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MV Agusta Entering the Adventure Segment With Two New Models

Lucky Explorer 9.5 Prototype

MV Agusta is displaying two prototypes that should closely resemble production models of new Adventure bikes. Called the Lucky Explorer 9.5 (with a 931cc triple) and the Lucky Explorer 5.5 (550cc parallel-twin), these bikes answer the question “What would an Adventure bike from MV Agusta look like?”

Reminded that this is MV Agusta, after all, we notice the use of forged carbon fiber on the 9.5. Here is the press release from MV Agusta:

December 26th, 1978. That day marked the genesis of one of the most fascinating and dangerous adventures ever: the Paris-Dakar. Famous rally race crossing the Sahara Desert and born from the irreverent and visionary mind of Thierry Sabine. After its founder’s death in 1986 in the middle of unforgiving Ténéré region, the race has become the test bed for outstanding performance bikes, capable of travelling the desert tracks at insane speeds. 

The Elefant model in its Lucky Explorer livery is probably the most celebrated icon of that historic desert raid. From the very first sketches, the evocative power of the Elefant, dominating twice the final destination of Lac Rose in Dakar, has inspired many designers, committed to recreating, in a modern key, that magic feeling of motorcycles recognised as the emblem of the eternal struggle between the crudeness of nature and man. Rock, sand, gasoline and courage: a bunch of crucial elements on which those epic races were based. The “void” embraced full throttle. Looking for the right track, the one that truly makes the difference between a stage victory and an out-of-time arrival at base camp. 

It is not just about motorbikes. It’s about a comprehensive ecosystem, which is not only made up of evocative sensations but also deserves off-road effectiveness and skill. 


November 2021. MV Agusta launches the Lucky Explorer Project, a multi-faceted initiative aiming at gathering the passionate lovers of rally raid and off-road racing around Schiranna’s unforgettable legacy of epic participations and victories in the great African rallies of the golden age. 

That same spirit of adventure and freedom is the foundation of this ambitious teaser communication project which will be initially developed through digital communication activities followed by others in the real-life world to finally back up the launch of two new adventure bikes.

The Lucky Explorer Project is not just a cold yet smart marketing project. It represents the ultimate character of the Company to express its sentiments in the motorcycle business, revamping deeply the passion, the emotions, the values, the style, the gestures of men and bikes who made the history of racing in the desert. It’s more than a project. 

Lucky Explorer 9.5 Prototype

The Lucky Explorer Project has been conceived to create a communication platform to support the launch of two brand new adventure bikes, creating anticipation and thrill, thus: 

• Revamping the Lucky Explorer racing heritage 

• Telling the story and spread the culture of the great African rallies

• Building an adventure, off-road enthusiast community 

• Involving and engaging participants in online and offline actions 

Lucky Explorer Project is not just about bikes, it’s about a comprehensive world of emotions, memories, values and a way of being. A long-awaited return for all the fans of Made-in-Schiranna, but also a new beginning and a leap into the future.

The project will be developed on the website and through the Instagram channel @ luckyexplorer.official already online. Riders, personalities, clips and anecdotes, historical factory tours, vintage advertising, videos, memorabilia, new content and events will bring together a real community of enthusiasts. And Lucky Explorer ambassadors will turn up, with access to special content and exclusive previews.

The new 5.5 and 9.5 adventure bikes offer a concrete yet suggestive perspective in an increasingly crowded competitive arena, focused on riding efficiency and stylistic charm, as well as on advanced technical solutions. 

Both projects represent the modern interpretation of the desert race’s myth, which appealed the imagination of the Motorsport world since the mid-Eighties, conquering tons of enthusiasts in the continuous search for brand-new and thrilling adventures. 

Lucky Explorer 9.5 Prototype

The 9.5 project represents the synthesis of a tireless design and development work that for many months has been aimed at creating a unique bike capable of offering breathless riding experience and user-friendly approach, without forgetting first-rate performance and charm. Compared to many of its main challengers, the 9.5 boasts an unprecedented off-road attitude, thanks to a bespoke chassis formula, starting with the wheel diameter: 21” at the front and 18” at the rear, together with 1,580 mm wheelbase. 

The primary goals of the project? Designing a motorcycle that is first and foremost compact, lightweight, essential and functional, with an intense off-road character. On top of this, out-of-the-ordinary versatility married to ability to move effectively and safely in whatever condition, from smooth asphalt to rocky terrain. With the aim to make this exclusive machine even more intuitive and easy to handle the saddle results adjustable in height. 

Originally, on the historic Elefant model, at centre-stage in the Dakar races, the Lucky Explorer logo was immediately recognisable, even from a distance, to the point of characterising the whole bike and emphasising its racing-oriented personality. Today, on both new models that logo blooms again thanks to the graphic and set-up winning choices. 


The 5.5 version, developed in close collaboration with our partner QJ, is a new adventure bike inspired by the heritage of the Elefant. Despite being a mid-sized bike, its appearance is that of a higher displacement travel-oriented motorcycle, capable of seducing European riders looking for a sturdy and unstoppable companion. 

Such close collaboration with the partner has brought to life a truly advanced model if compared to the starting model: electronics, mechanics and chassis, in fact, have been carefully developed on the basis of detailed specifications. Electronics, for example, has been optimised to offer the perfect combination between performance and safety. The two-cylinder in-line liquid-cooled engine with double overhead camshaft distribution has also undergone specific refinement, aimed at further improving the high efficiency. The increase in displacement up to 550 cc (70.5 mm bore and 71 mm stroke), a distinctive content for this model, has the goal to further enrich the torque curve and smoothen delivery at all revs. That is what a motorcycle with such a wide spectrum of use deserves. 

Lucky Explorer 9.5 Prototype

Distinctive design of the 5.5 version can be seen both from the superstructures and from other aesthetic crucial features, such as the bespoke optical groups. Stylistic inspiration is shared with the 9.5 model and inspired by the legendary races in the desert, not to mention others features, which allows this new born to proudly claim its technical, conceptual and aesthetic identity. 


The 9.5 truly introduces a gateway to the future in the shape of a premium adventure bike, faithfully based on the new MV Agusta 950 engine, powered by class-leading technology and close to that racing spirit of the original Elefant. 

The two new models share numerous stylistic elements: the front end area and the sturdy handguard, for example, are both painted black. A side cover protect the radiator, which reveals a semicircle element in the central portion. Furthermore, a cover protects the front braking system, with a large flap to ensure the discs the right dose of air flow; the skid plate underlines the destination of the bike, which therefore results particularly off-road oriented. Even the extended use of high-technology materials along with their finishing are nature-inspired: the forged carbon fiber element, a link between the radiator area and the skid plate, reflects this vision. 

The instrumentation is automotive-standards developed: that is true in terms of easy-to-understand graphics, full suite of useful information as well as connectivity. It can count on a 7” full TFT panel, with Bluetooth connection to smartphones and Wi-Fi. The electrical switch cubes have been exclusively designed for this model: inspired by functionality and ergonomics criteria they allow the user to easily navigate amongst the numerous configurations available in the menus. In addition, a practical pannier fastening system, located in the tail area, comes with a retractable system: a smart solution that does not compromise the design of the bike. 

The optical assembly has been subjected to an extensive study, aimed at offering a stunning stylistic result and an indisputable light output as well. In particular, the 5.5 mounts DRL in a semicircle, which are clearly inspired by the classic Elefant 900. The optical assembly of the 9.5 is instead more complex and even more original, thanks to two concentric elements that add the front end an aggressive look. 

The chassis of the 9.5 is made of steel, with a closed double cradle structure. Designed to offer the best balance between the comfort required for touring road use and the stiffness to achieve interesting off-road performance, it is composed of forged and extruded elements, based on the loads required at different areas. Despite the excellent torsional strength and longitudinal stiffness values, it stops the scales at a mere weight. The sturdy swingarm makes use of lightweight aluminum alloy to achieve the highest strength-to-weight ratio. Aluminum is used also for the fork plates, while the rear subframe is made of steel. 

Lucky Explorer 9.5 Prototype

The 9.5 engine has been developed specifically for this model and creates an uncompromised balance of versatility, power and weight. Signed by MV Agusta and inspired by the well-known and admired 800 three-cylinder in-line, it is new in most of its components. The bore and stroke measurements have both been increased to achieve the effective displacement of 930.63 cc, delivering the highest possible values ​​of power and torque. All without changing the overall dimensions of the 800 engine currently in production. Numerous technical contents are confirmed, such as the head plane, cylinders angle together with the position of the motor mounts on the three axles and of the front sprocket.

The new 9.5 motorcycle also stands out for its three-cylinder in-line four-stroke liquid-cooled twin overhead camshaft engine boasts a compression ratio of 12.5: 1; the crankshaft is counter-rotating, to improve driving dynamics and reduce inertia. The removable gearbox is also offered in an unprecedented electro-actuated configuration, specially designed for this model. The maximum power and torque values ​​are respectively 123 hp at 10,000 rpm and 102 Nm at 7,000 rpm. The specific hp/l power is 132.25 while the complete mass of the engine is only 57 kg. 

9.5 engine main features:  

– New cylinder head

– New steel intake and exhaust valves

– New head-cylinder base gasket

– New steel crankshaft, counter-rotating, 120° cranks, 1-2-3 ignition

– New main and trimetallic connecting rod bearings

– New forged aluminum alloy pistons, three segments

The transmission can count on a new primary drive gear with straight teeth, with power take-off from the countershaft; the gears of the pump control are unprecedented. The base has been completely redesigned: it has integrated oil passages while the passage of water from the upper to the lower base takes place via an external aluminum pipe. What’s more, clutch, generator, starter, selector and gearbox covers have been redesigned. 

The 9.5 wet clutch comes in two versions: the automatic Rekluse variant and the standard, featuring hydraulic control on the left side. Lastly, the electro-actuated gearbox, offered as an option, represents a rare gem. 


  1. randy says:

    Hope the 500 (brought by their close partner QJ) is not a Benelli TK502 made in China.

  2. goodlyRun says:

    Blinkers? Not that anyone uses them anymore…

  3. Mick says:

    Bummer. I waded through some of that blather to see if the 550 was going to reside in the no bike land between crazy heavy dirt bike 275 pounds and what is considered a light street bike 400 pounds. The first paragraph about the 550 pretty much says there is nothing to see here. The lack of photos kind of says there is nothing to see here as well.

    • todd says:

      They are good looking bikes but I’m at a loss as to why they think the 550 is ok at 484 pounds dry and 47hp. That means it’s way too heavy for any sort of mild off road work and 47hp puts it at a severe on-road disadvantage to competitive bikes like the VStrom 650 or Versys. It’s heavier and less powerful than the original Cagiva Elefant. Maybe the target is the CB500X?

      • Jeremy says:

        At 47 HP, they definitely have it aligned with the Euro and I believe Australian power tier, just like the Honda CB500X. However, the Honda, already considered to be a pretty porky bike for what it is, will weigh close to 100 lbs less wet. I agree, that seems like a pretty big misstep. They used far too many pixels to make that bike.

  4. Nick says:

    I wonder if the association with British American Tobacco is going to harm sales in current times? At least there are no decals on it, just a nod to the paint-job. Maybe they should have called it the Dakar?

  5. JC says:

    ADV Pulse has all the specs. It’s a wet clutch and there is an option for a Reklus automatic clutch.

  6. ducman says:

    I have abunch of ageing Cagiva Elefants and an’86 Camel. Never thought they aged compared to the latest offerings. Sure, they don’t have the electronic riders aids, but they still have the heart of the genre. I like this bike. It looks right. Recently bought a Ducati 950 Multistrada with spoke ed wheels. Great bike but not a dirt squirt. If it doesn’t break the bank, I’m in.

    • RyYYZ says:

      I was going to say, wasn’t the “Elefant” a Cagiva model?
      Did MV Augusta pick up the Cagiva brand somewhere along the way?

      • Josh says:

        It’s the opposite – Cagiva bought the Ducati and MV Agusta brands and revived them. They sold Ducati in the late ’90s. In the mid-2000s they sold MV Agusta to Harley, and later bought it back for one Euro. They’ve also had a variety of investors over the years, most recently AMG and some Russian interests.

        • Jeremy says:

          Harley Davidson actually bought the parent company that comprised of both Cagiva and MV Augusta. HD was uninterested in Cagiva and sold the brand to the original Cagiva founder’s son (who also later bought MV Augusta from HD for that fabled $1.) Nothing is currently produced under the Cagiva name as all resources go into MV Augusta.

  7. dt-175 says:

    L.S.M.F.T. my uncle bob used to smoke those.

  8. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I’m impressed with the small size muffler compared to the suitcases on most all the other ADV bikes.

    • dp says:

      I noticed that too. Unusual indeed just as absence of prolific “beak”.

    • jon says:

      I still don’t understand why these adv bikes don’thave the mufflers tucked under the seat inside the passenger foot peg, instead of hanging out where they’re going to get crushed in the smallest drop and maybe bend the subframe. There’s easily room. My T700 is the same and I hate it.

      • Jeremy says:

        Because with the amount of rear wheel travel adventure and dirt bikes have, the rear wheel would hit the muffler.

        • jon says:

          Most dirt bikes do it have up high where i described. So does the 800GS. the majority of adv bikes don’t however.

  9. Nick says:

    It’s a very handsome bike. The styling owes much to its predecessor of course, but is also very similar to the best-looking ADV of the past also made by Cagiva & Co, the Gran Canyon. Beakless, indeed!

  10. JC says:

    Ignoring the color splashes, the design is attractive. It has a Africa Twin vibe with Italian design flair. It has elements of a decent off-road adventure bike too. Narrow waist, low CG, probably low weight based on the carbon fiber. The open dry clutch as previously commented is problematic of course.

    On the downside, accessories and spare parts might be limited for most markets, and it’s likely going to be very expensive compared to its competitors. (I have a new GSA, so maybe I’m not qualified to comment on price!)

    Overall, it’s good to have competition even though the ADV market is crowded. MV makes a very nice product and it would be nice to see them become a mainstream manufacturer. I guess this is a step in that direction.

    Oh yeah. The name Lucky Explorer is terrible in my opinion. Maybe it sounds sexier in Italian. Most everything does.

  11. Jim says:

    This is obviously a translated document. And very wordy. Lots of “Unprecedented” stuff that looks like everything else in this category.

  12. Tom R says:

    If they are using actual decimals, shouldn’t the bigger version be called the Lucky Explorer 9.31?

  13. dp says:

    Beautiful bike. I would not expect from MV Agusta anything else. So will be the price and meagre to none service network in North America. We will keep looking with envy to old continent as we had been doing for long time.

  14. mickey says:

    Searching google for MV dealers in the US, it appears they are pretty rare. Doubt I will ever see one in the flesh here in the mid west.

    Looks pretty gnarly though

    • dp says:

      In 2008 I visited Rapid City SD. A humble car shop owner (he had in front of it couple of well aged European sports cars) told me that the people who owned European and even some fancy Japanese brands had to drive all the way to Denver, Co. to get them serviced. All what they had in town was Ford and Chevy dealerships. That tells the story loud and clear. Bikes I recollect seeing there were only Harleys. Not a single Japanese bike, although I spent there just one evening.

  15. Ed says:

    I wonder how that apparently open cover dry clutch on the 1000cc bike would work with a handful of sand in it? Or mud?

    • Holygeezer says:

      It appears to me that there is a glass? cover over that clutch after clicking on the top picture and magnifying it up closer. It clearly appears to be covered to my eyes when doing that.

    • Brinskee says:

      Scroll down to the third photo from the top, click on it and then zoom in – it looks to me like that clutch cover is made of transparent plastic or glass(!!!) because it has a reflection over the surface. I can’t imagine that it would be an open clutch for precisely the same reasons you state.

      To me it’s a handsome bike. No beak. Reminds me of the old Yamaha TDM 950 a bit. The photos of this bike look way better than the renderings. I would worry about reliability for this bike but it looks great to me, very balanced, nothing too polarizing.

      What is forged carbon fiber?

      • JC says:

        “Forged” carbon fiber is a process in which chopped fibers and resin are molded and cured at extremely high pressure. The benefit is homogeneous strength instead of traditional lay-up material that provides strength in certain directions dependent on the pattern of the fibers.

        My company uses this process for airplane parts. It’s super cool.

    • Tim says:

      My guess is that’s a window – maybe plexi or lexan?

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