Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Cagiva River 600

Wed, July 13th, 2011

NOTE: The Cagiva River was never imported to North America.

1995–99 Cagiva River 600
It's basically a Yamaha XT/SRX600 motor, with all its usual faults and features. It's a bit coarse and rather slow compared to other bikes of similar displacement and physical size.
It's no track bike, but light weight, a stiff aluminum spar frame and big, modern brakes make the River handle as well as any other midsize commuter and better than any vintage thumper.
The overall appearance is fairly mundane. The best thing I can say it that it is mostly unobjectionable, except for the way the tank looks as if it's melting over the frame spar.
The large oil cooler remedies the Yamaha engine's one weak point. Beware of the later 500cc version, which has an inferior Cagiva-assembled engine.
The River would be very capable for running errands in town, but there are a plethora of Japanese bikes that are just as capable and much, much less hassle to own. Parts and service support are sketchy, even in Europe. (My standard two-point hit in this category for foreign-market bikes has been deducted.)
A total snoozer, even for someone like me who enjoys single-cylinder bikes. I'd rather have the Hawk GT's better engine in a similar spar frame, or the same engine with SRX-6's sexier looks. Even Asiawing's Chinese knock-off has more intriguing bodywork.
It's designed to be a great utilitarian commuter, but that's not what people buy Italian motorcycles for.