Cagiva was an Italian motorcycle manufacturer. It was founded in 1950 by Giovanni Castiglioni in Varese, originally producing small metal components. Giovanni's sons, Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni went into the motorcycle industry in 1978. The name is a portmanteau derived from the founder's name 'Giovanni Castiglioni' and the founding location, i.e. CAstiglioni GIovanni VArese.
In its history, Cagiva won races in Dakar and Motocross competitions, as well as in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
In 1978 Cagiva entered the motorcycle business with two racing motorcycles ridden by Gianfranco Bonera and Marco Lucchinelli. In the same year it bought a factory in Varese's frazione of Schiranna from Aermacchi/AMF-Harley-Davidson and went into motorcycle production. By 1979 the company reached an annual production of 40,000 motorbikes, with eight models powered by two-stroke engines ranging from 125 cc to 350 cc.