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A white-red-and-black MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 on a rear-wheel stand

MV Agusta Dives Into Adventure Bikes With 2 Lucky Explorers

Decades after the Lucky Strike Cagiva Elefants conquered the Paris-Dakar, MV Agusta is releasing some homages in the form of its first adventure bikes: the Lucky Explorer 5.5 and 9.5. And while the 5.5 has a Chinese-developed engine, rather than the 9.5's triple, both should have the makings of solid ADVs.

With how insanely popular adventure bikes are these days, it seems like no company can afford to miss out. It’s inspired several motorcycle brands, including Husqvarna and Harley-Davidson, to enter the segment for the first time. And others like Aprilia have even revived old nameplates to re-enter the ADV market. But there’s one brand that’s stayed out of the adventure bike scene—at least, until now. That brand is MV Agusta, and its upcoming Lucky Explorers are its first ADVs ever.

MV Agusta’s first adventure bikes channel the spirit and look of the Paris-Dakar-racing Cagiva Elefant

Jorge Arcarons on a white-black-red-and-gold Lucky Strike Cagiva Elefant at the Paris-Dakar Rally
Jorge Arcarons on a Lucky Strike Cagiva Elefant at the Paris-Dakar Rally | Pool BENALI/SAMPERS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Although the Lucky Explorer 9.5 and 5.5 are the first adventure bikes to wear the MV Agusta name, their designs draw inspiration from the Italian brand’s history. Well, sort of.

In the early 1990s, MV Agusta was under the same roof as Cagiva and Ducati, Cycle World explains. Although Cagiva isn’t well-known in the US, the Italian company has had a significant influence on motorcycle history. For example, the iconic Ducati 916 was designed under Cagiva’s ownership. And in addition to making some well-reviewed dual-sports, Cagiva also competed in the Paris-Dakar.

More specifically, Cagiva won the Paris-Dakar twice with the Elefant. Launched a few years after the original Africa Twin, the Cagiva Elefant made it to the US wearing a Ducati badge. Appropriate, given that the adventure bike used an air-cooled Ducati L-twin engine. But arguably more important than its engine was its Lucky Strike livery, with the phrase ‘Lucky Explorer’ proudly emblazoned on the side.

Now, that name—and a similar livery—adorns the first MV Agusta adventure bikes. However, just like the original Elefant, the MV Agusta Lucky Explorers have some complicated parentages.

The name’s the same, but the MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 and 5.5 offer different adventure bike experiences

The side view of a white-black-and-red MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5 on a rear-wheel stand
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5 side | EICMA
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5
Engine550cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin930cc liquid/oil-cooled inline-three
Horsepower47 hp123 hp
Torque38 lb-ft75 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manualSix-speed manual
Six-speed Rekluse automated manual
Front suspension43mm rebound- and preload-adjustable KYB inverted fork50mm fully-adjustable Sachs electronic inverted fork; 8.7” (RideApart)
Rear suspensionFully-adjustable KYB mono-shockFully-adjustable Sachs electronic mono-shock; 8.3” (RideApart)
Seat height33.8″33.5″-34.3″
Minimum ground clearance8.3″9.0″
Dry weight484 lbs485 lbs

Much like the Elefant didn’t have a Cagiva engine, the MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5 has a different brand’s engine. That’s because MV Agusta designed it in partnership with Chinese firm QJ Motors, which owns Benelli, RideApart explains. Hence why it has the same engine as Benelli’s TRK 502, Cycle World says.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the TRK 502 has been a best-seller in Italy for several years. Also, though it has smaller wheels than the Lucky Explorer 9.5, the 5.5’s wheels are still spoked. The two MV Agusta Lucky Explorers also use the same steel frame and aluminum swingarms. Additionally, both bikes have Brembo brakes, ABS, and a TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity and a GPS sensor. Also, engine guards, handguards, and metal skid plates.

A white-red-and-black MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 on a rear-wheel stand
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 | EICMA

However, the MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 has several noteworthy upgrades. Firstly, it offers electronic suspension and an optional automated manual. Secondly, it has an MV Agusta-designed engine, an enlarged version of the inline-three found in the Superveloce 800. Also, the 9.5 wears higher-spec Brembo front brakes than the 5.5 and a bigger TFT screen. And besides bigger wheels, the Lucky Explorer 9.5 has retractable pannier mounts and multiple forged-carbon-fiber body components.

But those are just the hardware changes. MV Agusta also gives the Lucky Explorer 9.5 cornering LED headlights, cruise control, eight-way traction control, and launch control, RideApart reports. Not to mention rear-wheel lift mitigation and cornering-enhanced ABS.

When will MV Agusta’s ADVs come to the US?

As of this writing, MV Agusta hasn’t released pricing details for the Lucky Explorer adventure bikes. Furthermore, the Italian company calls these ADVs ‘prototypes,’ which is why not all their specs are available. However, Cycle World claims that most of the 9.5’s specs “are set in stone.”

In addition, Cycle World says that these bikes are considered 2022 models. So, they could hit US soil at some point next year. And before then, we should learn more as MV Agusta releases additional information.

So, welcome to the ADV segment, MV Agusta. But do you feel lucky?

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