Never built – the 500cc V-twin Morini sports that everyone really wanted

With quality, performance and excellent design apparent in every detail, the 350cc Morini V-twins bore comparison with any Japanese motorcycle – but when the Italian firm upped the capacity to 500cc, it never quite managed to produce the right machine, writes Steve Cooper.

The Morini 3½ was exactly the right size and had exactly the right performance.
The Morini 3½ was exactly the right size and had exactly the right performance.

Sometimes you jump on a bike, ride it all day and then get off to think to yourself: “That was truly amazing, but it would have been even better if it had a bit more power and a tad more torque”.

Such mental musings are fine, but often, when such thoughts are transferred into metal, the truth is that the end product is somehow at odds with the expectations. 650 twins are substantially more vibratory than their half-litre cousins, and when taken to a full 750cc, the sweet nature of the original bike is totally lost.

The Japanese often got closest to the premise of “just a little more power with minimal extra mass” with their 250 to 350 analogues, but there’s one other company that also came pretty damn close – and it isn’t even Japanese.

Read more in August’s issue of OBM

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