Posts by Category: Laverda

Laverda June 6, 2019 posted by

The Other Woman – 1979 Laverda Formula 500

Known here mostly for bigger GT’s, Laverda tried to tap the European mid-size market in the 1970’s with a 350 and 500cc twin.  A single marque race series was developed to drum up interest, pre-dating the IROC and BMW Boxer Cup.  Surprisingly, the four year series generated only 200 or so racers, making it a rare bird indeed.

1979 Laverda Formula 500 Mk. 1 for sale on eBay

Laverda knew their way around a parallel twin and the DOHC motor with uprated cams and 10.5:1 pistons delivered 52 hp.  It has a six speed transmission with a tall first and closely spaced ratios befitting a racer.  Marzocchi provided forks and dual rear shocks, with Brembo supplying dual front disks, most surviving because of the requirements of the race specification.  Though a full fairing was added, road-worthy lighting and electrics were removed, keeping the dry weight to 338 lbs.  Menani clip-ons had a forward offset to stretch the cockpit as did the sand-cast alloy rearsets.

Though both Formula 500’s previously seen on RSBFS were overseas, this one was re-commissioned at Moto Borgotaro in Brooklyn and currently resides in SoCal.  Evidently this Formula was restored early on by the late Mike Waugh, owner of Montydons  in Britain and Laverda luminary.  It bears the bumps and scrapes of many moves but appears complete and correct.  A replacement for the cracked windscreen might have to be custom made but is very do-able.  Comments from the eBay auction:

This very Formula 500 is one of the two Laverdas pictured on the cover of the Brooklands book,”Laverda 500 Twins 1977-1983″.  The book is a compilation of reviews, company materials and magazine articles, one of which features this motorcycle.  The bike belonged to Mike Waugh, owner of MontyDons, a UK specialist restorer of Laverda 500’s.  Waugh was well-known in the Laverda community.   Quoting from the article written by John Colley, “Little is known of this Mark 1’s history.  It was discovered in Wales after being ‘laid up’ for many years, and is one of the very few [Mark 1’s] brought to the UK”.  Even fewer were shipped to the States.  Mike restored the bike.

In the close up of the photo of the Formula 500 Mark 1 on the bike’s cover and again in the article inside, note the additional holes drilled in the faring at the upper and lower bracket mounts.  These correspond exactly with the bike, as does the license plate mount and orange wheels.

This bike, identified by VIN in its entry registration, went to the Isle of Man in 1999.  It is not however, one of the six Formula500 (Mark II’s) Slaters entered in the 1980 Formula 2 TT, winning the Team Prize.   Included in the sale are the original race number 124 decals that were on the bike at the Isle of Man.  The decals were removed and preserved.
An extremely scarce set of original factory special tools for the Laverda 500 comes with the bike, as does the original shop manual, Brooklands book and original one-sheet marketing print.
I bought the bike in late 2014 from a PA collector who had owned (but never started) the Laverda for many years.  Soon after, I brought the bike to respected Laverda specialist Motoborgotaro, in New York City.   Peter Boggia thoroughly inspected, serviced and recommissioned – but did not restore – the bike.  The last time the bike was run, was in October 2015.

No sense challenging DMV with a time machine like this, it really belongs in the vintage races.  Reviewed as more 250 than 500 sized, a suitably classic rider might want to try it on before committing to purchase.  This could be a total gem with not much more than a large tube of elbow grease, though track preparation would be more involved.  Either way the Formula 500 might not be practical but sure is easy on the eyes.

-donn

The Other Woman – 1979 Laverda Formula 500
Featured Listing May 7, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1980 Laverda Jota for Sale

Check out all of Joe’s bikes for sale on RSBFS! Many thanks for choosing us to help move your collection! -dc

When it rains, it pours, and the past couple weeks have seen us feature several different Laverdas. Bikes this old are usually a bit too “classic” to feature regularly on the site, but certain models are just too important not to include at RSBFS, and the hairy-chested Lavereda Jota like today’s featured listing is one of them. As a followup to their successful parallel-twin models, Laverda introduced a three-cylinder in 1973 after teasing prototypes for several years. It wasn’t just a twin with an extra cylinder grafted on, it was an almost entirely new design, with a twin overhead-cam head.

1980 Laverda Jota for sale on eBay

The earliest three-cylinder bikes used a large drum brake at the front, but that was soon updated to a twin-disc setup, although a drum was retained at the rear for a bit longer. Although it wasn’t tuned as aggressively as it could have been, the new, unimaginatively-named “3C” was one of the best-performing bikes available, with a 133mph tested top speed. But stock performance, however impressive, is never enough for some people, and UK Laverda importers Slater Laverda saw plenty of untapped potential and decided to build a bit of a hot rod.

Slater fitted factory racing cams and high-compression pistons, an updated exhaust, and SFC yokes for different front-end geometry. The resulting bike impressed Laverda’s management, and limited production began in 1976. Power for the 981cc engine was up to 90hp and the bike could clear 140mph, making it the fastest production motorcycle at the time. After success racing the bike in the UK, Laverda expanded distribution, and eventually the bike found its way to the US, although bikes originally intended for us were of lower-spec than the UK machines.

The Jota, named for a Spanish dance, is often characterized as a “man’s bike” but could more accurately be described as “a bike for tall people with strong hands.” The triples weigh in at nearly 500lbs dry, with a very tall seat 32″ high, no side stand fitted as standard, and a brutally stiff clutch-pull. Like all Laverdas of the period, they’re solid and overbuilt with power and handling to spare, but a Jota takes work to ride quickly. Or slowly.

Slight clarification of the seller’s information below: all of the early Laverda three-cylinder models, including the 3C and the original Jota used a 180° crank that basically fired “like a four with a miss.” The Jota was basically a hotted-up version of the regular production triple and used the same crank as the 3C. The “two up, one down” crank was great for power and made a pretty distinctive noise, but vibrated a bit more than than was considered acceptable. Later triples switched to a 120° crank after 1981 for increased smoothness, but purists feel like only the 180° bikes are the only “real” Jotas. Personally, I think the 120° bikes sound pretty cool too, but the 180° bikes are definitely more desirable to collectors.

From the Seller: 1980 Laverda Jota for Sale

You should know that I am a serious collector, with a large motorcycle collection. I decided to sell some of the most valuable motorcycles in the collection. These motorcycles represent some of the most iconic motorcycles of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Those motorcycles are now being offered up for sale one by one. These motorcycles were targeted by me for my collection many years ago when the best of the best were available and that is what I purchased. 

In general, I do believe super rare Italian motorcycle of the 1970s and 1980s are the future Ferrari of motorcycle collecting. We all know what has happened to Ferrari. 

When you decide, as I did, that the rare, large Italian Sports bikes of the 1970s are a great place to be for collecting. You will for sure want to have a Laverda Jota in your collection. 

Make sure that your Jota is a real Jota with 180 degree firing order, which distinguishes the Jota from other Laverda models. Again, the 180 degree firing order means that the 3-cyclindar engine fires off when two of the cylinders are up and then 180 degrees later when one cylinder is up, it again fires. In other words, the Jota fires two times per 360 degrees and not three times per 360 degree rotation, like the lesser Laverda models. This is what gives the motor its unique power and especially its unbelievable thundering exhaust note. These are big, heavy, and handsome bikes. This one was restored by a Laverda guru a little over 10 years ago and was put in our collection shortly thereafter. If you are talking about these Italian bikes that are designed to look like they have big muscles the Jota certainly exemplifies that. Of course, any of the rare Italian 1970s and 1980s iconic bikes are always great garage art and most often wonderful bikes to ride. The Jota is a man’s bike and not meant for the faint of heart unless you are going to just put it in your living room to look at it.  

There is plenty of information on the Internet about the Jota. There is a very large international club for them. This Jota was restored to perfection and is still in wonderful cosmetic condition and riding form. 

This is certainly a bike for serious collectors and for those that don’t know all the details, the internet is just loaded with information. I can only suggest that you scrutinize the pictures and decide for yourself if this is another rare Italian collector bike that will eventually become as iconic as the Ferrari automobile. I spent a decade looking for the best one and this is the best one I have ever seen.

The real Jotas seldom become available and you should always get the best. When they are available, they are almost never in highly restored condition.  All my bikes are kept on trickle chargers ready to take a day’s ride at a moment’s notice. The Jota is one of those.  

I would suggest that you check out the other rare cycles that I am offering for sale by clicking on “other items for sale” in the upper right corner to see the other bikes being offered from my collection.  

Prefer phone calls 847-774-4857

Thanks for looking at one of the best!

The seller clearly knows bikes, and the collectability of the Jota is undeniable. The only Laverda model more valuable is the earlier SFC, and the Jota is a bit more civilized, although that probably isn’t saying much. Many Jotas came with a half-fairing, but I much prefer my big, burly bruisers to be naked! Wait, that came out wrong… Anyway, the additional wind-blast will be perfect for bulking up your neck muscles to match your newly-muscled hands: I’ve got a couple friends with Laverda triples and the effort required to pull that clutch still blows my mind.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1980 Laverda Jota for Sale
Featured Listing April 18, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1974 Laverda SFC-Spec SF2 Race Bike for Sale

This is an unusual opportunity to buy a rough-and-tumble, forged-in-fire vintage racing Laverda. If you’re searching for a display piece to adorn your Manhattan loft, you should probably look elsewhere. This SFC-spec SF2 was made to run, and run hard. It’s all killer and no filler, built to race. Period. The original SFC is one of the most desirable and iconic sportbikes of the 1970s, with a stylish half-fairing, bright orange paint, and solo tail. The 744cc parallel twin was supposedly heavily influenced by Honda’s CB77 Superhawk engine, and Laverda built their bikes to last, with five main bearings in the engine, electrical components from Nippon-Denso, ignition components from Bosch, and a Verlicchi frame, and suspension from Marzocchi.

The result was the perfect basis for an endurance racer, and Laverda whipped up a hand-built factory special to capitalize on that potential. The SFC or “Super Freni Competizione,” which translates to “Super Competition Brakes.” The engine featured the usual race-oriented updates: a lighter crank, polished connecting rods, bigger valves, and high-comp pistons. 36mm carbs fed the high-performance engine and produced as much as 80hp, depending on the year, while a two-into-one exhaust made sure everyone within miles could count every one of them.

The original SFC was technically a road-legal bike, but it was stiffly-sprung, over-carbureted, and generally temperamental. Many that have come up for sale have their road-legal parts in a box that comes with the bike, since they really were a bit of an afterthought anyway. Even that solo tail is specifically shaped to include a round numberplate, as you can see. The bike was a literal “racebike for the road” in a way that you just don’t really see anymore. Or maybe it’s just that all serious sportbikes are racebikes for the road, but they’re just not really all that much of a compromise now, with 200hp, a gel touring seat, and heated grips…

This particular bike isn’t an authentic Laverda SFC, it’s a high quality replica built from the ground up using a regular production SF2 with many trick parts, and uses the powerful twin-disc front brake setup from the later bikes that should work much better on track than the earlier drum, although it doesn’t look quite as sexy. Speaking of the track: this started out as a regular road bike, but it’s been converted to race duty and campaigned for years by Larry at New York City Motorcycles [who is also selling his Harley Davidson XR750 here on our site], who is currently based, ironically, in Venice, CA.

His original eBay listing tells a great story about how the bike came to be: 1974 Laverda SFC-Spec SF2 Race Bike for Sale

Where to begin…

Gorizia, Italy (on the Northeast corner of Italy 1km from Slovenia). July 2012.

That is when this Laverda came into real life, from the pages of every conceivable magazine and poster since childhood.  In fact the first time I laid eyes on a Laverda 750SFC was at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 1998, at its renowned exhibition, Art of the Motorcycle. If I wasn’t already hooked, now I was obsessed.

In the years since that life changing show, I was always on the “lookout”.  Sorta like John Walsh chasing fugitives!  I can recall being wide awake at 3am looking in remote places, the mideast, japan and of course the US and Europe.

I couldn’t believe my eyes in the summer of 2012.  In fact, I couldn’t understand the Italian listing on eBay Italy, either.   When the sun rose the next morning I was at my neighbor’s door, an Italian.  Within hours we had the bike’s owner on a conference call.  I had a million questions.  My neighbor just wanted to go to work.

I learned that the motorcycle was built to race throughout Italy by an engineer who also owned a genuine SFC.  Too precious to race, he saw no obstacle to making an exact clone, particularly the specification of the motor:

  • 10.8:1  Compression
  • Carillo Rods
  • SFC Crank
  • SFC Cams
  • SFC Pistons, valves and porting
  • 36 mm Dell’Ortos

The rest is simply bodywork… on an SF2 frame. Other than the factory 750SFC’s VIN series and frame insignia depicting that its a factory SFC, this bike is exactly the same in specification and appearance of a 1974 (Disc brake front) 750SFC.

The last thing I thought about doing when I bought, imported and titled it in the US, was racing it. So it was cosmetically and exhaustively restored as a streetbike. Laverda’s are known to have indestructible motors. And this was no exception. When it cleared customs it set off car alarms a quarter mile away…

My good friend Kenny Cummings, the owner of NYC Norton had been taking care of another parallel twin of mine, a Norton Commando. And every few weeks Kenny would be “gone racing.” So it’s technically his fault. I caught the bug. And became just as obsessed about racing as Laverdas. 

I raced two years before I became obsessed with the Laverda for a different reason. Though it was exhilarating to ride as a streetbike (outside of New York City where I lived), I soon learned this was a motorcycle that was designed, built and wanted to race. Long story short(er), that’s what it became.

The Laverda’s trophies include AHRMA National Series 5th Place in Formula 750 in 2015, 3rd Place AHRMA Pacific Crown, and various podiums at some of the most storied racetracks in America.

Recent marriage and move to Japan has put new goals on the horizon. Its time for my beloved Laverda to go from my back burner into the hands of someone whose passion picks up where mine leaves off.

The fuel tank is a Wolfgang Haerter special edition alumnium tank. 

As mentioned, it has never crashed. It could benefit from some TLC ie, valves adjusted, carbs rebuilt. A simplified wiring harness – though what’s on the bike now is perfectly functional for its current set up as a racer.

So much to list, these are the key pluses and minuses:

*The windscreen is cracked – it was “stitched” together with zip ties and continued racing. I always thought it adds character 🙂

  • One Sidecover flew off the bike at Willow Springs during competition. It was recovered but in a mangled condition (see photo)
  • Starter and generator (included; sprag gear is worn and should be replaced) were removed for racing; running a “total loss” set up
  • Needs a new battery
  • Missing the ignition key: bypassed
  • Runs an EMC electronic ignition (excellent) from Wolfgang Haerter
  • Slight weep from gas tank rubbing the frame. New Owner should either have the seam rewelded or coat the tank with Caswell
  • YSS Shocks in rear and Works Performance Springs in Front – Original Marzochi shocks included
  • Powdercoated frame completed 2014
  • No rust anywhere
  • 2 into 1 Conti exhaust
  • New York Title in my name
  • Street faring, street seat, tachometer included
  • Set of rear sprockets included
  • Uses an SFC’s shop manual, not an SF2’s.  Reproduced copy included
  • New racing foot pegs
  • Original Laverda clubman bars
  • Other extras all included

The motorcycle is sold as is, where is, and there are no warranties expressed nor implied. Judge the photos and make your own assessment of the bike’s condition, rather than rely on my opinion and/or description. Questions and clarifications are encouraged. These are my personal opin Bidders must be certain of their commitment before bidding, as once its submitted. If you win it, you bought it. No time for nonsense please. Bidders with less than 10 or any negative feedback must contact me prior to bidding or else expect your bid to be cancelled and removed.

This motorcycle requires thorough inspection and recommissioning before running or riding. Know what you are buying before you bid. If you don’t have the expertise and/or the budget, with all due respect, this is not the bike for you. 

New York City Motorcycles (nycmc dot com) is reasonably well known in the vintage motorcycle community and this is not the only platform for offering the bike. Therefore please consider not waiting until the final seconds of the auction to bid. Because while you’re waiting to pull the trigger, if a fair offer arrives from elsewhere and there is not a comparable bid here, the auction will instantly disappear from your watched items.

Multiples of the start price has been invested in this motorcycle. It was a privilege to lose money on this fabulous machine. Boyhood dreams fulfilled and then some 🙂

Motorcycle is located in Venice, CA. I will work with your shipper but its your responsibility.

On a personal note, I’ve come across this bike and owner before: I bumped into him at a 2014 AHRMA event in South Jersey, where I took the picture above. He was wrenching on this bike under a popup tent and, when I came over to babble excitedly about the Laverda, he stopped what he was doing to fire it up for me, a gleeful grin on his face. To me, that says about all you need to know about his passion and enthusiasm. The bike obviously isn’t a “real” SFC, but it is a real Laverda, and the engine specifications are, as he describes, SFC-spec. With real SFC prices headed into six-figures, they’re less and less likely to be raced as intended. Real or not, this Laverda won’t be cheap to buy or run, but is your best bet if you want to actually ride one of these fire-breathing Italian twins in anger.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1974 Laverda SFC-Spec SF2 Race Bike for Sale
Laverda April 16, 2019 posted by

Repli-Racer: 1972 Laverda SFC Replica for Sale

Largely forgotten now, especially by modern sportbike enthusiasts, Laverda was once a serious player in the Italian sportbike scene of the 1970s. In terms of reputation, anyway, if not in actual production numbers. Their big-bore parallel-twin was supposedly heavily “inspired” by Honda’s parallel twin design of the period, and Laverda’s grown-up engine was heavily overbuilt and basically all-around heavy. It wasn’t nimble, but it was durable and stable, the perfect bike to use as the basis for a production-based endurance racer, and the SFC or “Super Freni Competizione” was the result.

Laverda’s aim was to use the very best parts available on their road and race bikes, and included Italian suspension components, Japanese electricals, and German ignition components. The early bikes used a huge, magnesium Ceriani four leading-shoe front brake, with later machines switching to an improved twin-disc setup. In both cases, stopping power was superlative for the era. Engines were heavily massaged, and made between 71 and 81hp, depending on the year. A significant overhaul for the 1974 model year made changes to the frame to make it lower and lighter, and the suspension was improved.

With the very rare SFC out of reach for most collectors, a replica obviously makes practical sense, since it was basically a hot-rod 750 SF. It’d probably be relatively easy to take an otherwise stock SF1 and just slap on a fairing and tail-section, but the builder of this bike appears to have gone the extra mile. I’m a Laverda fan, but not enough of an anorak to be able to point out the minor differences that would mark this out as a fake. It probably doesn’t help that the fewer than 600 or so SFCs that were built varied a bit in terms of specification, and sometimes incorporated different components in what seems to have been the “whatever we’ve got on the shelf” kind of way typical of Italian manufacturers of the period.

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Laverda SFC Replica for Sale

This Laverda 750 SFC Replica was converted from a SF1 over a period of two years, essentially everything except the interior of the motor is new or reconditioned or modified. Estimated milage of the 1972 donor bike was 6,600 miles +/-. The conversion has been ridden approximately 150 miles and has been on static display in a climate controlled facility for the last five years. The following is an accounting of some of the components that make this such a special conversion:

  • Correct Ceriani 35mm forks w new internals
  • Correct Ceriani rear shocks
  • New Tommaselli clutch and brake lever assemblies w new cables and switch assemblies
  • Rebuilt Smiths “Laverda” Tachometer, new (NOS) Smiths “Laverda” speedometer
  • New SFC fairing, brackets and headlight assembly
  • SFC replica tank (lined against ethanol affect) and petcocks
  • SFC rear seat and pad
  • SFC inner fender
  • SFC front fender
  • All new paint on all painted parts
  • All new wiring tucked up under bodywork, all electronics moved up under seat pan
  • Carbs are correct Dellorto PHF36AS/AD and are in perfect order w Malosi bellmouths
  • SFC left and right side rearsets and mounting plates
  • Motor cases are polished and cut out as per SFC specifications
  • 2-into-1 custom tuned exhaust, sounds incredible, not for the introvert
  • All misc. hardware was replaced and zinc plated, all chrome was new, aluminum parts polished

This is a beautiful example of a Laverda Type SFC, one of the ultimate vintage sport bikes that will get attention everywhere it goes. Display it, ride it, you won’t be disappointed. Of course there is no warranty, implied or guaranteed, it is a vintage bike even though it certainly doesn’t look its age… Please look at the pictures closely, the bike is located in the Denver area and we will assist with shipping as buyer arranges. Clear title, $1000 deposit within 24 hours of winning bid, balance within seven (7) calendar days via wire transfer.

It may not be the real thing, but looks very clean in the pictures, with the desirable drum front brake that gave the bike its name. Individual SFCs varied from bike to bike in terms of the details, and I doubt anyone but a Laverda expert would realize it was a replica at a glance, although it’s almost too nice to be the genuine article. There are just hours left on the auction, and there’s been little interest in the bike so far. Bidding is up to just $10,300, which is cheaper than a nice, stock SF1 these days Obviously, this isn’t going to command the nearly six-figure prices of the best SFCs, but would be a great way to live out your Walter Mitty-style racing fantasies if you can’t cough up that kind of coin, but want an authentic SFC experience.

-tad

Repli-Racer: 1972 Laverda SFC Replica for Sale
Laverda April 10, 2019 posted by

Budget Exotic: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike 668 for Sale

I’m a huge Laverda fan, so it’s disappointing their attempted resurrection in the 1990s didn’t work out. It wasn’t that bikes like this Ghost Strike weren’t any good: the beam frames were designed by the famed Nico Bakker and handling was generally considered excellent, even superior to Ducatis competing in the same segments. The standard Ghost used a trellis frame similar to the ones that underpinned the Ducati Monster, although the Strike featured a beam frame using identical geometry that was shared with the fully-faired 750S and Formula models. Suspension was fully-adjustable, with a set of beefy Paioli forks at the front. There was some very forward-thinking in the layout as well, as you’ll notice that the “gas tank” is actually an airbox, with the actual filler-cap hiding under the lockable pillion pad. The fuel cell was centrally-located for better balance, a feature seen on many modern motorcycles.

The biggest weak point of the design was the engine. Based on the positively ancient 500 that had been around since the Alpino of the late 1970s, it was fairly sophisticated when it was introduced, with dual overhead cams, a balance shaft to smooth the parallel twin’s vibration, and a six-speed gearbox. Of course, that wasn’t much to brag about by the time the mid-1990s rolled around. For the Ghost and Sport, Laverda punched the twin out to 650 and then 668cc, then later added water-cooling for the fully-faired 750S and Formula models. It made decent-enough power and liked to rev, but was considered a bit agricultural, and not as strong as options from Ducati, as the 904cc v-twin in the Monster had much more torque and the four-valve Ducatis were just more refined.

It’s doubtful the Laverda Ghost will ever be worth very much, at least not in the near future. It’s appeal is primarily one of novelty, since it’s not an especially noteworthy motorcycle and the brand has ceased production. But the low market values, quirky design, and good performance make it very appealing for budget-minded enthusiasts. Power is modest, but the handling is excellent, and you certainly won’t see another at your local bike hangout.

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

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike. Very stock and clean “no stories” survivor bike with low 11,000 km (~7000 miles). This has a clean California title and it is currently running fabulously. The previous adult owner used it sparingly. Tires, battery and fluids are all good. There is no crash damage.

The Ghost is the probably most approachable of the Zane Laverdas- its simplified air cooled engine is more dependable than the water cooled Formula 750s. It has a modern twin spar frame and top shelf suspension, brakes and other components. It’s easy to ride, service and enjoy. These bikes will only increase in value over time.

I also have a small of collection of spares for Zane Laverdas as we have parted a few of them out… including one other another clean Ghost Strike. Message us for details.

You can pickup in San Francisco Bay area. I can also transport this to the Los Angeles area inexpensively. I can also ship this with Forward Air in teh US for $780  to most major airports with a Forward Air Terminal. Message me for details.

This example looks very complete and the mileage is low, although it’s hard to really tell from the washed-out pictures just how nice it is. It’s important that the bike appears to be very complete, and the spares he mentions are especially nice since, since finding parts for a relatively low-volume Italian sportbike that had little-to-no presence here in the US could prove problematic. There appears to be some oxidation on the engine and some wear on the top triple-clamp, but otherwise looks pretty nice. If the Reserve is anywhere near the $3,399.99 starting bid, this could be a fun little choice for a collector with a love for weird Italian exotica, or someone looking for a characterful bike on a limited budget.

-tad

Budget Exotic: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike 668 for Sale
Laverda February 14, 2019 posted by

Rhymes with Orange: 1979 Laverda Formula 500

We tend to think (often and fondly) of Laverda building big bikes. With triples. The Jota, the RGS and the Mirage, for example. But before those, Laverda created smaller bikes too, such as the 500cc parallel twin. And in the hit-and-miss world of European bikes in the 1970s, the Laverda 500 – while extremely competent – was never a contender; a too small dealer network inhibited expansion, and a too high price prohibited widespread adoption. While technologically sound and a major step forward in the middleweight class, the 500 was not the sales success that was envisioned. Stuck with a slow selling model and hungry for image, Laverda re-worked the 500 into the Formula – a one make race bike. What you see here is just such a rare machine.

1979 Laverda Formula 500 for sale on eBay

Starting with the bones of the street bike, Laverda stripped off all of the road going concessions such as lights, signals and horn (although these came in a box when the bike was purchased new). In all, the feature deletions resulted in a savings of 35 pounds from the already svelte 500 machine – tipping the scales at a scant 337 lbs dry. And with a DOHC 8-valve parallel twin (air cooled) pumping out just over 50 horsepower (thanks to revised cams and higher compression pistons over the standard 500), the Formula was relatively potent. Bespoke rear sets and clip on bars were added, as was the incredible bodywork. With this bike, aspiring racers (no professionals allowed) were able to join the Coppa Laverda (Laverda Cup), with Laverda providing technical support and available spares. The race series ran in Italy, and was a huge success from 1978 to 1981. It was even duplicated in other parts of Europe – notably Belgium and Germany – and convinced Laverda to race it professionally. The Laverda 500 was successful in such endurance races such as the 24 hours of Montjuich as well as the fabled Isle of Man.

From the seller:
Very rare Laverda Formula road registered,100% original, unrestored conditions, the bike has raced 3 races in 1979.

Only 200 Formula was been made and only 20 was been registered for road use

As with all smaller Italian builds, numbers vary. Estimates of rarity range between a low of 175 units, to a high of 210. That is not very many. Plus it was a race bike – and we all know how difficult preserved longevity can be for old racers. They are generally handed down, modified, wrecked, rebuilt, modified again, and the cycle continues. Add to the fact that these were for a European only series, and you will be hard pressed to find one outside of Italy. And as far as the street bike status goes, all Formula machines were sold new with the electrics and bits to make them road worthy, AND they had a street title (!). While not many Formulas found their way onto the streets, we should all rejoice that some (such as this one) did.

There is not too much info on this particular machine, although there are some decent (but low res) pictures. This is an extremely rare Laverda, and undoubtedly has some interesting history behind if if those pieces could talk. This looks to be a Series II model, as the original builds had a one piece tank/tail section. The latter variants had a two-piece setup that allowed for easier access to the engine and components. This bike is located in Italy – but given it’s rarity I didn’t think you would mind. Bidding action has been VERY slow for such a find, with ZERO bids on a $15,900 opening ask. That does not appear terribly out of line with current values today, as this Formula would make a wonderful addition to any collection. Check it out here before it’s too late. Good Luck!!

MI

Rhymes with Orange: 1979 Laverda Formula 500
Laverda December 28, 2018 posted by

Bet on Black: 1998 Laverda Black Strike Cafe Racer for Sale

As Laverda rose from the ashes of the 1970s, they saw Ducati as a natural rival, inspiration, and target. Yes, I know that Laverda continued to produce new motorcycles into the 1980s, but those were just 1970s engines wrapped in new clothes, a pattern that would continue when the company was reborn in the 1990s… So as the 750S was intended to target the Ducati 748, the Boys from Breganze needed something to compete with, and hopefully sell as well as, Ducati’s parts-bin success story, the fabled Monster. Enter, the Laverda Ghost Strike.

The original Ghost used a trellis-style frame apparently intended to mirror the Ducati Monster, although the restyled Strike version seen here used a beam frame designed by the famed Nico Bakker, along with restyled bodywork and a twin-headlamp setup in a handlebar-mounted bikini fairing. Interestingly, the Ghost was available with both trellis and aluminum beam frames concurrently to suit different stylistic tastes. Fortunately, geometry and weight are identical, so the bike’s excellent handling was unaffected.

High-quality components like Paioli suspension and Brembo brakes spoke to Laverda’s serious intent, and the bike was one of the first production motorcycles with a centrally-located fuel cell. In this case, the aluminum cell is fitted behind the engine, leaving the “gas tank” to be an airbox, possibly to the confusion on new riders and onlookers since there is no gas cap, just a blank expanse of plastic. The actual filler cap is in the tail, under a plastic panel or a pillion pad, depending on what mood you’re in that day.

It was the engine, a development of the 500cc parallel twin first seen in the Alpino and introduced way back in 1977, was always the Zanè-era Laverda’s Achilles’ heel. It wasn’t a bad starting point, as it already had dual overhead-cams, four valves per cylinder, and a six-speed gearbox. For this more modern application, the air and oil-cooled parallel twin was punched out to 668cc and fitted with Weber-Marelli fuel injection for a claimed 70hp.

Viewed in isolation, the engine did a fine job: it was naturally compact, liked to rev, and made decent power. Unfortunately, it was up against the torquier, two-valve Pantah in the Monster and needed to be worked harder for the same result. The engine later gained a few cubes and liquid-cooling for the Sport models like the Formula, but that bike was pitched against the Ducati 748 and, while handling as as good or better, the Laverda’s 1970s roots were unfortunately showing by then.

Overall, the Ghost’s styling is… distinctive. It’s not a pretty bike, but looks aggressive and purposeful, a worthy competitor to the Monster. However, while both are designed to provide an Italian bike experience for the proles, the Monster looks like its own thing, but the Ghost hasn’t aged quite as gracefully and doesn’t hide it’s parts-bin origins as well.

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Laverda Black Strike Cafe Racer

If you are looking at this auction, you probably know what this is. This is a Zane Laverda Black Strike Café Racer 650/668. This is an extremely rare motorcycle. Only 50 total were built and only a few made it to the United States. Of these, this one has only 1 true mile on the odometer.

The black strike edition was a kind of a one-off within the Zanè-era lineup and incorporated all the top shelf goodness of the Laverda marque at the time; a Nico Bakker designed frame, 3 sets of Brembo 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 Zanè-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.

The air-cooled 668 engine and Nico Bakker 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.

The Black Strike model was produced in 1997/98 at the number of 50 units and since Laverda is now a mothballed marque within Aprilia Piaggio this is definitely a rare bike.

The story behind this bike supposedly is, that Laverda brought a handful of bikes to Laguna Seca in 1997 to have them tested and rideen by the press. After a couple bikes were crashed by journalists, Laverda pulled the remaining bikes, but instead of sending them back to Italy, they passed them on to selected dealers. This is one of these bikes. 

Original owner. Bike purchased from Space Coast Cycle in Coco Beach. It was started by the dealership when bought and never started  again.  

Other Zanè Laverdas for sale: 1999 Formula and 1998 Legend. Inquiries welcome.

Some specs: 

  • Air/Oil cooled parallel twin, four stroke, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, Electronic Fuel Injection
  • 6-speed
  • 668cc Bore x Stroke 78.5x 68.8mm 
  • Compression 9.0:1 
  • 70HP @8,000 rpm  – 61Nm@ 7250 rpm

Buyer to make arrangements for shipping/pick-up

Bike is located south of Cleveland, Ohio.

I’d never actually heard of the Black Strike Café Racer before seeing this, which makes sense since they only made 50 of them, according to the seller. A good Monster offers Italian looks, sound, and performance potential with much better parts availability, but the big appeal of any Zanè-era Laverda is rarity: I ran into a nice, yellow Ghost Strike here in SoCal and my riding buddies had absolutely never heard of the damn thing. All “murdered out,” this Black Strike does have a very sinister 90s vibe that I like and, if being different is your thing, you sure as hell won’t see another one at your next bike night. If anyone knows a good Laverda mechanic, feel free to share in the comments…

-tad

Bet on Black: 1998 Laverda Black Strike Cafe Racer for Sale
Laverda November 7, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula for Sale

Update 12.12.2018: The seller has notified us that this bike has SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Sort of an homologation special for a company that wasn’t planning to actually go racing, the Laverda 750S Formula used premium components to upgrade the company’s existing fully-faired sportbike. After falling on hard times in the 1980s, Laverda was resurrected in the 1990s, with production centered in the town of Zanè, so you’ll sometimes see these referred to as “Zane-era Laverdas” to differentiate them from the 1970s classics. The revitalized company managed to make very nice sports motorcycles with limited resources, and the Formula took their  750S and added some of the very best components available at the time to create something they hoped would give them the kind of reputation and attention Ducati enjoyed with their Tamburini-designed superbikes.

Laverdas of the period used either a steel trellis or an aluminum beam frame that apparently shared the same geometry, which was a very good thing. The Nico Bakker-designed beam frame, polished as seen here on the Formula, gave the 750S an excellent foundation, and Paioli suspension kit at both ends just sweetened the deal: every period review I’ve seen raved about the bike’s handling. Unfortunately, they also noted the bike’s performance deficit, compared to the Ducati 748.

These days, parallel twins can be made to be very smooth and refined with balance shafts and other trickery, but at the time, the only real reason Laverda chose that configuration was practicality: they already had one. Dating back to the 1970s Alpino, the existing air-cooled 500cc unit had its carburetors replaced with Weber-Marelli fuel injection for more modern performance, and was enlarged to 668cc, then again to 747cc. Along the way, it gained liquid cooling, although you can still see the cooling fins once the fairings are off.

Claimed peak power was on par with the competing Ducati 748, but the reality was that, although handling was possibly even superior to the Ducati, the engine was not. It was peaky, a bit thrashy, and it loved to rev, although you really had to work the six-speed gearbox to keep up with a 748. That shouldn’t bother prospective buyers today: either bike would get murdered by a modern 600. And while the 748 is a design classic, it’s almost too familiar, a cliché. The Formula, on the other hand, is a very exclusive machine, with around 600 examples built. It’s also more comfortable, if you care about that, and while the Formula is not as pretty as the 748, it is very striking in these black-and-orange colors.

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula for Sale

1999 Laverda 750 Formula S. 750CC  (6790 ORIGINAL MILES)  $12,500

This is a 2 owner bike, part of a very rare large collection now being offered for the first time via the web. Current owner is an avid collector of pure, rare Automotive and motorcycles. This concourse conditioned bike has all the correct lightweight carbon parts and pieces. Never been on a track, abused or laid down. In a private heated collection, never seen rain. This investment will only increase over time and you will be very hard pressed to ever see another one, clearly not like this with these miles.

Laverda’s Formula S is essentially a factory built special edition of the basic Formula, with extensive engine tuning and even more special chassis componentry. The original Formula was a 650, built in 1996, with the Formula 750 following a year later in 1997.

The engine work was more extensive than most factory specials, and took the Formula almost to a race tune straight from the showroom. Updated cams, revised fuel injection settings and carbon fiber Termignoni mufflers all boost top end power to an impressive claimed figure of (92BHP)- almost as much as the Ducati 748. The chassis also compares to the Ducati being considerably lighter and with suspension and braking components every bit as impressive.

Fully adjustable Paioli Upside Down forks and monoshock. Fully floating Brembo racing brakes and lightweight Marchesini wheels all play their part in giving the Formula impeccable manners for the street or track. The polished aluminum beam frame looks much more impressive than the Ducati’s thin steel tube!! A single seat race style fairing incorporates stylish cooling louvers and twin endurance style headlights, and is finished in Laverda Orange, the firm’s racing colors.

This is your chance to stand out and be different with a stunning example of Italian heritage.

I’ve lusted after these for a while now, and this appears to be a very clean, low-mileage example that should appeal to collectors with a taste for the exotic. The mirrors appear to have been removed and the standard exhausts were carbon fiber, but these Termignoni parts are a desirable extra. Certainly, the name “Laverda” has a great deal of cachet with collectors and this bike represents a missed opportunity for the brand: it’s a good, if flawed bike, and really did offer an interesting alternative to the Ducati. Parts for Zane-era Laverdas can be tricky to source, depending on what you need, but I expect this one will end up leading a pampered life in a collection somewhere and won’t rack up enough miles to matter very much.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula for Sale
Laverda August 18, 2018 posted by

Objet d’Art: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC for Sale

Wow, two Laverda 750 SFCs in one week, both with very serious pricing. Although, of the two, this one appears to be more original and is in much nicer, if less patina-d condition and appears to… what the hell, it’s decorating a New York City apartment?! Oh well, I guess if I had the money for real estate in NYC with a stylish freight elevator, I’d probably do exactly the same thing…

It has no real bearing on its quality but, since I don’t get to see most of these bikes in the flesh, I do appreciate some decent photography, and the SFC is certainly a deserving subject. I realize that orange isn’t likely to be too many people’s first choice for their fantasy motorcycle, but it just looks so right on a Laverda: it’s a brash color on a purposeful bike. These really were road-legal race bikes, the ultimate development of Laverda’s rugged parallel-twin platform before their switch to the triple, and the SFC had a history of racing success.

Laverda got their start making agricultural machinery, and their natural tendency to overbuild everything to increase reliability extended to their motorcycles. The two-cylinder engine had five main bearings and the very highest-quality components were used wherever possible: Ceriani provided the suspension, Bosch the ignition components, and Nippon-Denso the starter. Introduced as a 650cc machine, the displacement was quickly increased to 750cc so it could compete against bikes from Triumph, Norton, Ducati, and Moto Guzzi.

The SFC or “Super Freni Competizione” was named for its enormous magnesium Ceriani four leading-shoe front brake, although the later machines used a more effective dual disc setup as seen here. The 1974 model also featured improvements to the frame to make it lower and lighter, and suspension was updated as well. Engines were far from standard, and the bikes produced between 71 and 80hp.

The seller mentions that the sale is motivated by a move to the West Coast. New York City seems to an outsider like it’d be an amazing place to be a biker, and the traffic means motorcycles make huge practical sense. But road surface quality that wouldn’t look out of place in Berlin at the end of World War II and traffic that more closely resembles gladiatorial combat than any sort of cooperative endeavor combine to make motorcycle riding in NYC less fun than it should be. Traffic in much of California is pretty awful as well, but legal lane-splitting, beautiful roads, and year-round riding weather would have me reconsidering a sale of this one if it were on display in my living room…

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

Original 1974 “17000 series” Laverda SFC #17093 in perfect unrestored condition. If you don’t know the history of these extremely limited and hand-built racers, just Google them.  She is the best time capsule in existence for sure. She has not been on the road since the late 70’s.  Previous to my purchase as third owner, she was in a private collection for 30+ years in the Southwestern USA. I purchased her from the second owner as he was selling his collection due to his advanced age and he wanted her to go to a collector who would hopefully leave her untouched. This SFC also has its original “2-into-1” exhaust pipe that I removed as the original “2-into-2” exhaust pipe looks better when the bike is on display.  The original “2-into-1” pipe is included in the sale. I have turned over the engine every other month over the last few years. She still has all of her original fuel lines, taps and all hardware as included from day one. The only missing item is the original battery… lol. She has 2,930 miles and still has her original tires. I have a collection of over 20 motorcycles of which this is my clear favorite. She resides in my home office in New York City and I get to admire her every time I work at home. Time for her to find a new home as I am downsizing my collection as we are planing a move to the West Coast. I believe she deserves to reside in a museum or as any new owner seems fit. Re-commision her and take her to the track! I have often thought of re-commsioning her and taking her out as she should be ridden; but I never seem to be able to remove the original fuel lines and tires, etc. to make that happen. These time capsules are original only once in its life, and she remains that way to this day. I am happy to answer any questions.  f you would like to see any particular pictures, just ask. The bike can be seen by appointment in New York City. Deposit due within 24 hours and final payment by wire or bank check. If by bank check, bike does not leave my possession until the funds are cleared.  Good Luck!

This example is basically a museum piece, less a living document and more of an archival record, although the owner does “turn the engine over.” I think he means “by hand” so I’m sure it will still need recommissioning if the new owner plans to ride it. It has a the full dash with both a tachometer and speedometer, something relatively rare among the SFCs I’ve seen for sale in the past few years: like many exotic bikes and cars of the period, they were a bit like snowflakes, and no two were exactly alike. With fewer than 600 produced during the entire run, the SFC is one of the most desirable sportbikes of the 1970s, and prices have obviously been increasing as a result. What’s it worth? Well last week’s was obviously a bridge too far for our readers, but this one, while still a very expensive proposition, is slightly less of one: the Buy It Now is only $135,000! Perhaps the nearly perfectly-preserved condition helps justify the asking price, although the last couple examples we featured were less than half that and in very nice condition…

-tad

Objet d’Art: 1974 Laverda 750 SFC for Sale