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Brief history of dirt bikes - kanguro.motoani.co.uk
 

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Brief history of dirt bikes

2 Strokes
Morini had up to and including the 1949 ISDT used DKW based two strokes & entered 3 virtually standard machines, Ernesto Longeni earned them a single Bronze Medal, after this Morini changed to fourstroke machinery.

See Speedtrack for a history of the ISDT.
Corsaro Regolarita
Team of 1971 perhapsBetween 1967 and 1971 Morini competed with various models of their Regolarita with a single 4 stroke engine from 100cc to 175cc. For more information see Morini's own website. The final 1971 versions of this machine were the testbed for Lambertini's Heron head designs, which would be adopted for the V-twins.

160cc Regolarita
Corsaro country
1971  Corsaro Country 125cc  in need of restorationPerhaps encouraged by competition success, Morini produced a neat litle trail bike for the early seventies. Competition in the retail market was increasing as Yamaha's DT series was becoming well established. Many riders in the UK count a DT amongst their early bikes.
The camel
A pair of early Camels in AustrailiaIn 1981 Morini released the Camel as their first V-twin trail or enduro machine. The early machines had a capacity of 478cc, high compression and relatively peaky cams built into a frame of quality cycle parts. They were expensive machines at 2100, almost as much as a BMW R80GS, a machine often considered to be the first 'big trail bike'. Contemporary reviews considered the Camel to be an excellent dirt bike although slightly hampered by the kickstart mechanism. Tested side-by-side with the BMW the latter's road origin was obvious. Over 20 years later though the Camel is largely forgotten, except by Morinisti, and the BMW is an icon for motorcycle overlanders.
Kanguro X
Model X brochureSomewhere between 1981 and 1983 the Kanguro X was released as a low-cost entry into Morini trail bikes. These models can be distinguised by the small front drum brake and the simple lower case graphic on the side panels. The instrument nacelle is short, revelaing the upper half of the instruments. It is possible that all of these bikes are red. A 'distinctive' feature is the dual 6V/12V system. The headlight is driven by a roughly regulated 12V AC so that the light gets brighter as the engine speeds up. All other electrics are from a 6V regulated source with a small 2Ah battery. Rumour has it that this system was chosen as Morini were unable to source a small enough 12V battery to fit between side panel and the monoshock system.
X1
The key evolutionary step for the X1 is a front disc brake. This is a GriMeCa unit with opposed single pistons. The frame also gained a strengthening gusset at the swing arm pivot. Machines were sold in both white and brick red with a 'stripe' design from the tank onto the side panels. On most bikes the nacelle conceals the instruments.

This might be the best Kanguro to own.


The XE
A brochure picture of an XEMorini needed to update the trail bikes to compete with the Japanese opposition. Rather than develop a totally new machine the 'old' engine was fitted int omore modern looking clothes. This model has a new square-section tube frame with a new swing arm with reinforced monoshock mounting made from sheet steel rather than welded tubes. The side stand is mounted on the lower frame rail rather than the swing arm which makes it easier to find.
The X2/XE had the original QD rear hub brake and the same headlight nacelle as the X1 models. The model sports twin rear silencers.
Kanguro 125KJ
From the MRC websiteBetween 198? and 1986 a 125cc single cylinder trail bike was made using a front cylinder version of the modular V-twin engine. The styling is based on the XE but the frame appears to be different.
X3
Some models were blackThe X3 model adopted a large tank for longer range and the 'rally' appearance. Unfortunately it doesn't hold as much as it looks as though it does as a huge battery lurks underneath to power the rather unsuccesful electric starter. The plastics are shared with the Camel with side panels extending rearwards to cover twin exhausts.
The rear brake is now a single pot disc and the front is a dual pot unit mounted behind the fork as is now more common. The forks and triple clamps are gold painted and don't appear to be quite as good quality as those on earlier bikes.
Cogauro - the end of the line
Side viewThese machines, produced between 1989 and 1991, are quite rare and feature the last Morini engines with Kokusan ignition and Japanese-style starter wrapped in, what some authors suggest, the bodywork of a Ducati Elefant. Even rarer 501 models exist too.

Created on 10/05/2004 12:54 PM by kanguro
Updated on 06/27/2005 04:30 PM by kanguro
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