1995 Ducati E900 (Cagiva Elefant)

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Brittany is riding a 1995 Ducati E900 (Cagiva Elefant) named Fritz. Reportedly there were only around 100 of these bikes imported into the United States. This one was purchased from a nice couple in Napa, California along with a parts bike of the same year and model. We rode the bike for a couple weeks after Smokey (our 1994 Elefant) threw a fit. The bike worked great but had some obvious electrical oddities and was seemingly running rough. We assumed dirty CV carburetors, so we changed them for our new set of FCR carburetors. This seemed to help the problem a bit but still something was off. One day after Ehren returned from work and was heading straight to our EMT (emergency medical technician) class that afternoon, Fritz just wouldn’t go anywhere. Ehren thought it was low on fuel or had a dead battery, but neither seemed to be the issue. After the EMT class, we picked up the bike and brought it back to the house where it and Smokey could commiserate together for the few remaining months before the major migration to Minnesota. What a way to start a South America trip with two bikes that don’t run, bring it on.

Even through all this we still think these bikes will be great travel companions as the issues that they do tend to have are certainly repairable and not terribly difficult to remove completely. They are air-cooled which means zero issues with water pumps, hoses, radiators, coolant levels etc… The carburetors mean that we can work on them with some ease on the road, and although they have fuel pumps they are not electric but vacuum operated which is fairly reliable. Now, we’re not saying that modern fuel injected water-cooled bikes are terrible, in fact they are quite good bikes and have very few issues. Call us old school but we like to be able to fix our bikes ourselves and sometimes old technology just works.

Technical Specs:

  • Engine: Air-cooled, four stroke, 90-degree “L” twin cylinder engine with 68 HP and 70.6 NM (52 ft-lb.) torque
  • Valvetrain: belt-driven SOHC, desmodromic 2 valve
  • Engine displacement: 904 cc
  • Drivetrain: 6 speed transmission, chain final drive
  • Brakes: dual Brembo disc brakes with 4-piston caliper in front, single Brembo disc brake with 4 piston caliper in rear
  • Fuel Capacity: 24 total liters (6.3 gal) with a 4 liter (1 gal) reserve
  • Mileage: 38 mpg
  • Top Speed: 114 mph

Although Fritz was in pretty good shape, we still did a full rebuild on the bike staring with the motor. We took everything apart and put the motor back together without the center gasket so that we could work on the bike on the road. It turns out that the motor on Fritz was in pretty good shape, the oil pump was really tight and all the gears were in great shape. We replaced all the seals, however most of them were in pretty good shape to start with, but since they were going on 20+ years old it was only logical.

Suspension was next being in slightly rougher shape but as to be expected. The front forks were rebuilt and the rear received a BM shock with all the adjustments necessary for the coming adventure. There were no big surprises and not much excitement in the suspension department.

Next was the electrical. Fritz didn’t start on fire like Smokey did, however we think the issue with the bike running off idle was electrical related. The trick was that we were not sure where the problem lie. So we did the only logical thing we could think of, built the wiring system to match Smokey’s which seemed to work well. The only difference is the little fitment issues we had with the other bike were fixed for Fritz so that the wiring harness fit slightly better. Of course we had to intervene and screw a couple things up on our own because they can’t be perfect, it wouldn’t be an adventure that way.

The bike was finally assembled and besides an issue with the oil pump not actually pumping oil for a while, which turned out to be operator error (Ehren didn’t properly prime the pump with oil), the bike was basically finished. The same parts that were removed from Smokey were removed from Fritz so that both bikes were basically identical copies of each other.

The next step was to build our pannier racks, crash guards, headlight guard, trailer mounts and top rack. We actually built everything for both bikes and the trailer hitch system using Fritz as the model. Poor Fritz was ignored and used to build things on for a couple months while Smokey was getting the TLC that it really needed. Since both bikes are basically identical to each other, everything is completely transferable from bike to bike.


  • Acerbis high front fender with custom fender extender on front
  • 1989 Yamaha FZR 600 headlights
  • Pro Taper SE trials handlebars
  • 3″ rox risers
  • Voltmeter added to dash
  • Trail tech Vapor
  • Heated handlebar grips
  • Cheap LED driving lights
  • CA Cycleworks coils
  • Custom built Uni foam oil air filters
  • Dual FCR 39 carburetors
  • Renazco seat with custom seat pad built for Brittany
  • BM custom rear shocks with high and low speed adjustable dampener
  • Custom-fabricated crash bars, pannier racks, headlight guard, trailer and rack mounts and a top box mount
  • Total wiring harness overhaul
  • PDM60 relay unit
  • Odessey PC535 battery
  • Tear-down and rebuild of engine
  • Strengthened rear subframe

Fritz was always in pretty good shape to start with due to the previous owner’s diligence with maintenance and records, but now the bike was built to take on the adventure we were embarking on. Fritz runs great, looks great (according to Brittany) and is built to achieve what we need it to on a daily basis for many months to come.