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Old 01-07-2007, 04:14 PM   #1
Desertpistons OP
80s dakar
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Texas
Oddometer: 254
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!


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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