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Tuesday 14 February 2023

Moto Morini

Moto Morini Developing 750 cc and 1200 cc V-twins

Moto Morini has had the sort of typically turbulent history that's often associated with Italian motorcycle brands, but after dipping in and out of solvency for years and even an extended period of dormancy from 1993 to 2004, it finally has some solid footing after being bought by China's Zhongneng Vehicle Group in 2018.

Currently offering a four-model range based around two bikes, the adventure-style X-Cape 650 and retro Seiemmezzo street bike, both with the same 650 cc, CFMoto-based parallel twin engine, Morini has plans for substantial expansion, bringing back the 1,187cc V-twin engine that appeared when the brand was revived in 2004, but also launching a range of new models with an as-yet unseen 750 cc V-twin.

1200 V-twin

The largest engine, which powered several models until it was forced off sale by Euro 4 emissions limits, will return in revised form in the X-Cape 1200 adventure bike, which has appeared in China in prototype form, and as a set of detailed design registrations, but the 750 cc engine is more of a mystery. 

The 750 cc bikes have been confirmed via documents filed with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in the USA, part of Morini's official return to the U.S. market. These documents explain how to decode the VINs of the company's bikes, explaining the meaning of each set of numbers and letters. The document shows that while bikes with 'M' in the fifth position of the VIN will use the 61 hp, 649 cc parallel twin that's in the X-Cape 650 and Seiemmezzo machines, there will also be bikes that have a 'U' as the fifth digit. This, according to the document, means they will have a 750 cc V-twin, liquid-cooled engine making an impressive 97 hp.


X-Cape 650

It's not clear whether the 750 engine will be manufactured by Morini or, like the 650 twin, be bought-in from another brand, but there are few candidates that match that 750 cc capacity and 97 hp output. The old Aprilia Shiver 750 engine would match those numbers, and is due to be reintroduced in 900 cc form by China's Zongshen in the near future, so could be a candidate.

It's also unknown what type of bikes the new engine will go into, although Morini's current range of adventure bikes and retro roadsters is a good indication of the markets that the brand is targeting.