2022 MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project | First Look Review

Paying homage to the Dakar-winning Cagiva Elefant

MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5
The MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5 (above) is one of two adventure bike models, along with the Lucky Explorer Project 5.5, that MV Agusta unveiled at EICMA 2021.

The Cagiva Elefant put Italy’s Edi Orioli on the top step of the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1990 and 1994. To capitalize on that success, the Italian marque adopted the Lucky Explorer moniker for the rally replica production model. More than three decades after Cagiva’s first Dakar win, the MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project revives the iconic name with two adventure bike variants, the 5.5 and 9.5.

MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 5.5
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 5.5

Though they fly under the same banner, the Lucky Explorer variants are very different machines. For the 5.5 trim, MV Agusta partnered with China’s QJ Motors to develop the mid-size adventure bike with performance and safety in mind. The 554cc parallel-Twin engine pumps out a claimed 46.9 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 37.6 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm, but the liquid-cooled, DOHC unit suits a broad range of riders with smooth power delivery and an accessible torque band.

MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 5.5
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 5.5

The Lucky Explorer 5.5 also caters to newer riders with a 484-pound dry weight. The adjustable 43mm KYB inverted fork and fully adjustable KYB rear shock provide 5.3 inches of travel, 8.3 inches of ground clearance, and a 33.8-inch seat height. The 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels allow novice off-roaders to venture onto the trail while the Brembo braking system optimizes safety in all conditions. Despite the 5.5’s mid-size designation, MV equips the new ADV with a 5-inch TFT display and a 5.3-gallon tank.

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MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5

The Schirrana, Italy, brand takes a different tack with the full-size Lucky Explorer 9.5. Instead of collaborating with QJ Motors, MV Agusta goes it alone, developing a new 931cc inline-Triple for power and performance. The new cylinder heads, intake/exhaust valves, forged aluminum alloy pistons, and 12.5:1 compression ratio result in 123 peak horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 75.2 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm (claimed). A 120-degree counter-rotating crankshaft reduces inertial energy and MV Agusta offers a Rekluse automatic clutch and electro-actuated gearbox as options.

MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5

The firm crams all that performance and tech into a closed double-cradle steel frame that balances all-day on-road comfort with the optimal stiffness for spirited off-road riding. The Sachs electronic suspension system consists of a 50mm inverted fork and progressive rear shock. The setup yields 8.7 inches of travel at the front, 8.3 inches of travel at the rear, and 9.1 inches of ground clearance. The adjustable seat measures 33.5 and 34.3 inches from level ground.

MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5

The 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels suit the Lucky Explorer 9.5 for extended trips on the toughest terrain. Twin Brembo Stylema 4-piston calipers and 320mm discs deliver superbike-worthy stopping power while the 2-piston Brembo binder and 265mm rotor prioritizes finesse.

Of course, the 9.5 features a full electronics suite with a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled 7-inch TFT display. Traction control, cruise control, and launch control come standard while cornering ABS and rear wheel lift mitigation come by way of Continental’s MK100 ABS system.

Aside from the different equipment and capabilities, both the Lucky Explorer 5.5 and 9.5 hark back to the Dakar-winning Cagiva Elefant with rally-inspired liveries. The 5.5 retains the white/red/gold color combo but adopts digital graphics for a modern touch. On the other hand, the 9.5 blazes a new trail with a silver/red/gold paint scheme and refined brushstroke accents.

MV Agusta not yet announced an MSRP or when the Lucky Explorer Project models will hit showrooms.

For more information or to find an MV Agusta dealer near you, visit mvagusta.com.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t support the regime in China by buying motorcycles which have engines made in China.

    So I’ll give the midsize MV described here a pass.

  2. As expected from MV Augusta, the styling is beautiful. Like Fs notes the resemblance to the Africa Twin is strong, from the front at least, which I don’t see as a bad thing. I have reservations about a 120 degree crank triple for a adventure bike though, even Triumph has moved away from that. The other thing is at what point does this adv thing hit saturation? Everyone has a finger in the pie now, who’s going to get burned?

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