MV Agusta wants to reclaim the fanfare it once enjoyed as an off-road bike maker decades ago, back when the company went by Cagiva. The Italian bike maker debuted the Lucky Explorer Project 9.5 and 5.5 at EICMA. MV Agusta says these bikes trace their heritage to the Cagiva Elefant, which Edi Orioli rode to victory at the Dakar Rally in 1990 and 1994.
These new bikes are MV Agusta’s entries into the ADV segment, and I can dig the approach of a similar bike with higher and lower displacement. This is common practice. Think of middle-weight GS models from BMW, or Suzuki’s V-Strom 650 (WeeStrom). The problem is “middle-weight” has been creeping into higher numbers lately. It’s good to see a new bike slot into the actual middle.
The smaller Explorer will be powered by a 554cc inline-twin engine making about 47 horsepower and 38 lb-ft of torque, per Ride Apart. The smaller Lucky weighs 484 pounds dry, and its saddle is close to 34-inches tall. It’ll hold up to 5.3 gallons of gas, which would add somewhere around 33 pounds. I’m really hoping the Lucky 5.5 isn’t top-heavy.
And the Lucky Explorer Project 9.5 reportedly weighs just one more pound than its little brother! The Lucky 9.5 will weigh 485 pounds dry, and its saddle will start at almost 33.50 inches, ranging up to 34.25 inches. Fuel capacity is lower than its stablemate, at 5.28 gallons, according to Ride Apart.
The bigger Lucky will need to refuel more often because it bumps up the power and cylinder count. The Lucky 9.5 is powered by a 931cc triple-cylinder engine. The triple is an MV Agusta mainstay, though it’s been redesigned here to exceed the 800cc spec of MV’s other triple-cylinder bikes. The engine will now make about 121 HP and 75 lb-ft of torque.
MV Agusta is leaning on its Elefant heritage pretty hard. Cagiva and MV Agusta has family history, per Cycle World, so that’s OK. But Ducati also tried to reference the Elefant with the DesertX. Both companies have what seems like a valid historical claim because while the Elefant came from Cagiva, its engine was from Ducati. The DesertX concept has subtle cues to the Dakar bike, and the similarities are obvious in the fairing and headlights.
On the new MV Agusta twins, the cues are not subtle. MV Agusta’s bikes stop short of wearing the same livery, but the colors are there and so is the circular logo that used to read “Lucky Explorer.” The letters are gone, but are right there in the name! In any case, the Elefant’s spirit is alive and well, and it’s given us three new bikes. And that is good.