1990 Morini Dart 400
Ola Johansson Vallentuna, Stockholm, Sweden
“Plastic fuel tanks crack and leak in a very short time”
“I GOT THIS BIKE in 2006 – I’d always like Darts so when one came up for sale I jumped straight at it. It’d had 13 owners and was pretty beaten up, but it didn’t put me off.
“The first thing I did was take the engine out and disassemble the heads because apparently one of the valves had burnt earlier in its life. A valve seat was a bit loose as well. That started a process where I went through the entire bike, methodically repairing and restoring where necessary.
“I did the cam belt, chain, tyres, cleaned the carbs, greased the linkages – that kind of thing. I was lucky to get in touch with a guy in Germany who apparently had disassembled some new bikes and he sold me a new front mudguard, a silencer, fuel tank and a few more nice things. The fuel tank was especially lucky, because those things are like gold dust.
“The Dart is pretty easy to work on. The problem is the plastic fairings that easily crack if you fall off the bike, which obviously happened to mine in its previous life. The plastic fuel tanks are of a very ‘charming’ quality – the welding can crack and the tank starts leaking after a very short time. Needless to say, there is plastic welding equipment in my garage. Proper welding seems to solve the problem, but the UK Morini Riders Club – which is absolutely fantastic and really helpful – has organised the manufacturing of some aluminium tanks. I have ordered one of those.
“Body parts that are unique to the Dart are hard to find, such as the tank, as I mentioned, while mechanical parts that also fit the Cagiva Freccia are easier.
“If you forget that the Dart is under-powered, the handling is very nice I think – it turns without any effort and has good brakes. The engine pulls well from 3000rpm with a nice linear power build-up and it likes to rev too. But to me, Moto Morini is a feeling more than objective facts.”
Such a cheery lot these Dart people. Good on ’em