MORINI 3½ ..................................................

RealClas­sic played host to a truly re­mark­able ma­chine; a Morini 3½. Frank West­worth got car­ried away

Real Classic - - News - Pho­tos by Rowena Hosea­son, Frank West­worth

RealClas­sic played host to a truly re­mark­able ma­chine; a Morini 3½. Frank West­worth got car­ried away

Here’s a thing. It’s a small thing, but here it is any­way. For as long as I can re­mem­ber I have rec­om­mended 350 Mori­nis to rid­ers ask­ing for a de­cent clas­sic mid­dleweight mo­tor­cy­cle. I’ve rid­den sev­eral, so the rec­om­men­da­tions have been hon­est enough, but I’ve never ac­tu­ally lived with one, as it were. Now, thanks to the con­sid­er­able gen­eros­ity of the Morini Rid­ers’ Club, we had one parked up in The Shed for quite a long time. Rowena of this parish has al­ready told you all about the back­ground and the bike it­self (that would be in last month’s magazine, in case you’ve hap­pily for­got­ten last month al­ready), and she started her story with ex­actly the same rev­e­la­tion as I just have. Cu­ri­ous, huh?

First things first – be­cause first im­pres­sions count for a lot. Al­though it is per­fectly OK to al­low in­creas­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to cor­rect an un­for­tu­nate first im­pres­sion, it is al­ways bet­ter if the bike makes a de­cent im­pres­sion in the first place. As here, hap­pily. First off, the stands on a Morini are sim­ple to op­er­ate. Both of them. Note this: some other Ital­ian ma­chines have ter­ri­ble stands, par­tic­u­larly the in­sane fly-off bike drop­ping de­vices beloved of madmen at Du­cati and Moto Guzzi. The 3½ has a pair of great stands. This may not be a deal breaker for you, but af­ter the id­iocy of the side­stand on our very own Moto Guzzi V35 – the ob­vi­ous bike for a rid­ing com­par­i­son here – I have grown se­ri­ously in­tol­er­ant of use­less stands. And of use­less de­sign in gen­eral, truth be told.

The bike is also im­pos­si­bly easy to wheel around. The Shed is a fairly crowded place, with all man­ner of ob­struc­tions and im­ped­i­ments to safety and san­ity to get in the way of an ex­tra and un­fa­mil­iar mo­tor­cy­cle. Not a prob­lem here: it’s not at all top heavy; it’s slim, it has great steer­ing lock. The only ex­tra which would make it per­fect would be fold­ing footrests to save the shins from fur­ther bruis­ing. A chap can ask, but a chap can­not have ev­ery­thing, we’re told.

A chap can also ask for an elec­tric foot, which this Morini does not have. In­stead it boasts a left-foot kick­starter, which is not en­tirely to my tastes. I’ve lived with a cou­ple of bikes graced with left-foot levers – Match­less, MZ, a Harley and a sin­gle Moto Guzzi – but don’t re­ally like them. In fact the rea­son I sold that kicker-only Match­less was be­cause I hated start­ing it, wimp that I am. Rather joy­ously, I can re­port that in the case of this 3½ the kick­start­ing is easy. Very easy. Turn on, en­rich the mix, kick. No spe­cial rou­tine nec­es­sary. It starts re­mark­ably eas­ily. If the old Har­ris G80 had started as eas­ily as this I would still have it. Each carb has a lit­tle plas­tic lever which the rider lifts to en­richen

The first eye-catcher here is pos­si­bly the ex­haust wrap. It’s there for a very good rea­son! Se­cond is the left-side kick­starter, and many rid­ers would ig­nore the daftly-sit­u­ated ig­ni­tion key

The clocks were in­ter­est­ing, with the elec­tronic tacho oc­ca­sion­ally turn­ing it­self off and the speedo may not be the orig­i­nal. Most in­ter­est­ing ob­ject here, how­ever, is the mid­dle red light. Can you work out what it does? The an­swer’s in the story

If you look closely, you can see the lit­tle plas­tic lever atop the carb. This is the en­rich­ment de­vice which makes start­ing likely. Fid­dly to op­er­ate wear­ing gloves, so you rapidly de­velop a tech­nique

Daily rid­ing du­ties at RCHQ usu­ally in­volve an­other, rather dif­fer­ent, V-twin. The big ques­tion was whether the Morini would pro­vide the same re­li­able trans­port

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