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Posts by Category: Laverda

Laverda August 15, 2018 posted by

Overnight Success: 1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive

When you think "high speed touring" the usual suspects usually begin with BMW and then taper off quickly towards some muted, former sportbike, Japanese road missile (think Connie or otherwise). All good choices, to be sure. But if I challenged you to narrow your answer to cover the 1970s and 1980s, what would you say? BMW still comes to mind... but not a whole lot else. We're not talking about the two-wheeled Winnebagos with which the Big Four did battle across the decades. We are talking about packing a briefcase and a small bag and streaking across the autobahn/autostrada at max velocity for an overnight trip. Compared to the rather staid Beemers, today's RGS Executive was as exotic as a Ferrari, and just as rare.

1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive for sale on eBay

The engine powering the RGS was Laverda's long-serving and very charismatic three-cylinder 981cc engine, the legacy of the Jota. With the latest spec mill having a smoother 120° crankshaft - instead of the less refined 180° lumpy crank timing - and rubber mounts the big triple was very nearly civilized. But what really made the RGS was the bodywork. With a large, aerodynamic fairing, comfortable seat and swoopy tail section the RGS was spit and polish on the basic bones that were born in the mid-1970s. The top spec of the lineup - the Executive model - added fairing extensions for even more weather protection, bar risers and matching color-coded hard bags. Performance was strong for the time, suspension was courtesy of Marzocchi, and cast wheels and Brembo brakes rounded out the package. Expensive, exclusive and totally unique, the Laverda RGS Executive stands out as an icon from a manufacturer that has created quite a few.

From the seller:
I bought this Executive early this year with only 2500 miles. It was stored away in a warehouse since the late 80's. It had the original Laverda FIAMM battery and original tires when I took possession. I performed the usual tasks that one does to a bike that's been dormant for several years. I replaced the battery, tires, rebuilt front and rear brakes, clutch, front end, rebuilt carbs and did an added some fresh oil. I also installed a Sachse electronic ignition. It runs flawlessly but has some cosmetic issues. It's an all original bike with original paint. It has a baseball size dent on the tank which can be seen in the photos. Also has an area on the topside of right pannier that's been scratched or scuffed. The right side fairing extension is cracked. The aluminum piece of the right pannier fell of on the road and is missing. The original tank had old fuel in it for 3 decades and it was full of sticky gunk so an NOS tank was purchased installed. As you can see in the picture the NOS tank has a dent. The original tank was mint on the outside but the inside nit so much. The original tank recently fell over on my bench and now has a golf ball size dent in the same area as the installed tank. The bike will include the spare tank and if the buyer wants the original battery and phantom tires they will be included as well. All the cosmetic mishaps occurred while bike was in storage.

While the Laverda family threw in the towel in 1985, the company continued the occasional spasm of activity through the 1990s - including a rather audacious reboot attempt that unfortunately failed. Last owned by Aprilia and now fully shuttered, one can consider the long run of Laverda to be from 1873 until about 2004. That's a run of over 130 years, for those of you counting along at home. And during that time Laverda made a name for itself as building motorcycles for real men; motorcycles with substance. This RGS Executive is one of the final models offered by Laverda, and remains a beautiful and collectible machine. Outclassed by the fit, finish and demonic attention to detail of the Japanese, the RGS brings something to the party that cannot be matched by any other motorcycle.

This particular RGS Executive is a very low mileage example: only 4,430 original miles claimed by the seller. That is not a lot of travel for a long-legged beast like this one. Overall the bike looks to be in decent shape, but there are some very obvious (and unfortunate) cosmetic issues. The grips are also not stock items. Keep in mind that we are talking about a low-volume, mostly hand-built machine from a defunct manufacturer. Parts specific to this model will be pricey and hard to find, although the fan base and support group for Laverda remains strong. Does the low number on the odometer equate to a high number at sale time? Given the rarity of the Executive model, there must be interest - but we really don't have enough current data to determine value. Certainly the $15,900 OBO ask is strong, but not horribly out of line across the last 10 years or so. Check out this rare beauty here, and enjoy another cool bike that you won't see every day. Good Luck!!

MI

Overnight Success: 1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Executive
Laverda August 10, 2018 posted by

Blue-Chip Classic Friday: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC for Sale

Back in the 1960s and 1970s you could buy race cars and race bikes that were basically road-legal, vehicles you could actually drive or ride to the track and reasonably expect to be competitive with pretty minimal changes. Of course, those days are long gone: race machines often share very few components with their road-going counterparts and frequently bear little resemblance to any sort production vehicles whatsoever. But today's Laverda 750 SFC was a machine from the tail end of that earlier era and was very much a race bike with some lights and signals slapped on to make it vaguely road-worthy.

I mean, just take a look at that taillight: was it thoughtfully integrated into a specially-designed cut-out? Nope, it was literally bolted to the sloped rear face of a solo tail section that was obviously designed with a number-plate in mind. The instruments are basically just a tach, ignition barrel, and indicator light bolted to the inside of the fairing: this thing is the epitome of crude, at least in terms of creature-comforts and finish. Speedo? Who cares? Just figure out what revs approximate which highway speeds in top gear and assume you could just outrun cops of the period anyway.

But forget refinement: the mechanicals are where it's at, and the bike has those in spades. Early models used a huge alloy drum brake, and later machines like this one a pair of discs, giving the bike it's name: "Super Freni Competizione" or basically "Super Braking Racebike." Laverda used the very best components available everywhere they could, and the basic parallel-twin was overbuilt and very durable, making it ideal for endurance racing.

Ceriani forks, Bosch ignition, and Nippon-Denso electrical components, and that 744cc parallel twin with five main bearings, backed up by a five speed gearbox that put the bike's claimed 75hp to the rear wheel. This example isn't some museum-piece and the seller mentions it's done quite a bit of track time. How much? Who knows: like many SFCs, this one lacks a speedometer, and therefore an odometer. The tach looks non-standard, although I've seen several different types fitted to the original bikes. It's hard to tell from the pic, but maybe it's a Scitsu unit?

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC for Sale

Am 76 and it's time to let go of my collection. Started collecting about 50 years ago and the main objective was to buy one owner high end cars and motorcycles for pleasure and investment. I won't bore you repeating the history of the 750 SFC Laverdas - If you are reading this you already know of the Laverda 750 SFC's iconic competition accomplishments, background and rarity. Hand built by a small number of employees, there were only 100 of these limited production Laverda 750 SFC competition motorcycles manufactured in 1974. Recently brought out of storage, it is an authentic two owner (I am the 2nd owner) matching numbers factory original survivor. I purchased it from the gentleman who bought it new at a dealership in Florida. He raced it on every motorcycle race track East of the Mississippi up until around 1984, when he found out he had terminal cancer and put the bike in storage. He did not want to sell it but had to liquidate his holdings. It is a beautiful piece of art. The engine had a complete overhaul from a company called Megacycle in California after it's last race and is in fresh like new original condition. Runs perfectly. What a sound. An exhilerating deep throbbing sound that can only come from a Laverda 750 SFC. It has been cleaned and the brakes rebuilt. It is in it's original racing condition complete with period stickers, as it came off the last track. The engine mount tab is indeed stamped "SFC" from the factory. My collection included many motorcycles but I kept this one for the last and had no intention of ever selling it - but to be realistic it needs to move along to another caretaker. I have framed photos of it being raced at different tracks and the original 1974 owners manual. Please read the complete description so you will understand all conditions and any issues. THERE IS NO TITLE - Sold on a Georgia bill of sale and Georgia Sheriffs Department inspection certificate. I will answer all email questions and consider offers.

Just 549 total were built between 1971 and 1975. So the Buy It Now for this race-bred classic? A mere... $195,000?! Well, maybe that's a mistake. I mean, it is eBay after all. So the starting bid is... $150,000?! Wow, I guess he is serious. Well I'll be curious to see if anyone bites. Seems like a major auction might be a better bet for something like this, but who knows? Certainly the SFC is one of the most valuable and collectible bikes of the era, and prices are certainly headed in that direction.

-tad

 

Blue-Chip Classic Friday: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC for Sale
Featured Listing May 24, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1974 Laverda SF2

In 1974, the Laverda SF2 was roughly equivalent to an R1M, though at the time, twin disc brakes sufficed for high technology. Over-engineered and powerful, the bike in its day was as fast as it was premium. They aren't easy to find in any condition, let alone fully restored.

1974 Laverda SF2 for sale on eBay

This one, which is located in a dusty corner of New Mexico, has been treated to a full engine and transmission rebuild recently  and wears an older cosmetic restoration. The seller says it isn't perfect, or entirely correct or original, but it will make a great riding addition to a Euro bike collection.

The seller went over the bike's attributes in great detail, so we'll let him take it from here. From the eBay listing:

1974 Laverda 750 SF2

First introduced at the 1966 Earls Court Show the big Laverda twin was a 650. Barely 100 were made before becoming a 750 in 1968. As production was about to begin, in 1968, four prototype twins were entered in the Giro d'Italia and all four finished in the top ten. The factory officially began racing in 1969 enjoying considerable success in long distance events like the Barcelona 24 hours and the Bol d'Or. These successes lead to the production development of the road bikes. In 1971 two intrepid Italians, one just 20 years old, took a pair of production 750s on a 34,000km ride from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. They actually started in Buenos Aires, then to Tierra del Fuego, then to Anchorage, Alaska (if you'd like to read more about this adventure pick up a copy of Jean-Louis Olive's book Raid Tierra del Fuego - Alaska ISBN 9782956254812

A bike that was built to stay built. Laverda's own foundry sandcast the alloy engine components. The crankshaft is a pressed up full roller affair with a duplex chain drive to a camshaft running in ball bearings. Ancillaries were all top shelf components; much of the electrics including the starter and generator by Bosch, suspension by Ceriani, rims by Borrani, switchgear and instruments by Nippondenso (starting 1974), etc.

By 1973 the 750 shared carburettor and valve sizes with the illustrious SFC. The SF2 of 1974 introduced disc brakes. The first production bike with twin front discs. Further reading can be found online at RealClassic uk , simply search for Laverda SF750.

This example of the SF2 is an older restoration which has recently benefited from a full mechanical rebuild of the engine and gearbox, carbs, front suspension, brakes. It has also been fitted with fresh tires, drive chain and battery. This numbers matching bike sports the optional solo seat with locking glove box. It is finished in a dark metallic grey close to one of the 17 factory shades offered on these machines. This is not a concours machine by any means yet it is an attractive and reasonably correct (seat should be satin black, pattern silencers and stainless brake hose) rider in sound mechanical condition. If I were to do anything toward modernization it would be to upgrade the rear dampers to Koni or Ikon units. Included is the original exhaust crossover box, indicator stalks and owners manual. Please ask if you wish for specific images.

Something you'll appreciate, as a rider, is the ease of service by the owner and the absolute reliability of its operation. Simple to maintain it begs a "How to keep your Laverda 750 alive for the complete idiot" (with apologies to John Muir). However, the esteemed Mssrs. Tim Parker and Phil Todd have conspired to produce the Twin and Triple Repair & Tune Up Guide; ISBN: 9780979689109 aka "the Green Book". Get one. There are also international forums and facebook pages for the marque.

With a total production run, of all models 650/750, being something less than 19,000 units you'll be fortunate to see one on the road (compare this to something like 150,000+ Norton Commandos) or at a bike show. This is a good time to saddle up on a relatively unknown and undervalued, sporting machine known for its stable handling and inspiring reliability. For mountain residents I can jet for your altitude.

As it is for sale locally (Santa Fe -Taos CL) and may be removed from auction do consider the buy it now option.

The bike is on Craigslist in New Mexico for $12,000, though the bidding is at just over $8,000 with three days left.

Featured Listing: 1974 Laverda SF2
Laverda May 16, 2018 posted by

Semi-Finalist – 1983 Laverda RGS1000

Laverda was already reeling from overseas competition in the early 1980's, but had the gumption for one more design project.  The RGS was based on their recent 1000cc air-cooled triple and rode more like a Beemer than a finicky Italian exotic.  This one has been enjoyed, but is quite original and well maintained.

1983 Laverda RGS1000 ( Canada ) for sale on eBay

For the RGS, Laverda civilized the 981 cc engine with rubber mounts and quieter exhaust, but the 83 hp didn't suffer.  Marzocchi  suspension is found front and rear, but triple 280mm Brembo brakes are a little undersized for a 135 mph streamliner.  Designer details like the Veglia dash, removable pillion fairing and the tank filler in the front ( out of the way of a tank bag ) are sweet period items.

Over the age of EPA, this Laverda should be an easy import from British Columbia.  Seems cared-for despite the mileage - though my back-of-the-napkin ( ok, google ) conversion shows 57,000 miles from 92,000 KM.  Making it sound like a recent acquisition, the owner isn't a slave to details, but says this in the eBay auction:

Hello, have my beautiful almost all orig RGS to sell.  Wolfgang recently went thru her before my purchase with full tuneup, fluids, tires, rejet, etc.  He has most history on it, has had top end done plus small items.  Most normal upgrades done with ignition, etc.  Runs very strong, and smooth.

After the Laverda family abandoned ship in 1985, the company was fits and starts until industrialist Francesco Tognon was nearly successful with a couple of new models in the 1990's, making the RGS almost the last design from an icon dating back to 1873.  Fast, quiet, and smooth, the Laverda was unfortunately slower, heavier, and more expensive than its Japanese rivals.  But if you're after a continental 1980's experience, the RGS is one of a very few...

-donn

Semi-Finalist – 1983 Laverda RGS1000
Laverda May 8, 2018 posted by

Double Espresso – 1998 Laverda 668 Ghost Strike

Though Laverda's fortunes were largely in the 90's rear-view mirror, the company breathed new life into its mid-size parallel twin, commissioning a sporty jack-of-all-trades.  The Ghost Strike had a fine chassis and premium appointments, and can't be beat in the rarity dept.

1998 Laverda 668 Ghost Strike for sale on eBay

Laverda differentiated the Ghost Strike from their other multi-purpose machines with its Nico Bakker designed aluminum frame and WP suspension.  Motive force came from a DOHC parallel twin, expanded to 668cc and updated with Marelli injection and 70 hp.  Fuel is centralized under the seat and the airbox is in the "tank".

Not much detail about this Houston-based Laverda, but it has only 12,000 miles and looks good.  Not sure about the non-standard appearing left side cover and dash fasteners though.  From the eBay auction:

Great looking 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike.  It starts, runs and drives well.  Paint and seat are in excellent shape.  Mileage on speedometer is in km, so I used a conversion for miles.  This is a unique classic motorcycle.  Have fun with it!

The 668's tight handling and relaxed riding position won points, only to give them up for a notchy gearbox and too loud exhaust.  The name was soon to be retired after being purchased by Aprilia and then Piaggio, but the late Ghost Strike is a singular Euro machine perfect for the fan or collector.

-donn

Double Espresso – 1998 Laverda 668 Ghost Strike
Laverda May 6, 2018 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

Alternative Twin: 1999 Laverda Formula 750 for Sale




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