22 Nov 2021

“The Elefant hunting season is open” was the payoff celebrating the launch of one of the most famous Cagivas, the Lucky Explorer 900 IE. Born in the wake of the Italian podium at the 1990 Paris Dakar, the most successful Cagiva, and also the closest to the racing version that inflamed the great African rallies, rolled out of the Varese hangars to beguile both public and critics. Praised and often compared to the 1990 winner bike, the media presented it as an “almost twin” to the actual racing specimen. A successful marketing operation, carried out exclusively in the Lucky version, marked by a silver key ring with the identification frame number and the signature of champion Edi Orioli. Nine hundred and ninety-nine units, scattered all over the world, a new range of all-terrain endurance motorcycles that made the company from Varese stand out in the great motorcycle shows. A concentration of technology, with the integrated IAW system by Weber Marelli, a system already introduced by the Ducati in the 851, by Moto Guzzi in its Quota 1000 and by various car manufacturers such as Ferrari in its F40, and the Lancia group. A modern system at the time, perhaps too much for an unprepared public, which commanded a hefty retail price compared to the competition. Frame and engine were the same as those used by Fabrizio Carcano at the Pharaohs’ rally in the “ Silhouette“ category, otherwise suitable for use on any road all over the world. The most impressive fittings were the 41.7 mm Marzocchi front fork with a 250 mm excursion and an Öhlins monoshock at the rear with a 230 mm excursion, and hydraulic brake adjustment by means of an external knob. The generously sized aluminium alloy rear square-section swingarm was brand new. A rally-derived elastic frame, consisting of a high load-bearing part in 30x30 mm square tubes in steel, to which a cradle in light alloy square tubes of the same size was fixed. A 20x20 mm square section rear seatpost could be disassembled for immediate access to the rear valve cover of the vertical cylinder. A vehicle much appreciated by today’s collectors, both for the fact it was a limited edition, and for the technical peculiarities to which the 1990s were not accustomed.