Posts by Category: Laverda

Laverda November 17, 2016 posted by

Spooky Sportbike: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike 668 for Sale

1998-laverda-ghost-strike-r-front

The Zane-era Laverda Ghost and Ghost Strike are extremely rare here in the USA. They were designed to fill the same niche as Ducati's Monster and provide a profitable, parts-bin naked that would help put the struggling company into the black. The seller claims that the bike is "light, fast, loud, and powerful" and he's probably mostly correct. At around 420lbs dry, it is relatively svelte and that exhaust is definitely not stock, so it's likely pretty loud. The Ghost Strike generally came with a dual-exhaust, but this aftermarket two-into-one set up should save a bit of weight over the stock system in addition to increasing noise and power. Handling is excellent so the bike will definitely be quick down a twisted ribbon of asphalt, but "powerful" might be a bit of a stretch: the air-cooled 668 parallel-twin engine was a pretty ancient design and notably down on power compared to its competition from Bologna, with a claimed 70hp output.

1998-laverda-ghost-strike-r-rear

A quick look at the "gas tank" reveals something interesting: a lack of a filler cap. That's because you're really looking at the airbox and the tank filler is under a locking panel in the tail, which should be a conversation-starter anytime you're gassing up. These bikes may look a bit like someone ripped the fairing off a CBR, but they're very quirky machines that stress handling over power. The standard Ghost used a trellis frame similar to the Ducati, although this Ghost Strike features a beam frame that it uses identical geometry and is shared with the fully-faired 750S and Formula models.

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From the original eBay listing: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike 668 for Sale

Real deal.  Made in Italy. Rare and unique Laverda Ghost Strike 668.   Aluminum frame, fuel-injected, air-cooled parallel twin.  Carbon exhaust, Brembo brakes, etc.  Top of the line components.  If you want to ride something no one else has, this is for you!   Runs, rides and shifts perfectly.

Beautiful bike in great condition.  Never dropped.  Very slight imperfections from normal use.  Just had starter and flywheel replaced with OEM parts.   

This bike is light, fast, loud and powerful! 

The bike is missing passenger accommodations and its stock mirrors, but it does look better with these simple bar-end bits anyway. There are just a few hours left on the auction, with bidding up to $4,000. Certainly, a Monster will give you more bang for your buck, with much greater straight-line performance and parts availability. But handling from that Nico Bakker frame is famously good and these are rare as hen's teeth, especially in the USA. If bidding stays low, this could be a very cool buy for someone with a desire to be a bit different.

-tad

1998-laverda-ghost-strike-dash

Spooky Sportbike: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike 668 for Sale
Laverda November 3, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: 1974 Laverda SFC for Sale

1974-laverda-sfc-l-side

Today's featured listing is a bit older than the bikes we usually feature on this site, but you can't argue that a Laverda SFC is both very rare and a sportbike. It was a machine from the era where you could pull your mirrors and turn-signals off, assuming the bike had them to begin with, drive to the track, and race. In fact, many SFCs sell with the roadgoing bits still in a box... The SFC, which stood for "Super Freni Competizione" or basically "Super Brakes Competition" and was the homologation version of Laverda's 750cc parallel twin powered SF roadbike. The earliest bikes used a huge drum front brake, while later examples like this 1974 model used a pair of discs up front to provide the super stopping promised by the name. All of the SFCs had that funky, tacked-on taillight that looks like its best viewed from the air and the solo tail-section ready and waiting for a white numberplate.

1974 Laverda SFC for sale on eBay

1974-laverda-sfc-r-side-front

Far more heavily-constructed than British twins of the period, Laverda's engine featured five main bearings and, although the resulting bike was a bit on the heavy side, the SF and SFC machines did well in endurance racing. Reliability was helped by Laverda's insistence on using the very best parts from a variety of manufacturers: Ceriani forks, Bosch ignition, and Nippon-Denso electrical components meant that, although the Laverdas were expensive, they were quality machines.

1974-laverda-sfc-tank

The bike was electric-start only, with a right-foot shift for the five-speed gearbox. Compared to the regular SF, the SFC engine featured an updated frame, suspension, and significant internal revisions, tuned and dyno'd at the factory for a claimed 75hp. That power peaked at 7,500rpm which is, you'll note, at the top of the red band on the suspiciously Honda-looking tach, so I guess you just keep the needle in the red for best results?

1974-laverda-sfc-clocks

Just 549 were built between 1971 and 1975, and this example looks to be in beautiful condition, with just a few tiny modern touches like the stainless-steel braided brake lines and an electronic ignition, both of which should add a bit of modern safety and reliability and are certainly in the spirit of the bike.

From the seller: 1974 Laverda SFC for Sale

1974 Laverda SFC comes set up with steel tank, and includes original fiberglass tank in excellent condition. 18,171 miles, ready to ride and collect. This is an excellent rider, set up correctly with DMC ignition. Considered by many, including myself to be the ultimate '70's Italian sport bike.

Paint details: restored perfect condition paint
Frame: Excellent, restored condition
Wheels: Restored - excellent
Electrical details: Everything in correct working order, set up with DMC electronic ignition
Riding: Smooth. Fast. Violent endless power in every gear.

Disclaimer: Every single bike I buy and sell, I personally go through—-not someone else, I am the owner operator of my small business, and I take what I do very seriously. I work on the bikes, I ride the bikes. I have been working on this lovely Italian crap for a long time, I know the differences between the bikes, how they should work, the history etc.. If you are serious about buying true collector piece from someone who not only has a passion for these bikes, but works on them, rides them, collects them – then call me. Jokingly people say to me, “these bikes don’t seem so rare as there are so many in your shop” well….. I consider myself a custodian for these machines, they should go to people who will love, and appreciate them..

Other details:
Excellent restored condition with receipts
Steel tank
Original fiberglass tank included with sale
18,171 miles
all receipts
original shocks included with sale
On SFC registry

1974-laverda-sfc-engine

The seller includes a couple of clips of the bike starting and being ridden and two things are abundantly clear: first of all, Brooklyn is a pretty lousy place to enjoy a 70s Italian race bike and second, a Laverda twin sounds very different than a parallel twin from Norton or Triumph.

The auction ends on Sunday and the current bid is $32,300 with reserve met.

The bike is being sold by Moto Borgotaro, a well-known shop that specializes in European bikes of the era. Seriously: check out the "For Sale" section of their site to see the kind of machines that have passed through on the way to finding new owners.

-tad

1974-laverda-sfc-r-side

Featured Listing: 1974 Laverda SFC for Sale
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.

-tad

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

zane3

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.

zasne8

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.

zane2zane1

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

zane7

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).

zane4

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 marque...so 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 different...it would certainly look cool if you rode up to it at your next bike night.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

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 ClassicSportBikesforSale.com 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!

-tad

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...

-donn

20160224 1984 laverda rgs1000 tank

Italian BMW – 1984 Laverda RGS1000