REVIEW: MOTO MORINI CORSARO 1200

CORSARO 1200. TO DREAM THE POSSIBLE DREAM.
Exactly 18 months from the December 2003 announcement of the rebirth of the Moto Morini
brand, the bike manufacturer is living up to its promise and bringing out the Corsaro 1200, the
motorcycle that will open a new chapter in Moto Morini’s history. In the best tradition, the new
bike is fruit of an evolved, and in many ways innovative, engineering project, but moreover it
is the result of a manufacturing and marketing strategy that has received intense study. Over
these past 18 months, in addition to designing, testing and putting into production the first
Corsaro, company management has striven to define an unfailing system of production and a
distribution policy attentive to the needs of dealers and consumers and that will ensure solid
base for the re-establishment of the brand.

Corsaro 1200: a true Moto Morini.
The Corsaro 1200 — a consummate Italian bike — is the first motorcycle of a range that Moto
Morini management is betting on for the brand’s rebirth. The Bialbero CorsaCorta engine is
designed by Franco Lambertini, one of the most highly experienced engineers in twin-cylinder
engines. The bike’s design has been the domain of Marabese Design, and the 100% Italian
componentry is top-notch. Corsaro 1200 is one of the first naked bikes to obtain Euro 3 homologation, an extra feature that required major efforts to preserve the product’s performance and aesthetic features.

 

Why a nude bike? The Corsaro project took shape in 2003 and two years down the road, we can state with conviction that placing our bets on a large-displacement nude road bike was the right choice. This has been confirmed by growth trends in the segment in Italy and abroad and forecasts for development over the next few years. First and foremost, the decision taken by the Moto Morini management was the result of an attentive analysis of the market and its foreseeable
prospects. But another, hardly secondary, motivation was the desire to maintain continuity with
the history of the Moto Morini marque. The motorcycles that made this marque so memorable
from the years spanning 1936 to 1994 have a very specific identity: they are nude bikes, with
mechanics exposed and perfectly integrated in a harmonious design and classic graphics. Being
measured according to these concepts today and knowing how to give them a modern interpretation
is the challenge of the Corsaro 1200 project.

Lay out
Behind the Corsaro is a project for a sport bike that is easy to ride. The layout was studied and
designed to house the slim, 87° longitudinal V twin-cylinder engine, a compact engine that facilitated
the design of a motorcycle with a short wheelbase of 1440 mm and with a distribution of weights with 51% on the front. Intensive experimentation was reserved for establishing the
ideal centre of gravity to achieve the maximum handling in combined terrain and the best stability
at the highest speeds. Attaining this ambitious goal was significantly aided by the shape
and size of the aluminium cast swing arm and progressive linkage.

 

The design
The design of the Corsaro has been overseen by Marabese Design with whom Moto Morini has
established a joint collaboration which envisions the development a whole range.
The motorcycle exudes a sport style. The trestle frame composed of variable sized tubing has
a compactness and conceals nothing of the Bialbero CorsaCorta engine, perfectly epitomising
the concept of a nude bike. A perfect balance of curves and tensions characterise the superstructures;the headlight fairing, tank, seat and tail display synchronous lines that reveal Italianaesthetics in all their refinement. The original and dynamic headlight fairing leaves the double-
lamp headlight in full view.

Focus was also placed on the tank, whose form recalls the opening of the wings of an eagle. It is contoured to achieve optimum ergonomics and to allow for thetwo-tone paint finish in the best Morini tradition. The seat and tail echo these lines in the profileof the air scoops. Of particular impact is the swing arm cast in aluminium alloy featuring original, enveloping forms, which supports the rear progressive suspension. The exhaust system is clearly sophisticated and complies with Euro 3 pollution standards. The original designof exhaust piping has been designed with 70-mm diameter tubes, with the catalytic converterintentionally in view and with two spectacular biconical-shaped silencers under the seat. Welding points on the whole exhaust system are clearly visible to accentuate the whole character of an object that seeks to stand out.

THE CORSACORTA 1200 CC BIALBERO TWIN-CYLINDER ENGINE

The lay out of the engine is strongly characterised by the V layout of the cylinders and by the
timing system which, conceptually speaking, are reminders of the family of the 3 1/2, but especially
by the innovation of the integral casing.

To reduce the height of the engine as much as possible, the cylinder heads were lowered to the
degree that the exhaust has been positioned tangent to the rear connecting point of the engine.
The 4-valve DOHC layout echoes in part the philosophy of the 250 bialbero of the 1963 GP, while
having an angle between the valves that is decidedly more modern. All this could have been
achieved with a casing cut parallel to the ground, but the position where the sprocket came out
of the chain would have been very low and too distant from the centre of the shaft, resulting
in a less than optimum placement of the engine. The casing cut vertically, instead, allows an
excellent positioning of the sprocket without the heads having to be lowered.

The integral casing
The solution of the integral casing allows the sprocket of the chain to be higher and closer to
the engine axis, with the cylinder heads lower and layout of the V angle at 87°. The size of the
engine has become extremely compact, contributing to an optimisation of the vehicle’s geom-etry. The innovation of the integral casing offers different advantages with respect to traditional
solutions:
the stiffness of the assembly is such to permit to the engine to be load bearing, i.e., to greatly
simplify the layout of the chassis;
the simplicity of assembly and disassembly to access the engine both during production and
when bike is serviced: for example, the lower part of the engine can be opened to get to the
gearbox and engine shaft without disassembling the heads of the casing; and pistons and cylinders
can be disassembled without opening the casing from special side entries;
there is no need to match up the two semi-casings, typical of motorcycle engines. This greatly
benefits production, service and cost of spare parts.

The cylinder head
The heads have 4 valves at a narrow angle (9.5° INT.& 12.5° EXH.); the timing is a DOHC; the
intake pipes are vertical; the exhaust pipes are characterised by split pipe outlet; a single spark
plug is at centre. The valves are ΦINT.43.5; ΦEXH. 35.7. The engine timing is Aint.20°x58°;
Aexh54°x20°, and the valve return is operated by two springs per valve.

The pistons
The engine has a 107 mm forged piston, the largest ever constructed for a motorcycle of this
category. Its stroke is 66 mm. This decision has made it possible to make the engine more
compact on top without excluding future development of this displacement.

The crankshaft
The crankshaft is built according to the classic “Scomposto” (“split”) motorcycling technology. The
great advantage is to use an integral connecting rod — i.e., without bolts on the cap — reflecting
a philosophy that prioritises simplicity.

The gearbox
The gearbox is six speed with quick coupling. Conceptually it is comparable to the first standard
gearbox with six speeds of the legendary 3 1/2.

Lubrication
Thanks to the compactness of the engine in the upper section, it was possible to choose a wet
casing lubrication, much simpler and more practical for the layout of the vehicle as compared
to a dry casing lubrication. The pump is with lobes and is gear-commanded; the bypass valve
is positioned under the filter to avoid clogging.

The cooling
The circuit carries out internal passages of the coolant to the engine, while the pump, which
delivers 160 l/min is coaxial to the timing lay shaft.

 

Fuel Injection
The injection features an integrated system of injection/ignition supplied by Magneti Marelli, the
throttle bodies are diam.54 with single-jet injector.

Future developments
The developments on the slate for this family of bikes regard both the displacement and vehicle
typology. The engine that will be mounted on the 9 1/2 model repeats the Φ 107 bore with the
55.5 stroke and split crankshaft. By the time development is concluded we should attain rotation
speeds for sport versions of 12,000 rpm for the 1200 cc and 14,000 rpm for the 1000 cc.

Time and quality
The time taken for engineering, development and setting up a manufacturing plan amounted to
less than two years, with the engine reaching the test bench in late February 2004. One thing
important to keep in mind were the challenges due to new features of engineering, such as the
innovative integral casing, the load bearing structure, the 107 bore and relative thermodynamics,
the “split” crankshaft, and the compliance with the Euro 3 pollution standards.
Project verifications, the controls on the supplies and assembly, and the final tests make this
engine a product worthy of the highest standards.

THE CHASSIS

Frame
Essence of the chassis is the trestle frame in high-strength steel tubing from Verlicchi designed
exclusively for Moto Morini. The structure is extremely solid and combines all the stiffness
required to harness the power of the engine with a reduced weight and a muscular look characterised by the main tubing with a 35 mm diameter.The measurements regarding to wheelbase, headstock rake, and trail are highly compact, especiallyconsidering that this is a motorcycle with a 1200cc nucleus.
Thanks to the harmony achieved in fine-tuning the various components, the result of this alchemy is immediately perceptibleas the first few metres of road; the weight, already reduced to just 198 kg magicallydisappears in movement and the deftness in cornering never gives rise to instability, not even at the highest speeds.

The swing arm and the suspension
The function of the frame is aided by top-notch suspension. At the front a powerful Marzocchi Magnum with 50 mm diameter legs, slender due to exclusivelightweight plates constructed in a cast light alloy, is compatible with every riding style due to infinite possibilities for adjustment. The visual solidity is reflected in a solid and coherent functioning,ready to conform to minimum unevenness in the road and to bear the thrust of decelerationin the most race-inspired breakaways.

The rear is characterised by an asymmetrical aluminium alloy swing arm cast according to the sand casting process, a highly refined technology that comes from the races that assures the
best ration between stiffness and weight. Its sinuous forms conceal a fully adjustable Sachs
shock absorber that is attached on the upper part to the swing arm’s stiffening trusses and on
the bottom to the progressive linkage, it too constructed entirely in aluminium by means of
forging technology.
Even parts apparently of less importance or undervalued in most market offerings have been
meticulously cared for. Some examples: the chain adjustment sliding shoes have been
machined from the solid by milling a precious light alloy as have the footpegs of the rider and
passenger.
Tyres
The wheels fit Pirelli Diablo tyres in the classic sizes of 120/70 at front and 180/55 at back to
guarantee the support and surface necessary for discharging the enormous torque of the
engine, with the assurance that the situation is always under control.

Braking system
corsaro_1200_road_actionWhile braking, the Corsaro 1200 never gives reason to disappoint: the Brembo systems guarantee
powerful yet progressive deceleration, granting the rider the sensitivity needed for optimum
handling of this difficult aspect of the riding experience. The pair of semi-floating discs
measuring 320 mm at front is completed by axial callipers with four pistons of a differentiated
diameter: it is a solution stemming from a precise technical contribution, that of lending safety
thanks to excellent modulability and awesome power. Too often racing systems that become
transferred onto road models give abrupt reactions that are difficult to control, especially on
roads open to traffic and when roadbeds offer poor grip. The braking of the Corsaro 1200 is
for everyone to take full advantage of.

The electronic control unit and the electrical system
corsaro_1200_road_action_01While the Corsaro 1200 is an example of Italian mechanics in the most honoured tradition, running
through this machine are state-of-the-art electronics. The CAN line transfers information
between the Magneti Marelli engine electronic control unit, the fully equipped dashboard featuring
onboard computer and latest-generation sensors placed throughout the vehicle to keep
all sensitive parameters under control. Among the other functions of the instrument panel, are
two different trip meters reporting average speed and rpm, but also the ambient temperature,
the gear inserted, clock and maintenance intervals. Starting is automatic: just a light pressure
on the button will activate the control unit command to the electric motor allowing the V twincylinder
to come to life. Even the old lever of the starter is a distant memory thanks to a sophisticated
system of automatic mixture control regulated by the stepper motor according to the
weather conditions. Despite this, the technology is never invasive, the rider always has the situation
under control and, from a design viewpoint, the cables disappear from sight and most
components are neatly ordered in the compartment under the seat. Both the powerful healight
with double lamps and the led one at the rear automatically turn on when engine is stared
in compliance with the most recent road rules.

The tank
The fuel tank, with a prestigious 2-shade paint finish like the glorious Moto Morinis of yesteryear,
is constructed in shockproof nylon. It has a capacity of 18 litres and can be lifted to have access to the large filter box lying below.The exhaust systemLast, but not least, the exhaust system not only gives an unmistakable look to the motorcycle
thanks to the Termignoni biconical silencers; not only does it fill the air with powerful sound,
but it is environmentally friendly thanks to a meticulous design scheme and to closed loop technologywith three-way catalytic converter and oxygen sensor. The exhaust emissions measurewell under the limits imposed by the stringent Euro3 standards.

PRODUCTION
Moto Morini steps back into the market with an innovative model for the motorcycle industry,
where dynamism and flexibility are its main strengths. The model is based on the decision to
adopt the assembly line method called lean production, whose philosophy guides the most
modern and sophisticated automotive lines of production today. Moto Morini is the first motorcycle
manufacturer to fully adopt this flexible production method, where programming large lots
is unnecessary and where quantities and models can differ according to the day. The organisational
model that the company developed is based on just in time logistics.
The production system features an initial area called the supermarket, where the parts and subassemblies making up the cart/kit of each bike are stored and then selected. After the componentsare taken, the cart/kit is attached onto the side of the assembly line, while the centreof the line houses an assembly cart for the engine. The cart/kit and assembly cart move parallel
to the line at the same speed; operators complete the assembly of the bikes, taking the
components from the cart/kit.

Assembling different models on the line at the same time is achieved through the automatic reequipping of the line, a technique that differs from conventional lines where production is interruptedto provide for set-up. Another important aspect is the ergonomics researched for theworkstations, where operators can adjust the height of the assembly cart for easier and safer
access. Standard production capacity is estimated at about 6,000 motorcycles per year. This
production strategy enables a quick fulfilment of market demands, whether the quantities are
large or small. No restrictions are placed on number during the production cycle, and a further
advantage is that the method offers maximum opportunity for customising the product.

DISTRIBUTION
The organisation of the distribution network in Italy and Europe has been completed during the
past several months. The list of dealers and official distributors is available on our Web site
motomorini.com.
In Italy, the sales network stretches across the entire country and is made up of 101 dealers
specialised in motorcycle sales and assistance. A competence in sales, tradition and a firmly
established local presence are characteristics common to the official Moto Morini dealers. A key
feature that has guided Moto Morini in the choice of each dealer is the guarantee of technical
assistance, with the efficiency of the after-sales service being an essential aspect of Moto
Morini’s sales and marketing policy. The positive feedback that Moto Morini has received from
Italian dealers and foreign distributors reflects the affection for the marque and the prestige it
enjoys. However, their reception is also explained by Moto Morini’s shrewd strategy for reestablishing
the brand and is a validation of the sound decision to produce a large-displacement
naked road bike.

The Corsaro project was conceived to offer owners a reliable, high-performing bike, yet one at
an accessible price. It is not a dream bike for a select few, but a motorcycle one can dream of
realistically. The Corsaro 1200 comes in colour combinations of black/silver and red/silver. See
technical details homologation data.

 

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