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Moto Morini X-Cape - LAMS Adventure Motorcycling's Best Value?

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

We've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Moto Morini X-Cape to the New Zealand market. With LAMS classification, adjustable suspension and switchable ABS, the X-Cape ticks many of the boxes newcomers and experienced adventure riders alike are looking for.

The local adventure segment is heating up with the arrival this year of a plethora of new models, but from my point of view, of all the new bikes it's the Moto Morini X-Cape that seems to really hit a sweet spot on what it is offering for adventure riders.

While it lacks the ground clearance of more off-road focussed bikes, the X-Cape looks like it could be the biggest competition to Suzuki's incredibly popular and long-lived V-Strom 650 we've seen to date.

As with a lot of new brands entering the New Zealand market recently, Moto Morini mixes Italian design with Chinese manufacturing to bring a stylish design in at an affordable sub$13,000 price point.

Apart from a portly 213kg dry weight, the specs for the X-Cape read quite nicely for a LAMS adventure steed.

The X-Cape's ground clearance comes in at 175mm, while the suspension is fully adjustable and supplied by Marzocchi. You've also got two rider modes which change the display on the 7-inch TFT dash, and most importantly, switchable ABS comes standard. Impressive stuff for a bike that retails from as low as $12,990.

Despite only being available as a LAMS-spec motorcycle with a claim of 44kW of peak power from its CFMOTO-supplied 649cc parallel-twin engine (European A2 restricted versions are rated at 32.5kW), the X-Cape itself brings to the table an impressive value proposition against the established bikes in the game – namely Suzuki’s ageing V-Strom 650 LAMS and the new crop of 500cc parallel twin offerings from Honda, Benelli and more.

In a rare move for an entry-level bike, the X-Cape’s suspension comes from Marzocchi with fully adjustable forks up front and a similarly adjustable unit in the rear. Braking is also respectable being supplied by Brembo and backed by the mandatory ABS.

In the cockpit is a huge 7-inch TFT dash with built-in phone connectivity, plus the ability to switch between various displays and vehicle info. The X-Cape comes with the ability to not only switch between two ride modes (Ride and Off-Road) and in its off-road mode the rider can switch off the ABS - a highly desirable feature for riders who like to take on more challenging terrain.

Not that you’d really be going to tackle hard enduro-style terrain with the Moto Morini. With 175mm of ground clearance and a 19/17-inch wheel combo, think of the X-Cape as more of an all-roads type of adventurer rather than a bike to scramble up a riverbed on.

If there is one area the Morini feels its price point, it's in its plastic bodywork, which doesn’t feel like it will react well to a fall. For riders interested in taking the bike to its adventure limits it would be advised to splurge on the accessory protective parts with a full set of crash bars and a skid plate (priced at $469 each).

However, with that small investment, you have a well-sorted adventure tourer that punches well above its price point. Despite its high-tech specs, the Moto Morini X-Cape is priced on the money with the cast alloy wheel entry-level model priced from just $12,990. If the gold-rimmed spoked wheels catch your eye the price jumps to $13,790 - still well under its most direct competition.

After collecting the Morini from Europe Imports in Auckland I wasted no time in testing out its all-roads ethos on my long ride home and detoured via Mt Pirongia on my way back south. Even with the ABS turned on, the bike felt tremendously planted on the gravel and had enough power to get you into trouble.

A fun feature of the big dash is the background changes depending on the time of day and which ride mode you have selected. Off-Road mode is by far the coolest looking even if I couldn’t quite detect if it made any difference to the bike’s power delivery, with the tacho changing to a dirt bike tyre that changes colour as the revs rise.

Speaking of revs, the Moto Morini X-Cape doesn’t suffer from that “brick wall” in its power delivery as some other LAMS bikes do. Instead, as the revs get to about 5500rpm the bike surges forward with more gusto, meaning you can really have some fun or take it easy and tour.

Touring comfort is quite good, although the factory adjustable windscreen tended to create a lot of unwanted buffeting while I wore my peaked adventure helmet despite adjusting the screen's position. There is an accessory touring screen available which I would hope would alleviate this problem, as the rider protection from the elements is otherwise very good thanks to the large fairing.

The seat is quite comfortable and narrows at the tank end to help the rider more comfortably get a foot down, while behind it is a small but rather sturdy feeling luggage rack.

To pick some nits, the Moto Morini X-Cape does have a few weaknesses that come with a bike of its price point. The TFT, for instance, isn't the most feature packed when compared to other ADV bikes, though it does offer tyre pressure monitoring among its features and is quite easy to read for the most part. I wasn't a huge fan of the fuel gauge display on the screen either which is represented in a number of bars on the lower portion of the screen. It's not easy to see where your fuel level is at a glance.

Physically the bike is quite solid apart from the already mentioned fairings which probably won't take impacting the ground well. Another possible weakness is the ABS sensors and their wiring, which seem to be potentially vulnerable in rougher terrain.

In a nutshell, the Moto Morini isn’t perfect, but if it is a capable all-roads tourer you are looking for, the X-Cape 650 offers some of the best value for your money in the current market.


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2022 Moto Morini X-Cape 650 Gallery


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