Moto Morini X-Cape – Review (2022 - on)


Price: from £6999 | Power: 60bhp | Torque: 40 lb.ft | Weight: 213kg (dry) | Rating: 4/5


Fancy a stylish, capable, Italian mid-capacity adventure bike that costs less than seven grand? Welcome to the 650cc parallel twin Moto Morini X-Cape.

The Moto Morini name has a long, proud history; the family-run Italian manufacturer built iconic middleweight machines in the 70s (you might remember the 500 Maestro or the 31/2), was bought by the Cagiva Group in the 80s (you might remember the Dart 350), brought back into the Morini family in the 1990s, designed and built its own large-capacity V-twins (you might remember the Corsaro and Gran Paso), was bankrupt by 2010, and finally bought by the Zhongneng Vehicle Group in 2018. So yes, Moto Morini is now owned by a Chinese parent company.

The X-Cape is the first big-bike fruit of the union – Italian adventure bike styling boasting brand named components such as Brembo, Marzocchi, KYB, Pirelli and Bosch, but with a very definitely Chinese engine – built by CF Moto, it’s the same 650 parallel twin that’s been powering their range of budget machines for the last 10 years.

So what do you get for your seven thousand pounds? Does the X-Cape live up to its good looks, or is it like a Marks & Spencer Christmas cracker: glitzy on the outside, performs with an underwhelming pop when you crack it open, and underneath it’s disappointingly plastic?

We ride the Moto Morini X-Cape to find out...


Pros & Cons
  • Price – you’ll struggle to find a twin-cylinder adventure bike looking this good for less
  • Handling and ride quality – much better than you’d expect at this price point
  • Riding position – a comfy, natural fit (and adjustable, too); plenty of more expensive adventure bikes have worse screens!
  • Engine – needs a bit more fire in its belly to satisfy
  • Some of the switchgear is weird – still can’t work out the various headlight/main beam/daytime running light options
  • I’m finding it really hard to pick holes in the bike – can we bemoan the lack of a quickshifter, cruise control or heated grips for the price? No, we can’t.


Engine, Gearbox and Exhaust
Fuel Economy
Handling, Suspension, Chassis & Weight
Riding Position and Comfort
Rider Aids and Accessories
Off road ability


Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Price

The base model 2022 X-Cape comes in at £6999 with cast wheels – a wire spoke option adds £500, to £7499.

The X-Cape may look like an adventure bike but, with a 19in front wheel and 190mm ground clearance, it’s very much closer to, say, the Suzuki V-Strom side of off-road riding. So, its rivals could be anything from a Ténéré 700 at one end, to a CF Moto 650MT – with which the Morini shares a frame and engine (or indeed a Versys 650, with which the Morini also pretty much shares its engine!).



Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Power and Torque

The Moto Morini X-Cape makes a claimed 60bhp @ 8250rpm and 40 lb.ft @ 7000rpm.


Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The X-Cape’s motor is a 649cc 180° parallel twin, supplied by CF Moto and essentially the same unit they’ve used since 2012 in the original 650NK – it’s a nut-and-bolt reverse-engineered 2006 Kawasaki ER-6 motor, down to the same bore and stroke, same valve sizes, same valve timing – the specification suggests there’s probably a high degree of mechanical cross-compatibility. Even the service manual is pretty much a copy. Which is no bad thing – the Kawasaki motor is a thoroughly proven design.

It might seem cheeky to break down a Kawasaki engine and copy it, but CF Moto have only done exactly what Japanese factories did during their formative post-war years; ironically, in the early 1950s a Japanese bike manufacturer called Meguro (later absorbed into Kawasaki Heavy Industries) copied – and improved – a BSA A7. So what goes around, comes around.

Back to the Morini X-Cape; the 650 twin is mild, even-tempered, easy to use and delivers its performance in a linear, manageable flow – but it’s not exactly bursting with fizz. The 180° twin (pistons rise and fall in an opposite one-up, one-down pattern) is less charismatically lumpy than its 270° peers (pistons rise and fall in an offbeat one-up, one halfway up pattern). So it feels smoother, with more of a gentle pattering vibration – but there’s no buzziness; as revs rise the bike is propelled forward with a steady, undramatic ease. But it’s a flat, tame power delivery; there’s little sense of urgency or excitement as revs chase towards the 9000rpm redline. It won’t make you whoop with delight, but you might gain a sense of satisfaction from putting more effort into planning your overtakes.

For a novice, nervous or inexperienced rider – or a rider who has a different calibration of exitement – this could all be a positive. Nothing the X-Cape’s motor does will unnerve or take anyone by surprise. But if you’re familiar with more contemporary parallel twins of similar capacity then you’ll notice the missing edge of performance, especially when it comes to asking for a bit of overtaking snap between 4000 and 7000rpm that just isn’t there. You either have to bide your time, or really flog the thing. If you’re used to a bit more vajazzle from your parallel twin, that’s what you end up doing. Ahem.

The Morini’s claimed 60bhp is 12bhp down on the Kawasaki ER-6’s claimed 72bhp it’s based on. On a dyno, the Kwack actually made 64bhp at the back wheel – so, assuming a similar transmission loss, that would put the X-Cape at around 52bhp at the back wheel – and it could really do with getting that extra 12bhp back. Presumably the difference has been lost in making the X-Cape’s motor conform to Euro5 regs – shoving an extra catalyst in the exhaust, but without the mechanical and fuelling development to try and claw it back (worth noting even Kawasaki struggled to maintain the performance of the twin engine post-Euro5: the 2006 ER-6 was claimed to make 72bhp; the current Versys – same motor – makes a claimed 66bhp).

But away from the dyno and on the road the Morini cruises easily and comfortably at 80mph, nips away from lights with minimal effort, and punts through its neat, quickshifter-less gearbox cleanly. Gear ratios are, surprise, the same as the ER-6. In terms of service intervals, valve clearance checks are every 26,250 miles – same as the... you guessed it.



Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Fuel economy

The X-Cape comes with a decent-sized 18-litre tank (and a nicely monogrammed filler cap). Ridden with a degree of, er, enthusiasm, going from a brimmed tank to the reserve light uses 15 litres in around 140 to 150 miles; an average of 45mpg. Ridden more steadily, it should be possible to stretch the Morini’s tank range out to over 180 miles and make the bike ideal for a spot of long-distance touring without having to stop every hour to look for a garage.



Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

With an engine derived from the early ER-6, no surprise that’s where the X-Cape’s steel twin-tube frame comes from too – it makes sense, if you’ve got the same engine mounting points you might as well copy the frame (as indeed does the CF Moto; the frame is probably made by the same company). This means the X-Cape has the ER-6’s (and CF Moto’s) off-set, side-mounted rear shock design – it’s even also made by KYB, and adjustable for preload and rebound damping. Chunky aluminium swingarm, too, and the X-Cape uses another named brand in the chassis: forks are fully-adjustable 50mm usd Marzocchis, with rebound on the right fork top and compression on the left. This is all good stuff.

And it's a great-handling bike, well set-up to match the motor’s capability and the riding position. The X-Cape is neutral, agile, stable, instantly forgiving and possesses laudable ride quality – well above the standard you’d expect for the price, and certainly better than the Biro springs Kawasaki were bolting to the ER-6 in 2006. Perhaps the X-Cape’s extra weight helps with its solidity and poise. Its 213kg makes it pretty chunky for a 650 twin, and lends the Morini a big-bike presence – wheelbase is a goodly 1490mm, shorter than Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 and Suzuki’s V-Strom 650, but longer than a Versys 650 – so it’s not easily distracted or deflected by stutter bumps and undulations in the road. Braking doesn’t flatten the forks, higher speeds don’t induce any kind of weaving or wandering – you can aim the X-Cape at an apex and it’ll hit it.

The X-Cape comes on Pirelli Scorpion STRs – 17in at the rear, 19in at the front – and the chunky tread pattern looks good, has a distinct block-creep at low speed, but plenty of grip.


2022 Moto Morini X-Cape Review Price Spec_15


Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Brakes

The X-Cape has more named branding on its brakes: two Brembo twin-pot sliding calipers at the front on 298mm discs, and a single-pot Brembo at the back with switchable Bosch ABS (it can be turned off at the back for off-road use). And they work well enough – not got the most instant bite, and need a bit more of a squeeze to bring them to full power – but you won’t be grabbing a handful in a panic and locking the front. Which, even with ABS, can be disconcerting if you’re a relative novice.



Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Riding position and comfort

This is where the X-Cape really scores. With a big, broad two-piece seat (available in two heights) with a healthy scallop to keep height down to a reasonable 845mm, pegs with big removeable rubbers adding a degree of adjustability to leg room, and wide bars with three alternative fore-aft positions drilled into the top yoke – the X-Cape has surprisingly adjustable ergonomics.

The screen is also adjustable over small range, but makes next-to-no difference. But it doesn’t need it – it’s very good, deflecting a surprising amount of wind blast without buffeting or excess noise on its low setting. Big, wide mirrors too, which stay relatively blur-free – but the bike desperately needs hand guards. Who doesn’t want handguards on an adventure bike? On any bike, come to think of it.

So, the first impression, jumping onto the Morini, is wow – what a natural, sympathetic riding position, and that this will be a significantly easy bike on which to cover decent distances. I didn’t have time for a full-blooded tour of Scotland while I had the X-Cape, but it feels more than capable of doing big miles comfortably and conveniently (I know people who have toured the bike, and say exactly that).
For mid-distance punting about, the ergonomics are ideal – a couple of hundred miles is as much of a doddle as any other bike. Upright, just the right amount of forward tilt, relaxed shoulders and enough legroom not to feel cramped. Excellent.



Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Rider aids and accessories

The X-Cape’s 7in TFT dash is impressively wide, and switching to Off-Road mode (disabling the rear ABS) turns the tacho into a neat graphic of an off-road tyre. The Morini also has full Bluetooth integration with your headset, if that’s important. There’s no traction control (not that you need it with 50-odd bhp at the wheel) – but a big miss is no cruise control (not a ride-by-wire throttle), no heated grips, no quickshifter, no fuel range display (just a fuel gauge)... tiny details, probably not deal-breakers, but maybe we’re so used to seeing them we expect it on everything now.



On the plus side, the Morini comes with tyre pressure sensors (a bit unexpected, but welcome), back-lit switchgear (very unexpected) and not one but two USB ports – not sure how wise it is to use them in the wet though, they’re a bit exposed.

As for luggage, the X-Cape comes with a mini rear rack on the end of the substantial grab rails. But the obvious accessory would be a set of panniers – Moto Morini offer a metal set, which look like they’re made by Givi, plus a taller touring screen, hand guards, engine bars and a bash plate. Aftermarket manufacturers are already offering alternatives, such as SHAD’s pannier and topbox set – £152.09 for the pannier rails, £602.98 for 47-litre aluminium panniers, £45.89 for the top box plate and £305.09 for the 48-litre aluminium top box.


2022 Moto Morini X-Cape Review Price Spec_26


Off-road ability

We had limited opportunity to ride the X-Cape off-road: 190mm of ground clearance, a 19in front and Pirelli STRs doesn’t point to hardcore off-road ability – it’s no Ténéré – but gravel trails and firetracks pose little problem. The X-Cape is well-balanced and not overwhelmingly heavy, so finding yourself at the bottom of a long, stony driveway in Tuscany shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Navigating a swamp in mid-Wales could be.


<a id="9"></a><h2 class="headline-6">Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Rivals</h2>


Yamaha Ténéré 700 | Price: £9900

  • Power/Torque: 72bhp / 50.2 lb-ft | Weight: 204kg | Seat height: 875mm


Kawasaki Versys 650 | Price: £8199

  • Power/Torque: 66bhp /45 lb-ft | Weight: 217kg | Seat height: 845mm


Suzuki V-Strom 650 | Price: £7299

  • Power/Torque: 70bhp / 46 lb-ft | Weight: 213kg | Seat height: 835mm


Honda CB500X | Price: £6699

  • Power/Torque: 47bhp /31.7 lb-ft | Weight: 199kg | Seat height: 830mm



2022 Moto Morini X-Cape Review Price Spec_27


Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Verdict

On riding position, suspension feel and overall styling, the Moto Morini X-Cape in no way looks or feels like a bike at the budget end of the market – it’s a well-rounded, efficient, capable package that can cover distance with ease and is just as adept at general all-round Sunday use. It looks like a bigger-money bike, and the chassis and handling feel properly grown-up. So the fact it costs less than £7000 adds a certain smugness to every ride. And it looks genuinely cool too – the Carrera White bike, especially with optional wire wheels (and even with optional gold rims), is outstanding.

 It’s not perfect. Up close, a few detail flaws start to appear – the screen is effective, but if you have to unscrew three bolts to slide it up and down, it makes having an adjuster knob a bit redundant. The paint wearing off the kickplates is a bit of giveaway too. And the motor could definitely do with an extra 10bhp, to add a sparkle to the riding experience.

 But overall, the X-Cape is impressive bit of kit for the price. And in the same week Ducati have announced the insanely spec’d, insanely priced Multistrada V4S Rally (30 litre tank, 170bhp and starting at £23,000), the X-Cape makes you reappraise your expectations.


Moto Morini X-Cape (2022) Specification





Bore x Stroke

83.0mm x 60.0mm

Engine layout

180° parallel twin

Engine details

8v dohc, l/c


60bhp @ 8250rpm


40 lb.ft @ 7000rpm

Top speed


Measured fuel consumption


Tank size

18 litres

Max range to empty

180 miles

Rider aids

switchable ABS


steel tube

Front suspension

50mm Marzocchi usd

Front suspension adjustment

fully adjustable

Front suspension travel


Rear suspension

KYB monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Preload and rebound damping

Rear suspension travel


Front brake

2 x 298mm discs, two-pot calipers, ABS

Rear brake

single disc, one-pot caliper, ABS

Front tyre

110/110-M19 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR

Rear tyre

150/70-M17 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR





Seat height

845mm (820mm optional)

Kerb weight (claimed)


Ground clearance


MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet listed


Photos: Stuart Collins


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.