Posts by Category: Laverda

Laverda August 18, 2016 posted by

Throwback Thursday: 1983 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale

1983 Laverda RGS1000 R Front

While many of the 80s bikes we've featured recently look relentlessly forward, spending their lives on the bleeding-edge of sportbike design, other manufacturers were necessarily stuck in the past, limited by budgets and working to maximize the potential of existing, sometimes moribund designs like today’s Laverda RGS1000. Laverda had certainly earned its fair share of laurels in the 1970s with their SFC endurance-racing machines but, fueled by strong sales, the Japanese manufacturers’ experimental output exploded in the mid-to-late 1980s. We saw everything from big-bore inline fours to two-stroke, V3 race-replicas and the European manufacturers were left trying to shift some suddenly very obsolete machines.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 L Rear

Laverda’s manly 981cc three-cylinder Jota of the late 1970s was in every way a sport bike: uncompromised by comfort or practicality, obsessed with speed, power, and loud noises: it was rare, exotic, and required real commitment to ride, especially if you were under 5’10”. But keeping pace with the Japanese in terms of outright performance meant developing a new engine, something that the small company could not afford.

So Laverda wisely cashed in on their brand’s racing history and Italian sportbike credentials to recast their top-of-the-line sportbike as something more of a racy sport-tourer with a revised frame and fully-enclosed bodywork. The fuel door in the front of the fairing is an interesting detail and speaks to the bike's new mission. Could the RGS keep up with the latest and greatest machines from the Land of the Rising Sun? Certainly not, at least on the race track, but handling was excellent and that big engine was no slouch. By pitching their revised RGS at a well-heeled clientele less likely to buy a bike based on some ever-changing performance-per-dollar ratio, Laverda targeted a premium segment and attempted to stave off the inevitable. Unfortunately, the bike was good but it was also expensive.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 Cockpit

Although the cognoscenti typically prefer the earlier Laverda triples with their raucous 180° “one up, two down” crankshaft to the later, much more refined 120° bikes, don’t think that the RGS is some shrinking violet. “Refinement” is a relative term, and an RGS with a free-flowing exhaust is one of the best sounding motorcycles I’ve ever heard, even if the sound is snarling out of the pipes of a somewhat awkward-looking machine. Today's example isn't perfect, but appears to have been sympathetically maintained and it certainly hasn't been left to slowly rust away in a shed somewhere, based on the miles its covered...

1983 Laverda RGS1000 Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Laverda RGS 1000 for Sale

Good condition, strong runner. Has no mechanical issues. Recently gone through by noted Laverda experts Wolfgang and Chris Haerter. Many parts replaced including, but not limited to. Wheel bearings, drive chain and sprockets, tires, entire exhaust, brake lines, cam chain, engine oil, fuel lines, carburetors ultrasonic, DMC ignition, Dyna coils, Foot control linkages, all rubbers, mirrors. Has no leaks starts very well and sounds amazing. 

A very good example of a well looked after daily rider. 

1983 Laverda RGS1000 R Side

There are 86,000 miles on the bike, but these engines are very well built and, assuming the maintenance has been done as indicated, there should be plenty of life left in this beast still. Obviously, if your heart pumps premix and your riding boots all have their toes ground off, this probably isn't the bike for you. But if a classy gentleman’s express appeals and you want something far sexier and more exotic than a BMW twin, the RGS can provide you with the traditional Jaguar values of grace, pace, and space.


1983 Laverda RGS1000 L Fairing

Throwback Thursday: 1983 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale
Laverda June 2, 2016 posted by

Classic or Crock: Zane era 1999 Laverda Formula

The re-launch of Top Gear UK earlier this week has made me a bit nostalgic for the old version of the show, so I thought I would do this post in the style of the old TG UK game of "Classic or Crock?" - Marty


1999 Laverda Formula for sale on Ebay

Following a bankruptcy in 1994, the Laverda marque was bought by Francisco Tognon who re-started produced using existing designs.  Early models of the re-launched Laverda included an air cooled 650 trellis framed bike known as the Ghost that was very similar to the Ducati Monster and a 650 sportbike known simply enough as the 650 (Note: A limited edition 650 sport with Kevlar bodywork was also produced).

In the following years Laverda tried to follow the model established by John Bloor's reborn Triumph motorcycles with modular models and incremental designs.  This philosophy resulted in bikes like the 668 Ghost, the 668 sport and when a new water cooled engine was developed in 1997, a 750 Ghost which was a standard style bike, a street oriented sportbike known as the 750S and finally a "top shelf" 750cc Sportbike known as the "Formula" or 750SF.

Even with the re-launch and influx of new capital, Laverda struggled to compete against the Japanese and within a few years ownership started to squabble.  Tognon left in 2000 taking the plans for a new triple engine with him (which became the new powerplant of the reborn Benelli Tornedo Tre 900).  The entire Laverda concern was acquired by Aprilia in 2001 and hopes were high for a bit but Aprilia itself was also struggling and when Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio a few years later the Laverda marque was mothballed.  

About 5000 bikes in total were produced across the entire lineup during 1994-2000 zane era, with maybe 1/4 of those coming into the USA starting in 1997 and a very small portion of those being the top shelf 750SF formula in 1998 and 1999.

RESULT:  Classic. The bike being sold is the top shelf bike in the entire lineup, production numbers were very limited and location all factor in.


Often referred to as "Zanes" or "Zane-era bikes" due to the factory moving about 5 miles from the town of Breganze to the town of Zane, the last generation Laverda bikes had a lot of top shelf components incorporated into their design, including a letterbox gas tank, a Nico Bakker designed frame, Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes, and Paoli forks and shocks.  Overall they were well designed and were strong performance competitors to the 750 Ducati of the same era.   The 750 formula also received upgraded camshafts, race spec ECU's and optional race oriented exhausts.

However the final edition Laverda models were not without fault.   Typical Italian electrics of the period including narrow gauge wire and tuning for us emissions meant heavy loads on the generator system, resulting in failing voltage regulators and rough starting.  Also oiling issues were reported to occur causing crank/big end failure after around 25,000 miles, although this problem was a bit hit-or-miss depending on how the bikes were maintained and ridden.  Perhaps most significantly, the engine was still a parallel twin that could trace it roots back to the Breganze-era Alpino model of the 1970's and produced less that 100bhp.   Faced with competition like the ZX7 and GSX-750R, the Laverda 750SF was beautiful and handled incredibly well but couldn't really compete on a straight line or the track.

RESULT:  Crock. I want to say classic given all the goodies it has but given the possibility of crank issues and the fact that the brand is out of business the result has to be Crock.


The condition of this particular 1999 Laverda Formula 750SF looks to be in pristine.  Turn signals, bar ends, mirrors and the rear license plate assembly all look to be original/OEM and the condition of the decals, forks and mirrors show no indication of the bike having been down.   The only non-original pieces I am seeing is an airbox cover scratch pad, what looks like a replacement chain and possibly the 3 screws on the dash although those might simply be rusty (a common occurrence on these particular parts).

The seller doesn't list any maintenance history but the condition of the main key lock and windscreen convinces me that the bike has been stored inside.  However the color of the brake and clutch fluid also makes me think the bike has not been gone through recently, so new owners should expect to spend monies on fluids, brake pads and possibly rubber.

RESULT:  Classic.  Condition on this one looks to be nearly perfect and required maintenance looks to be a standard used bike freshening


Given the fact the Laverda marque is shut down, I don't think these bikes are a good fit for casual riders/anyone not prepared to do their own maintenance. Also right now these final edition Laverdas are not as valued as the bikes from the preceding Breganze-era, with all the Zane-era bikes seem to be in the same price band of around $2800-$6200 USD.  It will probably take another 5-10 years before the Zane-era bikes crack the 10k value mark.

RESULT:  Crock (for someone looking for an easy maintain daily rider or a short term collector).


OVERALL VERDICT:  Short Term Crock, Long Term Classic.

I know, I know...the classic/crock score is a toss-up.  Also since I own several of these bikes I have to recognize/admit that my personal feelings may be skewing my evaluation of this bike .  But this 1999 Laverda Formula 750SF meets all the raresportbike criteria (numbers produced, technology, condition and location).  Also it is the top line formula/750SF model,  condition looks to pristine with almost 100% OEM parts and it is from a discontinued but still fondly remembered I still am leaning towards classic.

I think in order for this one to move the buyer will either be a collector with a longer term outlook or someone who already has a few bikes and wants to own something a bit would certainly look cool if you rode up to it at your next bike night.


Classic or Crock: Zane era 1999 Laverda Formula
Laverda March 2, 2016 posted by

Orange Whip: 1984 Laverda RGA Jota for Sale

1984 Laverda RGS R Side

With early Laverdas like the Jota and SFC headed into the stratosphere in terms of prices, and even bikes from the tail-end of triple production starting to command five-digit prices, it's no surprise to see this very clean but not as well-known Laverda RGA Jota sitting north of $12,000...

1984 Laverda RGS L Tank

By the early 1980s, Laverda was in trouble. They lacked the financial depth to compete against modern bikes and, although they had moved on to updated, fully-faired styling with the RGS, they were the same old machines under the skin. Not that that was necessarily a terrible thing: the 981cc, dual overhead cam triple was famous for its power and charisma. Fitted with the smoother 120° crank, Laverda's offerings of the 1980s were certainly not lacking performance, but they were still hard work and not nearly as refined as Japanese offerings. And they were expensive.

1984 Laverda RGS R Fairing

In fact, the RGA was a bike specifically intended to address the pricing issue. The RGS' fully-enclosed bodywork was of very high quality, but added significantly to the bike's cost. The RGA swapped that out for a lantern-jawed bikini fairing, a tank-mounted filler cap, and handlebars to replace the clip-ons.

1984 Laverda RGS Gauges

It's not really clear from the listing whether this is a lower-spec RGA fitted with different bodywork, or an RGS stripped of the full bodywork and fitted with a Sprint half-fairing. Or is it the RGA Jota, that came with clip-on bars, orange paint, and blacked-out mufflers? It's listed as an RGS, so I'd assume that to start, but it might be worth an email to the seller, since it really looks to be an RGA Jota and is claimed to be original. Performance-wise there's no difference and no matter how you slice it, this is a very rare bike.

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda RGA Jota for Sale

1984 Laverda Jota RGS/RGA. Rare bike with low miles. Bike is original and is not restored. Bike was imported from the U.K. into the U.S.A. when new. I believe it came from Slater Bros. in England where they were modified after arriving from Italy.

I have owned the bike for about four years and am the third owner. It starts, runs, and rides great. I only repaired what needed to be done after a long period of storage, so paint and decals are original. It has a Super-Trap exhaust system since new and carbs were jetted to match when new.

Here is what I did to the bike to make it road-worthy when I found it, bear in mind this work was completed a few years ago now:

Rebuilt the brake hydraulics.

Rebuilt the clutch hydraulics.

New clutch, as the old one liked to stick after use.

Rebuilt the carbs, new petcocks, flush tank.

New windscreen, as old one was cracked.

New battery.

New tires.

Real head-turner with a very unique look and sound, only one like this I have every seen...

1984 Laverda RGS R Side Rear

Interestingly, we featured a similar-looking RGA on a while back. That bike was very nice vintage blue, but it's hard to argue with an orange Laverda. It may not have the cachet of a Jota, but these are very rare in the US and have all charm of more classic bikes, with improved function compared to earlier Laverda triples.

Like many older machines, these are relatively maintenance-intensive if you're used to modern designs, but they're fundamentally durable and well-built. That dual-headlight half fairing should provide good wind protection and the two-up seat decent passenger accommodation. Find yourself a set of fitted luggage and head out for a long weekend ride!


1984 Laverda RGS L Side

Orange Whip: 1984 Laverda RGA Jota for Sale
Laverda February 26, 2016 posted by

Italian BMW – 1984 Laverda RGS1000

An old joke about European heaven and hell ( in heaven the French do the cooking, the Italians romance, the British are the police, and Germans run the trains - you know what happens in hell ) came to mind when I read a review of the Laverda RGS1000, owners were so impressed by the build quality they termed it the Italian BMW.  Coming at the beginning of the end for Laverda, the RGS1000 was an inspired sport heavyweight that kept the brand alive and still has a following today.

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 right

1984 Laverda RGS1000 for sale on eBay

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 left grip

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 cluster

Based on the 981cc triple from the 1970's Jota ( itself an evolution of the 750cc twin ) the RGS engine uses a 120-degree crankshaft, inherently smoother than the Jota but subject to a secondary vibration requiring rubber engine mounts.  The triple Dell'Orto carbs help the engine toward 83 hp and 57 ft.-lbs. torque.  Suspension is all Marzocchi, air assisted, and triple Brembo 280mm disc brakes.  A very low 30-inch seat height allow the upper-only fairing to protect the rider at the 137 mph top speed.  Chockablock with neat details, it has a beautiful mono seat fairing, Vitaloni mirrors and a tank ready for a magnetic bag ( fuel filler is on the fairing ).

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 right rear

Coming out of Toronto, this RGS1000 looks excellent and shows only 6,600 kms.  Pictures aren't hi-res, but once right side up ( how did that happen ? ) they show a clean un-hacked classic.  Nothing about repairs or maintenance, which is acceptable considering the low mileage.  From the eBay auction:

1984 Laverda RGS 1000.  6600 KMS.  Mint condition.  Comes with factory original mint exhaust as well as the three into one Laverda racing exhaust.  Both exhausts are mint as is this particular RGS 1000.  A true all original unmolested survivor. 6600 KMS from new!  A rare opportunity to purchase a true gem. None finer and not a restoration.

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 right engine

Almost a cult at this point, Laverda owners have several clubs and stay in close touch.  Just as well since despite the hand-built craftsmanship, the RGS requires valve clearance checks every 3000 miles, requiring removal of the fairing and fuel tank.  When carefully maintained, the smooth triple can have a long lifetime.  Though the bike is a portly 550 lbs., the fairing lends excellent fuel economy, and the RGS reviewed as a stable, invigorating ride.  Rare by any definition, only 250 or so of the 2500 total production made it to the states.

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 left fairing

In the end, the gorgeous heavyweight sport tourer made by a small, family-owned Italian firm could only delay the inevitable, and Laverda shortly entered the throws of bankruptcy before being bought and retired by Aprilia in 2000.  But well-made bikes like the RGS1000 live on.  In Laverda's strange alternate universe, maybe Ducati would be making dual-sports and BMW sportbikes...


20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 tank

Italian BMW – 1984 Laverda RGS1000
Laverda February 8, 2016 posted by

Gentleman’s Express: 1983 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale

1983 Laverda RGS1000 R Front

Laverda's big-bruiser RGS1000 comes from an era when the European brands were struggling in the face of the Japanese Big Four's onslaught. To keep pace required serious levels of financial and manufacturing muscle, and most of the European brands just could not compete.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 Tank

Some, like BMW hung on to a niche market, with loyal sport-touring fans continuing to buy up their durable flat-twins, even as the company continued to innovate, building new triples and fours. But companies like Triumph struggled to update already obsolete machines and stave off their inevitable doom.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 Clocks

Laverda, a tiny company compared even to Triumph, took a different path. They started with their powerful and chest-thumpingly manly 981cc three-cylinder engine and five-speed combination, then wrapped the package in modern, fully-faired bodywork, creating something new out of something old, a bike that wasn't really trying to compete.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 Engine

Although it was decidedly old-tech, the new sport-touring mission of the bike meant it wasn't even trying to compete in the rapidly-escalating sportbike wars against the Japanese, and the bike, while not very light at 550lbs, offered Laverda's famous stability, impressive midrange power, and reasonable comfort. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 L Front

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale

I bought this beautiful Laverda RGS 1000 about five years ago from a Laverda collector in California. He was selling it and other bikes after suffering serious injuries in an accident. He had owned it for a number of years when he decided that he wanted more "oomph" so he wisely sent it to Scott Potter, Laverda engine builder and restorer par excellence for some high-compression pistons. The bike was in good condition and did not need restoration, but since the engine was coming out anyway, why not take advantage?

And well, here is Scott's work order:

RGS 2029 Disassemble the machine down to every last nut and bolt. Send out all chrome components to be replated . Strip frame, center stand and rear fork to bare metal. Fabricate gusset plates to strengthen headstock. Powdercoat frame and rear fork gloss black. Renew headstock bearings and rear fork bearings. Disassemble engine. Clean sand cast engine components. Bead blast as necessary. Follow with hot tank wash and clear out all passages with compressed air. Polish all alloy covers. Replace wearing components as necessary. Lighten clutch basket and pressure plate. Machine true and lighten clutch drum. Send out cyl head for 3 angle Serdi seat cut. Reassemble engine to factory tolerances. Check valve timing to published specs. Disassemble, clean and inspect starter clutch. Reassemble with new springs, plungers, and rollers. Refit to engine. Refit engine to chassis. Disassemble front forks and clean. Check fork tubes for straight and true. Polish fork tubes. Fabricate adapters for cartridge emulators. Modify damping rods for cartridge emulators Reassemble with new seals and oil. Refinish yokes and instrument mount. Refit forks to chassis. Renew rear damper assemblies with custom Works Performance units. Disassemble brake hydraulics. Clean and reassemble with new kits, pads and pistons. Remove rotor surface area of iron oxide. Mount rotors to hubs with new fasteners.Install new black sheathed stainless brake and clutch hoses. Bleed all hydraulics with fresh Castrol GT LMA DOT 4 fluid Fit new sprocket and renew sprocket locking tabs. Refit wheel assemblies to chassis. Fit new drive chain. Polish footrest plates. Clean adjustment discs and assemble with antiseize compound Install new bronze bushings in shift and brake levers and hone to fit. Install new type designation plate Fabricate new mounts to fit Mikuni RS36 carbs to utilize stock airbox connectors Fit carb assembly to engine. Install new push pull throttle quadrant. Clean and repair/modify wiring harness as necessary. Install Witt/DMC ignition unit and Mitsu coil assembly Refit wiring harness and switch gear to chassis.

As you can see it is a comprehensive rebuild, but not a complete restoration as the original durable Laverda paint was in great condition still. The owner was able to put only a few miles on the restored bike before his accident. Since I bought it from him, I have put about 1200 miles on it. I treated it as a new bike and carefully broke it in. I then changed the oil (Mobil 1), re-torqued the head and adjusted the steering bearings. I have changed to the shocks to Ikons from Wolfgang as the Works Performance shocks were a little soft. The only negatives that come to mind are the tire-changing marks on the rims and the older tires that have plenty of tread but should be replaced before any serious cornering takes place. It starts and runs well with plenty of power. The clutch action and shifting are great- better than any of the Lavs I have owned. It is an imposing bike in looks and sound and it makes a decent sport-tourer with the bags attached. I am including some pics of the rebuild and one of me riding it on the Dragon. I forgot to mention that this RGS has the dealer installed Executive package which consists of the hard bags, higher handlebar, and additional wind protection for the hands.

Bidding is up to $8,500 with the Reserve Not Met and a Buy It Now price of $14,500, which seems pretty on-the-money for a nice RGS. Although this uses the later, 120° crankshaft and was pitched towards a more "civilized" audience, these are still pretty raucous if you're used to something like a modern Speed Triple.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 Front Wheel

They're very rare, with just 250 imported to the US and if you want a classic Laverda to ride and enjoy, these are stylish, durable and, with the fitted luggage included with this bike, make great sport-touring mounts. And, in case you're wondering: yes, that little door in the front right fairing does in fact hide the fuel filler cap. Obviously you'd need to find a good mechanic, or be handy with a wrench, considering the age and rarity. But the Laverda community is close-knit, and many owners take great pride in wrenching on their own machines.


1983 Laverda RGS1000 Ride

Gentleman’s Express: 1983 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale
Laverda November 30, 2015 posted by

Red, Rare, and Italian:
1999 Laverda 750S in Alabama (relisted)

Update 11.29.2015 - This one originally sold back in June of last year in Alabama. Since then it has been listed multiple times on eBay but now the seller has decided to price is right about where it was last year (sold in June 2014 for $3,334.99, current bid is $3,444.00). Only 20 hours left so if this one interests you, move fast! - Marty

The last generation Laverdas aren't commanding prices anywhere near the 70's/Breganze era bikes but that could begin to change pretty quick. Often referred to as Zane era bikes (due to the the factory moving to the town of Zane), the last generation Laverda bikes had a Nico Bakker designed frame, Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes, Paoli forks and shocks, and a cool letterbox fuel tank system that caused the center of gravity to improve as the fuel level went down. Overall they were well designed and were strong performance competitors to the 750 Ducati of the same era.

1999 Laverda 750S for sale one eBay

1999 Laverda 750S for sale

For 1999-2000, there were 4 different 750cc based models offered; the the 750 Strike (a standard style) in mother of pearl blue or orange, the 750 formula in black, the 750S with half-fairings in silver or black, and the 750s Carenata (which means fairing in Italian) in yellow or red. This example is a 99 750s Carenata model with the red bodywork and has very low mileage.

The seller back in 2014 indicated this was part of a collection, and didn't  include a lot of information.  The pics below are from the previous post while the new seller has provided many more pics from what I can see, the current seller has only replaced the rear tire and possibly done other regular maintenance (such as a battery)...

from the June 2014 seller:

1999 LAVERDA 750 CARENATA in great condition. Never wrecked and clear title! Only two owners and very low mileage! In great condition - only defect is a flat tire (which can easily be replaced for minimal expense). I am an owner selling off my motorcycle collection. I am a motivated seller! Bid now!

This particular bike auction has been listed before on ebay and here on RSBFS with the seller asking for about $6500 usd.  Click here to see that post and related links to the auction but as noted in the post header, the market price for the 750s carenta model seems to be more about $3,500 USD right now.

As regular readers of RSBFS know, I am a big fan of these bikes and I have to admit I personally hope these appreciate in the future.  But given the evidence of this postings history, I don't know if that's likely.   I guess this one will appeal to the rider who wants a late 90's italian sportbike that isn't a Ducati...


Red, Rare, and Italian:  </BR> 1999 Laverda 750S in Alabama (relisted)