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Published: 29 July 2001

Updated: 19 November 2014

IF you thought a factory that turned out trim and effective race bikes in the 1970s – winning three 125 and one 250 world championships – could make a decent-looking road bike, you’d be wrong.

The Morbidelli factory also produced woodworking tools, but there was little it could do to re-shape this misguided minger. Launched in 1994 to universal disappointment, this was another machine that was beyond rescue by " facelift " .

Bikes have survived total engine malfunction and survived to enjoy long and happy lives, yet nothing damages the reputation of a bike more than accusations of extreme ugliness.

The 850cc V8 engine was, by all accounts, a gem. But, sadly, that precious stone was mounted in a chassis that was laughably short of what it deserved: Like grafting Caprice’s face on to Vanessa Feltz's body.

Semi-traumatised by the vicious reactions to his " baby " , Giancarlo Morbidelli soon lost enthusiasm for making motorcycles. Some poor unfortunates who saw the bike in the metal almost lost enthusiasm for life itself.

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