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MOTO MORINI CORSARO 1200 ZT | Bike Tests | Latest Tests

Thoroughly Italian and delightfully undigitised, this is old-school big-bore streetfighter bliss

Italy’s small but historic Moto Morini brand is continuing its steady ride along the comeback trail under the sole ownership of 57-year-old Milan-based investor Ruggeromassimo Jannuzzelli.

The 13 full-time employees at its small but well-equipped factory in the risotto rice fields south of Milan, produced 140 hand-built motorcycles in the whole of 2017, but this year they have delivered more than 100 bikes in the first six months, each powered by the unique 1187cc 87º V-twin CorsaCorta engine.

These comprise mainly the latest ZZ and ZT variants of the Corsaro streetfighter, the company’s core model, which entered production in 2006 and later spawned a family of spin-off models including the Granpasso adventure tourer and the Scrambler – well, street scrambler – which, like the Corsaro duo, are also now Euro 4-compliant.

To fuel Moto Morini’s resurgence, Jannuzzelli has invested substantially in both product and personnel, introducing four new models in just two years while still focusing on the made-to-measure nature of the company’s creations.

“We are the only manufacturer in the world which assembles our complete motorcycle, engine and chassis, entirely by hand in-house,” Jannuzzelli says proudly. “We don’t purchase engines from someone else and install them in our frames – everything in the entire Moto Morini motorcycle is created here in Trivolzio, and each bike is assembled by a single person, whose name is attached to it.

“Our objective is to raise production to never more than 400 bikes a year by 2020, each of them hand-assembled to the highest standards of quality.

“And we are now selling our products through dealers established in each country, and no longer on the internet, as was the case before.”

This commitment to the cause has entailed spending the money needed to upgrade the Corsaro to Euro 4 compliance, while also refining and refreshing its looks via detail changes courtesy of noted designer Rodolfo Frascoli.

The first fruits of this was the Corsaro 1200 ZZ performance model launched at the 2016 EICMA Show, ABS-equipped for the first time and fitted with twin ellipsoidal headlights, and selling in Italy for 19,990 Euro, including tax. This has now been joined by the less-costly ZT variant that debuted at EICMA last November, and has now been in production since May, with 60 examples already delivered. This retails in Italy for 15,900 Euro and, while the exact same mechanical package as the ZZ, it’s been significantly revamped to deliver a more user-friendly machine that is certainly almost as good as its ZZ sister – in some ways a little better.

As regular readers will know, I’m a Morinista by conviction, as the satisfied owner of an original Corsaro 1200 that’s still just as much fun to ride as it was when I rode it home from Bologna to Britain in the summer of 2007. So I was particularly interested in evaluating the 1200 ZT, because this is intended to be a more rideable version of the decidedly muscular and relatively imposing ZZ streetrod. The difference comes not only in revamped fuelling for the CorsaCorta motor, but also in subtle changes to the riding position and the overall architecture of the bike – all aimed at delivering a more friendly motorcycle to ride, while retaining the same muscular appeal as the ZZ for the simple reason that the two bikes share the same mechanical package. Only the ECU mapping has been altered.

Read the full story in the current issue (Vol 68 No 05) of AMCN on sale now

   Test Alan Cathcart

   Photography Kel Edge