appeared with 29 hp at 10,000 rpm capable of more than 185 km/h. The following season saw a new DOHC version with a dual plug head and a double cradle frame. The power had increased to 32 hp and top speed was now 210 km/h.

1957 saw the several new models added to the production catalogue including the 98cc Sbarazzino and the Tressette Sport 175cc, followed in 1959 by the nicely styled Corsaro 125.

Morini's 1963 Tresette Sprint features a double-barreled Silentium exhaust system, alloy head and cylinder barrel, a finned oil sump and finned rear brake plate, and side-panel decals that reference the card game for which it was named. That year also saw the introduction of the Corsarino 48 moped, produced in a number of different versions. The catalogue also featured the Corsair in displacements of 125 and 150cc. At the end of 1965 they presented the Settebello GTI, a 247cc 18hp single, and in 1968 came the Corsarino Scrambler.

Alfonso Morini died in 1969 and his daughter Gabriella became the company manager.

There were a number of mopeds listed for 1972, along with the Corsaro 125 and 150, and a 165cc four-stroke.

In 1973 an innovative model with a 72° longitudinal V-Twin appeared. A refinement is the fuel tap which opens through an electromagnetic system when the ignition key is turned.

For 1976 the moped range included the 50cc Corsarino Scrambler. The following year a single-cylinder 250cc engine with inclined cylinder arrived.

A single-cylinder 125cc engine with power of 13.75 hp joined the 250 in 1978.

In the eighties the production was modernised, with the catalogue featuring road machines - the 350 K2, the classic 125 and 250, and 500cc V-twins. Off-road models are the Kanguro 350, the Camel 501 and the 125 KJ.

In February 1987 Moto Morini [1] was bought by the Castiglioni brothers, who owned Cagiva, and unusual models were introduced such as the custom Excalibur 350 and 501cc, the Cougar 350 and 501, and the Dart Road 350, all with v-twin engines. Gabriella Morini had hoped to see the marque revived by Castiglioni but production ceased in 1993.

In 1999 Moto Morini was acquired by Franco Morini Motori, founded by Alphonso Morini's nephew in 1954. Freshly designed large-displacement motorcycles were produced until 2010, when the company entered bankruptcy. It was then sold to the Eagle Bike company in 2011.

In late 2018 it was announced that ownership had transferred to Zhongneng Vehicle Group.

1. Sources vary on the date of the Castiglioni takeover, some saying 1986, however the date is almost certainly 18 February 1987.
2. Addresses are understood to be: Via I. Malvasia 37, later Via L. Berti 1 (from 1945), Via A. Bergami 7 (from 1955).

Sources: MC Storico Conti,, Henshaw,, et al.

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