2022 MV Agusta Lucky Explorer Project 9.5 First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

MV Agusta revealed two new adventure bike “projects” at EICMA, the Lucky Explorer Project 9.5 shown here, and the smaller Lucky Explorer Project 5.5. Both models appear ready for production, but the “Project” in the name implies they are still prototypes, and it’s unclear whether they will eventually be sold with the Lucky Explorer name, or if they’ll actually be named for the bike that influenced their design: the Cagiva Elefant.

The Elefant’s influence is clear in the design of the 9.5 and 5.5, with the graphics drawing inspiration from the original Dakar Racer’s Lucky Explorer logo. The original Elefant was a Cagiva, the brand that eventually became MV Agusta, but it’s not the only company with ties to the bike. Ducati produced the Elefant’s engine, during a period where it was owned by MV, and it is coming out with its own Elefant-inspired adventure bike in the DesertX. That’s an automatic shoot-out in the making right there.

The circular stripes and the round opening on the bodywork call to mind the Cagiva Elefant Dakar racer’s Lucky Explorer logo.

Unlike the 5.5, which was co-developed with Chinese manufacturer QJ, the Lucky Explorer 9.5 was developed entirely in-house by MV Agusta. That includes the engine, a new 931cc Triple claiming 123 hp at 10,000 rpm and 75.2 lb-ft. at 7,000 rpm. The engine has some similarities to MV Agusta’s 800cc Triple, but most of its components are unique, such as the cylinder head, steel intake and exhaust valves, head-cylinder base gasket, and forged aluminum alloy pistons. Like other MV Agusta engines, the steel crankshaft is counter-rotating, spinning in the opposite direction to the wheels. The crank pins are evenly offset by 120° in a 1-2-3 firing order.

The 9.5 comes equipped with a wet clutch and will be offered with a choice of a manual transmission or an automatic Rekluse transmission.

The engine is mounted to a double beam frame combining high-tensile steel pipes and forged components. The rear subframe is also a trellis structure with forged components, and it is bolted to the main frame and not one complete unit, as one expects from a true adventure bike.

Sachs supplies the electronic suspension system, with a 50mm inverted fork up front with 8.66 inches of travel and a progressive rear shock with 8.27 inches of travel. The minimum ground clearance is 9.05 inches, with the seat height adjustable between 33.5 inches and 34.25 inches.

Dual Brembo Stylema four-piston calipers are paired with 320mm discs for the 21-inch front wheel while the 18-inch rear wheel is equipped with a 265mm disc and Brembo two-piston caliper. Continental provides its MK100 ABS system with rear wheel lift mitigation and cornering function.

The Lucky Explorer Project 9.5’s tubeless wire-spoke wheels are clad in some chunky off-road tires, but we suspect that may change on the final production model.

In addition to the lean-sensitive ABS, the 9.5 is equipped with cornering lights, a GPS sensor, cruise control, launch control, an an eight-level traction control system. A 7″ TFT panel provides all the needed vehicle information, and it is both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled.

Other features include integrated luggage mounts, hand guards, full LED lighting, a 5.3-gallon fuel tank and a claimed dry weight of 485 pounds.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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6 of 15 comments
  • DickRuble DickRuble on Nov 24, 2021

    Upon my first read, I missed the following:

    "a progressive rear shock with 8.27 inches of travel" -- I read "no linkage"
    "The rear subframe is also a trellis structure with forged components, and it is bolted to the main frame and not one complete unit" -- I read "not for off-road"

    This project is only for those whose adventurous riding goes only as far as the nearest Starbucks.

    • See 3 previous
    • DickRuble DickRuble on Nov 26, 2021

      Well, what's more likely to happen? Cracked subframe or sheered clean bolts and ripped subrame eyelets? I've seen bent subframe, repairable with a hammer. I mean, for Starbucks run.. it doesn't really matter but 200+ lbs with the subframe acting as lever, on some serious offroad, I would be concerned that those bolts would come loose or break.

  • David K David K on Nov 25, 2021

    It seems nice for what it is, but based on past MV's its sure to be priced about 1/3 too expensive, questionable reliability, and lack of dealership network in the states.