Posts by tag: Ghost Strike

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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 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
Laverda February 3, 2015 posted by

Pair of Zané Laverdas for Sale: 1999 750S and 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike

 

1999 Laverda 750S L Side

Laverda was one of the unfortunate casualties of the Japanese onslaught of the 1970’s. Confronted by reliable, affordable multis from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda, many Italian and British companies found themselves in dire straights, unable to compete in showrooms or on the street. And while many marques have seen short-term resurrections courtesy of well-heeled enthusiasts, most have quickly disappeared back beneath the waves after initial hype gave way to the reality of competing against the manufacturing might of the Japanese Big Four. Mondial, Norton, Excelsior-Henderson, Moto Morini have all seen revivals that met with various levels of success. But Italian firm Laverda, famous for their bright orange endurance racing twins and triples, actually met with some success during their 1990’s reincarnation, creating funky alternatives to Ducati’s established exotica.

1999 Laverda 750S Fairing

The early “Zané-era” Laverdas made in Zané, Italy used an evolution of the earlier air-cooled parallel twin displacing 668cc’s. Later bikes added water-cooling and increased displacement to 750 in an attempt to maintain some semblance of parity with Ducati’s 748. They were always down on power compared to Japanese 750’s and even the Ducati, but handled with the best of the era: a beam frame by noted designer Nico Bakker was matched with Paoli suspension and the same quality Brembo brake package that graced the Ducati 748. Fuel goes into the tail, under the passenger pad, and into a central fuel cell, which should provide some amusement when filling up…

1999 Laverda 750S R Rear

Interestingly, there are two different Laverdas available this week. First up is this very nice, brilliantly yellow 1999 Laverda 750S. The original listing is extremely spare, but worth keeping an eye on for the bidding:

This is a very nice Laverda 750 S.  Motorcycle has new tires, runs well and has been tuned-up.  Too many motorcycles. 

With a Buy It Now price of just $5,500 a nice 750S should provide a lot of bang for the buck. The styling is vaguely Suzuki RF, with those Ferrari-looking side strakes, but I bet this will generate loads of attention at any gathering of bikers. While I definitely prefer the orange-and-black Formula, this looks to be in extremely nice condition.

1999 Laverda 750S Dash

The second machine is a 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike, a competitor for Ducati’s Monster. Powered by the smaller, air-cooled 668cc engine, the styling hasn’t aged as well as either the Monster or the fully-faired Laverda 750S, but should provide the same quality handling and extremely distinctive styling should make it a hit at local bike nights, since many people won’t have seen one in the flesh. They’re the very definition of “budget exotic.”

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike L Side

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

Less Than 20K Miles!!!
This is a 98 Laverda GhostStrike. The displacement is 668cc.
This is your chance to own a bike a little more rare and less common than the mass produced hyper-bikes!
Recently rebuilt topend on engine.
New rear brake pads.
Tires are in good condition, front is Michelin Pilot, rear is Dunlop Qualifier.
The bike runs and rides well, if you can push-start.
The electronic starter is worn out. And will need to be replaced.
There are some scratches on the left side of the bike from when it was dropped, but no mechanical issues other than the starter.
Actual mileage is 19071. 

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike Rear Wheel

The Ghost Strike isn’t really in perfect condition, with some scuffs, scrapes, and the non-functional starter mentioned in the listing. But they’re pretty much impossible to find in the States, and getting this one on the road shouldn’t be all that difficult.

1998 Laverda Ghost Strike Front Wheel

So take your pick. Parts aren’t too difficult to source for these, although they won’t be sitting on the shelf at your local dealership. And Laverdas have always been famed for being durable and, while the Zane-era bikes aren’t quite so overbuilt, they have a good reputation for reliability, and are straightforward to work on for shade-tree mechanics.

-tad

 

 

Pair of Zané Laverdas for Sale: 1999 750S and 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike
Laverda April 6, 2012 posted by

Ghost from the past: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike

For Sale: 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike

Located in the occasionally sunny state of Washington, this 1998 Laverda Ghost Strike is really the ghost of Christmas past. The historic Laverda name, now owned by Piaggio, is no longer being used on any current machinery. It is a poorly kept secret that Piaggio is looking for a buyer for the name, so hope springs eternal that the Laverda brand will once again rise up from the ashes.

The Ghost Strike aluminum beam chassis was developed under the control of legendary designer Nico Bakker. The components bolted on have similar pedigree: 40mm upside-down Paioli forks, a matching Paioli damper at the rear, requisite 320mm front discs clamped down with 4 piston Brembo calipers and a reported 70 HP from the air/oil cooled, fuel injected parallel twin. This particular example shows approximately 7,600 miles on the clock.

From the seller:
This bike is in excellent original condition, with the exception of custom F-4 SS 2 into 1 tuned exhaust, remapped FI and quality billet barend mirrors. Fun, fast, great handling bike with worlds best components available when manufactured. Easy to maintain, with parts available in North America and world wide. Bike runs like a top and was just serviced by Moto International of Sea. WA.

This bike is a really cool alternative to a Ducati Monster, Triumph Street Triple, or your basic Japanese naked bike. You will certainly not see your self on the road, and you will be secure in the knowledge that you are riding a legendary nameplate. Parts are (apparently) still available for these bikes, although I would plan for obsolescence at some point.

So what does a rare model of a now defunct brand go for on the open market? Well this auction has show only light interest, and the current bid is up to $2,038 with reserve still in place. $3,900 will put it in your garage, so the price of rarity is actually pretty low. To preserve history and add a legendary name plate to your collection, click the link to jump over to the auction. Good luck!!

MI