Wow, have I learned a lot since picking up this bike at Cagiva in
Philadelphia. Purchased from a former employee of Cagiva the bike stored
at CagivaUSA for almost 3 years.
If you have gotten to this page you have probably figured out I am a
Ducati nut. There is nothing similar or regular about this bike and the
way it was assembled compared to another Ducati of the era. Cagiva / Ducati
built this bike to homoligate the model for off road racing and every detail is
thought out and different from any Ducati I have ever laid
This model is the first Ducati to use with the Weber Fuel Injection system
and was introduced months prior to the Paso 907ie. The bottom end is a 888
(water cooled) type and the top end 900SS (air cooled). The transmission
is a closely geared 5 speed for off road use rather than the on road
standard 6 speed of the era.
After changing the oil, draining the fuel and installing the new battery I
realized after a few cranks of the starter motor the fuel pump was no longer
making noise. Thanks to Marco's quick internet research he realized the fuel
pump was the same as used in a 1990's Ford Mustang (with a little modification)
... off to the parts store we went and sure enough they had the part. Not bad
for finding a fuel pump to a 16 year old Ducati, less than 10 miles from home
and on a Sunday. After installing the new fuel pump the bike fired almost
immediately. How strange (old school) that fuel injection should have a choke.
One quick ride in the dark in 39 degree weather made
me realize what an incredible motorcycle I have found ... even without pushing.
The bikes height is a bit of a challenge as the seat is wide and at a 36" height
I am on the balls of my feet, even at 5'11". The ergonomics are incredible, the
Corbin seat is very comfortable and the windscreen provides wonderful
Lots more to come ...
Taken from the internet ... The Duck's Guts Oh yeah! This one does it for me.
The elefant is such a poor choice for a model name. Every time I get aboard,
this bike just shouts: "I am the lightest bike in the capacity class".
Here is a bike that could be brilliant, which is
handicapped by being set up for the Dakar, by that I mean it steers,
rather than auto-pilots around corners - which is probably great for deep sand.
Ah, the BMW has spoilt me forever! The big white elefant provides good rear
suspension thanks to a single Ohlins unit, and mediocre front suspension thanks
to Marzocchi - you take a buffetting through the handlebars on the rough
stuff, but praise the stiffness on the fast road
bits. Everyone who copes with a big modern dirt bike likes the Cagiva, despite
its age. It feels nimble. The only problem that shows up occasionally in windy
weather is the bikes capacity to act as a sail, and jump the front around.After
riding the Guzzi "tractors", the engine took a bit of
getting used to because it needs to be revved to work properly. It has been
perfect, and can see 180 kph, but I am
tempted to gear the bike up, as it obviously can do better.
The motor sounds good, and even though it doesn't have blitzing power on the
road, the 65 HP seems plenty when that back wheel is sending up rooster tails in
the dirt. I have fitted a floating Brembo cast iron disc and braided line and a
Staintune muffler. Changing these items got big improvements, and luckily the
Explorer doesn't punch holes in the Staintune with its rear brake caliper bleed
P.S. - weighed in at 221 KG with full fuel tank In 1990 followed the
introduction of what many would describe as the ultimate Elefant: the 900ie.
This was newly developed from scratch, not only having gotten a completely new
design, but also under her skin a comlete evolution had taken place. The Pantah
engine was traded for a reworked version of the 900SS engine, and fuel delivery
and ignition were now under direction of a high spec Weber-Marelli fuel
injection system. This was the same system
that was used on supersportive cars of that era like the Ford Sierra Cosworth
and the Lancia Delta HF Integrale.
This all resulted in a –specially for that time- very fast all road with a
top speed of 200 km/h that, due to its relative low weight, long suspension
travel and elastic engine character, also was quite capable on unpaved roads.
Even these days there are only a few bikes that can match the qualities of the
Elefant. There, where road capabilities, power or comfort have gained, this
almost always has compromised weight and a deterioration of all road
The 900ie was equipped with the colors of its rallye sister:
the well known Lucky Explorer design.
1994 Cagiva E900 Elefant By Paul Peczon
The E-900 Ducati is something Europeans would easily understand. It's a super
motard, styled after Paris Dakar racers, with a street survival mission to
handle well, even on badly worn cobbled roads. But I don't think Americans will
understand it, for the same reasons they didn't understand the TDM850, the
Transalp, and the BMW Paris Dakar. But wait, you say, isn't the Paris Dakar much
coveted and worshipped among the jughead Bimmer crowd? Yes it is, and this
bike will no doubt be greatly admired by the Duck lovers, and that's who it's
for. Never mind the general population; the E-900 is a bike for the
rider who wants a supremely capable bike made for the real life roads. It's for
the rugged individualist who wants a suspension capable of handling even the
worst roads, the ever lovable 900 desmodronic twin engine and fine precision
Before we get into the riding, I should say that I expected it to be absolutely
ignored by the regular citizens of the world. After all, it just looks like an
overgrown dirtbike. Regular people, as we all know, only admire Harleys and
regard sportbikes with a mixture of fear, rage and condescending mirth. They
think dirtbikes are for kids. Even thought it is tall and seemingly large, I
thought people would ignore it. It is extremely quiet, once the dry clutch is
engaged, and the graphics are subdued. But I was on it for maybe fifteen minutes
when a guy in a Ferrari Mondial at a stoplight said "Very nice." I assumed that
he just an Italophile, but sure enough, some grunge rocker at a sandwich shop
wanted to know all about it. The next day, a woman abandoned her cash register
to come out of her store and asked "That's not Japanese, is it?" I briefly
explained the bike, and she nodded, knowingly. She liked it, an oddity in a
world where I
thought women only like bikes with lots of chrome.
But I've said it before, and I mean it; I really
don't care what the general public thinks about my ride. I'd ride a fluorescent
pink Zamboni with "Leif Garrett" painted on the side if it was fast and handled
well. I wouldn't care if it looked like a early seventies dirt brown Dodge
Duster. I'm a performance guy at heart. This one performs.
The E-900 is big and tall, which means that it has lots of suspension travel,
and the bulk to have composure on rough surfaces. It eats up bad road like
nobody's business. You can't feel Botts dots, and in fact, you can run over
curbs and barely even feel them. Hell, I went ahead and climbed stairs with the
bike and it felt just fine. There's a lot to be said for a bike that can clear
curbs. In traffic it was tall enough to easily clear most car mirrors, but
trucks became the problem. I didn't have the bike long enough to learn how to
really abuse it, but I'm sure it would happily run over errant road trash like
mufflers, loose lumber and the ever
popular tire shard.
But the thing of it is, the bike handles extremely well in the curves. Knowing
that pavement ripples don't affect it builds confidence, and I didn't even think
about trying to reach its ample cornering clearance. Flicking a bike this tall
from side to side in the twisties takes some getting used to, but it isn't as
heavy as it looks, and I've ridden a lot of bikes with a taller center of
gravity. Speaking of tall, I could barely reach the ground with my 32 inch
inseam, but it wasn't too difficult to balance without touching down. At stop
signs, I'd just stop long enough for the forks to decompress, and zip off. I
didn't have a chance to thoroughly flog the bike for a full day in the
canyons, and believe you me, I'm aiming back.In keeping with rich Ducati
tradition, this bike wheelies on ommand in low gears. First gear is especially
low, and I'm pretty sure that the front tire lifts an inch or so at every
stoplight. The power delivery of the big twin offers high torque low in the
revs, and continues fairly smoothly up to near the redline. This power, geared
as low as it is, makes for fine highway cruising. In the high speed zone the
fairing offers surprisingly nice wind protection. The air hits you on the upper
chest, and your helmet doesn't get much turbulence. In fact, it's a bike I would
tour on and be very
But I'm not so sure I'd do much off road on this one. It's a little big for
trail work, although in more capable hands I'm sure it could be done with fun.
Also, let's not forget that this bike comes from a history of Cagiva desert
racers and is built with experience as it's starting point. It's a fine capable
bike for the intelligent Aerostitch real world heavy mileage crowd. - Paul
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