MV Agusta has taken us on quite a journey with its Lucky Explorer Project adventure bikes. First, we saw the Lucky Explorer 9.5 and 5.5 in prototype form at EICMA in 2021, and last year, Alan Cathcart had a chance to test the 9.5 prototype. We’re now well into the 2024 model launch season, and still waiting for the bikes to enter production, with word that the 5.5 model has been delayed indefinitely. And now, Motorcycle.com can confirm that the Lucky Explorer 9.5 is getting rebranded with the much more MV-esque name “Enduro Veloce”.
These days, any manufacturer with pretensions to being a global player at whatever level in the marketplace has to have a dual-purpose Adventure model in its range, and MV Agusta is no exception. Italy’s most historic trophy brand – the so-called Ferrari of motorcycles, with 270 Grand Prix road racing victories and 75 World Championship titles in its locker, including 17 successive 500GP crowns – actually has a notable off-road heritage, too. Company founder Count Domenico Agusta’s dirt demons won successive Italian MX/Enduro titles in the 1950s and ’60s, as well as equipping the Italian team in ISDT events abroad. But after the Castiglioni family acquired MV 30 years ago, their focus for the brand was exclusively on the hard stuff – a focus which the company’s current owner Timur Sardarov is now in the process of changing.
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.”
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.