MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5 First Look

John Burns
by John Burns

Not just a cold yet smart marketing project

Anybody who’s not playing in the ADV sandbox isn’t really playing in 2022, and that’s why MV Agusta is now dipping an exploratory toe. Two toes: Lucky Explorer 5.5 and Lucky Explorer 9.5. The 5.5, which at some point may inherit the Elefant monicker, is to be powered by a 554 cc DOHC parallel Twin to come from MV’s Chinese partner, QJ. “Despite being a mid-sized bike,” says MV, “its appearance is that of a higher displacement travel-oriented motorcycle, capable of seducing European riders looking for a sturdy and unstoppable companion.”

Here we see the Explorer 5.5 in the foreground with the 9.5 behind it at the MV Agusta booth from EICMA 2021. Photo from Ryan Adams.

It looks like the 900 cc Triple currently known as 9.5 will be the more serious of the two bikes. The 5.5 will take the kinder, gentler midsize ADV path, with 19- and 17-inch wheels stroking through not much more than 5 inches of travel. MV says the seat will be 33.8 inches high, and weight is projected to be 484 pounds with 5.3 gallons of fuel on board.

Ryan Adams photo

At that rate, this one’s not exactly going to set the world anymore on fire than it already is, with a claimed 46.9 hp at 7.500 rpm and max torque of 37.6 lb-ft at 5.500 rpm. But it’s early days, and it sounds like we’re going for the romance of desert racing as much as actual desert racing. This is but “the foundation of an ambitious teaser communication project which will be initially developed through digital communication activities followed by others in the real-life world to finally back up the launch of two new adventure bikes.” Why not let MV’s copywriter run us through what it’s all about, and you can decide if the 5.5 gains or loses steam in the translation to English.

MV Agusta Press Release:

December 26th, 1978. That day marked the genesis of one of the most fascinating and dangerous adventures ever: the Paris-Dakar. Famous rally race crossing the Sahara Desert and born from the irreverent and visionary mind of Thierry Sabine. After its founder’s death in 1986 in the middle of unforgiving Ténéré region, the race has become the test bed for outstanding performance bikes, capable of travelling the desert tracks at insane speeds.

The Elefant model in its Lucky Explorer livery is probably the most celebrated icon of that historic desert raid. From the very first sketches, the evocative power of the Elefant, dominating twice the final destination of Lac Rose in Dakar, has inspired many designers, committed to recreating, in a modern key, that magic feeling of motorcycles recognised as the emblem of the eternal struggle between the crudeness of nature and man.

Rock, sand, gasoline and courage: a bunch of crucial elements on which those epic races were based. The “void” embraced full throttle. Looking for the right track, the one that truly makes the difference between a stage victory and an out-of-time arrival at base camp. It is not just about motorbikes. It’s about a comprehensive ecosystem, which is not only made up of evocative sensations but also deserves
off-road effectiveness and skill.

November 2021. MV Agusta launches the Lucky Explorer Project, a multi-faceted initiative aiming at gathering the passionate lovers of rally raid and off-road racing around Schiranna’s unforgettable legacy of epic participations and victories in the great African rallies of the golden age. That same spirit of adventure and freedom is the foundation of this ambitious teaser communication project which will be initially developed through digital communication activities followed by others in the real-life world to finally back up the launch of two new adventure bikes.

The Lucky Explorer Project is not just a cold yet smart marketing project. It represents the ultimate character of the Company to express its sentiments in the motorcycle business, revamping deeply the passion, the emotions, the values, the style, the gestures of men and bikes who made the history of racing in the desert.

It’s more than a project. The Lucky Explorer Project has been conceived to create a communication platform to support the launch of two brand new adventure bikes,
creating anticipation and thrill, thus:

• Revamping the Lucky Explorer racing heritage
• Telling the story and spread the culture of the great African rallies
• Building an adventure, off-road enthusiast community
• Involving and engaging participants in online and offline actions

Lucky Explorer Project is not just about bikes, it’s about a comprehensive world of emotions, memories, values and a way of being. A long-awaited return for all the fans of Made-in-Schiranna, but also a new beginning and a leap into the future.
The project will be developed on the website and through the Instagram channel @ luckyexplorer.official, already online. Riders, personalities, clips and anecdotes, historical factory tours, vintage advertising, videos, memorabilia, new content and events will bring together a real community of enthusiasts. And Lucky Explorer ambassadors will turn up, with access to special content and exclusive previews.

The new 5.5 and 9.5 adventure bikes offer a concrete yet suggestive perspective in an increasingly crowded competitive arena, focused on riding efficiency and stylistic charm, as well as on advanced technical solutions. Both projects represent the modern interpretation of the desert race’s myth, which appealed the imagination of the Motorsport world since the mid-Eighties, conquering tons of enthusiasts in the continuous search for brand-new and thrilling adventures.

Originally, on the historic Elefant model, at centre-stage in the Dakar races, the Lucky Explorer logo was immediately recognisable, even from a distance, to the point of characterising the whole bike and emphasising its racing-oriented personality. Today, on both new models that logo blooms again thanks to the graphic and set-up winning choices.


The 5.5 version, developed in close collaboration with our partner QJ, is a new adventure bike inspired by the heritage of the Elefant. Despite being a mid-sized bike, its appearance is that of a higher displacement travel-oriented motorcycle, capable of seducing European riders looking for a sturdy and unstoppable companion.

Such close collaboration with the partner has brought to life a truly advanced model if compared to the starting model: electronics, mechanics and chassis, in fact, have been carefully developed on the basis of detailed specifications. Electronics, for example, has been optimised to offer the perfect combination between performance and safety. The two-cylinder in-line liquid-cooled engine with double overhead camshaft distribution has also undergone specific refinement, aimed at further improving the high efficiency. The increase in displacement up to 554 cc (70.5 mm bore and 71 mm stroke), a distinctive content for this model, has the goal to further enrich the torque curve and smoothen delivery at all revs.

That is what a motorcycle with such a wide spectrum of use deserves. Distinctive design of the 5.5 version can be seen both from the superstructures and from other aesthetic crucial features, such as the bespoke optical groups. Stylistic inspiration is shared with the 9.5 model and inspired by the legendary races in the desert, not tomention others features, which allows this new born to proudly claim its technical, conceptual and aesthetic identity.


Type: DOHC inline 2-cylinder, 4 valves/cylinder
Displacement: 554cm3 – 33,8 in3
Compression ratio: 11,5:1
Bore x stroke: 70.5 x 71 mm – 27.75 x 27,95 in.
Max. power (crankshaft): 35 kW (46.9 hp) @ 7.500 rpm
Max torque: 51 Nm (37.6 lb-ft) @ 5.500 rpm
Cooling System :Liquid
Engine management system: Integrated ignition – injection
system, 2 injectors
Clutch: Wet, multi-disc slipper clutch
Transmission: six speed, constant mesh

Wheelbase: 1.505 mm – 59,2 in
Saddle height: 860 mm – 33,8 in
Min. Ground clearance: 210 mm – 8,3 in
Trail: 114 mm – 4,5 in
Dry weight: 220 kg – 484 lbs
Fuel tank capacity: 20l – 5,3 Us Gallon

FRONT SUSPENSION: 43mm KYB “UPSIDE DOWN” telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound and spring preload adjustment, wheel travel 135 mm – 5,31 in
REAR SUSPENSION: KYB single shock absorber with rebound and compression
damping and spring preload adjustment.

Front brake: 320mm double floating disc, with steel braking
disc and flange, 4-piston Brembo caliper, Bosch ABS

Rear brake: 260mm steel disc, 2-piston Brembo caliper, Bosch

FRAME: Tubular high-tensile steel trellis frame

Front: Alloy spoke wheel 3” x 19”
Rear: Alloy spoke wheel 4,25” x 17”
Front: 100/80 – ZR 19 tubeless
Rear: 150/70 – ZR 17 tubeless

E TFT 5” Full HD Dashboard – Bluetooth connectivity – GPS
sensor – MV Ride app with turn by turn navigation system.

Environmental Standard: Euro 5
Fuel consumption (Combined): 3.8 l/100 km (62 mpg)
CO2 Emissions: 87 g/km

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