MO Interview: Moto Morini's Alberto Monni
Just over four years ago, Italian trophy marque Moto Morini narrowly avoided joining the many other defunct brands from all our two-wheeled yesterdays already deposited in motorcycling history’s trash bin. But in October 2018 Chen Huaneng, the owner of Chinese scooter and minimoto manufacturer Zhongneng Vehicle Group, saved it from extinction by acquiring 100% ownership of Moto Morini from the previous Italian owner.
In my exclusive interview with him that month, Mr. Chen stated his intention to immediately develop a range of Moto Morini models with 650cc Parallel-Twin engines. These would financially underpin the high end 1,200cc V-Twins which the company had exclusively manufactured ever since its 2003 revival. He was as good as his word, and exactly three years later, the Moto Morini X-Cape 650 go-anywhere Adventure bike entered production at the Zhongneng factory in Taizhou, 400 km south of Shanghai, for sale all over the world. This has now been joined for 2023 by two Seiemmezzo models built on the same DOHC eight-valve 650cc Parallel-Twin platform sourced from rival manufacturer CFMoto, whose factory in China is only 25 km from Taizhou. One is an urban Scrambler, the other a Naked Roadster. All three models were entirely developed in Italy by Moto Morini, then productionised by Zhongneng in China.