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Desertpistons 01-07-2007 04:14 PM

Once upon a time there was a Morini Camel 500 (pre Cagiva)
I would like to start a thread on Morini dual purpose bikes. Let’s start with the first Camel 500. Find attached a pic of the stock bike. Splendid!:clap


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After spending years on custom beemers (G/S) and feeling the nostalgia for some native bikes, I decided to investigate Morinis and their dual purpose historical accomplishments especially before they became Cagivas. So little is known about it and after all my researches spent talking to other fellas and gathering various materials, I have started becoming very fond of them. Because of this reason, I am now in possession of 4 Morinis; three 500s and one Morini-Cagiva 501.
I have come to know that in the earlier eighties, Morini and Valentini (famous Morini dealer) worked together to prepare bikes for some desert rides after Valentini’s son Massimiliano won the six days of Elba.. Specifically, in 1980, during the transfrica adventure where 3 stock Morinis made the race, 2 among the 6 bikes which completed the race were Camels. Morini also participated at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Dakar</st1:place></st1:City> and Massimiliano ended 4<SUP>th</SUP> after few Yamaha xt 500 and a Montesa. Lack of money and serious interest by Morini in the <st1:City><st1:place>Dakar</st1:place></st1:City> made the end of the Morini attempt to conquer the podium. There were also some privateers that participated in other races during the 80s but only with discrete success.

Very interesting of the Morini 500 Camel that also raced the Dakar, sponsored by NAVA (an Italian helmet manufacturer), is the positioning of the air filter inside the tank itself with the intakes on the top side of the tank right and left. Definitely Brilliant!


Valentini also made some <st1:City><st1:place>Dakar</st1:place></st1:City> kits for the stock Camel owners. The kit consisted of a different tank (Simun named after a wind in <st1:place>Africa</st1:place>) and special exhaust (2 in 2), different forks-brakes and some hot engine parts too. Regarding the engine, the most brutal that I was told of is the 350 cc (from the smaller kanguro model) modified to 420 cc. Valentini also worked on a 4 stroke water cooled Morini engine.

A Camel 500 with the Simun kit


This is my US Camel Valentini project – not completed yet.

More to come…

JeffPM 01-07-2007 04:38 PM

keep it coming!
Nice bikes! I was aware of their existence, but really didn't much about them.

2 SPOT 01-07-2007 04:43 PM

yeah same here,, ive heard the name but thats about it. wonder why theye didnt keep the camel name??

wpbarlow 01-07-2007 05:01 PM

Here's mine

Absolutely wonderful bike- the TransAlp of it's day. I sold it for 2 reasons- 1) although a 1 kick starter virtually all the time, it was real difficult starter after it fell over- something it seemed to do whenever I went off road :lol3 2) the hybrid 6/12V system meant I couldn't use electrics. Other than that, it was a spectacular bike.

Desertpistons 01-14-2007 02:36 PM

As promised, more info.

This pic shows the famous tank which included a very large air filter and two vents positioned on the top side of the tank

Note that the first dakar bikes had the lower exhausts instead of the single one on the top right side.

Find attached some other interesting pics


This pic shows another rally Valentini Bike, this one sponsored by Zanussi (Italian home aplliances). Note the position of the shocks compared to the stock Morini Camel. By placing the shocks more horizzontaly, the bike has a quicker steering. This solution was adopted on the first six days bikes that raced in the Elba island in 1980.

Last picture of the week is one of the dakar and of the NAVa team

I love the simplicity of the first dakars. Small budget and a lot of courage!!!

Morinis are contagious....:nod

Desertpistons 01-14-2007 02:54 PM

Wrong pic
I intended to post this one on the special tank

McB 01-14-2007 03:01 PM

Great stuff. I remember a 500 V-Twin street bike; seems like it had low bars, sort of a cafe setup. Vaguely remember the Camel, but don't think I ever read much specifically about it.

Desertpistons 01-27-2007 03:17 PM

Morini Camels
Most of the Morinis Camel in the US are what I call the Cagiva Morinis, since they were produced after being acquired by Cagiva. It is a shame as many Italians got pissed, for Cagiva buying Morini and killing it. In fact, Cagiva pushed more commercially its elephants than the Camels. Morini had a 4 valves Camel prototype that was full of promises and it was designed for a Camel, not a street bike. Unfortunately, Cagiva decided not to produce it and closed Morini. What a pity! The Cagiva morinis include the Camel 501 and the 501e (electric starter). I will post some info on those later on...I own one :)

Now time modified pre Cagiva Morinis, the mk1, mk2 and mk3 easily recognizable for the frame being made with round tubes; the engine didn't have nikasil cylinders as the 501s later did.

Find an intersting picture, the red bike on the left is the ufficial valentini bike that raced the dakar sponsored by NAVa, the one on the right is of a havily modified Valentini

I definetly like the bars around the front bike light. Not sure of thier functionality though.

Last find another picture of a modified mk3, custom frame and a custom swing arm . I have been told that the bike now resides in Germany. Yup, most of the italian specials have been bought by non Italians.

Extremely well built bike.

Last but not least the same bike as displayed on the top picture. The picture was taken in Germany where it resides too.

:clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

Desertpistons 02-04-2007 04:20 PM

Morini Camel pre 501
Here I am again to post some more pictures on these bikes. The next post will start covering the 501 and my project - a special 501

I am not sure what happened to this front end- check the rake!!!. An early attempt to make a chopper out of a fine Valentini?:puke1 :puke1 :puke1 let me vomit..

Another early rally bike.

This is the last post on pre 501 camels. Next my new project a modified 501...Defintely a more modern bike with a slightly better engine and a monoshock suspension system.

Morinis are famous for the spaghetti wiring- the electrics is a mess- especially this is true for the Camels which have a dual electric system; 12 volts to the head light and 6 volts to the rest of the bike. It is unusual considering that street morini models have all a 12 volts.

KiltBoy 02-04-2007 05:06 PM

Thanks frankenbeemer

Keep 'em coming!


Desertpistons 02-05-2007 03:32 PM

Morini Camel
Certainly Kiltboy. I know you you like ducati engines as I also do, but a good set up Morini kicks ass. Just to give you an example, in Italy there is a guy called Zuk that with his modified morini camel 501 with a modified swing arm continually beats other 2 cylinders bikes such as Cagivas and Beemers in the "multicylinder class" of the italian rally champioship. The funny part of this is that he races with the cheapest bike of the championship. :rofl

KiltBoy 02-06-2007 07:04 AM

Did those original bikes have a front drum brake? is that what's going on with the cable and brace on the front fork?:huh

Desertpistons 02-06-2007 08:17 PM

Morini Camel
Yes the original Camels, the mk1, the mk2 and the mk3 had all front and back drums originally. The brace is there to block the drum carrier. Valentini bikes, beside the bike that won the six days of Elba, had all disk brake conversion kits. The Camel got the oem disk brakes only when they became Cagivas; hence the 501.

KiltBoy 02-07-2007 04:17 PM

One of these days I'm going to show up on your doorstep for a guided tour of your collection:eek1

Desertpistons 02-08-2007 08:41 PM

Morini Camel
Anytime. You are very welcome. :1drink

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