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Laverda posted by

Alternative Twin: 1999 Laverda Formula 750 for Sale

It's a shame that the second incarnation of Laverda was gone by the end of the 1990s, before the recent interest in classic styles and older nameplates. I can imagine that a modern take on their big, burly triples would have gone over pretty well if they'd survived into the present. Apparently, a new triple was developed for Laverda, but it was ultimately used to power Benelli's Tornado and TNT instead. The new triple never happened for them, so Laverda's "Zane era" really culminated with this Laverda 750 Formula.

Saved from the ashes of their 1980s collapse, Laverda needed a new sportbike to draw attention to the reborn company. As always, the small Italian factory was working with a severely limited development budget, and that meant they couldn't design a brand new engine to compete against the class benchmark, Ducati's 748. The air-cooled, 668cc parallel-twin intially used in the new machines was actually an evolution of the old, 500cc unit from the 1970s Alpino, but Laverda injected new life by fitting... fuel injection, bigger pistons, and eventually a radiator, although you can still see the engine's cooling fins leftover from its earlier incarnation. Or you would be able to see them, if the seller had included any decent pics of the bike with the fairing off...

It may have been intended as a competitor for the Ducati 748 but the engine was less refined and the bike was not as fast in a straight line. Where it really excelled was in the handling department, and the Formula took the already superlative Nico Bakker-designed aluminum beam frame and added excellent Paioli suspension and lightweight wheels to the package. You'll notice that the "gas tank" is no such thing, as there's no fuel filler there. The fuel door is actually a hinged panel on top of the tail, and the cell itself is more centrally-mounted for better balance. The result was a bike period reviewers found frustrating, as the bike would have been truly world-class but for that agricultural powerplant.

I'm not really that big on the regular 750S in solid red, yellow, or black but somehow I love it in the Formula's garish, Halloween-looking combination. Yeah, that dual headlamp makes it look like an Italian take on a late 1980s GSX-R, but I'm a huge fan anyway. I'd prefer some higher-resolution images of this particular bike, since it's really hard to see what kind of cosmetic condition we're really dealing with, but it looks pretty good from what you can tell from the included photos.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Laverda Formula 750 for Sale

Laverda built this bike as direct competition to Ducati. In doing so, it built it with the highest quality components it could find. For starters, it went to Nico Bakker to design the twin spar aluminum frame. Laverda increased the displacement of the 668cc engine to 750, added water cooling in addition to oil and tune it to develop 93HP. To handle all that power, Laverda added Paioli fully adjustable upside-down forks, rear shock, Marchesini wheels, and Brembo brakes. All wrapped in FRP bodywork to keep it as lightweight as possible. The result is a machine that can handle with the best of them.

Not many of these were imported into the US and fewer still are available for sale. Here is one with 1,668 kilometers (about 1000 miles). This bike is in an amazing condition and it is ready for it's new custodian. The motorcycle can be seen at our dealership in Bellevue, WA

As much as I like Laverda's 750 Formula, there's really no question that the Ducati 748 is a better-looking, more iconic machine. Of course, rarity counts in the collector bike world and, while you can still pick up a good 748 for relative peanuts, these have gotten steadily more expensive. Is the Formula a good bike? Well the handling is exceptional, power is adequate for the class, reliability is decent, and looks are... subjective. Is it a better bike than the 748 it was pitched against? No, but if you're a Laverda fan and want something reasonably modern to ride, or have an aversion to trellis frames, a 750S or Formula are basically your only choices! Or I guess you could buy one of those aforementioned Benellis and just stick some Laverda badges on it.

-tad

13 Comments

  • for anyone interested in these bikes, there is a pretty strong community of support on the web, parts are generally available and this looks like a really good example. The lower fairings don’t show any scrapes or melting and the low mileage would seem to indicate that this one was owned by a collector. While ideally the dealership would have indicated whether there had been any recent service such as oil, brake fluid and tires but none of these are major concerns.

    The going price for these does seem to be rising and this one will probably command a premium given that its in Bellview WA where the prices for everything seem to be shooting up (thanks, Amazon). Prices for a similar bike at a recent Bohmans auction seem to be between 5-6 but given this ones location, I would guess the dealer is going to want over 7. Thats high but remember its still 5k less than what they originally sold for.

  • one small caveat – the front brake cylinder fluid looks fresh but the clutch reservoir fluid looks old. I would guess this means this means you would not be the 2nd owner, maybe 3rd or more.

  • What’s the major issue with these bikes? Cranks? I’ve always liked these there uniqueness.

  • the crank journals did have a reputation of failure due to oil starvation. There was an updated crank offerred at the end of the lifecycle that is known as a Type III crank. Bikes with these installed are quite rare but a lot of people don’t seem to have issues provided they upgrade the oil filter to a stainless unit and keep the 20w50 semi-synth fresh. Like any bike it depends on how you ride it; if you are constandtly redlining it you will be stressing it.

    Also its was built in the late 1990’s by a small italian manufacturer so build quality isnt’ going to as good as a Japanese bike of the same era.

    You may here “purists” knock these bikes. These purists are typically fans of the earlier generation “Breganze” era bikes which were built when the factory was located in Breganze itality. Whats funny about this is that zane is about 6 miles away and the engine for these was an evolution of those bikes so the issue is really kind of nonsense.

    Personally I am big fan of these bikes, especially since they are both italian and were equal to the Ducati 750 series while looking better.

  • I went up and saw it today. The dealership’s asking $9995!?! I took some pics. Couple issues I saw, but it was up on a lift in a window and the bike portion of the used car dealership was closed, so I didn’t get a really close look at it. The cases look stained or painted and there was some overspray on the front rim and tire. For only having 1000 miles it seems a little tired, granted it is 19 years old.

  • Welcome to bellview, thx amazon

  • Very cool of you to get eyes on it for the rest of us Will. Would be cool to add one to the collection but your comments are enough to scare me away.

    The one at Mecum in January was tempting, it ended up selling really cheap but it had a polished frame, more miles if I recall, etc. Cool bikes IMO, I like how different they are!

  • Christ on a crutch the ugly ratrides come in waves, Eh? Shag the calipers off the front of this pig and toss the rest into the nearest volcano… Now, next 2 stroke please…

    • You should keep the suspension too, since it’s probably better quality stuff than you find on most stock two-strokes. You should also hang onto the frame: Nico Bakker designed it and I’ve yet to read a review that doesn’t gush over the handling of the Formula version in particular. The engine really is kind of crap though and the looks are… well they’re not to everyone’s taste.

  • eBay shows sold for $6,200. Congratulations to buyer and seller!

    dc

  • O.K. Maybe keep the suspension for the next 2 stroke build…

  • Now that I think about it, dang it, stuffing a v or square 4 cylinder 2- stroke lump in this may just be the bees pants!

    • Fitting an RG’s square four into a Formula would make a KILLER hybrid. Seriously, that might be your best idea ever. Maybe an RZ500, since RG’s are so pricey these days?

Comment rules: Add something useful and constructive, and don't be a jerk. Comments that don't add value will be deleted. Comments will automatically close after 30 days. Thank you. -dc

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