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Picture gallery: Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT on the move.

Cagiva elephant 650.


Cagiva elephant 650.

Cagiva elephant 650.

The Ex-Pantah engine goes perfectly with the concept of the Cagiva Elefant, the narrow oil cooler helps the V2 to stay cool even when used off-road.

It works: 42er Marzocchi fork with plenty of reserves. Needs it too, because the Brembo double-piston calipers dick hard.

Everywhere you can see the attention to detail: Narrow, foldable notches are mandatory, but the filigree shift linkage is almost a work of art.

No savings were made here: at the rear, an Öhlins monoshock spring strut works with a dial that is easily accessible from the side.

Small and brightly colored clocks that display fairly accurate characterize the rather sparsely equipped cockpit of the Cagiva.


The Ducati Pantah-V2 with the vertically divided housing is quite quiet thanks to the toothed belt drive.


History, 1987: With the successor, the displacement increased to 748 cm³, but the performance hardly. The now 61 PS strong V-Twin also increasingly hid behind plastic.

Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT on the move.

Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT on the move.

Moto Guzzi V 65 TT.


Moto Guzzi V 65 TT.

Moto Guzzi V 65 TT.

The square aluminum swing arm is mounted directly in the gear housing, the frame supports can be unscrewed to remove the compact V2.

The Guzzi cardan is deliberately inconspicuous, the Marzocchi struts prove to be deliberately hard.

The Marzocchi fork does its job exceptionally well, the Brembo brake acts bluntly and could use a lot more bite.

Not a highlight: many, but faintly glowing control lights in the cockpit, plus inaccurate Veglia clocks with wriggling hands.

Playful, very colorful switch collection in Lego look on the left handlebar end of the Moto Guzzi – practical and clearly arranged is different.


Based on the V35 / V50: Guzzi-V2 with horizontally divided engine housing, cylinder heads with parallel valves and Heron combustion chambers.


History, 1986: With a huge tank (32 liters) and frame-fixed cladding, the V 65, which has been sensibly revised in many details, matured as the NTX into a real touring tourer.

Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT on the move.

Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT
on the move.

Ralf Gießel, owner of the Cagiva and Moto Guzzi.

Gerhard Eirich, editor and driver of Moto Guzzi.


The Italo competition (1): The Laverda OR 600 Atlas competed in the field of two-cylinder enduro bikes with a 50 hp in-line twin.


The Italo competition (2): Despite the lack of displacement and performance (507 cm³, 41 PS), the Morini Camel 501 can still keep up quite well.

Picture gallery: Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT on the move.

Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT

Travel and off-road classics

Content of

BMW had presented the R 80 G / S at the beginning of the 80s, the Italians followed with a delay, but with power: the V2-equipped Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT show in comparison whether they are just Italian charm or also real Possess virtues.

E.nduros come through, as their name suggests. Through the terrain, clearly, primarily with single-cylinder engines, which are usually of a simple design and keep the total weight of the bike within limits. But for the long journey to remote adventure areas, where off-road qualities are in demand, the single enduros usually lacked performance and running culture suitable for long distances. So why not use the advantages of a twin and combine it with the off-road capabilities of the single with tires? BMW had already done it in 1980 with the R 80 G / S, Honda followed suit in 1983 with the no less beefy XLV 750 R..

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Cagiva Elefant 650 and Moto Guzzi V 65 TT
Travel and off-road classics

Cagiva used the 650 Ducati V2.

That engine goes back to the Pantah series, which was opened in 1979 with the 500, followed by the 600 and finally the 650 in 1983. After an initial joint venture between the troubled Ducati company (Ducati was supposed to supply motors to Cagiva), the takeover by Cagiva followed in 1985, and the 650 engine now powered the two new Cagiva models 650 Alazzurra and Elefant 650. Incidentally, the name of the young company Cagiva, founded in 1978, was formed as an acronym from the name of the father of the two Castiglioni brothers and the company headquarters: CAstiglioni GIovanni VArese.

Off-road capability, performance, style and comfort

Both Italian representatives joined the class that was then known as Range Rover on two wheels: off-road bikes with performance, style and comfort. The Moto Guzzi V 65 TT, with its purchase price of a good 8,500 marks, almost turned out to be a bargain, whereas the Cagiva Elefant 650, at over 11,500 marks, was almost sinfully expensive. Incidentally, the TT in the Guzzi name is an abbreviation for “Tutto Terreno”, which can be translated from Italian as “on any surface, in any terrain”. Which very clearly defines the demands of the Guzzi builders on the TT.

Price regardless of price – neither of them sold large numbers, and today both are extremely rare. All the happier is the fact that Ralf Gießel owns a Cagiva Elefant 650 and a Moto Guzzi V 65 TT and is also ready to ride with us in the northern German lowlands and get to the bottom of the charm of the quite different Italo enduros. Ralf is an avowed Italo fan, and as the owner of both older and newer Ducatis, he knows what he’s talking about and what he’s gotten into.

Cagiva-Twin runs clean and spirited

The 49-year-old bought both bikes at a reasonable price a few years ago, more or less in need of overhaul, and almost completely restored them. There is still a little more work to be done in the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT, but at least the engine of the Cagiva Elefant 650 remained unopened – it ran cleanly and extremely spirited then as now. Almost everything is original, only the exhaust systems have been slightly modified on both, and the Cagiva is an Italian model with eight hp more than the version trimmed to 50 hp for Germany. It also has the hydraulically operated dry clutch, the German version activates its oil bath clutch by pulling a cable. The easy operation of the same does not require a vice access, as is the case with many old Ducatis; the first seat and functional test is inviting. Even if the considerable seat height of 890 millimeters should certainly deter drivers below 1.80 meters

The short-stroke V2 can, but does not have to be, the electric starter does the work, the kickstarter is available for emergencies. The long-legged Cagiva Elefant 650 has plenty of equipment and high-quality chassis components – thanks to its massive Marzocchi fork with 42 mm stanchions and the noble Öhlins monoshock shock absorber, both with ample suspension travel, it is at least theoretically good for hard wrinkles in difficult terrain. There, however, the 208 kilograms of the elephant with a full tank set very natural limits to this activity. Today it should only go over stubble fields or dusty gravel dirt roads anyway. In any case, the sitting posture (far in front, behind the wide, flat handlebars) conveys the driving experience of a fun bike / supermoto on studded tires. The legs are not bent at all, the stops are relatively far forward, which is good for heating as well as for long stretches of the motorway. The V2 pleases from the start with its noticeably smoothness – vibrations are not recorded seriously at any speed, the expected pithy V2 impact is not felt, but can be heard clearly.

Guzzi trumps with components from well-known manufacturers

Thanks to the closer stepped first three gears of the transmission and the full acceleration of the engine, the Cagiva Elefant 650 reveals true sprinter qualities. From 2,000 tours the 650er delivers smooth propulsion, pulls more energetically in the direction of the red area with increasing speed, without stuck and without explosion in performance. Evenly, but equally powerfully. Even in fifth, the Elefant can be accelerated from those 2,000 rpm, but it tempts less to stroll than to brisk country road heating, with always high speed and a hint of a knife between your teeth. On straights, the speedometer needle quickly clicks to high values, the possible over 170 km / h I hold back here and now. The chassis is nowhere naked, responds acceptably and has plenty of reserves for coarser bumps, but is more of the stiffer variety than too spongy.

Absolutely stable and imperturbable, the Cagiva Elefant 650 runs straight ahead, takes corners precisely under the wheels – great. The disc brakes, front and rear from Brembo, appeal with good effect and controllability and go well with a sporty driving style. Only the ultimate ease of handling does not want to adjust, the more than 200 kilograms cannot be denied. The much lighter Moto Guzzi V 65 TT can do that better, as it turned out later. If you want to use the Cagiva as a powerful hardcore off-roader, you should keep the weight deficit in mind. If you want to take it on a long-haul trip with it, you can at least rely on an acceptable range with the 18-liter tank with a consumption of between five and eight liters (on average around 6.5 liters). The Moto Guzzi V 65 TT, which I switch to after a short snack break, immediately reveals its Achilles heel. With very similar consumption values, the V 65 TT only has a poor range with its meager fuel supply of 12.5 liters.

But let’s start from the beginning. The starter shakes the short-stroke, but Guzzi-typical, longitudinally built V2 to life – there is no kickstarter for emergencies. The first real Enduro from Mandello (the Nuovo Falcone Sahara from the mid-1970s is not considered a real Enduro, even by fans) with components from well-known manufacturers: fork and gas struts from Marzocchi, front and rear disc brakes from Brembo, handlebars from Tommaselli. Good facilities, then, but the designers headed by engineer Cesaretti at Moto Guzzi didn’t have a hardcore enduro in mind. The Moto Guzzi V 65 TT, which is comparatively light with a full tank of 184 kilograms, was made for enduro hiking rather than everyday cornering, which also allows easy detours off the beaten track. So the seat height of 840 millimeters is moderate, unfortunately also the spring travel at the rear – at 98 millimeters, you can’t beat a bump on bumpy country roads and especially off-road.

Gimbal against chain

The rather spartan upholstered seat of the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT, which, unlike the Cagiva Elefant 650, places the driver in rather than on the motorcycle, does not contribute to everyday comfort. The supposedly passive driving posture, thanks to the successful chassis balance and geometry, allows a cheeky driving style with the amazingly handy Guzzi. Not quite as stoically stable and unswerving as the Elefant whets the V 65 around the corner, but it always remains good-natured and only tends to stir at a higher speed near the top speed of at least 164 km / h.

The cardan drive shows no particularly annoying peculiarities. Hardening and standing up when accelerating hard or slumping down when taking off the gas are limited and are actually hardly noticeable. In terms of maintenance and care, this is a clear advantage over the chain-driven Cagiva Elefant 650, without the gimbal-specific annoyances. Ralfs Guzzi cannot quite offer the full pulling power that is typical of the small engines and has been praised in tests of the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT. This may have to do with the lack of the voluminous front silencer, which Ralf exchanged for two individual tubes that open into the muffler during the course of the exhaust modification. However, this is said to have brought a little maximum performance, and in fact the little V2 pulls out cleanly from 2,500 rpm, but real temperament only comes up from a good 5,000 turns, with corresponding revving up to the 8,000 mark. A brisk driving style therefore requires diligent shifting in the five-speed gearbox, which requires careful and not too hectic actuation of the shift lever when changing gear, including long gearshifts.

Long braking distances are also free, the front disc needs a strong pull on the handle and still decelerates rather bluntly and not particularly effectively. It’s good that the rear window helps with a well-controlled foot lever. After all, the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT stays neatly on track when braking – a fork stabilizer helps prevent the fork tubes from warping.

All in all, the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT looks less mature, less high-quality than the much more expensive Cagiva Elefant 650. This is evident from the confusing, fiddly switches on the handlebars (the almost perfect parts of the Elefant come from Honda ), or even with the unstable, already too short side stand, which always causes worry lines on your forehead when parking.

Two fun-makers full of character for every day

Both bikes did not take too long to build, which is why they are rarely found today, but they have laid the foundation for the Enduro series and numerous successor models. The Moto Guzzi V 65 TT was followed by the much more travel-friendly, more comfortable V 65 NTX, the Cagiva Elefant 650 was soon followed by the 750, and later the massive 900 versions. And so the sporting success finally worked, which the 650 competition version, which the sport-crazy Castiglionis had sent to the start early on, had failed. In 1990 Edi Orioli finally won the Cagiva at the Paris-Dakar rally. The two series 650s, on the other hand, are tame companions, partially suitable for off-road use, but above all fun-makers full of character on the road for everyday use.

Or to put it in a somewhat exaggerated way: The Moto Guzzi V 65 TT is the handy, inexpensive everyday companion for people of reason, the Cagiva Elefant 650 is the spirited fun machine for hot spurs.


Ralf Gießel, owner of the Cagiva and Moto Guzzi:

The 650 elephant was way ahead of its time. When I look at the Cagiva Elefant 650 and the components built into it and compare it with current travel enduros, the 30-year-old 650 does not do any worse. A current BMW F 700 GS, which I drove 3000 kilometers through Chile and Argentina, can’t do anything better, but it can do some things much worse. The nature of the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT is completely different, it is more of a scrambler than a travel enduro. Both bikes have their own charm. I don’t want to miss either of them. The Guzzi is currently being converted into a team and has a completely new purpose.

Gerhard Eirich, editor and driver of Moto Guzzi

I admit, the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT surprised me – positively. On the one hand, the small Guzzi-V2 is surprisingly easy to turn, even if not quite as powerful as expected. But it’s fun to let it spin when needed without having to. Because, and that is the other surprise, the agile Guzzi on the country road with its amazing maneuverability really animates to rob bends. However, the V 65 can also stroll around without being bored. Enjoy the subtle pounding V2 punch and simply roll through the country. The Cagiva Elefant 650 can’t really do that – it actually just wants to run.

Cagiva Elefant 650 (1985 – 1987)

Price 1985: 11,590 marks

Data (type 1N)

  • Engine: Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, one overhead, toothed belt-driven camshaft, two desmodromic valves each operated by rocker arms, bore x stroke 82 x 61.5 mm, displacement 649 cm³, power 50 HP at 7250 rpm, two Dellorto carburettors, Ø 36 mm
  • Power transmission: Multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, chain drive
  • Landing gear: Central tubular frame with two steel beams, telescopic fork at the front, Ø 42 mm, two-arm swing arm with central spring strut, spring travel front / rear 210 / 180mm, tires 90/90 S 21 front, 130/90 S 17 rear, disc brake front / rear, Ø 260/240 mm
  • Mass and weight: Wheelbase 1535 mm, tank capacity 18 liters, weight with a full tank of 208 kg
  • Driving performance: Top speed 173 km / h


In terms of technology, nothing was saved with the Cagiva Elefant 650: starting with the 90-degree V-Twin – a design by the ingenious Fabio Taglioni. The engine made its debut in 1979 in the Pantah 500 and, for the first time on a Ducati, drove the camshaft using a toothed belt and no longer using vertical shafts. Having grown to 650 cm³ over the years, the V2 only had to put up with minor modifications for use in the Elefant with the desmodromic forced control of the valves, which is complex but not as maintenance-intensive as is often claimed. In order to be able to place the two Dellorto carburettors between the cylinders, the head of the rear cylinder had to be turned and the intake tract changed. The gear ratio has been adjusted, the first three stages are now shorter, the fifth longer.

The off-road Cagiva was also given a small oil cooler. Mechanically robust and durable, the drive primarily reveals weaknesses in the electrical system. The pickups of the electronic Bosch ignition often give up, the conversion to modern Ducati components (Kokusan, or Igni-Tech) or the conversion to a Sachse ignition with a more reliable voltage regulator is recommended. German models with oil bath clutches often cause problems when using synthetic oil (slipping clutch), the Italo version has a dry clutch.

Used check

The basic advice when buying a Cagiva Elefant 650 is: make sure it is complete. Many elephant-specific parts are practically nonexistent, such as the decor sets. Also: buy parts when they are available, not just when you need them. Problems with the starter during the inspection should be taken seriously: Replacing it is a lot of work, half the engine has to be disassembled. You should also pay close attention to porous suction rubbers – new ones are extremely rare and hard to come by. If you value a flawless condition, you should rather wait for a good copy, because as mentioned, Cagiva (paint) parts are difficult or impossible to get. Then it’s better to take a well-preserved one with an engine or transmission problem – the technology can be repaired, Ducati spare parts are available.


The old Cagiva Elefant 650 are rarely offered, especially in good condition or even at a reasonable price. Every now and then you can get hold of dusty, somewhat rocked specimens with shabby technology as a basis for restoration. Anyone who has time and is willing and able to invest work may now and then get a bargain under 1,000 euros. There is just as little rule for the price of well-preserved originals as there are reliable registration numbers – the rare supply determines the price, while the demand, which has so far been equally low, is gradually rising. Cagiva Elefant specimens can still be found at prices well below Ducati level.


1987: With the successor, the displacement increased to 748 cm³, but the performance hardly. The now 61 PS strong V-Twin was also increasingly hidden behind plastic. Price: 13,490 marks


Clubs and forums

Moto Guzzi V 65 TT (1983-1986)

Price 1985: 8,598 marks

Data (type V65 TT)

  • Engine: Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, an underneath camshaft, two valves per cylinder, operated via bumpers and rocker arms, bore x stroke 80 x 64 mm, displacement 643 cm³, power 45 HP at 7500 rpm, two Dellorto carburettors, Ø 30 mm
  • Power transmission: single-disc dry clutch, five-speed gearbox, cardan drive
  • Chassis: Double loop frame made of tubular steel, unscrewable beams, load-bearing motor, front fork, Ø 40 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, two suspension struts, tires 3.00 S 21 front, 4.00 S 18 rear, disc brake front / rear, Ø 260/260 mm
  • Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1480 mm, tank capacity 12.5 liters, weight with a full tank 184 kg
  • Performance: Top speed 164 km / h


The technology of the Moto Guzzi V 65 TT is based on the V 35 and V 50 models introduced in 1977 at the IFMA in Cologne. Chief designer Lino Tonti had given the engines of the little Guzzis some noteworthy innovations. First of all, there are the Heron combustion chambers (integrated into the piston heads) with relatively small parallel valves, thanks to which the cylinder heads are quite compact. In addition, a square aluminum swing arm mounted directly in the gearbox housing and a frame that integrates the motor in a load-bearing manner, with unscrewable beams for easier motor dismantling. In addition, a horizontally divided motor housing, which simplifies production and makes repairs easier. In contrast, some describe the removal of the air filter as fiddly, others simply as a disaster. Overall, however, the Moto Guzzi-V2 is considered to be logically structured and relatively easy to dismantle with standard tools from a well-stocked workshop. The standard contact ignition is usually quickly converted to a Dyna ignition, the starter (often a fragile Lucas part) is replaced by a smaller one from Valeo, which offers more oomph at start. Experience has shown that the engine, which is sensitive to spark plugs, runs more reliably with Bosch plugs than with NGK ones.

Used check

The same applies to the purchase of the rare Moto Guzzi V 65 TT: completeness is the be-all and end-all of a used vehicle. In general, Moto Guzzi parts are still inexpensive and available, but TT-specific parts are extremely rare. This is especially true for the side covers. It is important to take a look at the previous owner (s) of the machine: Even the small Guzzi engine, which is robust in itself, can be broken down by banauss. Proper, professional care should be given to the sliding piece in the cardan shaft (must be greased regularly), incorrect oil level in the final drive or incorrect spacing / axial play in the pinion lead to damage to the cardan drive. A conversion to modern electronic ignition that has already taken place collects plus points – it increases reliability and significantly increases the engine’s speed.


Allegedly only 1,799 copies of the V 65 TT were produced. Accordingly, it would be difficult to find a TT at all, especially in good original condition. Bolted or rotten bikes need patience and skill when restoring, but can also (with a lot of luck) sometimes be discovered for less than 1,000 euros. Only top specimens are sometimes traded for over 3,000 euros.


Jörg Hess, Team Motobox in Lage, Tel .: 0 52 32/1 70 93

Martin Hagemann,

Clubs and forums


1986: With a huge tank (32 liters) and frame-mounted cladding, the V 65, which has been sensibly revised in many details, matured as the NTX into a real tourer. Price: 9,950 marks

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