Driving report Cagiva Raptor plus other Italo novelties


Driving report Cagiva Raptor plus other Italo innovations

Monster hunt

The business of evil is on. Not just in film and television. More and more beasts are also preying on the motorcycle market.

They were fascinating: Relatively small, but extremely strong, fast, smart and extremely dangerous? the raptors in Stephen Spielberg’s hit movie Jurassic Park ??. Even the giant T. rex looked pale next to these murderous creatures.
It is by no means a coincidence that Cagiva boss Claudio Castiglioni named the latest development of his house after exactly these beasts. After all, the Raptor is supposed to bring the starving Italian motorcycle manufacturer back onto the road to success and, like the Spielberg models, rob it in foreign territories. Large-volume naked bikes are new territory for Cagiva. But this approach is not far away. Because the Raptor was designed by Miguel Galluzzi. So from the man who designed the monsters a good seven years ago? back when the Castiglionis were masters of Ducati and Cagiva.
Today, Ducati is doing a great deal with the Monster: the Bolognese manufacturer launched more than 10,000 units in the first half of 1999 alone. And Cagiva intends to cut a piece of this giant cake with the Raptor.
Development started twelve months ago in Varese. The main problem was the engine. It should be a large-volume two-cylinder. But where do you get it from? The contract with Ducati ?? Frame against V2-Desmos ?? expires at the end of the year. So Cagiva turned to the Japanese, took the Honda’s VTR and Suzuki’s TL 1000 under the microscope and finally came to an agreement with Suzuki: “8000 TL engines, please, in the S version.” This comes with various changes such as redesigned ignition and injection V-Twin on 106 HP on the rear wheel.
Now the combination of a Japanese engine and an Italian bike is arousing skepticism in italophile circles. Doesn’t that much-touted Italian flair go to hell? But the unpainted prototype that MOTORRAD was allowed to drive in Varese dispels all fears. He has charisma, and above all he actually has something of Spielberg’s original: relatively small, but extremely strong, agile, fast ?? quite fascinating.
With this motorcycle, the 1.90-meter-man Galluzzi fulfilled his dream of the further developed Monster. Even bears like him can comfortably fit on the naked bike, but thanks to the low seat height of 770 millimeters, the Raptor is also suitable for smaller people. On the short test track, the 1000 series proves to be a lively partner in the curve duet. Graceful in her movements, easy to direct, playful when changing lean angles and yet very direct. “We wanted to build a motorcycle that was easy to drive,” says Galluzzi. “After all, motorcycling should be fun and not degenerate into a busy endeavor.”
The power is really brute. Although the motor, which is mounted far forward, puts a lot of weight on the front wheel, you shouldn’t let the mechanically operated, easily adjustable clutch click, otherwise involuntary wheelies are inevitable. A very first prototype of the Raptor had a wheelbase of just 1390 millimeters. “That was even more fun,” admits Galluzzi. “But on the other hand, it was a really radical motorcycle that would have hurt you terribly sooner or later.” The wheelbase was lengthened in ten millimeter steps until the developers reached 1,430 millimeters.
The upside-down fork is from Marzocchi, but has been improved over previous models. Together with the two-arm swing arm and the spring strut acting via lever deflection, it ensures a sporty but sufficiently comfortable driving experience. Only the rear spring base is adjustable, as Cagiva is of the opinion that you can do without adjustable damping on a naked bike.
Of course, costs also played a role, because for the first time in the history of the Italian manufacturer, the price was set before development began ?? just like the successful Japanese do: the Raptor will cost 18,000 marks. Significantly less than the less powerful Ducati Monster 900, which however weighs around 15 kilograms less. The empty weight of the Raptor is 197 kilograms, about the TL 1000 S level.
The ?? by Italian standards ?? The relatively low price and the tried and tested, low-maintenance Suzuki engine should live up to Cagiva’s new company slogan “Power to the people”. “We want to build high-performance, inexpensive motorcycles that run smoothly without becoming boring,” says Claudio Castiglioni. An ambitious project for a group that has made a name for itself in recent years due to poor quality and poor spare parts supply. But Castiglioni claims to have learned his lesson. The completely overhauled production facilities give hope. Just like the prototype of the Raptor.
In mid-September, the »counter-monster« will be presented in its final form at the Milan Salon. In the colors red and silver. In addition in another version with half-shell. The small panel should run forward like a snout. “So the bike will finally look like a real raptor ??, promises Castiglioni. And hopes that the 1000s like Spielberg’s Beasts will successfully poach in foreign territories.
Other Italo innovations: The Milan salon is just around the corner, but nonetheless most of the Italian manufacturers have been celebrating their factory holidays over the past few weeks. However, some of what will be seen in Milano leaked to us. At the Aprilia booth, for example, next to the SL 1000 sports tourer (MOTORRAD 17/1999) that has already been shown, the Pegaso 1000 travel enduro will be on display. A mix of styles between Honda Varadero and BMW GS with the two-cylinder RSV mille. There is also rumor of a pure 1000 tourer, which they want to save for the motor show in Bologna at the beginning of December, where Aprilia traditionally conjures up a surprise out of its hat.
In addition to the Raptor, Cagiva shows the Enduro Navigator ?? a further development of the Gran Canyon, but with a Suzuki TL 1000 instead of a Ducati engine. Ducati itself finally brings the tightened 748, additional designation R, and also the final version of the Mike Hailwood Evolution, which was at the Munich trade fair last year. The 900 monster comes with injection. On top of that there is supposed to be an »Über-Monster« with a 996 engine. What is not in Milan: The new 1000cc two-cylinder with around ten hp more power, which is already being tested.
L.but not least: MV Agusta. The luxury brand presents a bare version of the F4 called Brutale.

Technical data – Cagiva Raptor

Engine: Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, transverse crankshaft, two overhead, chain- and gear-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, wet sump lubrication, electronic manifold injection, engine management, electric starter. Bore x stroke 98 x 66 mm Displacement 996 ccm Nominal power 106 HP at xxxx / min Max. Torque xxx / xxx Power transmission: primary drive via gears, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis: tubular steel frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, slide tube diameter 43 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel , Central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, front double disc brake, four-piston calipers, ø 296 mm, rear disc brake, double-piston caliper, ø 220 mm. Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x17; 5.50 x 17 tires 180/70 ZR 17; 120/60 ZR 17 Chassis data: wheelbase 1430 mm, steering head angle 65.4 °, caster xxx mm, spring travel f / h xxx / xxx mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height 770 mm, empty weight 197 kilograms, tank capacity 17 liters, colors red, silver, price around 18,000 marks

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