CAGIVA ELEFANT 900 (1993-1999) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Mating a Ducati V-twin with a monster trailie type chassis proved something of a masterstroke"

Cagiva 750/900 Elefant motorcycle review - Riding

"Mating a Ducati V-twin with a monster trailie type chassis proved something of a masterstroke"

  • At a glance
  • 904cc  -  68 bhp
  • 42 mpg  -  177 miles range
  • Insurance group: 11 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • Medium seat height (835mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

On face value the Cagiva Elefant was born of an unlikely marriage, but the reality of mating up the (then Cagiva owned) Ducati V-twin with a monster trailie, desert racer type chassis proved something of a masterstroke let down only by poor build quality. The big Elefant (a 750 was also produced) was lively, handled fairly well and was even half-decent off-road. Now looking old, though.

Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5

The Cagiva Elefant's steering, as you might expect from a motorcycle from an Italian firm, is impressively sharp and incisive (for a big trailie) yet it’s reasonably stable and plush too thanks to half-decent Marzocchi and Ohlins suspension components. Seat is unnecessarily narrow and firm, however.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Cagiva 750 and 900 Elefants were powered by a standard fare air-cooled Ducati Desmo two-valver, which proved right at home in tall boy chassis offering flexibility and poke and enough verve to make Africa Twins and Super Teneres seem dull.

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

Monster trailies need to be more durable than most so the Cagiva Elefant, blighted by typical early 1990s Italian woes of poor paint, iffy reliability and insufficient corrosion resistance, was asking for trouble. No major mechanical disasters, but they need treating with kid gloves…

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

The Cagiva Elefant seemingly represents a lot of bike for the money and a cheap way into ‘Ducati’ ownership. The downsides are dodgy styling and paintjobs (brown among them) – so make sure you get a Lucky Strike replica – and iffy finish and reliability, so do your homework when being used. Find a Cagiva Elefant for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Despite decent cycle parts (the aforementioned Marzocchi and Ohlins plus Brembo brakes etc), the rest of the Cagiva Elefant is unfortunately fairly basic, crude and frills-free. Clocks and fairing do the job but are not in the same league as Honda’s Africa Twin. Compare and buy parts for the Cagiva Elefant in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their CAGIVA ELEFANT 900 (1993-1999) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your CAGIVA ELEFANT 900 (1993-1999)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Ride like Eddie (Orioli not Lawson!)

19 May 2015 by PDfan

Must have reached CLASSIC status by now - surely? From memory this was one of the most expensive bikes in the UK at launch along with the 851. The 900i.e. was only produced in a run of 1000 worldwide and there can't be many still used in the... Read more UK. The clutch is HEAVY in town but the bike comes alive on a fast wide road. Oh and you need looooong legs!

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Magic carpet ride (well almost) but brakes are poor for road use. It is after all a Rallye Replica so ultra-sharp brakes are not essential on loose surfaces.... I rode to the Black Forest from Yorkshire in one day and then onto Como via an overnight in Switzerland. Didn't want to get back on the bike for two days after that!! Seat is OK for 150 miles one up. Not really suitable for long distance touring.
Engine
3 out of 5
Lovely linear power from low revs all the way up to 8000. Tried a Tiger but found it difficult to ride away on hills without slipping the clutch - could be I've had the luxury of torque for too long! Over the years I have changed the front sprocket size and prefer the smaller 13 tooth one for short journeys and town work where chain snatch is noticeable with taller gearing.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Only one breakdown in my ownership - failed injection pump. The frame has no more corrosion on it now than in 1995.....
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
In 17 years the bike has had a new starter, sprag clutch and fuel injection pump. Other than the above just the routine belts, plugs pads and a front disc. Around 50mpg on a steady long run.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Span adjusters, hand guards,
Buying experience

Bought from a friend who had owned it from around 6 months old. Strangely enough the bike was made in 1990 but no databases seem to realise the bikes were built prior to 1991. The logbook states GAGIVA and even after writing to them asking for a change to CAGIVA - they have declined.( no surprise - according to DVLA - my BUELL is DIESEL fuelled!)

5 out of 5

Elefant - Mans Bike!!!

21 August 2009 by ackers

As usual the MCN review misses the mark completely. The Elefant always was, and in my mind, still is, the best Adventure Traily ever made. I've had my 1997 Lucky Exporer 900 for 6 years now. It is light, robust, fast, loud and totally rewarding to... Read more drive. I recently bought a brand new Guzzi Stelvio but I spend far more time on the Fant. If I had to ride a bike around the world the Stelvio would be left in the garage. Yes I've played around with the bike. I've got a Remus can on it, Dynojetted it, even put 900SS heads on it (bigger valves). The result is a raucous hooligan of a bike that eats up A & B roads, munches miles on the Motorways but can still be used off road. I've had a KTM 950 Adventure and it wasnt as good in my eyes. Perhaps I am in the minority now but I like my bikes with character (that doesn't mean unreliable). I absolutely love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1993
Year discontinued 1999
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 68 bhp
Max torque 56 ft-lb
Top speed 128 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 177 miles
Specification
Engine size 904cc
Engine type 4v Desmo V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel tubular type
Fuel capacity 24 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 206kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 296mm disc
Rear brake Single 240mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 140/80 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

January 1993: Cagiva Elefant 900 launched.
January 1994: Cagiva Elefant 750 launched.
1995: Both models receive restyled seat unit.
1999: Both models discontinued.

Other versions

None.

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