Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Moto Morini 350 Dart

Thu, June 3rd, 2010

NOTE: The Dart 350 was never officially imported to the United States.
An unknown number of new ‘graymarket’ bikes were offered for sale here at the time.

1987–89 Moto Morini Dart 350
As beloved as they are, the fact remains that there's precious little power inside a Morini 350cc V-twin engine, even for its displacement. Like all Morinis, the clutch is temperamental.
The 350 dart was basically a Cagiva 125 Freccia's two-stroke single with Moto Morini four-stroke twin. The result was more cohesive than anyone would have imagined. The Dart is one rear damper and some slight fork tweaking away from twisty-road heaven.
I would have given the Dart's Paso-esque bodywork a higher score, if not for the fact that I know what a pretty engine it's hiding.
Modern electrics, controls and chassis parts are a big improvement over previous Moto Morinis, but even a Dart is going to need much more attention than a Japanese bike of the same era.
If not for its questionable reliability, coarse clutch and the rarity of replacement parts, the 350 Dart would be a wonderful in-town bike.
The Dart is a very cool bike, but I would probably only seriously consider one once I'd already added a 3-1/2 or 500 Sport in my collection.
The Dart was an old-tech engine in a contemporary chassis covered with futuristic bodywork. ...but that's workin' for ya', babe.