Moto Morini is an Italian motorcycle brand owned by Chinese motorcycle giant Zhongneng. While having true blue Italian roots, Moto Morini was purchased and brought back to life by the Chinese company in 2018. Since then, the brand has been best known for its middleweight models in the form of the X-Cape adventure bike and Seiemezzo neo-retro roadsters.
At EICMA 2022, Moto Morini made it clear that it had intentions of leveling up in the performance sector. It pulled the covers off the X-Cape ADV-R 650, an adventure-enduro machine based off the standard X-Cape 650. The ADV-R set itself apart from its more road-focused sibling thanks to burlier tires, beefed up suspension components, and aftermarket exhaust system. Back then, it was thought that this bike was just a one-off model designed to show the X-Cape’s performance potential. This time, however, the X-Cape ADV-R 650 made its debut in Spain by participating in the Bassella Race.
Piloted by Oriol Mena, the winner of the T4 SSV category of the 2023 Dakar Rally, the Moto Morini X-Cape ADV-R 650 competed in some of the most grueling terrain, proving its mettle against more established players in the middleweight ADV/enduro segment. As of this writing, the official results of the race have yet to be published, so it’ll certainly be exciting to see how the Chinese-made Italian adventure bike fared.
On the performance side of the equation, the Moto Morini X-Cape ADV-R is powered by a 649cc parallel-twin engine with a 180-degree crankshaft. The engine benefits from liquid-cooling, electronic fuel-injection, and an eight-valve cylinder head. Max output is rated at 60 horsepower and 37.8 lb-ft of torque. The ADV-R also gets a full SC-Project exhaust system to reduce weight, as well as crash guards and an aluminum sump guard for added reinforcement. Suspension duties are handled by an Öhlins remote adjustable rear shock. Up front, it gets beefy inverted long travel forks with a complete suite of adjustability as well.
Now, whether or not the Moto Morini X-Cape ADV-R 650 will eventually make its way as a production model is still up in the air. Having said that, other manufacturers have beefed up off-road variants of their ADV machines. For example, KTM has a more performance focused 890 Adventure R, and so does Yamaha, with its Ténéré 700 World Raid edition.