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.

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

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.

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
The C589 produced 150hp with the bike weighing just 122kg

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Cagiva had started with an RG500 powerplant, before using a modified TZ500 and finally their own powerplant in 1981.

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.

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Originally a straight four Cagiva moved to a V4 in 1982 halfway through the season

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola on the C589

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.

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Mamola would claim the team their first podium in 1988 in Spa on the C588

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Features included a banana swingarm as seen here on the C589, alongside a stronger frame

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.

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The sealed ‘one-piece’ bodywork continued to the C589 in 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
The horizontal rear shock absorber layout proved a mistake

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.

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
With the rear shock limiting the ability to get power to the ground, results were below expectations, finishing 18th

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
The shock layout did help Mamola deliver spectacular wheelies throughout the season

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.

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

Cagiva Randy Mamola PA CagivaC
Randy Mamola’s Cagiva C589 Racer from 1989

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