Monday, October 20, 2014

Cagiva C594 race-replica streetbike: What might have been...

1994 Cagiva C594
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Even after two decades, the 1994 Cagiva C594 still looks utterly beautiful!

Two decades ago, back in 1994, American rider John Kocinski was winning races and getting podium finishes on one of the most beautiful 500cc GP bikes of all time - the glorious, gorgeous Cagiva C594. Powered by a two-stroke 498cc V4 that produced 177bhp at 12,600rpm, the C594 was fitted with a hybrid carbonfibre/aluminium twin-spar chassis, had a carbonfibre swingarm and weighed just 122 kilos. It was a very high-tech machine, with programmable EPROM chips for variable ignition timing, a sophisticated fuel-injection system, electronically contolled semi-active suspension, and even an experimental traction control system, which could cut out one or two of the V4's cylinders in certain situations, to reduce wheelspin. All this, back in the early 1990s!

Back in January 2003, Cycle World magazine ran a story about Cagiva's announcement that they would build and sell 25 replicas of the C594 grand prix racer, which would be built in Varese, Italy, by the same team that had built the original, 1990s Cagiva 500 GP race bikes. Production was supposed to start in mid-2003 and prices for each of the GP replicas was expected to be in the region of US$100,000. Nothing came of these plans, unfortunately.

So is the idea of a (streetlegal?) Cagiva 500 GP replica finally dead? Hmmm. Maybe not. Last year, Fast Bikes magazine spoke to MV Agusta's owner, Giovanni Castiglioni, and discussed the possibility of a Cagiva revival. 'You know, the Cagiva C594 is a cool bike. I have two ideas; I think it could be nice to take the MV F3 chassis, and put the two-stroke, 197bhp C594 engine inside it, and not even homologate it. It would be just for fun. Imagine the fun you can have with that bike,' said Giovanni. 'I also have something special in mind, perhaps a limited production, and it is not fully decided yet. I would like to make a tribute to my father and we thought about a ‘super’ MV. Then I ask, why not make an exact replica of John Kocinski’s C594? I think the collectors would go crazy for it. It has not dated, even now it is beautiful. I do not want to make any money from it, it’s a tribute,' he added.

'Imagine, over 190bhp with only 130kg, 20 years ago! The Cagiva C594 was so special. I was looking at the spec in planning this and the throttle bodies were £20,000 in 1994! Even the Öhlins forks were £16,000. I discovered this when asking them to provide the forks,' said Giovanni. Now, if only he makes up his mind and decides to give it a go. A race-replica Cagiva C594 for the street? Just do it, please.





Randy Mamola, Cagiva 500, 1998
A huge collection of official high-res pics of all Cagiva 500 racebikes from 1998 to 2004. Go ahead, download. Enjoy!
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