When news came in July 2011 that bankrupt Italian manufacturer Moto Morini had been rescued from the scrapheap of history by two Milanese businessmen, it raised cynical smiles from those familiar with the labyrinthine workings of the Italian motorcycle industry. But, two years later, Morini’s promised revival seems to be actually happening, with 60-year old investment banker Sandro Capotosti and his partner Ruggeromassimo Jannuzzelli living proof perhaps that not all bankers are bad.
Yes, production did start a year ago at Morini’s Bologna factory, with improved versions of the Corsaro Naked streetrod, Granpasso adventure tourer and street Scrambler models rolling off the assembly lines and sold via the company’s website (www. motomorinimotorcycles.eu). And now there’s a new model – the distinctive-looking Rebello 1200 - in an admittedly belated celebration of Moto Morini’s 75th birthday last year, when the bike was first unveiled. The Rebello costs $18,600 in a limited-edition run of 100 models, with a series production model to follow those first hundred bikes, most of which have already been pre-ordered. It’s worth noting that’s a hefty $2600 more than the Corsaro Veloce it’s essentially based on.
But in learning the ropes of the motorcycle business, Capotosti has encountered the age-old problem of being dependent on suppliers who fail to deliver parts on time, and to acceptable levels of quality. It’s a problem that directly resulted in the demise of Voxan, and has nearly put paid to Norton, Horex, Bimota and many other small boutique manufacturers.
“Coming from outside the motorcycle industry, it’s hard to understand how some suppliers completely fail to live up to their promises,” he says. “Either they don’t deliver on time, so you have 100 bikes sitting there without an exhaust, or they make a horrible object, so you must find a new source – as was the case with our previous exhaust supplier. Three months lost for nothing. Anyway, at last we are ready with the Rebello, and I can only apologize to our customers who purchased one, and have had to wait so long to receive it. But soon, they will!” Well, better late than never, I guess, although the Giubileo (‘jubilee’) tag hung on the model’s name, plus the various stickers announcing Morini’s 75th birthday, were a little out of date on the black and white Rebello I found awaiting me in the courtyard of the spruced up Morini factory in Casalecchio di Reno.
But there was a good reason that Capotosti allowed me to get on the bike before anyone else outside the company…. I own a Moto Morini. Yes, I’m often asked what bike I own, which one I ride whenever I don’t have a test model on loan from someone, and the answer often confounds the asker. For as the satisfied owner of a Moto Morini Corsaro 1200 that’s still just as exhilarating and plain good fun to ride as it was the day I got it in 2007.
And when the closure of the Morini factory was announced in 2010, I went and bought another one. Not only was I concerned I’d be left without a bike to make me smile, it also meant that my son Andrew had one of his own rather than always taking mine.
To read more of the Moto Morini Rebello first ride, click here