Report: Cagiva Motor

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Report: Cagiva Motor

Report: Cagiva Motor
The Emperor strikes back

With a new engine, new models and a new structure, Cagiva boss Claudio Castiglioni is pushing back into the motorcycle scene.

Eva Breutel


I would like to admit it Cagiva no one yet, but the signs are increasing: the 750 sports car with a four-cylinder engine, which Cagiva is now presenting after a few delays at the Milan Salon in September, will in all probability become the brand name MV Agusta wear.
Probably a wise choice, because Caigva holds the naming rights to MV, and »the name Cagiva has suffered badly in recent years ??, admits even Cagiva boss Claudio Castiglioni, 50, in an interview with MOTORRAD. “Everyone has ripped off Cagiva, after all, we didn’t even bother to deny it. ?? The negative headlines did not come by chance, however, as the company made a name for itself less through motorcycles than through its history of suffering. Because the Cagiva Group with the motorcycle brands Ducati, Cagiva, Husqvarna, a stake in CZ in the Czech Republic as well as two foundries, two hotels and a metal goods factory was in a deep crisis: Ducati hardly worked anymore due to lack of money, the Cagiva- and Husqvarna’s workforce was on short-time work for months, and the parking lot in front of the Varese plant was empty.
In the meantime, 51 percent of Ducati has been sold, and the motorcycle brands Husqvarna and Cagiva as well as the name MV Agusta have been reorganized into the newly founded company Cagiva Motor. Claudio Castiglioni is now sole director of Cagiva Motor, in which an Italian bank also has a stake; his older brother Gianfranco, 56, takes care of the rest of the family’s businesses.
So far, the new concept seems to be working, at least in the motorcycle sector, because something is happening in Varese: During the MOTORRAD visit to the Cagiva and Husqvarna plants, people worked harder than in a long time; A full company parking lot and full boxes with delivered motorcycle parts can be seen as a good sign.
Claudio Castiglioni prefers not to talk about the tough last years: “A lot went wrong there ??, he admits,” but now we want to dare to start over. ?? There is no shortage of ideas and concepts, neither for Cagiva nor Husqvarna (see boxes). The focal point of the return to the motorcycle scene, however, remains the 750 four-cylinder, which will be presented on September 15th. The framework conditions seem to be right: The basic Ferrari concept of the engine was finally brought to the point at Cagiva in Varese. The Cagiva Research Center in San Marino is responsible for the chassis and design, and there the legendary Massimo Tamburini is in charge. Nobody doubts that he knows his trade: after all, the Ducati 916 also bears his signature.
Claudio Castiglioni is in good spirits: “I can’t tell you what the motorcycle is called yet,” he says, “but I can guarantee you one thing: it will be very fast, very nice and very reliable. ??

MV Agusta?

Probably the most legendary motorcycle brand in the world made a name for itself between 1945 and 1977 mainly for its brilliant racing motorcycles. Drivers like John Surtees and Giacomo Agostini helped MV to 37 world championship titles. The street versions, on the other hand, were not particularly reliable and also rare, since the main business of MV Agusta was and is helicopter construction. In 1977 MV sold the motorcycle division to Cagiva; Cagiva has also owned the name rights since 1993. Cagiva is likely to present its super sporty 750cc four-cylinder in Milan under the name MV Agusta, of which around 100 are to be produced next year: »We want high quality ??, says Claudio Castiglioni,» and will therefore increase the number of pieces only gradually. ?? The price should be kept within reasonable limits, MOTORCYCLE estimate: around 25,000 marks. A 900 will follow later, including a limited edition of 20 with a top speed of at least 301 km / h. Castiglioni is also planning to take part in the Superbike World Championship, but not immediately: »When we compete, do we want to be competitive? and that doesn’t happen overnight. The first version was ready in mid-1995, as well as a chassis with an aluminum bridge frame and a design that is strongly reminiscent of the former GP racers from Cagiva (see MOTORRAD 12/1995). But the F 4 was never built like this: »The manufacturing and maintenance costs for the engine would have been far too high ??, explains project manager Andrea Goggi, 33. The head, for example, has been redesigned to make it easier to assemble. Chassis guru Massimo Tamburini designed a new tubular frame and is still behind the engine developers’ necks. “He always wanted the engine to be narrower,” says Goggi. “It now measures 420 millimeters at its widest point and weighs 68 kilograms, but of course that’s still too much for Tamburini,” he sighs. And so the Cagiva developers forego the summer vacation and prefer to file a few grams off.

Cagiva history

The company emerged in 1978 from the Aermacchi-Harley-Davidson factory, which was then taken over by the brothers Gianfranco and Claudio Castiglioni and renamed after their father: Cagiva stands for Castiglioni Giovanni Varese. New models are planned for the Canyon 900, a touring Enduro with a 900cc Ducati engine, which was presented last year and will be produced from January 1998. In addition, a 500cc Canyon is planned, which should be faster and of course lighter than the current 600. Already on the market in Italy is the Cagiva Planet, a sporty 125cc with a water-cooled single-cylinder two-stroke engine and 15 hp. The Planet is a revised version of the N1 that was introduced two years ago but never went into production. The Planet is due to come to Germany in October, and last but not least: The 50cc Cucciolo (pronounced: Kutscholo) scooter, which was also presented two years ago, is also due to be manufactured from January.


The Castiglioni brothers took over the cross and enduro brands from the Swedish Elektrolux group in 1986 and relocated production to Varese, Italy. The company’s boss has not forgotten his off-road audience about the enthusiasm for the new four-cylinder. »Husqvarna should get stronger ??, says the motorsport enthusiast Castiglioni. “We have also tried to find a German cross-driver, but have not yet signed a contract.? The simplest measure to strengthen the brand is the new, completely redesigned engine with electric starter, oil pump, balance shaft, unregulated catalytic converter and around 50 PS, which the fans are eagerly awaiting. This TE 610 E should finally go into production at the beginning of 1998 and will probably go on sale from May. Husqvarna is also building a roadworthy supermoto version for France and Germany. Husqvarna is also developing a 250cc four-stroke engine, as this category will be part of the World Cross Country Championship from next year. “The new engine is going to be very narrow,” says Husqvarna manager Ampelio Macchi, “almost like a two-stroke engine ?? Two versions are being built: one with and one without an electric starter. “We absolutely want our factory machine to be ready by the start of the season,” explains Macchi. “The regular production does not start until later. ??

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