With just nine Cagiva Elefant 900s left on the roads of the UK, plus a further eight tucked away in people’s garages on a SORN, you might reasonably expect the Cagiva Elefant, one of the original adventure bikes, to be better represented.
On face value, for the early 1990s, marrying a Ducati V-twin with a monster trailie chassis seemed like a peculiar partnership, but the final bike proved something of a masterstroke that was let down mainly by poor build quality.
In the handling stakes, the 900 acquitted itself well, with quick steering and a reassuring stability – it even impressed off-road, a trick not yet mastered by even most modern-day adventure bikes.
The Ducati motor (the firm was owned by Cagiva at the time) proved to be right at home in the tall chassis, and provided plenty of shove and character to shame rivals like Honda’s Africa Twin.
It’s a very basic package, though, despite sporting some decent suspension from the likes of Marzocchi and Ohlins. Its overall feeling is of crudeness.
On the up-side, if you can find an owner willing to part with one (and on the basis of the DfT’s statistics, you’ve only 17 to choose from) you’re likely to pick up a lot of motorcycle for your money.
Next stop: Classic or crusher?
Although the Elefant can rightly hold its head high as one of the founding fathers of adventure motorcycling, it was blighted by poor paintwork, iffy reliability and metalwork with a tendency to rot. What’s that, you say? A metal claw hoving into view…?