A bit off the beaten path and genuinely rare in the United States, this is a beautifully preserved Moto Morini 500. While not in the same performance league as the Ducati superbikes (or even Super Sports), and not in the high-speed transport business as Moto Guzzi, the other, other Italian V-Twin marque produced interesting – if not sporty – scoots predominantly in the 350cc and 500cc varieties. Built in low numbers overall, few were imported into North America – making this very clean 500 Strada (Italian for “street”) a rare gem to be admired and enjoyed. The seller has a lot of information about the marque and the bike, and I will let him pick up the story here:
From the seller:
Extremely original, low-milage machine. The finish does have it’s imperfections, and a light patina that reminds you that this is truly a 40 year old classic. The inside of the gas tank was professionally sealed, and looks great inside. The original La Franconi pipes are in great shape, with no holes. The Marzocchi suspension still feels nice and firm. All of the paint is 100% original
More from the seller:
The 500 was an obvious early manifestation of the Morini modular concept, using a larger bore and stroke to up the capacity of the original 344cc engine to 478ccs, producing more power and a relaxed ride. The longer wheelbase (the result of an elongated swing arm) gave a stable ride, and the longer seat suited two up riding.
The machine was first shown in prototype form at Milan in November 1975, started production in 1977 and was imported in to the UK from 1978. Originally the machine was produced with a 5 speed gearbox, allegedly due to concerns over the original box being unable to cope with the extra power. However, from 1981 a six speed cluster was fitted, resulting in the ”Sei-V” model, which also saw the introduction of a plastic chain guard, painted mud guards and mechanical rev counter, all designed to reduce production costs. Prior to this a Sport version had been offered which, unlike the 3½ was produced purely through changes to handlebars and footrests plus the appropriate badge!
More from the seller:
The 500 was an excellent machine for the longer distance rider (journalist Dave Minton rode one from Alaska to Mexico down the Trans-American Highway in the 1980s) but lacked some of the rider appeal of the 350s. The engine continued to be developed, and the later 501 motor (actually 507cc) was arguably the best of the ”air-cooled” twins, revving freely and used in later off road machines together with the custom bikes that saw out Morini production at the old factory in the early 1990s following the take-over by Cagiva.
More from the seller:
This model is the most original, low-milage example I could possibly find. It has been living in our climate-controlled museum in downtown West Palm Beach since I acquired it. With only 1,520 ORIGINAL MILES, and the ORIGINAL MSO certificate, this is a survivor-quality machine.
The electric start still works (although they we known for being less-than-great), and fitted with a brand new battery. The charging system has been tested and works great. The brakes operate flawlessly, thank to the rebuilt brake hydraulics. The Pirelli Sport Demon tires are like new, only fitted a couple hundred miles ago.
The original La Franconi pipes are in great shape, with no holes. The Marzocchi suspension still feels nice and firm. All of the paint on this fabulous example is 100% original. The finish does have it’s nicks, scratches, and overall patina that remind you that this is truly a survivor. The inside of the gas tank was professionally sealed, and looks great.
Despite many ups and downs, the Moto Morini brand prevails – today it calls the Chinese motorcycle and bicycle manufacturer Zhongneng Vehicle Group (Znen) as home. This is a brand that has come a long way over an extended period of years, endured the Second World War, rebuilt and produced some memorable competitive and street models. The 3 1/2 and 500 twins must surely be listed up there as iconic models of Italian style, even though they may lack the sharp edge of the more sporting models from other Italian companies. This beautiful 1982 Moto Morini 500 has only 1,500 miles on the clocks, and looks as good as any unrestored example we have seen. Priced as $12,500, this seller has provided some great pictures and is open to offers. Check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!