Rumors of the Cagiva Elefant’s Return Begin Again, But Why?

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It has been a curious thing to see the European press beginning to make hay of the news that MV Agusta has filed trademark renewals for the Elefant name.

Some publications have even gone on to suggest that the move could see the Varesini factory come to blows with its rival in Bologna: Ducati Motor Holdings.

These reports, while interesting to anyone who studies the flow of information in modern journalism, are a bit ridiculous in their reality…for several reasons.

For starters, there is nothing new to the news that MV Agusta plans to use the “Elefant” name for a new motorcycle, likely an adventure or dirt machine.

Partially because this is old news that has already been reported upon – in fact, we broke the story all the way back in 2011.

But for those needing more recent confirmation, MV Agusta has made no secret about its plans for the future, and how that involves not only the Cagiva brand, but also the Elefant name.

Then MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni explained in detail to our MOTR Podcast how he envisioned MV Agusta to be a sport-focused, internal combustion engine, motorcycle enthusiast company.

But to add a growth and new riders, he was going to revive Cagiva, have the company focus on smaller displacements, in a variety of motorcycle segments (including dirt and adventure), and even include electric motorcycles into the mix. 

In case our colleagues didn’t listen to the show, we ran a story on it too, which many of the now offenders copied from, and passed off as their own.

The short of version of what I’m trying to say: this isn’t new information, and everyone really should know better.

Now, for the part about MV Agusta coming to blows with Ducati Motor Holding…there is just no basis in reality for these headlines and postulations (other than to get those clicks, baby!).

For some history, Cagiva was founded in 1950 by Claudio Castiglioni (father of Giovanni) in Varese, Italy. In 1985, Cagiva bought Ducati, and the Varesini brand raced in the Paris-Dakar rally raid with a Ducati-powered “Elefant”.

In 1996, Cagiva sold Ducati to the Texas Pacific Group (TPG). The Giovanni family, now divested of both Ducati and Moto Morini, then turned its attention to MV Agusta, which the family had bought in 1991.

A bit of corporate shuffling in this process saw MV Agusta acquire Cagiva, and thus become the owner of all the intellectual property that Cagiva produced that wasn’t part of the TPG deal. This included the Elefant name.

Now we once again see MV Agusta dipping into its assets, likely with an Elefant dirt bike waiting in the wings. Will we see Ducati protest? Of course not.

I supposed its possible to think that since the Elefant name was used during Ducati’s tenure with Cagiva, you could then make some link, but Cagiva and the Elefant name have always had their link to the Castigioni family’s pursuits, and lately that has meant MV Agusta.

At the end of the day, this is much ado about nothing.

Source:, Visordown, & MotorBikeWriter