December is approaching. The last time many riders have thrown a leg over a bike with the intent to actually go somewhere is starting to seem distant. The desire to look through a corner while rolling the throttle has to be replaced with something else (but what?). What out of the saddle activity can medicate us well enough to survive a winter without riding?
Perhaps you are skilled and have the resources to finish a project bike. That would be enormously gratifying and well-timed. Others may plan their trip to Daytona Bike Week, only to return to one more brutal month of snow storms. Is it time to look up museums, factory tours, or just read the ‘Slider every day?
Recently, I had the pleasure of getting a personal tour of the Moto Morini factory. I would have been pleased with a t-shirt purchase & photos of a complete bike at the factory, but as you will read, there were elements of surprise, spontaneity, and genuine hospitality.
The bus dropped us off a bit late. Signora Nanni said that we would only be able to see the bike assembly area and not the engine assembly room due to the European Importer arriving that day. The factory was preparing for that visit and it was essentially closed. In addition, there was no one available that had access to the engine assembly area since we arrived later than expected. I was more than pleased that they would continue to welcome us on a busy day & stoked to see the bike in person since it is not available in North America.
As we were looking at the assembly area, Franco Lambertini was walking through about 20 yards away. Mr. Lambertini has been the chief engineer behind Moto Morini for the last 37 years, since he designed the Moto Morini 3 ½ (a stylish little V-twin 350). The current engine is also his design.
Mrs. Nanni flagged him down. Her action to introduce us was simply awesome, considering the business ahead of them that day. He not only stopped and graciously talked about the bike for a few minutes, but he proceeded to give us a personal tour of the limited access, engine assembly area.
Mr. Lambertini is rightfully proud. The engine is tremendous in function & form, producing 140hp @ 8500 rpm and 90 ft/lbs. of torque (123 Nm). Those are impressive figures for any motorcycle manufacturer, even more impressive for a company of this size.
The engine has a unique 87° “V” configuration. Note the incredible bore of the cylinder while maintaining an ultra slim engine. That is Mr. Lambertini demonstrating the thin engine with a massive piston. Also notice how little wiring and plumbing are visible on this liquid-cooled bike. The steel trellis frame is also impressive, maintaining a clean look (cleaner than a Ducati Monster?).
Signora Nanni & Mr. Lambertini were incredibly gracious hosts. (Thank you very much for your down-to-earth character, wonderful modesty & genuine hospitality.)
Like most of you in North America, I cannot run off to Italy every year. However, there are many motorcycle-related places to go this winter in our part of the world….
• Trev Deeley museum in Vancouver, B.C.
• Glen Curtis museum in Hammondsport, NY
• Barber Motorsports & Confederate Motorcycles in Alabama
• Buell/HD factory tours throughout the mid-west and PA.
Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking for those of us here in the U.S. but what are your ideas, in your part of the world, for a motorcycle off season out of saddle fix?
(Send in some great destination ideas to add to the ones Doug listed here and we’ll highlight some of them on The Kneeslider – Paul)