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Cagiva RIVER 500 Naked Motorbike Review

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Cagiva River 600/500 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 2

The Cagiva River is one of the great oddballs of Italian motorcycling of the last decade. Forget traditional performance, passion and style, the city commuter River is the opposite: workmanlike, pedestrian and dull. Honest and different, though.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Cagiva River's air-cooled single pushes out meagre 32bhp so don’t expect any thrills. It’s fine for plodding through gridlocked town centres and putting to work, though, but it’s also fairly crude and rough around the edges. Honda does this sort of thing far better…


Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Cagiva River's handling is steady, neutral and unremarkable. Brakes, suspension, chassis and tyres are all budget and basic, but nor is much asked of them. Despite touring overtones (screen, panniers) this is no motorway tourer, though…


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Here lies a momentary flicker of interest in the Cagiva River. Basic cycle parts are run of the mill but standard fitment of panniers and screen was unusual for a lightweight motorcycle in pre-Honda Deauville 1995. Just the thing for traffic wardens and the like…

Cagiva River 600/500 (1995-2002)

Detail Value
Engine size 497 cc
Power 34 bhp
Top speed 104 mph
Insurance group 8 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 2 rating is 4
Engine rating is 2 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 3
Value rating is 2 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

The Cagiva River has reasonable build quality and understressed components should add up to reliability but the River still isn’t in the Honda league and dealer and spares availability are much thinner on the ground.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Cagiva River was reasonable value when new, but, due to fairly savage depreciation (due to the reasons above) better used. Just be sure of what you want, what you’re getting and go in with your eyes wide open. Find a Cagiva River for sale.


Insurance group: 8 of 17

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Model History

Feb 1995: Cagiva River 600 launched.
Oct 1996: Cagiva River discontinued.
Nov 1997: Cagiva River reintroduced to UK.
Jan 2000: Cagiva River replaced by virtually identical 500 version.
Feb 2002: Cagiva River discontinued.

Other Versions



Top speed 104 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14 secs
Max power 34 bhp
Max torque 33 ft-lb
Weight 160 kg
Seat height 810 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Tank range 126 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 8 of 17
Engine size 497 cc
Engine specification 4v single, 5 gears
Frame Steel twin spar type
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes Single 320mm disc
Rear brake Single 230mm disc
Front tyre size 140/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 140/70 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(1 review)

  • My favourite bike so far


    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    I doubt MCN have actually even bothered to test ride this bike. They seem to have neglected to mention the USD Marzocchi forks and the brembo brakes. Okay the power is lacking somewhat but the Torque of the engine (44nm) makes up for this especially as the weight is so little and low down due to having a tank made out of what seems to be a strong plastic of some kind. You can even get the front wheel up off the throttle with a bit of vigarous acceleration in 1st. After riding it for about 18 months (with numerous trips from Northants to Newcastle and back) I could have lots of fun on this bike. Tail out just using the torque out of the twistier bends. The main thing that makes this a great bike is the fact that it has a 24.8kw power output making it 0.2kw inside the power limit for anyone on a restricted license.

    11 September 2008


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