Cagiva C589 Racer
With Phil Aynsley
The Cagiva brothers began their quest for 500cc World Championship glory in 1978 with a modified RG500 Suzuki as the base machine. This was followed at the final race of the 1980 season with the C1 – a bike built around a much modified Yamaha TZ500 motor.
It wasn’t until 1981 that a completely in-house design appeared, the 2C2. It featured a transverse four-cylinder motor (outside cylinders reversed) with four disc-valves mounted above the gearbox and driven by toothed belts.
1982 saw the troublesome straight four dropped mid season for a new square-four design and resulted the team’s first top ten finish – by Jon Ekerold at Hockenheim.
1985 saw the introduction of Cagiva’s first V4 design in the C10. The 90 degree motor used twin crankshafts and was housed in a frame similar to the Yamaha’s Deltabox. The V-angle was reduced to 58 degrees for 1987’s C587 which enabled the whole bike to be more compact. Didier De Radigues scored a fourth place finish in the Brazilian GP.
The team’s first podium came in 1988 with the C588 at Spa with Randy Mamola. He also had three other top ten places. The bike featured a ‘banana’ swingarm together with a stronger frame, more compact motor and a new ‘one piece’ bodywork design by Massimo Tamburini.
The C589 seen here continued with Tamburini’s sealed bodywork (foreshadowed by his Ducati Paso design), but the chassis employed a horizontal rear shock absorber layout which proved to be a mistake as it compromised both the steering geometry and weight distribution making it difficult for the riders to get the motor’s higher power output to the ground.
As a result Mamola finished the season in 18th and spent most of the season pulling spectacular wheelies to entertain the crowd (his best result was seventh in Yugoslavia).
The Cagiva C589 had a dry weight of 122kg and made 150hp at 12,000rpm.