MV Agusta made a bold move at the 2021 EICMA show, revealing two new adventure bikes. It’s a whole new direction for MV, which is best-known for performance-oriented street machines, but it seems the bike-buying public approves. MV Agusta claims to have pre-sold 15,000 machines from the new Lucky Explorer line.
A honourable heritage
While MV Agusta is new to the ADV bike scene, it’s not as crazy a move as you might think. MV Agusta now owns the Cagiva brand, and Cagiva has a very strong history in the world of adventure motorcycling. Along with high-profile Dakar efforts, Cagiva also sold MX bikes and its Elefant adventure bike was a viable option for Euro adventurers in the 1980s and 1990s.
The new Lucky Explorer line pays homage to those Cagivas with a paint scheme that recalls the big old desert bikes (no cigarette adverts on the side, but the paint looks similar). As well, the new Lucky Explorer 9.5 in particular seems to be designed to handle offroad duty—it does not appear to only be a cynical styling exercise that can only handle pavement.
MV Agusta also unveiled a smaller machine, the Lucky Explorer 5.5. The larger bike is based on MV Agusta’s longrunning 800cc triple (bored, stroked, and lots of internal upgrades stuffed inside the cases to improve reliability). However, the smaller 5.5 model is based around a made-in-China machine, manufactured by QJ Motors. QJ Motors actually owns Benelli, and is responsible for the TRK502 adventure bike (which we don’t get in Canada). That’s actually a decent-selling bike in the Italian market, and no doubt MV Agusta looked at that, and figured it could make its own spin on the platform.
With that in mind, it seems likely that we’d see the Lucky Explorer 5.5 on the market before the 9.5. While MV Agusta’s 15,000 pre-sales sounds massive, remember the company only sold about 5,000 bikes last year. It seems unlikely to expect the company to triple production in-house in Italy, even if COVID wasn’t a factor.
However, when you consider QJ Motors’ industrial capacity, it seems likely that we’d see the Chinese-built machine on the market in big numbers first, with MV Agusta using that money to fund production of the 9.5.
Either way, with no working models presented to journos yet, and then considering MV’s basically non-existent Canadian presence, we’re probably many months away from riding them here in the Frozen North.