Back in December of last year, Bristol Group – the same company behind the Venturi 500, Bobber 650, Assassin 400, Maxie 400, Classic 400i and the Vantaggio 125, has opened the showroom of an Italian brand to add to their growing portfolio: Moto Morini.
For those who are not familiar, Moto Morini is one of the oldest motorcycle brands in the world, and traces its roots to Bologna, Italy, when it was founded in 1937 by Alfonso Morini.
Today, the modern Moto Morini brand excels in producing state-of-the-art motorcycles thanks to the strong backing provided by its parent company, the ZNEN Group.
I’ll be honest, just seeing a motorcycle with some resemblance to a dirtbike e.g.: knobby tires, long-travel suspension, etc., makes me very excited. So, our friends from Bristol Group scheduled a demo X-Cape for us to enjoy, and it will be our first bike review for 2023.
Engine and electronics
The X-Cape is powered by a 649cc, liquid-cooled inline-twin engine (180-degree crank) with double overhead cams that produces a claimed 61 Ps of power at 8,250 rpm with 54 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm.
It is coupled with a six-speed transmission.
As for the X-Cape’s electronics, it has two riding modes: Ride and Off-Road. With Ride selected, the ABS is always on. On Off-Road, the rider can turn the ABS off – which is suited for off-road riding. Throttle response is the same for both riding modes.
Design and features
On the outside, the overall design cues resemble a typical Italian bike thanks to its striking lines and attention to detail. Personally, every time I look at the X-Cape, I see a stretched-out face of a Ducati Panigale – like if someone touches your forehead from behind to stretch your eyes. But that’s just me.
The X-Cape has plenty of features that it can be proud of, like its dual 4-piston Brembo brake calipers on the front, adjustable Marzocchi forks, 7-inch TFT screen, full-LED lighting, USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, and a manual-adjustable windscreen.
On the plus side, the riding ergonomics of the X-Cape 650 is pretty comfortable even for a 5’6 guy like me. I took the X-Cape to Baguio City, all the way to Mt. Data in Bauko and to the New Highest Point in Tinoc. Thanks to the X-Cape’s good ergonomics, I wasn’t all that tired after riding through those places which included a quick off-road detour.
Its twin-cylinder engine was also pretty decent in terms of fuel consumption, averaging 23 kilometers per liter, and gave the X-Cape’s 18-liter tank more or less a 400-plus kilometer range in one top-up.
Though not really designed for serious adventure riding, the X-Cape’s pair of Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires will give you that much-needed confidence booster when tackling off-road.
Also, thanks to the removable rubber pegs, I was able to do a lot of stand-up riding off-road without slipping my boots.
On the road, the adjustable windshield protected me from the wind during high speeds while engine response somewhat resembles that of a Kawasaki Versys 650.
There is no perfect bike, and the X-Cape has some room for improvement. The first thing is the weight. On paper, the X-Cape tips the scales at 213 kilograms dry. If we add fuel, oil and coolant, the total weight would balloon somewhere in the 235 to 237-kilogram avenue, which is quite heavy for a 650cc. For comparison, a BMW R 1250 GS weighs 249 kilograms, full tank, and with all the liquids, ready to roll.
Also, the clutch pull is heavy, like early 90s Harley-Davidson heavy. Riding the X-Cape on the open highway or in the mountains will be no issue on the clutch pull. On the way back, however, we encountered the exodus of travelers who are on their way back to Manila after a long weekend. As you could imagine, NLEX was jam-packed with all types of vehicles and we needed to filter our way through. Long story short, I have to utilize all 4 of my left-hand fingers just to pull the clutch during this ordeal.
Lastly, the price. Currently, the Moto Morini X-Cape has an SRP of PHP 658,000 but is being offered at an introductory price of PHP 638,000. The usual comment that I got when I was riding the X-Cape was “for a few thousand pesos more, it’s already the price of the [Yamaha] T7.” Where these guys are coming from, I think, is that the Moto Morini brand is still an untested and unproven brand here in the country that's why it is almost inevitable that they compare it with a mainstay like Yamaha and its 700cc offering.
The Moto Morini X-Cape is a capable touring bike, with ample power for the long haul. Its suspension is superb, and the brakes are spot-on. It is very comfortable even on long, multi-day rides and has more than enough fuel range to take you all the way to Vigan City in just one top-up.
If you fancy an Italian adventure bike but can’t justify the Ducati Multistrada’s price tag to the wife, then the X-Cape 650 is for you.
- Make:Moto Morini
- Engine:Liquid cooled inline-twin, DOHC 649cc
- Max Power:61 Ps @ 8,250 rpm
- Max Torque:54 Nm @ 7,000 rpm
- Frame:Steel chassis, aluminum swingarm
- Seat Height:820mm
- FR Suspension:50mm Marzocchi inverted fork
- RR Suspension:KYB adjustable monoshock
- FR Brake:Twin 2-piston Brembo calipers, 298mm discs
- RR Brake:Single disc, 2-piston Brembo caliper
- Wet Weight:236 kilograms
- Fuel Capacity:18 liters
- Price as Tested:₱ 658,000