Two street motorcycles from a storied Italian brand that bring a new flavour to the middleweight segment.
There are many things that the Italians are exceptional for and among the list is motorcycle designs. Which should explain why me and my colleagues are so captivated by the looks of the new Moto Morini Seiemmezzo 6 ½ motorcycles. Before you ask, the pronunciation is “see-eh-metzo” and the name means six and a half, which denotes the 650cc inline-twin (649cc to be precise) that powers these motorcycles. They are available in India in two forms – Retro Street and Scrambler, with differences between them being largely cosmetic. Here’s what it was like to spend a brief time with these new middleweight nakeds.
Moto Morini Seiemmezzo: design and features
As stated earlier, the stand out feature on the Seiemmezzo motorcycles is the lovely Italian design. The Retro Street variant has a dollop of street naked butchness, evident in the visual mass offered by the beefy tank. The round headlight, seats, and almost minimal tail section add to the appeal. In fact, the lack of unnecessary body panels keeps a part of the frame and subframe exposed. Isn’t that the whole point of ‘street naked’? I also liked the design of the tyre hugger that doubles up as the number plate holder.
Scrambler gets tubeless wire-spoke wheels.
The Scrambler, as the name suggests, has a few distinguishing design elements to the roadster. While the fuel tank, headlight and seat are the same (finished in tan brown) there are bits specific to the Scrambler variant. This includes a fly screen above the headlight and a neat-looking beak below it. The side panels are different as well but it’s the tail-section that adds more distinction to the Scrambler. I particularly liked the way it extends beyond the seat to form a mini mudguard. Speaking of, the little mud flap over the front wheel could barely prevent it from throwing muck onto the radiator when we rode the Scrambler off-road. I guess form takes precedence over function in the case of this Italian machine. Also, the Scrambler has a gold-coloured fork and runs on tubeless wire-spoke wheels, unlike the alloys on the Retro Street.
Smart TFT display with Bluetooth.
In terms of features, they’ve both got all-LED lights, backlit switchgear and a colour TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity.
Moto Morini Seiemmezzo: ride and handling
Both motorcycles have wide, accommodating and comfortable perches. In the case of the street bike, the handlebar is flatter, while the footpegs are set at an appropriate height to form a comfortable rider’s triangle. The Scrambler’s handlebar, however, is set slightly higher to make it easier to stand on the pegs and ride off-road.
Inline-twin has a solid midrange punch.
The Seiemmezzos are powered by the same 649cc, inline-twin engine that produces 55hp and 54Nm. These figures are significantly lower than other 650cc-class bikes, like the Kawasaki Z650 (68hp, 64Nm). Both Moto Morinis weigh 215kg, and on paper, they don’t seem to be in the same performance ballpark as the competition. However, in the very short time we spent riding them, the bikes didn’t feel slow. In fact, there’s a strong surge in acceleration as revs enter the midrange, accompanied by a nice induction roar. There’s decent top-end performance as well, but given the limited space we had access to, we couldn’t hold highway speeds for long. So, a full blown test is what’s in order to see what these middleweight nakeds have got to offer.
The Seiemmezzos employ a tubular frame, suspended by a fully-adjustable USD fork and a monoshock. And before you wonder, the suspension travel (120mm front/ 118mm rear) as well as wheel sizes on both models is the same. The only difference is seen in the Scrambler’s block-pattern tyres for additional grip while riding on trails. On the road, the suspension did a good job of soaking up bumps, although the front fork on our test Scrambler felt bouncy over some of the larger bumps. Handling around the only corner we came across on our route showcased the planted nature of the bike.
Radiator gets caked in slushy conditions.
Braking performance, too, didn’t leave much to be desired either, although the ABS sensitivity under hard braking is more than ideal.
Moto Morini Seiemmezzo: Should you buy it?
Moto Morini’s Seiemmezzo twins are quite unlike the competition in the segment. Not only do they look great, they have a competent engine and chassis to cater to what most buyers seek in this segment. That said, it is too early for us to recommend them until a proper road test is conducted. Besides the nascent sales and service network, as well as the unproven reliability, are things to consider before putting down the estimated Rs 6 lakh-7.5 lakh (ex-showroom) that these bikes may demand, once they are launched.