Fast and Orange: 1984 Laverda RGS 1000

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 R Side

I am only just recently coming around to the fully-faired style of the Laverda RGS, although this particular bike could easily make a convert of anyone, with beauty that is far more than skin-deep.

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 L Side Rear Wheel

The RGS was the final iteration of Laverda’s chest-thumping three-cylinder engine. While the later 120° crank versions introduced in 1982 were somewhat more “civilized” when compared to the earlier jackhammer-y 180° versions, they were still hugely emotional powerplants that made plenty of power.

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Front

Faced with the onslaught of cheap speed from Japan, Laverda managed to adapt: they were never really lightweight, cut-and-thrust bikes, and most of their racing success came as a result of their natural stability and durability. So it made sense for the company to pitch their roadbikes at the sport-touring end of the riding spectrum to well-heeled buyers who wanted a bit of class, some comfort, real character, and the exclusivity of an Italian motorcycle.

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 R Side Engine

The RGS may have been the last of the line, before Laverda’s resurrection in the 1990’s, but what a way to go! Reading the seller’s description, it’s clear that this one is very special: at first blush, it looks like a repainted RGS, but there’s much more going on here than meets the eye.

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda RGS 1000 TT1 for Sale

I have had several 180 Jotas, some RGS 1000s, a 1200 Mirage or two and the occasional SF.  My general report would be that the 120 triples are a little too civilized for my taste.  Augusto has fixed that!  It is probably not much help but this thing reminds me of a cup car.  I can readily see how just watching the wrench let the clutch out on this one might cause the weak at heart to step back and be content to watch.  This motor feels more like a worked 180 triple and comes on the pipe around 4K like a two stroke.  You aren’t taking a summer trip on this one.  Your neighbors will not like this bike.  I haven’t really measured the fuel consumption but I’d say “cup car” again for a clue.  If you are an RGS guy you will understand when I say that I can’t imagine managing this motor without the suspension and brake upgrades.  Fortunately Laverda was always on the case on frames.  The only thing they changed on the handful of factory TT1 race bikes was to go to chromoly to save a very small amount of weight.  This was at the top of European Formula I in 1982 and not for the faint of constitution.  I am trying to quit.  I’m down to just over a dozen from three times that.  Step right up if you think you are up to it.  People that make these available often refuse to sell to me, offended about how I  might use them after they “saved” them for decades.  Love to see it at the track myself.

The motor went to Augusto Brettoni’s works and was brought up in every regard to the factory TT1 specs.  The compression ratio is 11:1 pistons (9:1 RGS), 3 36mm carbs (32mm stock), the TT1 high lift cams with increased overlap, 41mm inlets (39.5) and 35mm exhausts (35), ported and flowed head, lightened crank, close ratio gear box and 3 into one exhaust.  105 hp at 8250 (~80 stock).

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Front Wheel

The seller’s description hits all the right notes for me: “your neighbors will not like this bike.” I always figure that type of thing is a fair exchange: “I hate your noisy leaf-blower that you use do blow dust into my yard and you hate my exotic, Italian motorcycle. So I’d say we’re about even. Oh, and by the way: your son thinks I’m way cooler than you.” Bidding is just below $6,300 with the reserve not yet met, which is no surprise to me, considering the work that’s gone into this very singular motorcycle.

I’d prefer a lighter blue for the number plate and headlight surround, more of an inversion of the Gulf livery. And those brackets used to mount the more modern Brembo calipers up front look a little off, but there’s otherwise little to complain about here. Honestly, I expect this bike to sell well, and I wish I were in a position to buy it. I’d definitely fulfill the seller’s wish and take this thing to the track once in a while.

-tad

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 L Side

 

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