Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Italjet Casual 350

Fri, May 21st, 2010

1981 Italjet Casual 350
Italjet's successful 350T trails motor couldn't be turned into into a great street motor with just the few minor tweaks the factory made to it.
To be honest, this is just wild conjecture because I have no information about what these were like on the road. I am basing my score strictly on this what I would suppose, based on the bike's dimensions and appearance.
Italjet desperately tried to turn an observed trails bike into a street bike with too small a development budget. The result is not pretty. The small-diameter wheels, the drum-braked mag up front, the miniature chin scoop, the high off-road pipe combined with a button-tufted cruiser seat, the odd graphics and colors...the whole thing manages to be totally bizarre, yet surprisingly boring.
The late Bob Lawrence of Hailey, Idaho was possibly the only U.S. Italjet dealer to actually sell a couple of Casual 350s. He told me that they each came back with debilitating electrical problems within days, sometimes hours. He gave up trying to sell the last two new ones he'd taken delivery of and pushed them into the back of his warehouse. They were still there, with no miles on them, when I took the above right photo in 1993.
There are no parts and no technical data available on this motorcycle, period.
I personally give them a couple of points because of their extreme rarity and my connection to them through Bob.
The Casual 350 was such a failure that even the Italjet factory has tried to pretend it never existed.