Around The Block With: Cagiva Navigator 1000

Japanese Convenience, Italian Style

Part three of the Cagiva comeback is the Suzuki-powered Navigator 1000 street-enduro-originally launched at the '99 Milan show-that is now being volume-produced at Cagiva's new Cassinetta factory (thus replacing the Ducati V-twin powered 900 Gran Canyon).

After two days spent riding around the hills of Northern Italy, it's clear that the Navigator's compliant suspension response, good ride quality, excellent ergos, good braking (thanks to twin 296mm Nissin front discs and twin-pot calipers) and reasonable 219kg claimed dry weight make for a genuine go-anywhere real-world ride-provided that "anywhere" has a tarmac base to the road surface.

Tight bends urge you to crank open the Navigator's precise, light-action throttle and take full advantage of the extra midrange power and torque delivered by Cagiva's remapping of the Suzuki engine's stock EFI. Midrange grunt peaks at a nice 75 foot-pounds of torque and allows you to accelerate cleanly from 2500 rpm in top gear.

A 1530mm wheelbase offers fine stability, and while clutch pull is stiff, the six-speed gearbox is slick and sweet. Complaints? The Navigator's steep 850mm seat height is too tall for even six-foot humans.

And then, of course, there is The Question: Will the $9500 (in Italy) Navigator be coming to the States? "We're optimistic," says a U.S. Cagiva rep. Perhaps fans of BMW's 1150 GS and Triumph's Tiger will soon have another choice. -Alan Cathcart