Bikes

Update: Moto Morini Confirmed for US

Coming to America: Moto Morini and its Seiemmezzo and X-Cape motorcycles. (Moto Morini/)

We revealed in December that Italy’s Moto Morini was planning to bring its range of 650cc parallel-twin models and some as yet unannounced 750cc V-twins to the American market. Now the company has officially confirmed that it’s bringing its bikes to this side of the Atlantic. Or, more accurately, this side of the Pacific, because despite its Italian branding and heritage, Morini’s ownership is Chinese and the bikes coming to the States will emerge from the company’s factory in Taizhou, Zhejiang, China.

In a press release, Moto Morini says that the company has established new American headquarters in Irvine, California, and is currently accepting applications from potential dealers and hiring dealer development and product support personnel. Although not live at the time of writing, the US operation also intends to have a dedicated website at motomoriniusa.com.

The Seiemmezzo will definitely be coming to the US.

The Seiemmezzo will definitely be coming to the US. (Moto Morini/)

The initial bikes coming to the States will be the same parallel-twin models that make up the company’s range in European and Asian markets. These include two versions of the Seiemmezzo 6 1/2—the cafe-racer-style STR and the scrambler-inspired SCR—and the X-Cape adventure bike. All use the same CFMoto-sourced 649cc parallel-twin engine making 61 hp at 8,250 rpm and 40 lb.-ft. at 7,000 rpm, mounted in a tubular-steel frame, but the Seiemmezzo and X-Cape manage to appeal to very different sections of the market.

There are a few versions of the Seiemmezzo 6 1/2, the scrambler-style SCR (L), and the cafe-racer-style STR (R).

There are a few versions of the Seiemmezzo 6 1/2, the scrambler-style SCR (L), and the cafe-racer-style STR (R). (Moto Morini/)

The Seiemmezzo models hark back to Morini’s past, with echoes of the 350cc “3 1/2″ V-twin model that was launched in 1973 and provided the backbone of the company’s range for many years. Both the STR and SCR weigh in at around 440 pounds, with 43mm inverted Kayaba forks and a monoshock from the same supplier, with adjustment for rebound, compression, and preload at both ends. They differ in style, though, the STR version wearing cast alloy wheels in 18 inches at the front, 17 inches rear, while the SCR has wire wheels in the same size, a different seat unit, a high-mounted front mudguard and a small screen.

Moto Morini’s midsize ADV machine, the X-Cape in 650cc form, will also be coming to the US.

Moto Morini’s midsize ADV machine, the X-Cape in 650cc form, will also be coming to the US. (Moto Morini/)

In contrast, the X-Cape is a modern-looking adventure bike built around the same main components. Its more extensive bodywork and larger, 4.7-gallon fuel tank pushes weight up to 470 pounds. In Europe, it’s priced at the equivalent of around $8,500, but that’s not necessarily an accurate guide to how much it will cost in the US given the differences in sales taxes and import duties. The Seiemmezzo models are priced at around the same level in European markets.

The NHTSA documentation filed last year that first revealed Morini’s plans to enter the US market also revealed that the company intends to import a range of as yet unseen 750cc V-twin models. These will have substantially more power (97 hp according to the VIN information in the approval documents) but there’s no indication as to their style or technical details beyond the V-twin configuration.

Moto Morini Seiemmezzo 6 1/2 SCR

Moto Morini Seiemmezzo 6 1/2 SCR (Moto Morini/)

Morini’s bosses have spoken about introducing a future range of V-twins, though, including bikes in the “700cc” and “900cc” classes. There are also plans to bring back the large, 1,187cc V-twin engine that formed the basis of the previous generation of Moto Morinis, built between 2005 and around 2020, when they were phased out due to tightening emissions laws in Europe. An “X-Cape 1200″ adventure-bike prototype using the engine has already been seen in China.

Morini’s success in the US market will inevitably hinge heavily on its ability to establish a widespread and reliable dealer network, but the current range of bikes and the future plans give the company good reason to be upbeat about its chances

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