MV Agusta has just released two new adventure bikes at the Milan show, dubbed the Lucky Explorer 5.5 and 9.5. Younger readers might need the name explained before we start: MV Agusta used to be owned by the Cagiva firm, owned by Claudio Castiglioni (the Cagiva name came from his father’s name and the firm’s location, CAstiglioni GIovanni VArese).
Cagiva is still one of the firm’s brands, though it’s been in hibernation for a while now. And in the 1990s, Cagiva built a dual-sports adventure machine, called the Elefant, which took part in desert rally races like the Paris-Dakar. As an aside, Cagiva also owned Ducati at the time, so the Elefant used a Duati V-twin engine. Confused? It seemed so simple at the time…
The Cagiva team was sponsored by the Lucky Strike tobacco company (which also sponsored Suzuki’s 500GP team and rider Kevin Schwantz) – hence, the ‘Lucky’ name. Tobacco sponsorship is banned now, so we get Lucky Explorers.
There are two versions of the new adventure bike: a 5.5 and a 9.5. The 5.5 uses a 554cc parallel twin engine from the QJ Quinjiang bike company in China, which Agusta has had a long-standing relationship with. The engine makes 48bhp from a standard DOHC eight-valve water-cooled fuel injected layout, and is bolted into a steel tube cradle type frame, with KYB suspension front and rear – 43mm preload/rebound adjustable up front and a fully-adjustable rear monoshock.
Brakes are pretty high end: dual Brembo four-piston radial calipers and 320mm discs, and there are wire-spoked wheels with a 19” front and 17” rear. It weighs in at a chunky 220kg dry, has a 20-litre fuel tank, and comes with decent electronics: Bosch ABS and a colour LCD dash with Bluetooth and GPS functions.
The 9.5 is more serious: it uses a new variant of the MV Agusta 800 triple engine, with 931cc capacity from larger bore and stroke, making 123bhp. It features a revised cylinder head, new steel valves, uprated crankshaft, forged pistons and higher-spec bearing design.
MV’s also given it a choice of transmissions: you can have standard manual clutch, or the SCS semi-automatic centrifugal unit, plus there’s the option of a new electronically-actuated ‘Cyborg’ automatic manual gearbox and the usual up/down quickshfter.
The 9.5 chassis is built around a composite frame design, with steel tube and forged steel parts, with a bolt-in cradle section. It uses Sachs Skyhook-type semi-active electronic suspension front and rear, with a super-beefy 50mm front USD fork and aluminium rear swingarm. Brakes are top-end Brembo Stylema radial calipers, with 320mm discs, and the wheels are full dirtbike sized: a 21” front and 18” rear, with 90/90 front and 150/70 rear tyres.
Electronics are high-end too, starting with a 7” Full HD colour TFT LCD dash with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, cruise control , launch control, eight-level traction control, GPS navigation system and immobiliser. There’s also a full LED headlight with DRL and cornering function, full LED tail light and fog lights, and a built-in pannier attachment setup. Dry weight is 220kg, and the 9.5 has a 20 litre fuel tank.
Both bikes look stunning. The Agusta designers have made a cracking job of paying homage to the old Elefant racers, while mixing in the latest MV design cues. There are hardcore offroad touches like the front brake disc protectors, handguards and upswept silencers. The 9.5 in particular is laden with high-quality kit too, and both bikes should offer a tempting and very different option in the white-hot ADV touring class for 2022.
No word on price or availability on the MV Agusta Lucky Explorer just yet: more when we get it. More info: https://www.mvagusta.com/#0