Ducati / Cagiva E900 Elefant

In 1985 Ducati was sold to Cagiva and one of Cagiva's
desires was to win the Paris to Dakar race and they did in
1988 and 1989 with an Elefant.  In the United States this is a
rare bike, dealerships do not know what it is or even have
microfiche for it.  But the motor is a 900cc, the same found in
a 900SS as is the electronics.  This model has a cult
following and is the original generation of the Multistrada.

The electrical system is known as the achilles heal of this
model and many modify the electrical.  My bike has a no low
beam connected so the bike can be started without lights and
during the day I run fog lights.  The cat exhaust is the weight
of boat anchor and was changed to a carbon can from a
Monster and gives the bike a true Ducati loud sound.  The
Carbon seat is a must have for any distance and is highly
recommended for any distance and the windscreen is now
10" taller than stock eliminating all helmet buffeting.

It will never be the fastest Duc, but sitting on it and riding it
brings me that feel, sound and Ducati smile.  I highly
recommend the ride should you get the chance.

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 experienced, worldly
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
Brembo brakes.

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
command 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 comfortable.

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

This article is credited to: