SAME AS IT EVER WAS

Morini’s grunt-laden Corsaro is back with some up­dates to try to com­pete with 2018’s best nakeds: is it a wel­come re­turn or an ill-ad­vised come­back?

Performance Bikes (UK) - - FIRST RIDE - Words Chris New­big­ging | Pho­tog­ra­phy Si­mon ‘eas­ing in gent’ Lee

IF YOU WANT noth­ing more than ex­clu­siv­ity from your naked bike, the Corsaro’s the bike for you. No­body knows what it is, who makes it, or even the coun­try it’s from. Some go­ing for a com­pany in ex­is­tence since 1937. They’re Ital­ian, by the way...

But in that time, they’ve not done much, so it’s lit­tle sur­prise they re­main in a blind spot – a few air-cooled twins in the 1970s stand as their only mem­o­rable bikes. Even the web­site’s ‘com­pany his­tory’ sec­tion can only add a few tid­dler race­bikes from the post­war era. But in 2006, they built a 1200cc twin, and the bike to go around it.

It was a lovely thing. Con­sid­er­ing the typ­i­cal naked bike of the day was a de­tuned sportsbike en­gine in a porky, low-spec chas­sis (with a few ex­cep­tions), the Bial­bero Cor­saCorta lump’s grunt in a de­cent chas­sis made a nice change. But, the stereo­typ­i­cal Ital­ian is­sues ap­plied: poor dealer net­work and sup­port, ques­tion­able qual­ity (the last one PB tested spent the whole test shed­ding com­po­nents), and then in­evitable com­pany col­lapse in 2010. They’re back again, with an up­dated, Euro 4 com­pli­ant range, and a UK im­porter, Amore Moto, who also bring in what­ever Bi­mota get around to pro­duc­ing th­ese days...

If you’re one of the few who re­calls the first gen­er­a­tion Corsaro, the lat­est one will be fa­mil­iar: the frame, en­gine and ge­om­e­try re­main. The body­work is al­most un­changed, bar­ring a num­ber­plate and fender now mounted on the swingarm, and some car­bon bits.

There’s new sus­pen­sion – Mar­zoc­chi checked out of mo­tor­cy­cle shocks a few years back, so it’s now run­ning Ital­ian firm Mupo’s CNC-ma­chined fork and shock parts. There’s a set of Brembo M50 calipers, forged alu­minium wheels and a TFT dash to tempt you. Top-notch stuff.

Be­fore you get too in­ter­ested, it costs £17,900. A Tuono V4 Fac­tory is the clos­est money-wise, but even that’s ‘only’ £16k. Bet that raised an eye­brow... Pre­pare to raise the other one: for that money, you get no rid­ers aids, ex­cept a crude wheel speed-based ABS sys­tem. A quick­shifter is listed on the spec sheet, but they’ve since made this a cost op­tion, so this test bike didn’t have one.

Dialling it in

This bet­ter be good. Or, at least, have some sort of whop­ping USP. The Corsaro made a bit of sense first time round, even if the sales net­work did it a dis­ser­vice. Now, the whole of Europe makes shit-hot naked bikes, and Ja­pan does a few good ones for not much cash, too.

First im­pres­sions are poor: the forks are top­ping out so hard they clunk. The shock is su­per-saggy, and there’s no damp­ing any­where. Rear sag needed a dras­tic re­duc­tion, and more added to the front, and the damp­ing ramped up all round to cor­rect the at­ti­tude and con­trol.

With that re­solved, it no longer feels like a buck­ing chop­per, and it be­comes a nice han­dling bike, al­beit one that re­quires the hy­draulic preload ad­juster ratch­eted up to max­i­mum, which is far from ideal. The M50s have the usual feel and power, and it laps up ru­ral Rut­land and Lincs with feel, agility and ground clear­ance in good mea­sure. There’s no steering damper, but it doesn’t need one.

The mo­tor has a lovely clean re­sponse (the throt­tle is still a throt­tle – the plas­tic Domino

‘Once you get go­ing, it’s fine on a ba­sic level: it goes, stops and turns well. The is­sue is... every­thing else...’

Mupo shocks needed a huge tweak

Larger num­bers for im­por­tant info would be nice Euro4 char­coal breather is filthy-ugly Once set up, the ZZ does its thing ably. But at £17,900, it de­liv­ers noth­ing ex­cep­tional

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