Laverda was one of the unfortunate casualties of the Japanese onslaught of the 1970's. Confronted by reliable, affordable multis from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda, many Italian and British companies found themselves in dire straights, unable to compete in showrooms or on the street. And while many marques have seen short-term resurrections courtesy of well-heeled enthusiasts, most have quickly disappeared back beneath the waves after initial hype gave way to the reality of competing against the manufacturing might of the Japanese Big Four. Mondial, Norton, Excelsior-Henderson, Moto Morini have all seen revivals that met with various levels of success. But Italian firm Laverda, famous for their bright orange endurance racing twins and triples, actually met with some success during their 1990's reincarnation, creating funky alternatives to Ducati's established exotica.
The early "Zané-era" Laverdas made in Zané, Italy used an evolution of the earlier air-cooled parallel twin displacing 668cc's. Later bikes added water-cooling and increased displacement to 750 in an attempt to maintain some semblance of parity with Ducati's 748. They were always down on power compared to Japanese 750's and even the Ducati, but handled with the best of the era: a beam frame by noted designer Nico Bakker was matched with Paoli suspension and the same quality Brembo brake package that graced the Ducati 748. Fuel goes into the tail, under the passenger pad, and into a central fuel cell, which should provide some amusement when filling up...
Interestingly, there are two different Laverdas available this week. First up is this very nice, brilliantly yellow 1999 Laverda 750S. The original listing is extremely spare, but worth keeping an eye on for the bidding:
This is a very nice Laverda 750 S. Motorcycle has new tires, runs well and has been tuned-up. Too many motorcycles.
With a Buy It Now price of just $5,500 a nice 750S should provide a lot of bang for the buck. The styling is vaguely Suzuki RF, with those Ferrari-looking side strakes, but I bet this will generate loads of attention at any gathering of bikers. While I definitely prefer the orange-and-black Formula, this looks to be in extremely nice condition.
The second machine is a 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike, a competitor for Ducati's Monster. Powered by the smaller, air-cooled 668cc engine, the styling hasn't aged as well as either the Monster or the fully-faired Laverda 750S, but should provide the same quality handling and extremely distinctive styling should make it a hit at local bike nights, since many people won't have seen one in the flesh. They're the very definition of "budget exotic."
From the original eBay listing: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike for Sale
Less Than 20K Miles!!!
This is a 98 Laverda GhostStrike. The displacement is 668cc.
This is your chance to own a bike a little more rare and less common than the mass produced hyper-bikes!
Recently rebuilt topend on engine.
New rear brake pads.
Tires are in good condition, front is Michelin Pilot, rear is Dunlop Qualifier.
The bike runs and rides well, if you can push-start.
The electronic starter is worn out. And will need to be replaced.
There are some scratches on the left side of the bike from when it was dropped, but no mechanical issues other than the starter.
Actual mileage is 19071.
The Ghost Strike isn't really in perfect condition, with some scuffs, scrapes, and the non-functional starter mentioned in the listing. But they're pretty much impossible to find in the States, and getting this one on the road shouldn't be all that difficult.
So take your pick. Parts aren't too difficult to source for these, although they won't be sitting on the shelf at your local dealership. And Laverdas have always been famed for being durable and, while the Zane-era bikes aren't quite so overbuilt, they have a good reputation for reliability, and are straightforward to work on for shade-tree mechanics.