When you think “high speed touring” the usual suspects usually begin with BMW and then taper off quickly towards some muted, former sportbike, Japanese road missile (think Connie or otherwise). All good choices, to be sure. But if I challenged you to narrow your answer to cover the 1970s and 1980s, what would you say? BMW still comes to mind… but not a whole lot else. We’re not talking about the two-wheeled Winnebagos with which the Big Four did battle across the decades. We are talking about packing a briefcase and a small bag and streaking across the autobahn/autostrada at max velocity for an overnight trip. Compared to the rather staid Beemers, today’s RGS Executive was as exotic as a Ferrari, and just as rare.
The engine powering the RGS was Laverda’s long-serving and very charismatic three-cylinder 981cc engine, the legacy of the Jota. With the latest spec mill having a smoother 120° crankshaft – instead of the less refined 180° lumpy crank timing – and rubber mounts the big triple was very nearly civilized. But what really made the RGS was the bodywork. With a large, aerodynamic fairing, comfortable seat and swoopy tail section the RGS was spit and polish on the basic bones that were born in the mid-1970s. The top spec of the lineup – the Executive model – added fairing extensions for even more weather protection, bar risers and matching color-coded hard bags. Performance was strong for the time, suspension was courtesy of Marzocchi, and cast wheels and Brembo brakes rounded out the package. Expensive, exclusive and totally unique, the Laverda RGS Executive stands out as an icon from a manufacturer that has created quite a few.
From the seller:
I bought this Executive early this year with only 2500 miles. It was stored away in a warehouse since the late 80’s. It had the original Laverda FIAMM battery and original tires when I took possession. I performed the usual tasks that one does to a bike that’s been dormant for several years. I replaced the battery, tires, rebuilt front and rear brakes, clutch, front end, rebuilt carbs and did an added some fresh oil. I also installed a Sachse electronic ignition. It runs flawlessly but has some cosmetic issues. It’s an all original bike with original paint. It has a baseball size dent on the tank which can be seen in the photos. Also has an area on the topside of right pannier that’s been scratched or scuffed. The right side fairing extension is cracked. The aluminum piece of the right pannier fell of on the road and is missing. The original tank had old fuel in it for 3 decades and it was full of sticky gunk so an NOS tank was purchased installed. As you can see in the picture the NOS tank has a dent. The original tank was mint on the outside but the inside nit so much. The original tank recently fell over on my bench and now has a golf ball size dent in the same area as the installed tank. The bike will include the spare tank and if the buyer wants the original battery and phantom tires they will be included as well. All the cosmetic mishaps occurred while bike was in storage.
While the Laverda family threw in the towel in 1985, the company continued the occasional spasm of activity through the 1990s – including a rather audacious reboot attempt that unfortunately failed. Last owned by Aprilia and now fully shuttered, one can consider the long run of Laverda to be from 1873 until about 2004. That’s a run of over 130 years, for those of you counting along at home. And during that time Laverda made a name for itself as building motorcycles for real men; motorcycles with substance. This RGS Executive is one of the final models offered by Laverda, and remains a beautiful and collectible machine. Outclassed by the fit, finish and demonic attention to detail of the Japanese, the RGS brings something to the party that cannot be matched by any other motorcycle.
This particular RGS Executive is a very low mileage example: only 4,430 original miles claimed by the seller. That is not a lot of travel for a long-legged beast like this one. Overall the bike looks to be in decent shape, but there are some very obvious (and unfortunate) cosmetic issues. The grips are also not stock items. Keep in mind that we are talking about a low-volume, mostly hand-built machine from a defunct manufacturer. Parts specific to this model will be pricey and hard to find, although the fan base and support group for Laverda remains strong. Does the low number on the odometer equate to a high number at sale time? Given the rarity of the Executive model, there must be interest – but we really don’t have enough current data to determine value. Certainly the $15,900 OBO ask is strong, but not horribly out of line across the last 10 years or so. Check out this rare beauty here, and enjoy another cool bike that you won’t see every day. Good Luck!!