Here is one we haven't had on RSBFS previously, a Zane-era Laverda 668 Black Strike. The Black Strike model incorporated all the top shelf goodness of the Laverda marque at the time; a Nico Baker designed frame, 3 sets of brembro brake calipers, Marchesini wheels and a letterbox gas tank that reduces the center of gravity (which is still pretty advanced after 14 years). And the fact that you can still get a Zane-era Laverda for reasonable money whereas a lot of Breganze-era bikes have begun to appreciate beyond the reach of us mere mortals is another plus.
Note: For anyone not familiar with the Zane-era vs Breganze-era Laverda models, click here for a brief overview.
The black strike edition was a kind of a one-off within the Zane-era lineup; the air-cooled 668 engine and Nicco Baker designed frame were from the 668 sport model, while the seating and gauge clusters where from the the 668 ghost. The 668 black strike was also the first model with the lighter plastic gas tank, straight exhausts without the restricted collector box and also offered a few bits of optional carbon fiber such as exhausts and optional front fender/mudguard.
This particular Zane-era Laverda 668 black strike looks to be in excellent but not pristine condition. I can see some minor bits of weathering included some fading in the small side cover panel above the id plate, what looks like some dried polish or flaked off paint on the riders right engine cover and some evidence of brake fluid removing paint on the Marchesini rear wheel.
On the plus side, the pillion cover is in place and looks to be in good condition and the seller indicates both the standard and carbon fiber versions are included for both the front fender/mudguard and exhaust. This is important since all 3 items are pretty much unobtainable nowadays. Also while the "rabbit-ear" standard mirrors are missing from the pics, the seller indicates these are included and the often missing rear plastic hugger/mudguard is in place. Lastly the seat condition, lack of bubbling in the dash light decals and lack of rust on the dash nuts/bolts all seem to indicate proper storage away from both the hot sun and damp during non-riding time.
Here is what the seller has to say:
- Has done 17,235km,
- Currently has the front carbon mudguard on but I have the original in great nick that comes with it,
- Also have the original exhaust pipes but currently have the carbon exhausts on.
- There is a carbon windshield that is with it that I thinks off a ghost legend.
- Side mirrors are with it but I preferred it without.
- Battery currently not with bike but will be added before sale.
- Had a new speedo cable 100km ago, new oil just put in.
- Rear tire has done 200km (maybe just less, looks like new), front had good tread also.
Note: The seller lists this as a 2001 but the black strike model was produced from 1997-1998. Email messages with the seller indicates that the 1st registration was 2001 hence the date. I would guess this bike is actually stamped a 97 or 98 on the manufacturers id plate which is mounted on the riders right side but was probably in a showroom for a few years (Three Cross or Slater Bros dealerships perhaps?) and was only sold after Laverda was absorbed by Aprilia/Piaggio.
Is this Zane-era Laverda 668 black strike worth the 3,400GBP asking price? Well only 50 668 Laverda Black Strikes were produced and since Laverda is now a mothballed marque within Aprilia/Piaggio this is definitely a rare bike. But the 668cc air cooled engine produced about 70 bhp so its not going to blow the doors off any other bike and some zane-era bikes have had reliability issues with electrics and cranks so the status of these items which would need to be factored in to the price.
To be honest, I think the the current asking price is a bit high but not outragously so. While the Zane-era laverdas seem to be starting to appreciate, I think the value for this right now is probably closer to 2400-2850GBP. I do think these will appreciate in value going forward so the bike may be of interest for a UK-based collector looking to add a bit of Zane-era exotica to their collection.
Addendum: I feel it only fair to let readers know that I have a restored 668 Black Strike in my personal collection.