Posts by tag: nico bakker

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 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
Yamaha May 4, 2017 posted by

Track Weapon: Nico Bakker-Framed 1980 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

I was almost hesitant to post this monster, concerned that our passionate but sometimes purity-obsessed readers would find it less of an object of desire and more an abomination. For sure, this Nico Bakker-framed Yamaha TZ750 is a mongrel, a beast. A chimera, if you will. The engine? A ferocious liquid-cooled two-stroke four-cylinder race engine and six-speed gearbox from the TZ750, which alone should be enough to at least give this thing a second look. The Bakker frame is from 1980, although it was purpose-built for the TZ to cure the bike's notoriously sketchy handling. But then you've got mismatched 17" wheels, modern-ish suspension and R6 bodywork. Hey, at least it's almost all Yamaha-sourced!

And as a racing machine, the bike's constant evolution is far more in keeping with the original intent than some perfectly preserved collectible. In a way, it's even cooler than a period-correct TZ750: each and every one of those is a piece of history and should probably be cared for as such and ridden with kid gloves. This? It will handle better than folks like Kenny Roberts, who raced the TZ750 back when it was new, could ever have imagined and mere mortals can take it to the track and ride it in anger. And possibly not die.

When introduced in the 1970s, the TZ700 and TZ750 that followed became the bikes to beat on racetracks in Europe and in the United States, where they dominated AMA racing for years. This was a motorcycle from the era where engines were making rapid leaps in terms of raw performance, while suspension design, tire technology, and handling advanced more slowly: even the early bikes with just 90hp were shredding rear tires and trying to eject their pilots. By the time 1980 rolled around, the TZ was making much more like 140hp in a lightweight package that was good for 185mph top speed, with solid reliability.

Early machines used a frame with a twin-shock rear suspension that was later updated one with thicker tubing and a monoshock in 1975. Unfortunately, handling was never much more than "adequate," with pilots hanging on for dear life as much actually riding them, which explains the Nico Bakker frame seen here, something the seller claims is just one of five made for the TZ. Nico Bakker is, of course, one of the most talented frame designers of all time, and his work has graced racebikes, low-volume specials, and even production roadbikes built by everyone from Suzuki to Laverda.

From the original eBay listing: Nico Bakker-Framed 1980 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

This is a 1980 Nikko Baker chassis TZ750. Number 5 of 5 that were built for the Big TZ. Yamaha used these aftermarket chassis to rectify the problems with their ill handling factory chassis. These frames were far superior to the stock units and Yamaha used them until they figured out a solution for their own. This bike has been modified with the correct pieces to keep it AHRMA and WERA legal. It is a weapon in any Vintage class you care to run it in. Nikko Baker used the Full Floater style rear suspension with a link and conventional type shock. As apposed to the limited adjustability of the stock mono shock modified backbone Moto Cross unit Yamaha was using. An Ohlins remote reservoir unit replaced that. Upgraded fork tubes ( conventional style ) from a late model Honda CBR900RR with adjustable internals from KPS suspension. Set up for a 180 lbs rider. A 17" Honda 5 spoke 3.5, aluminum wheel is used up front with 310mm HRC rotors and 4 piston Nissan calipers for stopping power. A billet Yoshimura top triple tree and aftermarket billet clip ons. As for the rear wheel it has a 3 spoke 17" Marvic 5.5 Magnesium wheel. Taking advantage of readily available, easy and inexpensive parts instead of the custom Nikko Bakers hand formed tank and tail section. A 2001 R6 tank was used along with a 2004 R1 race tail section. Fits excellently and can be aquired all over incase anything gets damage in a crash. We use the stock style fairing still. Nothing works as well or keeps the integrity of the original TZ like the stock unit. All the original body and engine parts that came on the unit go with the bike also. Like stock Yamaha forks and triple trees, Astrolite wheels ( 18" x 5.0 rear and 18" x 3.0 front ) Spondon front calipers, and hand formed aluminum fuel tank ect. Tank is about $2500 to $3000 and over a year wait time to get.

Engine wise it has a complete rebuild on her and every go fast goodie made for the TZ750. New Renstar individual cylinders with reed cages, Renstar billet crank shafts, new transmission ( set up and cut by Paul Gast ) Lentz chambers with 10" aftermarket aluminum silencers. Along with the 40mm Lectron high velocity power jet carburetors Magura 1/4 turn throttle and cables and Brembo radial master cylinder . It has all the best stuff to make an amazing Vintage liter bike slayer.  Bike comes with loads of spares too. Cylinders, heads, crankshafts, rod rebuild kits, pistons clutch parts, transmission, gearing and tons of spare Lectron tuning needles and parts. Also have the original factory round slide Mikuni carbs and cables. Plus more misc parts and gaskets.

I have only one issue. I couldn't source out a new Ignition stator and box. So after unit was completed i sent it out to be gone thru as a precaution. It will be back and installed on unit by time of delivery.

Is it a pure collectible museum-piece? Absolutely not, not even close. Is it beautiful? Well, if pure function is your idea of beauty, then maybe it is. Keep in mind that if you're a fan of originality and want something closer to the stock TZ750, the seller does mention that the original bodywork, wheels, and other parts will come with the bike, although I'd want to verify exactly what that includes before dropping money if that's the direction I wanted to go. I've got no idea how to value something like this, but the seller obviously does: the Buy It Now price is set at $45,000. The comments section is open, so let me know what you guys think about this beast! And remember: keep it civil guys.

-tad

Track Weapon: Nico Bakker-Framed 1980 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale
Laverda February 12, 2017 posted by

Formula for Success: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula

While there is no guaranteed formula for success in the motorcycling business, there are some pretty basic tenets worth following. The first is to start with a decent brand name and reputation. Laverda - building performance motorcycles since 1949 - fits that bill perfectly. The second rule is that the bike has to look good; as we all know, style sells. The Formula edition of the 750S offers full bodywork rivaling the best Italy has to offer (Bimota and Ducati included). Rule number three is to engineer the heck out of it to ensure a solid platform. Laverda rang up legendary framemeister Nico Bakker who created the robust chassis. The next step is to ensure adequate power - Laverda punched out their 650cc parallel twin to 750cc and the Formula edition provided uprated cams, revised fuel-injection settings and carbon-fibre Termignoni silencers to boost top-end power to aclaimed figure of 92bhp. The last step is to drizzle liberally with the best components money can buy, which Laverda did with Termi exhaust, Brembo binders, Paioli suspension front and rear, Marchesini wheels and Weber-Marelli electrics. What emerged as the 750S Formula was a handsome, potent machine that totally failed to turn the tides of Laverda's fortune. The company went under for good a few short years later.

1999 Laverda 750S Formula for sale on eBay

There is much to like about the 750S Formula. The parallel twin loves to rev, giving it a completely different character than the primary Italian competition, the Ducati 748. Handling is reported to be extremely nimble, with the combination of Nico Bakker chassis and Paioli suspension working well together. This is a proper sport bike with serious potential, but sadly with few real-world credentials. These were simply not produced in enough numbers to make a dent in the market, or in Laverda's finances.

From the seller:
1999 LAVERDA 750S FORMULA ,RARE 1 OWNER MOTORCYCLE ,NO ISSUES ,RUNS FANTASTIC ,PERFOMANCE CHIP INSTALLED AT DEALER STOCK CHIP INCLUDED ,VERY BEAUTIFUL AND RARE WITHFULL FAIRING AND TERMIGNONI EXHAUST ,NEW BATTERY ,ALL MANUALS ,CLEAN TITLE

Located in sunny California, this 750S Formula is listed with 26,672 miles on the clock. In addition to the numerous performance mods from the factory, this one also sports an aftermarket ECU chip (the stock chip is included in the sale). Overall the bike looks to be in good condition. The left side Termi shows some scratching, which could signal a kickstand incident (these bikes are known to sit rather high on their side stands). It doesn't look major, but worth investigating. As with all bikes from defunct manufacturers, replacement parts are going to be an issue - but may not be an immediate concern for well-cared for machines. Check it out here, and enjoy the last gasp from this storied Italian marque. If you've got experience with these models, please share your thoughts in our Comments section. Good Luck!!

MI

Formula for Success: 1999 Laverda 750S Formula
Nico Bakker February 2, 2017 posted by

Leonard Smalls approves: 2000 Nico Bakker Barracuda 1000 formerly owned by Nicolas Cage

Back on ebay after failing to sell in December of 2015, here is a Nikko Bakker crafted Barracuda 1000 that is said to have been previously owned by Nicholas Cage.

10-P1020019 (1)

2000 Suzuki TL1000 powered Nico Bakker on ebay

Collectible sportbikes typically meet at least one of the following criteria; be produced in limited numbers, been in pristine/OEM condition (or have very low mileage); have what was at the time new/revolutionary technology, be hard to find in its listed location and/or have a significant ownership history. In this case, we have a bike that meets  a significant number of these criteria.  The Barracuda is a Nico Bakker framed special powered by the Suzuki TL1000 power.  This particular Barracuda was previously owned by Nicholas Cage of Leaving Las Vegas (good!) and Ghost Rider (bad!) fame and could be the only one imported into the United States.

I have to admit I am a Nico Bakker fan, in large part because he designed the frame for my beloved Zane-era Laverda 750 series.  Apparently Nico Bakker is still building bikes in the small town of Heerhugowaard, Holland (about an hour north of Amsterdam).  You can see more about Nico Bakker from this post from 2012.

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From what I am have been able to find, the Barracuda has a custom frame built around a Suzuki TL1000 engine, suspension is WhitePower/WP or Ohlins, brakes are Brembo, the exhaust is Akrapovic and the 5-spoke wheels are Marvic.  More details about the components can be found here and there is a review from Carole Nash here.

15-P1020027

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Like most very small production runs, there isn't a lot of information on what it would take to maintain this bike.  Given that its core is a Suzuki TL1000 and the rest of the bits are high end (but well established), I would expect no significant maintenance issues but I would expect to need fresh fluids and given its age, probably fresh rubber/tires too.

From the seller:

  • Mileage is only 765 miles/1232km
  • Recent serviced included battery replacement
  • Features a steel tubular frame with alloy swingarm.  Powertrain from the Suzuki TL1000. 
  • Ride height, steering angle and even the swing arm height can be altered.

09-P1020018

So what is this Dutch crafted rarity worth?  Based on the previous listings it seems that the seller is looking for prices above $22,000 USD which seems like a lot for a bike that while rare, doesn't seem to inspire "lust".  (previous listing on ebay here.)   Also I am not sure if this one will appreciate in value.

I think this will only appeal to a serious collector, someone who already has a decent collection and and is looking to take a bit of a flyer on this one.    It may also appeal to  Zane-era Laverda fans and maybe that is the best potential new owner- someone who wants to see what's it like to have a Nico Bakker frame combined with a bonkers powerplant.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Leonard Smalls approves:  2000 Nico Bakker Barracuda 1000 formerly owned by Nicolas Cage