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Old 01-07-2007, 05:14 PM   #1
Desertpistons OP
80s dakar
 
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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!
Stock






Mine







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 Dakar and Massimiliano ended 4th after few Yamaha xt 500 and a Montesa. Lack of money and serious interest by Morini in the Dakar 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 Dakar kits for the stock Camel owners. The kit consisted of a different tank (Simun named after a wind in Africa) 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…
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Old 01-07-2007, 05:38 PM   #2
JeffPM
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keep it coming!

Nice bikes! I was aware of their existence, but really didn't much about them.
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Old 01-07-2007, 05:43 PM   #3
2 SPOT
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yeah same here,, ive heard the name but thats about it. wonder why theye didnt keep the camel name??
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:01 PM   #4
wpbarlow
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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 2) the hybrid 6/12V system meant I couldn't use electrics. Other than that, it was a spectacular bike.
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:36 PM   #5
Desertpistons OP
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Laugh More

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!!!

P.S
Morinis are contagious....
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:54 PM   #6
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Wrong pic

I intended to post this one on the special tank

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Old 01-14-2007, 04:01 PM   #7
McB
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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.
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