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'Morini Franco Motori' logo
(not the same)

Logo 'Moto Morini' mopeds

For an overview of framenumbers/years of construction on the Moto Morini Corsarino mopeds, have a look at this page.




Specially for owners of mopeds with a Morini Franco Motori engine, but also for those who would like to know the relationship between "Morini Franco Motori S.p.A." and "Moto Morini".

The story of the relationship between the two companies consists of a number of components:


1. Moto Morini, as an independent factory, producing 50-500cc mopeds and motorcycles, 1937-1992.




2. Morini Franco Motori ('Franco Morini'), an independent factory producing 50-125cc 2-stroke engines for other Italian companies of mopeds/light motorcycles, 1954-2007.



Information on both companies, see below.
We try to make clear that mopeds with a 'Morini Franco Motori' 50cc 2-stroke engine are no Moto Morini products.

On a different page, there will be more information about 3 - 9. We'll go into the history of 'Moto Morini'. Also we'll explain why and how the relationship with Morini Franco Motori was established from 1999 onwards.
  1. take-over of 'Moto Morini' by Cagiva (1987),
  2. closing of the Moto Morini factory (1992),
  3. take-over of the brandname 'Moto Morini' by 'Morini Franco Motori' (1999),
  4. resurrection of 'Moto Morini (2004/5) under 'Morini Franco Motori' management,
  5. after that closing of the 'Morini Franco Motori' activities and continuation under the name 'Moto Morini',
  6. voluntary bankrupcy (2010/1), restart (2012),
  7. present situation (from 2013 onwards).

3. - 9. can be read on a new page
(in preparation).


In general


links Alfonso 1. 'Moto Morini', was founded by Alfonso Morini in 1937. Together with an associate, Alfonso had founded the brand 'Morini-Mezzetti' (MM) back in the '20s of the last century. In 1937 he decided to start his own company in Bologna: 'Moto Morini'.


Left on the picture Alfonso Morini in 1964, middle Dante Lambertini (mechanical designer) and rhs motorcycleracer Giacomo Agostini.


2. 'Morini Franco Motori' was founded back in 1954 by Franco Morini, a cousin of Alfonso. Franco, together with Vittorio Minarelli founded F.B.M. (Fabbrica Bolognese Motocicli) back in 1951. In 1954 Franco decided to go solo and founded his own company 'Morini Franco Motori', located in Casalecchio di Reno (near Bologna).

A very rare photo of Franco Morini, sitting on the rhs. This photo was made before F.B.M. split-up.



1. Moto Morini 1937-1992, producer of 50-500cc mopeds/motorcycles
Moto Morini produced 50cc mopeds in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s. There were 2 models: the Corsarino (=Little Pirat) and the Dollaro.

Please note: the Corsarino was called "Pirate" in the US. The Corsarino Scrambler became the "Twister".
The Pirats/Twisters for the US market got a 60cc 4-stroke engine
.

At the time, the 50cc Corsarino was not a legal moped in the Netherlands, as they did not meet the standards of the Dutch law in those days. In the Netherlands mopeds were 'bicycles with an engine', so by law, they had to have pedals like a bicycle. With these pedals your started the engine and also they had the function so the bike could be pedaled. Not that I have ever seen anyone doing so, but it was the law. Footrests and a kickstarter were not allowed on mopeds, only on motorcycles. So the Corsarino's did not get a Dutch homologation. According to Dutch law Corsarino's (including the ladies Modell V) were light/50cc motorcycles. Corsarino's were mainly produced for the Italian homemarket. Below some photo's of the Modell V. The 'Dollaro' however, only 50cc 2-stroke built by Moto Morini, did get a Dutch homologation. A handful were sold by the Dutch importer. The Corsarino's were built in a number of different versions. The 'normal' one was the "Z" with a double seat, next the "ZT" (little more sportive), also a Scrambler (offroad), and a "ZZ" (Zeta-Zeta), the super sport. For an overview of models and years they were built, look below. BTW: the legal situation around mopeds and light motorcycles in the 70s was different in Belgium, no problems bikes like the Corsarino in Belgium. In the '60s and '70s they already had mopeds with fixed footrests, but also the ones with bicycle pedals.

Corsarino
or little Pirat

Corsarino logo


Below:
60cc Pirate and Twister
for the US market

Note: because of the European Union (EU), all legislation (law) in respect to mopeds/light motorcycles is now identical within the EU member states.
At the bottom of this page:

also a:

  • very informative Corsarino website (English) with a lot of 'borrowed' information from this page ;-)

In the US, the 60cc Twister is a
very rare bike. This one was up
for sale on an American website.

Picture from a 1960s sales brochure

First of all an overview of the Moto Morini 50cc models produced between 1963 - 1975
Dollaro (1974)

left, a Moto Morini Dollaro (1971-73) 2-stroke. This is the only
2-stroke moped built by Moto Morini!

Only this type had a Dutch homologation in the '70s; the 4-stoke Corsarino's were 'light 50cc motorcycles', according to Dutch law
at the time.

Corsarino

Corsarino ZZ

"Model V"

Model V

'Amici del Corsarino', the Italian Friends (Owners Club)

 

 

 

Rhs: Dollaro (1971-1973), the silver dollar on the  
fuel tank. Only 50cc 2-stroke of Moto Morini  

Scrambler 49

Another Scrambler 49

Part of an Italian sales brochure from the '60s
(click on it for a larger version on the screen)

 

48cc 4-stroke

Standard Corsarino

Standard Corsarino

last model Corsarino Scrambler

 


Overview Corsarino (50cc 4-stoke) models & Dollaro (only 50cc 2-stroke)

Model Corsarino 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975
V









Z)*






ZT







ZZ)**

Scrambler




Super Scrambler








Dollaro (2 takt)











)*Z: 1963-1965 3 handgears; from '66 onwards 4 gear footgear
)**ZZ: 1964-1965 3 gears (foot); from '66 onwards 4 footgear


2. Now the mopeds with a Morini Franco Motori engine
Morini Franco Motori was a factory in Casalecchio di Reno (near Bologna). Only engines were built for other producing companies of mopeds and light motorcycles. At first only 50cc 2-stroke were built, later also 2-stroke engines of 75-125cc. On this page, you won't find much information on this last category.

Catalogue from 1992 (Click on image for large format)

Intermot 2004 From 1999 onwards an aircooled 4-stroke 125cc single cylinder was produced for motorcycles. In 2001 a 400cc 4-stroke scooter engine was added to the catalogue.Malaguti used it in one of their scooters. In the past, when this page was first published, we added a link to the factory website of Morini Franco Motori, but now the company no longer exists. Reason for this: heavy competition from Asia. In 2007 a 50cc engine 2-stroke with automatic gear change (excludiging the cost of building it together) cost 50% more than a 50cc 'made in China' 4-stroke with 3 valves and 4 speed, including an electric starter delivered in an Italian harbour. It is impossible to compete for European companies with these prices/conditions. For this reason, the company wanted to make a (technical) jump forward. It bought the brandname 'Moto Morini' and started from 2004/5 the production of the 1200cc Moto Morini Cosaro. Another aim of the factory was to develop (and build) engines for other companies. Only the 900cc 3-cilinder engine of Benelli was actually taken into production. After the take-over of Benelli by the Chinese, production went to China. The 125cc 4-stroke single was used by the French company HRD in their models Cabriolet and Super Motard and the German company Simson. Production of motorbikes/mopeds by HRD and Simson was discontinued years ago, because HRD stopt (?) Simson no longer produces 2 wheelers.

Lhs photo courtesy Sylvia Stuurman.

Click on image for large format: a page from a catalogue from the 1992 German IFMA/Cologne with the Morini Franco Motori engines.

Top: an overview of the Morini Franco Motori products: on the far left the 3-cilinder 900cc Benelli engine. Left, 2nd row, the 125cc 4-stroke engine used by HRD and Simson. The other engines on display are 50cc models, both aircooled and watercooled. Photo was taken at the Intermot/München (2004).

   
Moped engines often have the brandname on the covers, like for instance "Malaguti". That way it is not possible to see the name of the company that built it. Malaguti's got their engines from Morini Franco Motori.


Lhs: Spartamet engine (with 'Sachs' name), also produced by Morini Franco Motori.

   

Below no Moto Morini mopeds/engines!
Engines built by:

mopeds of other/unknown factories.



Meteora

the first Morini Franco Motori motorbike (125cc) from the late '50s or eary '60s.
This model is called "Seagull"

the G30A 2-stroke engine,
see the catalogue above

Meteora moped. From a distance it looks similar to a Corsarino Z, but the Morini Franco Motori 50cc 2-stroke engine is clearly visable, as the logo looks like an hourglass

moped, made in Italy, with a Morini Franco Motori engine, but NOT a Moto Morini moped (not made by Morini Franco Motori either).



a 50cc engine of Morini Franco Motori, type "Gyromat"


the 'Gyromat' 2-stroke engine,
type AH50 in the catalogue above


another typically Italian moped from the 60s, looks similar to a Moto Morini, but is NOT. It's identified as a Negrini from 1962/63. See the red Morini Franco Motori logo on the sidecover of the engine.

Left a "Boomerang", according to the brandname on the fueltank.
Not a Moto Morini, but a moped of an unknown
brand with a Franco Morini engine, type "Gyromat".




Morini Franco Motori 2-stroke engine, as used by Malaguti



Another Morini Franco Motori 2-stroke



On the chainguard: Intramotor- (type?)Gloria (Verona) and on the fueltank 'Mini Kid'. Useless to mention, this is not a Moto Morini, but an Italian moped with an engine of Morini Franco Motori, like many others.


This moped was sold as a Moto Morini, but that was wrong! It's an Italianse Cimatti 4M. "4M" stands for "4 marche", or 4 foot gears.

Paintjob on the fueltank is identical as on the picture of the advertisement: Cimatti!

Another Moto Morini "double". It was up for sale on the internet. It had Moto Morini stickers/badges on the fueltank. My Italian friend Carlo and also Massimo from Italy identified this moped as an "Omer" (so clearly not a Moto Morini). Note the double horizontal steel tubes, both above as also below the engine. There are no Moto Morini bikes like that.


Above, another Moto Morini look-alike. Fueltank, front fork and headlight are similar to Moto Morini. But the frame, the angle of the shocks, the chainguard and both mudguards (fenders) are not. Most important, the engine is completely wrong. No Corsarino left the factory with a 2 stroke engine and forced air cooling. Conclusion: It's a fake!

This bike even has a German registration document, stating it is a Moto Morini Corsarino. So this bike changed it's identity on paper, it still originates from another unknown factory.

Conclusion: only trust your own eyes and do not trust stickers/adhesives on the bike. Do not even trust the papers. I have asked the seller bout this bike. He did not have much more to say than that "it was a jubilee model" ..... Don't believe it, as it is no Moto Morini and not a jubilee model either.


On a swapmeet (autojumble) back in August 2010, I bumped into this moped: a "Tigrotto". If you have a very close look at the Tigrotto, you'll find reassemblance with the fake-Moto Morini on the left. I have no proof, but have a close look yourself.

left a Morini Franco Motori (stationary?) engine. Or was it taken from a grasmower or outboard motor of a boat? It has a (pulling)rope for a handstart and an airfilter which looks like a snorkel. Who knows what this engine was used for?




Motorbike Morini Franco Motori
Some time ago, a light motorbike of the brand Motori Franco Morini was offered at Ebay (below). First registration of April 1961. It is a 70cc, 2-stroke with 3 speed (manual). The red colour with the white section on the fueltank is typical for Italian motorbikes from that era. Many other brands had the same colour scheme. On the fueltank, you can see the remains of a decal, probably "Moto Morini". But it is more than clear, that this bike is not a Moto Morini.


Parts for Motori Franco Morini engines At Moto Morini Club Nederland, we do not have a list of suppliers of parts for Motori Franco Morini engines. Here are some tips:
  • The internet site of North Leicester Motorcycles (NLM) in England (worldwide, the largest, active dealer of Moto Morini motorbikes) has got a link to Harglo Performance the English importer Harglo where you can order parts for Motori Franco Morini engines.
  • Look at the auction-sites of Ebay (ebay.com, ebay.de, ebay.it and ebay.nl). Franco Morini engines are offered frequently.
  • Visit swapmeets/auto-jumbles for classic bikes, best of course in Italy, see the calendar.
  • Another good link to a Franco Morini parts supplier.
  • Finally website for Franco Morini parts.

From mr Carlo Vergnano I received the following information on Italian (sport)mopeds. The information below is based on info (articles and adverts) from more than 300 issues of the Italian magazine "Motociclismo".

In 1950, Vittorio Minarelli and Franco Morini set up a factory together "FBM (Fabricca Bolognese Motocicli SrL)" to produce motorcycle and moped engines. Sometime after that they decided to start their own companies in Bologna: Vittorio Minarelli under the name "Minarelli" and Franco Morini under the name "Morini Franco Motori". This last company was founded in 1954. The basic 50cc moped engine of both factories was nearly identical. Some parts could be swapped without any problem. To prove this statement, have a look at the four photo's below of a 1961 Testi Grand Prix, owned by Mr. Paalman in the Netherlands. As you can see, on one side of the engine has a cover with the brandname Minarelli; on the other side a cover with the brandname Morini Franco Motori is fixed. When you click on the 3rd photo from the lhs, you can see a Minarelli enginenumber on the crankcase. This is correct, according to the statement below that Testi used Minarelli engines only. The factory of Franco Morini did make light motorbikes and mopeds for a certain period, but in the Netherlands these bikes were never imported. My guess would be the Franco Morini bikes were only produced for the domestic market: Italy. Production cannot have been a great success, because it was stopped pretty soon. From that moment onwards, only engines were produced until now (2006).


Testi Grand Prix (1961) Testi Grand Prix (1961) juiste carterdeksel foute carterdeksel

Testi Grand Prix 1961.

lhs correct

wrong engine cover


Moped brands with Minarelli engine:
Aprilia, Aspes, Atala, Beta, Bimotor, B.M., Carabela, Casalini, C.F., Chiorda, Cimatti, Empolini, Everton, Fantic Motor, F.M.B., Gabbiano, Gazelle, Gerosa, Gimk, Gitan, Gitane, Giulietta, Indian, Intramotor, Italjet, Legnano, Malanca, M.B. Milani, Mebea, Mondial, Moto Bimm, Moto Gori, MZV, Oemmeci, Omer, Otus, Peripoli, Power, Rieju, Rocvale, Romeo, Sulky, Technomoto, Testi, Torpado.

rhs: of course there are exceptions to the rule:
Romeo with Morini Franco Motori engine 
Romeo

Moped brands with Morini Franco Motori engine:
AIM, Aprilia, Bianchi, B.M., Chiorda, Cimatti, D.M.T., Italjet, Italtelai, Italvelo, Itom, Lem, Malaguti, Motobecane, Moto Gori, Moto Meteora,
Moto Müller, Moto Villa, Negrini, Omer, Oscar, Peripoli, Rivara, S.W.M., Tecnomoto, T.G.M., Titan, Ufo.


Romeo

engine of the Romeo

Brands wityh their own engines (built in their own factory):
Aermacchi, Alpino, Aprilia, Benelli, Beta, Bianci, Demm, Ducati, Garelli, Gerosa, Gilera, Guazzoni, Innocenti, Itom, Malanca, Motobi, Moto Guzzi, Motom, Moto Morini, M.V. Augusta, Piaggio, Santamaria.


Conclusies en opmerkingen:
  • Minarelli had more customers;
  • Some moped factories bought engines from both Minarelli and Franco Morini (f.i. Aprilia, Cimatti and Omer). For some moped models an engine of Morini Franco Motori was mounted, for other models an engine of Minarelli. Sometimes they bought their engines for a number of years from Franco Morini and switched after some time to Minarelli, vice versa. Aprilia mounted Morini Franco Motori at first, but switched over at a later stage to Minarelli;
  • Both Aprilia and Beta used to buy their engines, but later produced their own. Bianchi and Itom built their own engines, but for some moped models, they bought engines from Morini Franco Motori;
  • Watch out with mopeds from the following brands: Ancillotti, Aprilia, Beta, Bianchi, Itom, Malanca, Rondine and see if the correct engine is mounted, because it all depends on the specific model moped;
  • Malagutti only used Morini Franco Motori engines;
  • Testi only used Minarelli engines.


Italian Corsarino service- and registration papers

click on the pictures for larger size

service information

Italian registration papers


Link: (Dutch) Old mopeds
Link: (Dutch) Mopeds - Links to many brands