Cagiva Elefant 650
Cagiva Elefant 650

Cagiva Gran Canyon

The successor to the Elefant, the Gran Canyon 900 retains the Ducatidesmodue engine with fuel injection. It is regarded as a more road-orientedbike but is still capable on the dirt, although probably not in the leagueof the Elefant. Maybe cafe motard would be the best way to describe it!The frame is based partly on the ‘fant.

The Gran Canyon name was shortlived – as of 1999, the bike has beensuperseded by the Navigator, which uses a Suzuki TL-1000 engine. So webid farewell to the days of Ducati-powered Cagivas.

Ross Samuelson is one of the first Elefant owners I know to buy a Canyon. Elefant partsare a difficulty in some areas since Ducati and Cagiva have split, so Iasked Ross to check what bits might retrofit from the Canyon to the E900/750. If you’re interested in modifying your bike, particularly cams, injectionand wheel/tyre combos, Ross has done all this.

Thanks for the following,Ross (further down are some more observations by new Canyonisti).

Here are my observations on the similarities (or otherwise) on theGran Canyon to E900 so far. I preface all the comment by saying I no longerhave the E900 to take any detailed measurements off.

1. the rear sprockets are the same with the exception of the sprocketcarrier bolt holes. 10mm bolts with a 17 mm head are used on the E900,8mm bolt with an allen key head are used on the GC. The hole in the centreis the same as is the bolt spacing

2. OOPs. I nearly forgot, the GC runs a 525 chain std, not a 530,therefore sprocket is thinner. This also means the counter shaft sprocketis not interchangeable.

While it is thinner(525), therefore you run a widerchain (530) on it, this is not a recommended practice. you’ll bend thelinks in the chain very quickly.

3. The swingarm seems to be quite similar along with complete rearsuspension. It has quite a lot harder shock rates than the E900. The sectionshape of the swing arm extrusion seems a little different, but same dimensions,same ends, same axle etc.

4. the chain roller under the swing arm is the same, but there isno top chain roller.

5. The whole rear sub frame, battery, battery mount etc is totallydifferent. Although it seems it may bolt onto the frame at the same spots.

6.The frame essentially seems the same. There is far more strengtheningaround the head stock. I suspect some of the little hang – off bracketswould be different.

7. The airbox is different in its bottom section due to the injection,but the lid is the same. Air cleaners are interchangeable as are the snorkels,although the snorkels are a lot longer in the GC with none of the flexibletubing attached as per e900.

8. The brake are totally different and would nt interchange unlessyou changed the whole system. They are Nissin as distinct from Brembo.

9. Forks are totally different but front wheel seems to be the same.Larger diameter discs and the speedo drive is on the opposite side to E900’s.Looks very similar to E750, I think it is the same. Rear wheel is now 4.25wide.

10. Switch gear looks the same, possibly interchangeable. Ignitioncoils look different/bigger – maybe these could be the answer to weak coilson the e900’s?

Here’s what Michael Sizemore had to say on the Ducati Monster list after switching to the Canyon camp:

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 22:49:50 -0600

I just traded in my ’97 900M on a new Cagiva Gran Canyon, so I thoughtI would pass this comparison info on for anyone interested. Let meexplain that I live in flatland, USA, where it’s 400 miles of superslaban any direction to hills or curving roads, so my motivation was to findsomething more comfortable and capable of motorcycle camping as well assport riding.

The Cagiva is definitely more comfortable with its wider and deeperseat more suited to my larger ass size. The suspension has a lotmore travel and handles rougher pavement like the frost-heaved stuff wehave around here better. Although it has the same motor as the Monster,it’s quieter and more civilized feeling than my Monster with its 2 into1 loud exhaust system.

The side stand doesn’t retract on its whimand the rear brake doesn’t squeal. I like the 916-style twin headlightsand under seat exhaust system. For a lower purchase price than aMonster it has some features such as tach, clock, fuel injection, stainlesssteel brake lines, adjustable brake and clutch levers, and tool kit thatshould have been standard on the Monster.

It also has a hard luggageoption, but this is not yet available through my dealer.

As you might expect, it rides smoothly, and the fuel injection tunedfor better midrange makes for good, usable power. It has more weightup top, so it wants to lean over at very slow speeds and does not turnin as quickly at speed. With its dual sport tires it probably doesn’thave the ultimate grip of the racier rubber of the Monster, but this grandpawill probably never test the limits of even those.

There is somedelay during braking while the suspension compresses that I am not usedto with the Monster. The seat height is almost too high for thisshort-legged guy, but I am hoping that it will settle or that I will beable to adjust it down a bit. Very unnerving to tiptoe around ingravel.

The first tank of gas went nearly 40 miles per gallon which is betterthan the Ducati ever got; however, I was doing gentle low rev break inmiles. After the next tank full that got about 75 miles per gallon,I figured out that the durn odometer and trip meter are graduated in kilometerswhich I verified against interstate mile markers. I guess the breakin will take longer than I thought.

Anyone have any ideas on odometergearing to make it tally miles instead of kilometers?

Things I have found that I don’t like are the wire wheels, the goofymud fender on the rear wheel, the dual gas tank fillers, and the fact thatit doesn’t have a centerstand. There isn’t any aftermarket stufffor it yet, and it will probably be such a low volume thing that theremay never be much except Ducati engine stuff that will also work in it. My magnetic tank bag won’t work on the plastic gas tank.

Mike Sizemore

Springfield, Illinois

Good to have a woman’s perspective on the bike too. SueSchofield had this to say:

I’m the (proud) owner of a red 1999 Gran Canyon 900, picked up inDecember 1999. The bike has one previous owner, and had 1600 Kmson the clock. It’s fitted with Pirelli MT80 tyres, and Fiamm horns. Theother extras on it are a trip computer (push bike type) and a topbox.

I’ve just added an Optimate charger lead and a BMW type ‘cigarlighter’ socket under the seat to power my mobile phone, UHF radio andheated jacket. My dealer traded the bike for my 20,000 mile ZZR600and a high mileage Yam XJ600 so I didn’t pay any cash for the exchange. I was looking at the new Transalp, or another TDM 850 – I’vehad two. The new Transalp was too expensive though for a 650, and I likeabout 70-80 HP on a touring bike.

I would have gladly bought a newElefant if there had been one around. The Cagiva will be used for touringin France and Italy this year.

I understand the Canyons are built at Varese in Italy in the samebuilding as the current Monsters. A Ducati in all but label?

When I first rode the Canyon I expected some wind blast, andgot it, the Canyon has a teeny fly screen which serves only to attractflys. I had a spare ‘tall’ windshield from my other bike – a 1200Bandit, and this looked like it would fit. I drilled four holes in theCagiva fly screen, and bolted on the Bandit screen to the flyscreenwith nylon number plate bolts.

Cagiva Elefant 650
Cagiva Elefant 650

Voila! Wind blast is much reduced, and ridingthe bike in a downpour last week I could actually see the road ahead. Thereis still some blast on my shoulders but the new screen is a big improvement.The screen is a Bandit 1200 ‘tall’ flip replacement sold by MPin the UK and looks like a factory part when fitted to the Cagiva,a hacksaw is needed to trim off a couple of cms each side of the screen,but it’s a moments work once the screen is on the bike. (MP +44 990703030) MP also list Ermax +10cm screens for 750 900 Elefants.

The engine is, as far as I can tell an two valve per pot injected900ss from the current 900 Monster, also the swing-arm looks very Monster-ish.Brakes are Nissin, not Brembos, and the bike has a 19 front wheel,rather than the 21 on the Elefant(?). Canyon has two fuel tanks of 10litres each, linked by a balance pipe, so you get two filler caps to fightwith at petrol stops. I suspect the bike is de-geared/de-tuned abit for the Canyon, but it hits 150 KM/ph easily with plenty in hand.

Thebash plate is made of ABS and the fuel injection pump or something is mountedunder it, directly at the front of the bike. So hitting a rock means nofuel injection. Hmmm.

What else? The battery is one of the newer gel types mountedflat under the seat. Getting at it involves removing too manyscrews, hence the BMW socket and Optimate lead so I can plug in a chargeranytime.

I run the bike on Silkolene 10/40 synthetic. Stock exhausts are Lafranconiand are quiet. I have a loud can on the Bandit, and it’s a relief to getoff it. The quiet cans will stay on the Canyon.

The Canyon’s handling is terrific, as you’d expect, and the slimprofile makes for some chucking about in the twisties. Ride quality isfirm, but nicely damped. I’ve left the rear suspension on stock settings, -the front is not adjustable.

Suspension travel is quoted as 6.7. I likethe Pirelli MT80’s, my previous dual-sports bikes have had Michelinson, but they did not like the road in the wet.

Gripes are the heavy clutch, and lack of luggage for the bike,Non-Fango make a set, but my previous Givi and Baglux bits are no good.The idiot lights on the dash are useless in sunlight. The clutch soundslike two skeletons fighting in a bucket of rusty nails. There’s characterfor you.

The side stand is mounted just a bit too far back for me to getmy toe on it to put it down. Otherwise, the bike is fine.

There are little Elefants all over the bike, on the ends of the swingarmetc. I haven’t counted them yet.

Adjusting the chain tension last week I noticed a bit of corrosioninside the swing arm on the adjuster tensioner bolts. My ZZR actually snappedoff a seized tensioner bolt after a couple of salty winters, so I intendto pull the bolts out and grease them. I sprayed inside the swingarm withWD40 as a temporary measure.

The bike came with a Scott-Oiler from theprevious owner, which I like. Cruising round the Ardennes last year onmy Scott-Oiler equipped Bandit I got grumbles from following riders aboutoil spray from the chain-oiler greasing their visors. They shouldn’t havebeen at the back!

Warren mentions chain-roller guides on the Elefant, onthe GC there are nylon guides/skids.

The Gran Canyon has been superseded this year (2000) by the CagivaNavigator, powered by a Suzook TL1000 twin. Both the Canyon and Navigator,are I think more super-motord than dual-sport. I don’t know how many weremade, my bike has frame number 709, registered in the UK in June1999.

The Gran Canyon was voted ‘Bike of the Year’ or some such by UK MotorcycleNews in 1998. Despite that, it’s a great bike, full of character, includingthe small oil leak from the crankcases. But it’s Italian.

What did I expect?

My other, other, bike is a 1976 Morini 3 1/2, another red ItalianV-twin with Lafranconi exhausts.

Best wishes

Sue (south coast, UK)

Cagiva Elefant 650
Cagiva Elefant 650
Cagiva Elefant 650
Cagiva Elefant 650
Cagiva Elefant 650
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