In 1950, Giovanni Castiglioni founded CAGIVA, a company producing small metallic parts. The company name is a combination of the founder's initials and the city in which CAGIVA is base, Varese, Italy. This "hobby" of the family became a European motorcycle industry when, in 1978, CAGIVA entered the motorcycle business with two red and silver motorcycles and then bought a factory in Schiranna, Italy from AMF-Harley Davidson. By 1979, CAGIVA Motorcycles had more than 150 employees, an annual production of 40,000 motorbikes, and a brochure showing eight models with 2-stroke engines ranging from 125cc to 350cc. With the onslaught of Japanese motorcycles, CAGIVA was the only Italian manufacturer that resisted. The 90's saw CAGIVA building new factories and solidifying their marketing. A new factory in Cassinetta di Biandronno was opened. The number of employees reached 500, with 150 employees dedicated to research and development. At approximately the same time, the company was strategically restructured, and MV Agusta Motor became the main brand, but incorporated the CAGIVA and Husqvarna brands. At that time, new CAGIVA models included the big displacement motorcycles Raptor, V-Raptor and Navigator. All received good reviews in Italy and world-wide, showing the creative potential. The year 2000 also saw the introduction of a new logo, the "CAGIVA elephant."
CAGIVA Motorcycle Company is now owned by MV Agusta. The CAGIVA Motorcycle Company produces a wide range of on-road models, from 125 cc to 1000 cc and is known for good balance between style, technique and price. In 25 years of history, the CAGIVA brand has participated in sport events and in motocross races. In its latest years, CAGIVA Motorcycle has been searching for capital investment funds. Because of the development and marketing of MV Agusta during later years, hardly any bikes left the Varese factory during that time. However, it appears that negotiations with Piaggio, Deutsche Bank, and an American investment group had found a solution with Banca Intesa where in 2003; they could produce 24,000 motorbikes, of which 4,900 will have the CAGIVA label.
CAGIVA makes several series of motorcycles which include the Alazzurra series, the Canyon series, the Elefant, the Freccia, the Gran Canyon, the Mito, the Navigator, the Raptor, the River, the Roadster, the SST and SXT, the T4, the V-Raptor 650 and 1000, the W8, 12, and X, and the X Raptor series.