CAGIVA RIVER 500 (1995 - 2002) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Power: 34 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.9 in / 810 mm)
Weight: Low (353 lbs / 160 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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…


Next up: Reliability
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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…


Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

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…


Engine size 497cc
Engine type 4v single, 5 gears
Frame type Steel twin spar type
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 160kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 320mm disc
Rear brake Single 230mm disc
Front tyre size 140/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 140/70 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Annual road tax £84
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 8 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 34 bhp
Max torque 33 ft-lb
Top speed 104 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 14 secs
Tank range 126 miles

Model history & versions

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


Owners' reviews for the CAGIVA RIVER 500 (1995 - 2002)

1 owner has reviewed their CAGIVA RIVER 500 (1995 - 2002) 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 RIVER 500 (1995 - 2002)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
4 out of 5 My favourite bike so far
11 September 2008 by theearlof87

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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