This is the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X adventure tourer, and it is introduced in India by Adishwar Auto Ride, the same group that retails Benelli and Keeway motorcycles in the country. Now, the X-Cape 650X is Moto Morini’s offering in the middleweight ADV segment which includes well-established rivals like the Kawasaki Versys 650 and the Suzuki V-Strom 650. So, does it make a case for itself, and should you consider buying it over the competition? We will try to answer that question in this review. But, right at the outset, we would like to clarify that we had a very limited time with the motorcycle, and we will bring a detailed review once we get the bike for a longer time.
One look at the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X, and you can tell that it has a substantial presence. The styling is sharp and edgy, which is accentuated by the aggressive-looking split LED headlamps, pointy fairing, and the tall visor. While the bulbous 18-litre fuel tank promises a good touring range, the rugged sump guard, tubeless wire-spoke wheels, and block-pattern tyres reveal its off-road intentions.
As far as build quality is concerned, it is good for the most part but doesn’t set any benchmarks in the segment. The quality of plastics is decent and the switchgear offers a nice tactile feel. Even the panel gaps are consistent and the body panels are well put-together. That said, I did hear some rattling noise from the fairing when the revs went past 5,000rpm.
Now, let’s talk about ergonomics and comfort. For my height of five feet seven inches, the seat height of 835mm is slightly on the taller side. However once seated, the rider’s triangle is comfortable and feels natural because of the wide and raised handlebar and the centre-set foot pegs.
Even the stand-up ergonomics are spot on, as you don’t need to bend too much, and the narrow mid-section means that you can easily grip the tank with your knees. Talking about the seat, it is well-cushioned and offers good support for your derriere. This also means that you can spend long hours in the saddle while touring.
One of the biggest USPs of the X-Cape 650 is that it offers a decent kit. The party piece is a large seven-inch full-colour TFT instrument cluster that provides a plethora of information in a neatly stacked layout. While the display itself is crisp and offers good sunlight legibility, it also offers various themes that can be changed through the menu. Moreover, you also get two riding modes — Ride and Off-road, which alter the throttle response and ABS intervention accordingly. Then, there are features like backlit switchgear, dual USB charging ports, and an adjustable windscreen, all of which increase usability and convenience.
Another thing that stands out for the X-Cape 650X is its hardware. The motorcycle comes equipped with an adjustable suspension setup, front and back. It gets 43mm upside-down forks upfront, which can be adjusted for preload, rebound, and compression, while the rear mono-shock is adjustable for preload and rebound. Then, the X-Cape 650X rides on 19-inch front and 17-inch rear, tubeless cross-spoke wheels that are shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres. As far as braking is concerned, the bike gets 298mm dual rotors up front and a 255mm single disc at the back. The safety net includes a dual-channel ABS setup, with an option to disable ABS at the rear in Off-Road mode.
Powering the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X is a 649cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine that belts out a maximum power of 60bhp at 8,250rpm and a peak torque of 54Nm at 7,000rpm. The motor is paired to a six-speed gearbox. The engine feels refined for the most part and offers good tractability as well.
Now, as mentioned earlier, we had a brief time with the X-Cape 650X, and most of it was spent on the specially curated off-road track. And we can safely say that the motorcycle is profoundly exciting on off-road trails. The motor offers copious torque in the bottom end, which inspires a lot of confidence on slushy roads. Add to that, the low centre of gravity and the well-balanced weight distribution which make it easier to navigate through technical trails. Even the ergonomics feel spot-on, be it seated or standing-up, thanks to the raised handlebar and centrally-set foot pegs. Additionally, the block-pattern Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres deliver excellent grip.
Moreover, over the rocky sections leading up to the off-road trails, the overall suspension setup felt composed, although the rear did send the odd kick-back. Then, out on the road, the front suspension worked well for the most part, but the rear felt unsettled over low-amplitude, high-frequency bumps. That said, the bike felt agile and sure-footed around long sweeping bends, although switching sides quickly required some amount of muscling it.
Should you buy it?
To sum it up, the Moto Morini X-Cape 650X is a good-looking adventure tourer with capable off-road credentials and is decently loaded with features as well. However, it could do with better fit and finish. Now, if priced around Rs 7 lakh (ex-showroom), the X-Cape 650X should make for a decent alternative to the likes of the Kawasaki Versys 650, Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT, and the Triumph Tiger Sport 660. Otherwise, it would be a herculean task for the Italian ADV, as the competition offers remarkably better performance, quality, features, and a premium brand appeal.
That said, if it’s priced right, the X-Cape 650X could make for a better alternative to the Benelli TRK 502, as it will offer better off-road performance and features, even if it is at a slight premium.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi