Moto Morini

New Cor­saro un­leashed

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - MICHAEL NEEVES CHIEF ROAD TESTER michael.neeves@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Moto Morini are back with a new fac­tory, big plans and the light­est, mad­dest su­per-naked they’ve ever pro­duced. The new £16,750 ZZ is an evo­lu­tion of the 1200 Cor­saro pro­duced be­fore the Bologna-based firm went bust in 2009. It’s the bike that kicks off Moto Morini’s re­birth, hand-built at their new HQ in Trivolzio on the out­skirts of Mi­lan.

The 1200 Cor­saro ZZ’S 137bhp, 1187cc V-twin mo­tor re­mains, wrapped in a steel trel­lis frame, but the ZZ has been tweaked and honed to bring this noughties su­per-naked up to date.

The bom­bas­tic Euro4 spec en­gine is smoother than ever, and now has a slip­per clutch and the six-speed gear­box is as­sisted by a quick­shifter for the first time. But with no ride-by-wire, there’s no au­to­blip­per for clutch­less down­shifts.

ABS is now stan­dard and the ZZ comes with fully-ad­justable front and rear Mupo sus­pen­sion, re­vised steer­ing ge­om­e­try, M50 Brembo monobloc calipers, Brembo brake and clutch master cylin­ders, Ac­cos­sato bars, LED head­lights, a full colour AIM 5in TFT dash and lots of high qual­ity car­bon trin­kets. Build qual­ity is ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect for a pricey hand-made Ital­ian ma­chine like this and it doesn’t dis­ap­point.

All the lat­est top-spec su­per-nakeds, such as the Tuono, 1290 Su­per Duke R, S1000R and MT-10SP are drip­ping in elec­tron­ics, from rid­ing modes to trac­tion con­trol and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. Quick­shifter and switch­able Bosch ABS aside, the Moto Morini doesn’t have any of this sil­i­cone wizardry, but you know what? It’s re­fresh­ingly sim­ple and ana­logue. It’s light, direct and a bit nervy, just like su­per-nakeds were a decade ago.

It also wheel­ies like a su­per-naked should. The old-school throt­tle cable seems to dou­ble up as a winch for the front wheel in the first four gears, with­out you hav­ing to stop and fig­ure out which nanny state but­tons dis­able the elec­tron­ics, be­cause there aren’t any.

On the flip side you have to ride with more care and re­spect. On the slip­pery, dusty roads near Morini’s fac­tory it’s easy to get the rear Pirelli Di­ablo Rosso III spin­ning if you ask too much of the ZZ’S grunt-laden en­gine. But with such a sweet throt­tle and chas­sis set-up it’s easy to know when it’s go­ing to break trac­tion and con­trol it when it does.

Peak power is at a lazy 8500rpm and it makes 92ftlb at just 6250rpm, so

the ZZ is all about low-down, earth­trem­bling grunt and you hardly need to stir the gears once you’ve quick­shifted up to sixth. There are very few vibes to speak of and those huge un­der­seat Zard pipes might meet the lat­est reg­u­la­tions, but they re­tain the Cor­saro’s glo­ri­ously shouty, bass-heavy sound­track.

Older Cor­saros al­ways felt a bit clumsy and V-twin cruiser-like, but the ZZ is light on its feet and more like a tough, sin­gle-minded straight-barred su­per­bike. The rid­ing po­si­tion is roomy and nat­u­ral, but the rear-set pegs and tilted-for­ward stance it places you in re­mind you this is a bike with the kind of per­for­mance and han­dling that can only be ex­ploited on a track.

On grip­pier roads the Pirellis dig in im­pres­sively and the Brem­bos of­fer a tasty mix of feel and power. Born to scratch, the ZZ is su­per­moto-short, snappy and re­spon­sive in the cor­ners. The Mupo forks and shock of­fer a plush, con­trolled ride, but at high speed the Moto Morini gets flighty.

Once you know it’s com­ing it’s fine and things never get com­pletely out of con­trol, but it’s hard to get to the end of fourth gear and be­yond with­out the ZZ get­ting in a big weave. It’s the trade-off you have to live with for such a short bike and Morini say the next Cor­saro evo­lu­tion will have a longer swingarm and more trail for im­proved sta­bil­ity.

Com­pared to the cream of its su­per­naked ri­vals the 1200 Cor­saro ZZ can’t com­pete in terms of sheer power or elec­tronic toys. It’s in the price ball­park when you com­pare it against the fully-spec’d com­pe­ti­tion, so what you get for you money is ex­clu­siv­ity, high­end build qual­ity and more ground­shat­ter­ing wheel­ies than you can shake a bread­stick at.

There are no UK im­porters in place yet, but an an­nounce­ment is due soon, when you’ll be able to get your hands on the ZZ, or the firm’s ex­ist­ing Gran­passo sports ad­ven­ture bike and the Scram­bler 1200.

‘Ex­pect more wheel­ies than you can shake a bread­stick at’

Ac­cos­sato bars and a high-qual­ity full-colour dash for the ex­otic Moto Morini

Fully-ad­justable rear shock and forks from Ital­ian sus­pen­sion brand Mupo

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