The 2023 MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 and 5.5 reveal made a big splash at EICMA in Milan, Italy. These midsize adventure motorcycles were introduced as concepts in 2021, but will soon roll off the assembly lines and into dealerships.
2023 might go down in history as the year of the ADV segment’s global market domination. According to this year’s EICMA trade show, almost every major moto brand will offer adventure-specific bikes in 2023. When one of the world’s most prestigious brands of exclusive, purebred, Italian superbikes joins the fray, it’s a sign the industry’s newest category is well and truly established.
MV Agusta is, after all, one of the most successful names in Grand Prix road racing history. With an impressive 270 GP victories and 75 world championships in its trophies display cabinet, MV Agusta has established a respectable pedigree that underlies its prestige.
It may come as a surprise to most, but with the launch of the MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5 and 5.5 ADV models, the iconic brand has come full circle. Although its racing efforts were historically focused on GP, MV also won multiple Italian motocross and enduro championships in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
MV Agusta Lucky Explorer: Shared Paris-Dakar Heritage With Ducati
The new Lucky Explorer ADV models share a heritage with their competitor, the Ducati DesertX. In 1983, Italian company Cagiva acquired Ducati, followed by Moto Morini and Husqvarna in 1987, and MV Agusta in 1991. In 1990 and 1994, Italian racer Edi Orioli won the Paris-Dakar rally on a Ducati 900 V-twin-powered Cagiva Elefant, sponsored by cigarette brand Lucky Strike.
On the back of that racing success, Cagiva commercialized a street-legal customer version of its Dakar-winning rally bike. The name and livery of the customer version had to be reminiscent of their victories.
The sponsor’s name Lucky Strike was modified to Lucky Explorer for the model’s name and the Lucky Strike red and black circle logo along with the white color scheme was also used for the customer version.
2023 MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5 Engine
The midsize Lucky Explorer 5.5 was the first model developed by MV Agusta. The R&D process was carried out in collaboration with Qianjian (QJ), one of the largest Chinese moto manufacturers.
Lucky Explorer 5.5: Powertrain
The Lucky Explorer 5.5 is powered by a 554cc liquid-cooled, DOHC parallel-twin engine, producing 47.6 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 38 foot-pounds of torque at 5,500 rpm. With a 70.5mm bore and 71mm stroke, the ‘square’ dimensional cylinder configuration yields a torque curve that’s evenly spread across the rev range, which should make for smooth power delivery.
The six-speed transmission is equipped with a hydraulic clutch, which should offer a smooth and light operation of the clutch lever. With this rider-friendly performance profile, the smaller of the two siblings lends itself ideally to beginner ADV riders.
It may also become a popular choice for those who prefer to shun the higher cost, weight, and rear wheelspin of the larger and more powerful LE 9.5.
The LE 5.5 has a 5.3-gallon fuel tank, which should give a decent range.
Lucky Explorer 5.5: Chassis
With a tubular steel trellis frame and the LE 5.5 tips the scales at 484 pounds. The seat is 33.8 inches high — an inch lower than the LE 9.5 — while the ground clearance is 8.3 inches.
At the front, the LE 5.5 features a 43mm KYB fork with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping, and 5.31 inches of suspension travel. At the back, we find a 17-inch rear wheel and a fully adjustable KYB monoshock.
Braking performance should be more than adequate thanks to Brembo’s four-piston radial calipers with twin 320mm discs on the 19-inch front wheel. The Bosch dual-channel ABS system will assure riders during hard braking.
What’s on the 5.5 Dash?
The LE 5.5 rider interface system consists of a 5.5-inch full-color TFT dash. This pairs with your smartphone and features turn-by-turn navigation and call alerts.
2023 Lucky Explorer 5.5: Specs
- Dry weight: 484 lbs.
- Engine type: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, 8-valve
- Displacement: 554cc
- Start: Electric
- Cooling: Liquid
- Clutch: Wet, multi-disc
- Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
- Wheelbase: 59.2 in.
- Length: 87.2 in.
- Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
- Fuel range: 62 mpg
2023 MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5
LE 9.5: Powertrain
In contrast to the LE 5.5, the LE 9.5 is the result of an entirely in-house design project. The in-line triples powering the current 800 cc MV model range make up the 9.5 engine, only the valves and valve caps are shared.
The LE 9.5 power comes from a newly developed 931cc liquid-cooled, DOHC in-line triple-cylinder engine. It produces 121.4 horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 75.2 pound-feet of torque at 7,000 rpm.
MV claims a top speed of 149 mph. The counter-rotating crankshaft reduces the adverse effect of the crank’s inertia on the riding dynamics.
A Rekluse Smart Clutch System is an available option for the six-speed gearbox with a hydraulic clutch.
Lucky Explorer 9.5: Chassis
The LE 9.5 chassis consists of a closed double-cradle steel frame with a steel trellis subframe bolted onto it. The swingarm is made from light chill-cast aluminum for an optimal stiffness versus weight ratio.
Stability and balance rely on a fully adjustable Sachs suspension with 8.27 inches of travel in the rear and 8.66 inches for the front fork. The LE 9.5 chassis reveals its off-road orientation with 21- and 18-inch front and rear spoked wheels.
Straight-line stability on dirt roads should be good due to a 62.2-inch wheelbase.
Off-roaders should take note that the ground clearance stands at 9 inches. Seat height is adjustable between 33.5 and 34.2 inches. With a 62.2-inch wheelbase, the LE 9.5’s straight-line stability on trails should be adequate.
As for any ADV motorcycle, there is a challenge combining off-road agility with straight-line stability when fully loaded on the freeway. It remains to be seen how the MVs perform here.
With a capacity of 5.28 gallons, the LE 9.5 should have plenty of range for a variety of adventures.
The braking system consists of twin Stylema calipers combined with twin 320mm front discs. A twin-piston caliper mates to a 265mm rear disc. Continental supplies a sophisticated dual-channel cornering ABS with Rear Wheel Lift Mitigation.
What’s on the 9.5 Dash?
The LE 9.5 rider interface consists of a 7-inch full-color TFT dash. This enables the rider to view and control a full suite of electronic rider aids. The choice is there for engine performance modes and cruise, launch, and traction control. The TFT dash includes a navigation system and can pair with the rider’s smartphone.
A nice touch is the integrated anti-theft with a geo-location app.
2023 Lucky Explorer 9.5: Specs
- Dry weight: 485 lbs.
- Engine type: 3-cylinder, 4-stroke, 12-valve
- Displacement: 931cc
- Start: Electric
- Cooling: Liquid & oil
- Clutch: Wet, multi-disc
- Length: 89.37 in.
- Fuel capacity: 5.28 gal.
- Fuel range: 61.9 mpg
2023 MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 9.5/5.5: Pricing & Availability
At the time of the global launch at the EICMA, no price information was offered. As for availability, both models should be on dealer showroom floors by summer 2023.