Cagiva 650 elefant-Cagiva

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Cagiva 650 Alazzurra

Cycle Magazine of 1986

The rally is like no other race in the world. It starts the Eiffel Tower, and ends in 22 days and 6500 miles In the fires of this mechanical where street engines inside dirt-bike chassis, forged its 650 Elefant.

The Elefant is a collision of street and dirt combining the best of Cagiva’s and until now separate worlds.

the dual-purpose Elefant on these and in your dealer’s showroom is not a imitation of Cagiva’s racer as so replicas often are: Paris-to-Dakar technology translates well to American pavement, the Elefant far more rugged and off road than any poser be.

What happens when a follows the P-D formula of stuffing a engine into a dual-purpose and turns the result loose on the and fireroads of America? First, at the bike’s sheer size: a touch over 60 inches. height, 35 inches.

Wet weight, 454 that of a 250 motocrosser. Other bikes vanish behind the Elefant: its seat hits sport bikes at tank-top its handlebar measures chest to a six-foot rider.

For Ducati running a desmo engine off must be akin to burning of the True Cross for an after-ride Viewed more objectively, the makes perfect sense. The 90-degree V-twin engine from the 650 Alazzurra) is a tough desmodromic valve actuation the engine from over-rev and the engine cases proved in 6500 miles of P-D pounding.

the Elefant and Alazzurra share engine specifications-82 x 61.5mm and …, 10.1 compression, sizes and included angle, redline, and identical transmission spread across five engine needed a little tuning for dirt service.

engines soak up incredible Curiously, while the engine is mounted, aluminum mounts and sections isolate it from the frame rails. We’ve a similar approach before: old 250G road racer cracked engine mounts aluminum plates were between the frame tabs and caseswhen vibration took its replacing those plates was a deal less expensive replacing the frame or engine

Though the Elefant’s 90-degree layout cancels any primary some secondary shakes, to a horizontal plane, remain. plus the enormous inertial encountered off road with a engine, make aluminum a sensible choice. Two alloy extending from the backbone, the engine from above, and an cross-member, running between the supports the engine from the

The rear mounting system is more unconventional. Two huge disposed aluminum plates fit the frame and gear case, to the frame at the top and bottom engine The swing-arm pin runs through the tubes, the plates, and gearcase.

A pivot through the back of a engine’s cases is a great for the street, but off-road bouncing crack the cases without the and the Elefant’s single-shock rear concentrates its loads in the gearcase-pivot as well. Thus the alloy not only spread the load on the but provide top and bottom anchors for the suspension.

Last year’s had relatively mild camshaft and smallish, 32mm Dell’Orto carburetors. This combination strong low-end punch but top-end power. Cagiva fortified the ’87 model’s performance by fitting longer camshafts with more and larger 36mm Dell’Ortos.

tweaks, in conjunction with system and SuperTrapp spark improve the engine’s breathing

Look closely at the Elefant’s and you’ll swear something’s the rear carb. Ducati traditionally had their carbs at the of each head; compared to of yore, the Elefant’s rear head is backward, its intake facing forward, exhaust pointing back. Cagiva simply rotate the head 180 the change required a completely new to accommodate the cam’s right-side drive.

Why all the fuss? Cagiva needed for the Elefant’s single-shock rear and wanted to give this and all smaller twins a single housing and more even plumbing. For off-road use, had to have an efficient air cleaner, but to put it?

Mounting the airbox conventionally the engine would have the gas tank to grotesque proportions, so tucked the air-cleaner element the seat and plumbed it to the carbs the frame’s huge stamped-steel

Reversing the Elefant’s cylinder both complicated and simplified its Positioning both exhaust on the right allowed the two-into-one system to mount high, out of way. The front pipe beneath a protective plastic plate under the engine, climbs to join the rear just in front of the muffler/ arrester assembly.

Unfortunately, the restrictive exhaust plumbing horsepower off the top end: At the strip, the posted a best quarter-mile run of seconds at 95.3 mphunderwhelming for a bike, while still by dual-purpose standards.

Since speeds are far lower than velocities, the Elefant pays attention to its cooling. Its rear is largely isolated from the air stream, so to cope with the heat, the bike uses a oil cooler located in front of the tank. The cooled oil runs to the single overhead camshafts in front and rear cylinder

Oil capacity is also up over the

Altering the desmo engine for duty was a cake-walk compared to a chassis rigid enough to it. The Elefant’s steel square-section, full-cradle frame is quite a approach from the series of pipes that form the frames in Cagiva’s street Well it shouldthe 650’s weighs 133 pounds bone that kind of weight across rough ground can a frame in a hurry.

The Elefant’s answer to this is mass: Everywhere in the Elefant’s massive sections buttress sections. The box-section backbone 4.5 inches across its widest point, tapering down to 2.3 at the steering head. Vertically, the flares in the opposite direction, at the rear, over nine tall at the steering head. The frame tubes are 1.2-inch and the right downtube unbolts to engine removal.

The rear constructed of smaller square bolts to the main frame and a small luggage rack at the

Positioned vertically- behind the alloy swing arm/engine/shock plates is an aluminum-bodied Ohlins with separate, external for compression and rebound damping, and collars for spring preload. The top eye mounts directly to the plates, but the eye hangs on linkage, which to the box-section aluminum swing arm and plates, and pivots on a self-lubricating This shock itself is rate: compression damping is adjustable, the rebound adjuster 15 settings, and the linkage provides inches of progressive-rate wheel

The Elefant’s front suspension and gear are equally impressive. alloy triple clamps an air-adjustable 43mm Marzocchi which strokes through inches of travel. Straight-pull lace alloy rimsa rear, 21-inch frontto hubs carrying Brembo

The front brake combines a floating disc and four-piston the rear, a solid-mounted 9.4-inch and dual-piston caliper. Does a bike really need serious brakes? If it weighs 454 and generates as much speed as the it does.

The Elefant likes to run in spaces, across the desert, fast, sweeping fireroads. The engine is a powerhouse off roadsmooth, the rigid, long-wheelbase chassis unshakable highspeed stability. combined with powerful excellent steering, near-perfect calibration and grippy Pirelli are the ingredients of a formidable fireroad

Pitch the Elefant into a and the front end bites. Feed in throttle, and the rear kicks an easy slide. Take pick: turn the handlebar and with the front tire, or the throttle and aim with the rear, style.

Either way, the is remarkably trustworthy, stable,

An Elefant is nevertheless a unique to ride. Size gives it a presence off road; other bikeseven 600cc thumpersfeel by comparison. Tight, rocky exaggerate the Elefant’s scale; put it back into perspective.

Cagiva 650 Alazzurra

the Elefant through turns, you as if you’re riding a tall bike- and getting away …. Terrific fun, but be warned: when 454 pounds of gets away from you in the the chances of snatching it back are

And the after-effects of even a moderate can be formidable on the Elefant. Bailing off an section, one tester was unable to get the upright until help Our downed Elefant also crankcase oil through the breather the airbox, ruining the paper and oiling the carbs and plugs.

To its the Elefant survived the crash unscathed, proof of the ruggedness of its

Canyon roads are nothing than fireroads with traction, so it’s no surprise the works well here If you’ve never ridden a bike, you’d be surprised how they can carve the twisties, and the is no exception. A wide, motocross-style makes for light, quick and virtually unlimited cornering invites steep lean

Conservative steering geometry and a wheelbase provide the Elefant high-speed stability unrivaled in the class. Though geared than the Alazzurra, the Elefant has tall by dual-purpose standards, and the 650 harder from corner to with fewer gear Unfortunately, while our Elefant’s actuated dry clutch offers a pull, it dragged during making it difficult to find and shifting stiff and notchy.

The Elefant also uses throttle springs that up a rider’s arms on the backroads.

If the has a limiting factor in its off-road it’s the-Pirelli tires. skins strike a balance in road traction, and while the tires are versatile performers, quickly get skittish when on the street. Despite this traction, the Elefant’s Brembo offer tremendous stopping and excellent feedback.

From 60 mph the shortest stopping distance was 136 only two feet longer it took to haul the triple-disc from 60 to zero.

Street will find the Elefant some getting used to: You sit the fork flexes under and the softly sprung, long-travel allows enough up and down movement to have you reaching for For hard riding, dirt or you must set the dampers on firm, but we the recommended settingsatmospheric pressure up and all rear adjusters in their positionsoffer the best street/dirt

The Elefant’s long legs distinct advantages and disadvantages on the Tall suspension invariably a tall seat height, and makes the Elefant near to manage in stop-and-go traffic if under six feet tall. The seating position feels natural on the highway; only at above 80 mph does the rider to tug on the handlebar against the wind.

The is narrow and doesn’t provide the of a good street bucket, but it enough comfort to sit through a tank of gas, about 174 of steady-state running. At 75 mph, the engine runs effortlessly; some engine vibration through the gas tank, no annoying come through the handlebar or and the footpegs feature removable inserts to damp vibration the rider’s feet. Full instrumentation, and the best switches seen from Italy, the Elefant’s highway experience.

Comfortable, versatile, quick, ruggedthe Elefant is all these but is it for you? Cagiva wanted to a world-class replica of their to Dakar machine, and that’s they did with the Elefant. this dirt and-street 650 has its own appeal: If your shoulders broad enough to hoist the back on its feet, or your long enough to reach the or your pocketbook deep to spring for the $4,632 sticker for a dual-purpose bike, kindly yourself right here.

But if still with us, picture scenario: You strap a bedroll to the rack, dig out a map, and find a of two-lane blacktop that out of town, trips through the and dips onto a long, dirt road. Follow road until it runs then find another, and in a string of 200-mile days lots of detours through forgotten towns.

Explore. If that sounds like or eccentricity, look elsewhere. If it like paradise, so should 650.

Either way, the Elefant in regions that more exotic, more more inaccessible, is the closest to being out there, tromping on steady legs at speed the Sahara.

Source Cycle of 1986

Cagiva 650 Alazzurra
Cagiva 650 Alazzurra
Cagiva 650 Alazzurra
Cagiva 650 Alazzurra
Cagiva 650 Alazzurra
Cagiva 650 Alazzurra
Cagiva 650 Alazzurra

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