Thursday, September 07, 2006

Moto Morini tour

early 1970 example of the Moto Morini twin in 350 cc capacity. Read further to see how this historic racing marque has progressed....

This post is a slight departure from bikes built around an air-cooled engine. However, I consider the Moto Morini one of the "cleanest" liquid-cooled bikes.

Recently, I had the pleasure of getting a personal tour of the Moto Morini factory by none other than Franco Lambertini & Signora Nanni.
Mr. Lambertini has been the chief engineer behind Moto Morini for the last 36 years, ever since he designed the Moto Morini 3 ½ (a stylish little v-twin 350 cc shown above). The current engine is also his design.

A simple t-shirt purchase & photos of a complete bike at the factory would have been fantastic; but as you will read there were elements of surprise, spontaneity, and genuine hospitality.

The bus dropped us off a bit late. Signora Nanni said that we would only be able to see the bike assembly area and not the engine assembly room due to the European Importer arriving that day. The factory was preparing for that visit and it was essentially closed. In addition, there was no one available that had access to the engine assembly area since we arrived later than expected. I was more than pleased that they would continue to welcome us on a busy day & stoked to see the bike in person since it is not available in North America.

As we were looking at the assembly area (was told all employees can work in any area to maintain a lean headcount), Mr. Lambertini was walking through about 20 yards away. Sig.ra Nanni flagged him down. Her action to introduce us was surprising and very humbling, considering the business ahead of them that day. He not only stopped and graciously talked about the bike for a few minutes, but he proceeded to give us a personal tour of the limited access, engine assembly area.

Mr. Lambertini is rightfully proud. The engine is tremendous in function & form.

Cycleworld's issue a few months ago has an article on the Moto Morini. It describes the unique 87ْ _"v" configuration. Note the incredible bore of the cylinder while maintaining an ultra slim engine. Also notice how little wiring and plumbing are visible on this liquid-cooled bike. The steel trellis frame is also impressive.

Thank you very much Signora Nanni & Mr. Lambertini for your down-to-earth character, wonderful modesty & genuine hospitality.

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