1990 Morini Dart 400

Ola Jo­hans­son Val­len­tuna, Stock­holm, Swe­den

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Restoration Revealed -

“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

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