Moto Morini Scrambler Review
Bike Tested: 2014 Moto Morini Scrambler
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 32 lakhs (est.)
The Scrambler has the retro looks and also the performance of a superbike in disguise
Italians are coming to India to rule our motorcycle market these days is what is being projected in the automotive world as we speak. First came Ducati and Aprilia and now comes Moto Morini and Benelli. Falling demand of bikes in bigger markets and seeing aspirational values in smaller markets for bigger motorcycles is making all European and Japanese manufacturers come to our country with their 800cc platoons of bikes, selling them at very good prices too. Reason is because these motorcycles are quite old and once CKD is performed, prices turn out to be better than expected. Moto Morini however believes there is still market for CBU motorcycles and infact they are right. You go to a showroom and people are so impressed with a motorcycle they will ask whether its imported or made here. If salesman manages to tell him it’s imported, he will buy it and if he says it’s Made in India then he rejects it. So after reviewing the Granpasso, we are here to review the motorcycle which is the same on the inside but has a different role to play. How does it perform on the stage of life? We find out!
Styling – The Scrambler is a type of motorcycle which is nowadays put in the Motorcross category as it is used to fight and dodge obstacles on an off-road track. Here and now, the Scrambler motorcycle is a retro take on today’s Motocross motorcycle and this Moto Morini has retro headlight, mirrors and indicators to gel well with the idea of this particular machine. White colour chassis and dual retro mufflers look great in combination with a huge fuel tank and minimum tail-piece. The orange matte paint job is executed very well and looks very unique. Fit-finish level is good but not that great. The front mudguard is a clear representation of the 1980’s as the support bar is made visible on the outside. Quality is top notch but there are some plastics that are not great. Subtle use of chrome on crank and gearbox case is high quality stuff and with knobby tyres and spoke, it completes the retro look of this Moto Morini. Overall, the motorcycle gives the impression of a cafe racer on stilts at first. The spoke wheels are meant for a purpose and are inspirational to a certain audience in the market.
Ergonomics – The Scrambler has the same issue of seat height and is not suited to all. Although it is slightly lower on seat height than the Granpasso, it won’t help everybody in our country where average height size is not even close to the Europeans. Rubber mounted, shark type, rearset footpegs and a riding position which is upright with a wide handlebar give it a comfortable stance for long distance touring. Seat padding is the best in the business we ever came across for both rider and pillion. Retro mirrors give a very good view of what’s behind. Pillion seat is also good but there is nothing for him or her to hold on a 220 km/hr motorcycle.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The cluster is very small with a blue backlit which now has an analogue tachometer which is a great thing. As always there is a lot of information to be displayed by pressing the mode button below the screen. Time, battery voltage, average speed, km/l, engine and outside temperature, single trip meter and finally the lap time recorder. Switchgear is now a basic unit and does not have controls like the Granpasso and it only has an extra hazard light button on it which replaces the headlamp switch which is always on as a DRL.
Performance – Powering the Moto Morini Scrambler is the same V-Twin engine from the Granpasso with the same gearing. So the engine is a 1187cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC unit which is over-square with a 107 mm bore. It churns out 117 HP of power at 8500 RPM and 105 Nm of torque at 7000 RPM. Power is up by .6 HP while torque is 2 Nm higher than the Granpasso. The engine is very smooth and refined till the redline and only erupts slight vibrations around 4500 RPM after which it becomes a maniac and creates a deep noise while revving quickly at the same time. The V-Twin offers a lot of push at the low and mid-end of the rev range because it has torque in abundance. It is also there to make things easier and requires less downshifts for ease of riding and provides instant overtaking power. Top-end power is healthy too with redline kicking in as early as under 10,000 RPM like the Granpasso.
The Scrambler’s V2 engine has the right blend of old school nature and a lot of performance
Since the motorcycle is 10 kgs lighter and sits lower than the Granpasso, the immediate difference is that it feels faster but after all there is no tweaking means its only the numbers that will do the talking rather than the “feel”. Nevertheless, the motorcycle is maniac quick off the line and reaches 180 km/hr in a flash and keeps pulling up to a speedo indicated 220 km/hr. When it comes to cruising at 100 km/hr, the tachometer is hovering in at around 3300 RPM in sixth gear and 120 km/hr is being done at no more than 4000 RPM which is good for touring and long distance riding, couple that with a mileage of 20 km/l at those speeds and a 21-litre tank, this bike has a humongous tank range of over 550 kms. Windblast is there but it only feels intrusive post 180 km/hr.
Riding Dynamics – The Granpasso was quite good when it comes to attacking the twisties. The Scrambler is even more impressive as wheel travel has been reduced by 20 mm at the front and 35 mm at the rear. The bike also sits 20 mm lower and the wheelbase is 10 mm shorter than the GranPasso and the front fork travel also has been reduced. The 10 kg lighter kerb weight and same well sorted steering geometry are coupled with upside Marzocchi forks and Ohlins shocks at the rear. The front forks continue to be non-adjustable while the rear is adjustable for compression and preload.
When it comes to feel, the raked out nature of the front-end provides good stability at high speeds and turn-in is quite feedback rich and quick. However, given the fact these motorcycles have weight biased at the rear, post 160 km/hr the front wobbles despite a heavy rider being onboard. It takes the twisties well, grip levels are good and the best part is that it can go off-roading at the same time with those knobby tyres. When it comes to tyres, the knobby tyres provide good grip but while cornering at low to medium speeds, it’s great but when it comes to high speed cornering, road oriented tyres are a must have. Obviously the full potential of this bike is nowhere to be experienced on our roads. Braking equipment is top notch with Brembo master cylinders, levers, two-piston normal (no monobloc) callipers and disc brakes providing excellent stopping power, it has good amount of initial bite on both brakes but ABS isn’t offered on such an expensive motorcycle.
Verdict – As we know, the 1.2-litre twin is a proven engine over time and the Scrambler has it in the exact same tune as other motorcycles in the entire Moto Morini stable. The Scrambler and Granpasso are similar motorcycles which are priced similarly too. This bike is bound to appeal to a person who is more into off-roading and wants the retro feel without sacrificing on power and exclusivity. The pricing may not be appealing and folks at Vardenchi should consider other street based motorcycles and bring them via the CKD route to gain market share because competition from the same country is promising a lot more in the upcoming two years.
The Moto Morini Scrambler plays its role very well but we think the company should consider the 11 1/2 instead of the Scrambler which is the on-road version of this very same motorcycle. Moto Morini may be testing the market but it needs to bring on-road products to start their sales in India because now we know how good this engine and platform is.
* Docile and refined engine-gearbox package
* Ride quality and comfort
What’s Not So Cool
* Lack of ABS
Moto Morini Scrambler Specifications
* Engine: 1187cc, 8-valve, V-Twin, DOHC, liquid-cooled
* Power: 117 HP @ 8400 RPM
* Torque: 104.6 Nm @ 7000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 3.3 seconds
* Top Speed: 215 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 15-20 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: High tensile tubular steel trellis frame
* Suspension: 50 mm upside down forks (Front), Mono shock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/80/19 (Front), 150/70/17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 298 mm Double Disc (Front), 255 mm Disc (Rear)
Moto Morini Scrambler Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2140 mm x 850 mm x 1180 mm
* Wheelbase: 1480 mm
* Ground Clearance: 180 mm
* Seat Height: 830 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 21-litres
* Kerb weight: 200 kgs