CAGIVA ELEFANT 900 (1993 - 1999) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£160|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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…
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||4v Desmo V-twin, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel tubular type|
|Fuel capacity||24 litres|
|Front brake||Single 296mm disc|
|Rear brake||Single 240mm disc|
|Front tyre size||100/90 x 19|
|Rear tyre size||140/80 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£160|
11 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||68 bhp|
|Max torque||56 ft-lb|
|Top speed||128 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||13.1 secs|
|Tank range||177 miles|
Model history & versions
January 1993: Cagiva Elefant 900 launched.
January 1994: Cagiva Elefant 750 launched.
1995: Both models receive restyled seat unit.
1999: Both models discontinued.
Owners' reviews for the CAGIVA ELEFANT 900 (1993 - 1999)
3 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£160|
Annual servicing cost: £175
All round ability. I ride professionally doing about 20k per year. I have access to multiple, modern machines. I own 3 Italian classics and one Japanese (Z1000). The Elefant still remains my favourite. Like others I have adapted the bike; Corbin seat is probably the most significant change. 2018 I took it to Bulgaria and back, fully loaded, Stelvio Pass, Transfagarasan. Didn’t miss a beat. If you are tempted and see a decent one for sale snap it up, you won’t be disappointed. As with any bike it pays to stay on top of servicing, checks etc.
Mine has single front disc hence only 3 out of 5. That said ride quality is good.
It’s a 900ss engine which has the ability to surprise many (me included).
In eight years of ownership I have only had to replace the main fuse holders.
Straight forward technology, spares and parts readily available through eBay and forums.
Basic nineties equipment i.e. no 7” TFT display, or USB charger.
Buying experience: Bought privately from an Italian engineering fanatic (bikes and cars). I now understand his passion.
Version: 900i.e. Lucky Explorer LTD Edition
Annual servicing cost: £150
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 UK. The clutch is HEAVY in town but the bike comes alive on a fast wide road. Oh and you need looooong legs!
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.
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.
Only one breakdown in my ownership - failed injection pump. The frame has no more corrosion on it now than in 1995.....
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.
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!)
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 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!