Moto Morini X-Cape 650 Review

by MotoGusto
Moto Morini X-Cape 650 Motorcycle Review by MotoGusto Magazine

It’s hard to ignore that the Adventure bike market in the UK is quite a cut-throat place to pitch a bike, all the major manufacturers have thrown their hats in the ring over the last couple of years with a number of stand-out bikes in the mid-capacity range taking the attention of the buying public.

Moto Morini is a historic Italian marque that has been reborn with a number of attractive-looking bikes with their sights firmly set on the adventure and street genres.

Founded in Bologna in 1937, the brand is famous for their racing bikes from the late 1940’s through to the 1960’s when a young Italian upstart named Agostini raced a 250 for them. A turbulent time ensued through the 1980’s and 1990’s before they went into liquidation in 2010.

Salvation came when the company was acquired by the Zhongneng Vehicle Group in 2018, a huge Chinese company who have maintained design and production plants in Italy. The new owners injected huge amounts of money into relaunching the brand and the X-Cape 650 adventure bike is one their flagship models.

I was keen to experience the X-Cape, having had limited experience of riding that style of bike and given that I’m not getting any younger I wanted to explore what was out there!

With this in mind I headed over to our friends at Oakley Motorcycles in Maidstone to find out what all the fuss was about.

Exploring the X-Cape

I was met by Paul Blair, one of the owners of Oakley Motorcycles, with a hot cup of coffee in hand I explored the X-Cape. The build, finish and fit of the bike is impressive, as good as, if not better, than many of the premium brands whose bikes retail at much higher prices.

“There’s a huge difference between a Chinese bike and a Chinese made bike” said Paul. He has a good point, the old phrase “you get what you pay for” rings true. This is a true, premium European bike that just happens to be made in China.

A look around the bike throws up a vast array of high quality components, Brembo brakes, fully adjustable Marzocchi forks, KYB monoshock at the rear, Bosch ABS and Pirelli Scorpion tyres to name but a few.

A 7inch TFT colour display in the cockpit gives you all the information you could need and the switch gear all feels good. There is Bluetooth connectivity for your phone and a double USB port for charging as you ride. All nice touches.

The LED headlights are bright and add well to the overall package.

The engine itself is a 649cc parallel twin that kicks out around 60bhp and meets all the usual Euro-5 conditions.

Walking out onto the Oakley Motorcycles forecourt I was given the keys to their demo X-Cape. I started it up and let the engine warm, no nasty rattles, just a nice smooth sound.

Putting on my helmet I headed out of Maidstone for a loop that would take me on mixed roads, A roads, B roads a bit of urban and a smidge of dual carriageway and motorway. I headed out around Tenterden, past Leeds Castle and a brief spell on the M20. I wanted to get as much different riding conditions as I could into my ride.

Settling onto the bike, I was instantly comfortable, the seat was spacious (with ample room for a pillion) and the view of the road ahead was clear, the adjustable screen doing a great job of deflecting the wind.

Exceeding expectations

Having not ridden many adventure bikes I was expecting it to feel cumbersome and, dare I say it, lethargic but I was pleasantly surprised as to how well the bike handled and how it was able to take absolutely everything in its stride in an unflustered way. It took all kinds of corners without complaint and smoothly ironed out undulations in the road.

Moto Morini Motorcycles now available at Oakley Motorcycles.

The engine, whilst not the most powerful, has a well-balanced spread of torque throughout its range (it does like to be revved to really get the best out of it) with a top speed of 109mph. The fuelling is smooth with no noticeable glitches and the 6 speed gearbox was buttery.

Getting up to motorway speeds, the bike was impeccably behaved and, even at 6ft tall, I felt well protected from turbulence and buffeting.

It’s not the lightest bike, weighing in at a claimed 232kg (wet) but it wasn’t an issue and it felt a lot more lithe than the statistic would suggest.

Fuel economy

The fuel gauge didn’t budge at all in my ride and I have been seeing feedback of around 45mpg out of the 18 litre tank. I have no reason to disbelieve this.

At the end of my ride, albeit no continental adventure, I was under no illusion, this is a seriously well put together bike that will happily take you on everything from your daily commute to a bit of trail riding and would be perfectly at home on a European tour. By the end of my ride I could certainly understand the attraction of adventure bikes and I would be keen to spend a bit more time living with one on a daily basis to explore further.

And the cherry on the cake? Well, The Moto Morini is an absolute stonker of a bargain, starting at £7199 OTR, it undercuts all the major players, and for my mind is equal, if not even better on spec and with a 3 year warranty, what’s not to like?

Discover more

Get yourself to Oakley Motorcycles, have a look around and take one for a ride…
You won’t be disappointed.

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