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2009 Moto Morini Granpasso

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
2009 Moto Morini Granpasso Review
The Moto Morini Granpasso can look a bit odd at first with its agressive adventure bike styling and tall stature.
Moto Morini is set to challenge the leaders in the Adventure-sports bike market with its growling Granpasso. With fierce competition from BMW’s R1200GS and KTM’s 990 Adventure, and with competitively priced bikes like Triumph’s Tiger in the frame, the Granpasso slots neatly into the nine grand price bracket (not US price, rumors place the Granpasso as a future American import, but for now Moto Morini is Euro-only – MCUSA ed). But where does it fit in relation to performance?

It’s an odd-looking beast, a beady-eyed cross between a long distance adventure bike and an aggressive athletic one. There’s a quirky mix of angular bodywork, stylish trellis frame, twin spotlights and a rough-road-ready bash plate. And it’s tall. As someone who’s forced to trawl the internet for jeans that’ll fit a 36-inch inside-legger, there are moments when I’m grateful for my elongated limbs. Reaching the floor from the 870mm (34.25 inch) seat is hardly a stretch for me, but even I’d have to invest a bit of forethought before stopping on uneven ground. But if you’d struggle to top six foot on tip toes, read on, as there is a lower seat available.

It’s this high, bulky appearance though, that gives it such a commanding stance, not unlike BMW’s successful R1200GS. But where that bike would view circumnavigating the globe as a walk in the park, the Granpasso is less comfortable, albeit in the same way that an armchair might be less comfy than a sofa. Which is just as well considering the bike’s probable top speed. Germany’s autobahns are the only place to ride at double the normal limit without fear of having to book a tattoo artist and plan a prison break. With such immediate acceleration on tap, high speed blasts are exhilarating and the bike handles the pressure well, with very little movement from the front end in straight line acceleration.

2009 Moto Morini Granpasso Review
The Moto Morini Granpasso may not look like a sportbike on the outside but with plenty of torque at the twist of a writst its hard not to be tempted to ride it like one.
The riding position’s relaxed and uncomplicated, with ample protection from the small but practical windscreen. It’s an upright poise that extends the view ahead while you mile-munch your way forwards, gradually draining the sizeable 27-liter (7-gallon) tank. Of course, the bike’s thirst will depend on the activity of your right hand, and I’ll wager that after ten minutes on a twisty back road, the throttle will have seen more action than Mr. Heffner’s boudoir.

Containing a grin as 107 hp of motorcycle pierces the horizon is like trying to hold water in a sieve. The determined punch is enforced with an angry dark growl from Morini’s familiar 1187cc V-Twin engine. It may be a detuned version of the Corsair’s 124 hp lump, but there’s nothing flat or casual about it and the engine has character without excessive vibrations. If the GS is a long distance athlete, built for comfort and stamina, the Granpasso’s a middle distance runner with enough reserves to attack at a moment’s notice, and hold the pace. And its playful nature is not confined to keeping both wheels on the ground. With a maximum 74 lb-ft of torque at 9,600 rpm, a quick flick of the clutch in first has the front wheel floating gracefully towards the sky with a balance that seems overly gentle for such a big bike.

2009 Moto Morini Granpasso Review
The Granpasso has plenty of power to lift the front of its 493-lb frame, upping the fun factor on the big traillie.
It’s livelier and sportier than the German competition, and the suspension reflects that. The Marzocchi upside-down forks and adjustable Ohlins rear monoshock are on the firm side as standard, and together with the pendulous handling, my initial impressions of the bike’s cornering ability were confused. Tipping into bends, there’s an almost top-heavy-topple as the bike’s height falls to its side. It took a bit of getting used to, but once sussed, the bike’s agility becomes startlingly obvious. At a respectable 210 kg (493 lbs) dry, the Granpasso is light and easy to maneuver in all situations. And once the road starts to resemble a ball of wool your kitten’s just got hold of, it’ll challenge not only the adventure bikes but the Fireblade riders too. In fact, it’s like a super-tall sportbike. With a steering lock.

The brakes are merely adequate. Nothing more, nothing less. Which is noticeable due to the bike’s many other impressive attributes. The Granpasso is supposed to be an exciting rival for BMW’s plush R1200GS and in many ways it is. The Morini has less cushioned ride, but it feels stronger and more involving, and it straddles the adventure- sportbike divide with confidence.

Moto Morini Granpasso Specs
Engine: 1187cc 87 degree V-Twin
Power: 107 hp @ 8,600 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 74 lb-ft @ 9,600 rpm (claimed)
Transmission: 6-speed
Dry Weight: 210 kg (493 lbs)
Seat Height: 870mm (34.25 inch)
Fuel capacity: 27 liters (7 gallons)
Price: £8,999
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Comments
neil -950 Enduro R  August 17, 2009 06:15 AM
Thanks - slipped up there. They have been trying to sell me one now... my mate bought one... gave it a ride... I dont quite get the need for this bike... its very very similar to the 990 Adv S in many aspects... It may have different suspension (couldnt feel - just rode it around the block)... it has carbs instead of fuel injection - so its buttery smooth... the seating position puts you on the front... and its a little taller (I hardly notice at 194cm). I tried the 690 Enduro - a revelation! they are trying to find me an 690 Enduro R now... ;) Will be taking the 990 Adv S from Durban, via Swaziland, then Mozambique, Tanzania to Dar Es... ferry to Stone-Town... do the Zanzibar islands... then back via the Malawi lake district... All of this in Dec 2009 - if anyone is keen to join! N
x2468 -super enduro  August 15, 2009 02:48 PM
well its a little over 400 lbs (418) but im sure with some modification (aftermarket exhaust, get rid of the smog junk) you could get it down to 39Xlbs
x2468 -RE: Mark  August 15, 2009 02:32 PM
I think there is a bike like you describe. it's the ktm 950 enduro. http://ktmusa.com/950-Super-Enduro-R.67.20.html
Mark -nice to see another player  August 12, 2009 07:32 PM
To bad about the weight on this thing I like the styling and the idea of a do any thing go any where bike spins my top.Now if somebody could make a nice muti cylinder 70-100 hp bike that has a dry weight of less than 400lbs and a real off road suspension.Hmm I wounder if I can find a lightly used Street triple motor and some KTM suspension bits on ebey. As for the report ,I for one would have liked to see some thing more on the off road ability's as well as a idea of what kind of factory accessory's and or after market support we mite expect should the bike come to the U.S.Having said that I do like the reports from the other side of the pond and shur do wish we could get the kind of support for cycling that the European market enjoys.
steve -to Neil  August 12, 2009 04:22 AM
Everything here is relative. Although an XR650 is a much better off road machine than an "Adventure" touring machine, the adventure bikes will take you well beyond what a GSXR or cruiser is capable of.

I agree with your statement "any person on this earth who claims that 210 kg dry is respectable "light and easy to manoeuvre in all situations" - is entirely misinformed". Tall, heavy bikes can be unsettling in paved parking lots, not to mention loose or rocky off highway roads or trails.
Tessier -Not sure you have tried Neil  August 12, 2009 04:15 AM
I hate you inform you Neil but I have seen the BMW1200GS taken on quite a few "Adventure" rides. A group of buddies where on the New England Charity Classic deep in the woods when we show Max from Max BMW trucking along with a BMW1200GS on the same trails that many guy's where having trouble with on there dirt bikes. This leads me to believe that your either not trying hard enough or haven't tried at all. The BMW is a very capable of road machine. It may not bleed orange like you, but none the less it is a true Adventure bike.
neil -2009 Moto Morini Granpasso  August 12, 2009 03:09 AM
it is always amusing that bikes are categorised... i.e. here it is a comparison between the BMW1200GS and the KTM990 Adventure... In 2 of the above cases the categorization is false... in 1 case marginally so. or perhaps the word "Adventure" is used inappropriately? The KTM can go out on an 'adventure' - the other two best stay home i.e. on well-paved roads (well-paved includes rutted gravel). Even better - get the KTM Adventure S and stick some appropriate rubber on the thing (D908 rear, D606 front) and you have a formidable adventure machine (which - if you compare stats - compares exactly to the KTM 990 Enduro R). In terms of the reporting on these bikes - the above article can best be described as vacuous. Shouldnt an 'adventure' rider be doing the work? And any person on this earth who claims that 210 kg dry is respectable "light and easy to manoeuvre in all situations" - is entirely misinformed. Try edging one of these behemoths (and to be fair - the KTM is quite porky too) along any adventure trail... especially at low speeds and steep downhill inclines, preferably with a little ice thrown into the equation... and you will quickly find that you are merely perpetuating the hype attaching to these machines. PS... if you dont believe me... why not drop them on their sides and try and lift the 'respectable' mass. in the case of the BMW - you may have an easier time (the cylinders wont let it fall too far) - but then anyone taking the BMW into tight off-road situations will quickly find how disadvantageous the 180 twin is. My apologies for the rant - but a road-test on 'adventure' machines would leave even the gods flaccid.