Tagged: 750SF

A Rose by Any Other Name: 1969 Laverda 750GT for Sale

1975 Laverda 750GT R Side Front

Like Lamborghini, Laverda began building something other than fast, race-ready exotics. In fact, both manufactured agricultural machinery prior to branching out into supercars and superbikes, respectively. In Laverda’s case, that experience building durable, rugged farm equipment translated directly into motorcycles like this 1969 750GT, and the Laverda parallel-twins were famous for being over-engineered, with five main bearings in the engine, and for using electrical components sourced from Bosch and Nippon Denso. Reliability and build-quality were considered to be excellent when the bikes were new.

1975 Laverda 750GT L Engine2

Very early bikes had a 650cc displacement, but this grew to 744cc very quickly, owing to the expectation that the bigger engine would drive US sales. The bike weighed a little over 500lbs with fuel, and power was a very respectable 60hp for the 750cc version of the twin, with a top speed of over 100mph. The first Laverdas came to the US labeled as “American Eagles” instead of Laverdas, although many have been rebadged at this point. An American company that imported various bikes under a more patriotic brand, American Eagle had folded by 1970 and Laverdas were badged as Laverdas thereafter.

1975 Laverda 750GT Dash

It wasn’t that long ago that Laverda 750s were going for less than $5,000. They weren’t easy to find of course, but their collectability was in a bit of limbo and you could pick them up for a relative song. These days, even the earlier, “American Eagle” branded bikes are commanding nearly double that amount. The later 750SF or “Super Freni” has a distinctive, hairy-chested 70s vibe, with blocky styling and some vivid colors. But the earlier bikes like this one look much more like an Italian Commando, with that mini tank rack and the set of Smiths-looking gauges instead of the later, green-faced Honda-looking items… If you’re tastes run to the classic, the earlier Laverda twins offer power and reliability, with a dash of British class.

1975 Laverda 750GT Front Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1969 Laverda 750GT for Sale

This is a very early Laverda 750cc GT. Frame and (matching) engine number: 1392. The ownership lists this bike as a 1969 model, but according to Tim Parker’s definitive Laverda reference (the ‘green book’) the serial number makes it a 1968 machine. One way or another, Laverda started the serial numbers for their twins at 1000, and they made a handful of 650s before upping the displacement to 750 – so this is one of the first 350 to 400 Laverda twins made.

I’ve owned this bike for almost 30 years. The speedo shows about 8,000 kilometers, but it was a new rebuilt instrument when I restored the bike about 8 years ago and doesn’t correspond especially well with the speedo drive gear, so that has very little to do with how far the bike has actually been ridden. It probably hasn’t seen an awful lot of use, however. It had been a basket job for about 10 years when I bought it back in the late 80s. I finally got around to starting a frame-up rebuild on it about 10 years ago.

The engine was completely stripped down and rebuilt – new pistons and cams, clutch plates, as well as any bearings, gaskets and seals that needed replacement. As you can see, it’s pretty pristine on the outside, and it’s just as clean inside, too. Since the rebuild it’s averaged about 1,000 kms (indicated) per summer, with oil changes every fall before going back into heated indoor storage for the winter.

It starts on the first turn of the crank, idles very steadily and pulls crisply to 6,500 rpm all 5 gears without any fuss or bother. Message me and I’ll send you a link to see a short video on YouTube showing this bike being started from cold as well as a bit of running footage.

10:1 ‘SFC’-type pistons were installed when I did the rebuild, as the original 7.7:1 compression ratio was a bit too laid back for modern roads, in my opinion. In combination with the 30mm square-slide carbs and medium-profile cams, this gives very torquey low-end and mid range response. Unlike some of the hairier (for their day) later Laverda twins, this set-up revs up from idle very smoothly and progressively — and makes for easily manageable around town riding. But it’s happiest loping down secondary roads at about 3,000 rpm – with the ‘cutback’ style Laverda pipes producing a nicely rorty, but not overly antisocial exhaust note. If you take a look at my YouTube video, you’ll get the idea.

This bike is very clean, but it’s not a museum piece. Over the years, I’ve gone over it from front to rear, inside and out, and I’ve sorted out a number of the Achilles’ heels that years of experience has taught me to look out for on Laverda twins in general and on this model in particular.

1975 Laverda 750GT L Engine

The seller’s description is much more detailed than shown above, but well worth a read: he obviously knows the bike inside and out, and is happy to share details of the restoration and the bike’s history, something that always inspires confidence. He even offers up post-sale “technical assistance” which has to be a first! Basically, if you’ve ever wanted an early Laverda twin, this might be worth a serious look. Bidding is very active on this bike, with very little time left on the auction. But the Reserve has not been met at $7,900 so it’s obvious that the seller is well aware of the bike’s increasing value. With under 8,000 miles on the clock, there’s plenty of life left in this Laverda: some parts can be scarce, but most of what you need to keep them running should be available, and the basic construction is extremely durable.

-tad

1975 Laverda 750GT R Side

Classy Survivor: 1975 Laverda 750SF for Sale

1975 Laverda 750SF L Side

Bikes like this Laverda 750SF really appeal to me. I’m not especially concerned with originality, or perfection when it comes to cars and bikes: it’s not that I don’t appreciate a museum-perfect example, or a perfectly turned out custom creation with one-off parts. It’s that I know that’s best choice for other people, or people who can afford to have multiple versions of their favorite vehicles.

1975 Laverda 750SF R Side Front

I also realize that these vehicles were generally not perfect from the factory: compromised by half-understood or half-baked emissions requirements that barely functioned, or engineering solutions that didn’t work as intended, “originality” is interesting, but sometimes overrated. It isn’t like vintage bikes necessarily performed as the manufacturers intended, even when brand new, rolling right off the showroom floor.

So really, what I’m looking for in a motorcycle is something that cleans up well, but isn’t pristine enough that I’d be afraid to actually ride it…

1975 Laverda 750SF Dash

Laverda’s parallel twin, like many of the formerly affordable 1970s motorcycles, have been steadily appreciating in value. Although rarer Jota and race-ready SFC models have seen the biggest jump, even more pedestrian SF models are seeing their pricing finally start to match their relatively high-quality. From the get-go, they were built to last, and used quality switchgear and components that made a lie of the “Italian reliability” stereotype, although the price was a fairly high initial cost.

1975 Laverda 750SF L Side Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Laverda 750SF for Sale

Built August 74. This bike to me is a survivor, tank and side covers have been repainted cyber gray. They were painted orange when I got it and paint was not in good condition. My first Laverda was dark gray so I wanted the same. Myself and friend Scott Potter noted Laverda restorer of motolaverda.com rebuilt the engine. New rings, honed cylinders and lapped valves. Crank bearings and rod bearings were in great condition as was the trans. I replaced the swing arm bushings along with the tires (Bridgestone Spitfires). This bike runs and rides great. It is a rider not a show bike. I will let the pictures do the talking.

1975 Laverda 750SF L Side Engine

Although it could be more orange, that’s easily fixed and this is otherwise exactly the kind of bike I’d be looking for personally. Laverdas have an excellent reputation for durability, and the ownership community prides itself of the do-it-yourself-ness required by a long-defunct brand that never produced that many bikes to begin with. It’s a testament to the original’s quality construction that so many examples are still on the road today.

Move quickly, as there’s just one day left on the auction. Bidding is up to just north of $5200, well short of where these would normally be expected to land.

-tad

1975 Laverda 750SF R Side Naked

Reader’s Ride: 1972 Laverda 750SF for Sale

1972 Laverda 750SF Gold R Side

Regular readers know I’m a fan of the tough-but-sensitive machines that were made by Laverda, before they went the way of the dinosaur. They just seem to have the right combination of butch engineering and overbuilt construction, wrapped in simple, elegant style that suggests a hardened thug in a custom-tailored suit. This particular example was submitted by one of our loyal readers and looks to be well worth your consideration.

Laverda started out making agricultural machinery in Breganze, Italy, and their history of rugged, overbuilt engineering solutions bled through into their motorcycles: the parallel twin found in the 750SF had five main bearings! Parts not manufactured by Laverda were all selected for their quality and reliability: Ceriani suspension, Bosch ignition components and a Japanese Nippon-Denso starter. The big Laverdas were always a bit on the heavy side, owing to their heavy construction, but had stable handling and made great endurance racing machines.

Early bikes like this one had either a Laverda drum brake or a magnesium Ceriani four leading shoe front brake. This giant drum actually gave the SF its name: “Super Freni”.

1972 Laverda 750SF Gold Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Laverda 750SF for Sale

From the seller:

1972 Laverda twin cylinder 750 SF. This is the model with the huge Laverda designed front drum brake. Electric start, starts first time with choke, easy low loping idle after short warm up.

Pulls from 1000 rpm like a locomotive and howls at crusing speed. Custom 2 into one exhaust and larger 36 mm Delortro carbs. An over built, bullet proof reliable italian masterpiece.

Works shocks and all stainless bolts and fasteners. No wrench marks. Small chip in paint on tank as shown in the video and pix.

Manuals, parts list and spare head set with cam and valves included.

All electrics and mechanical work and feel “right”.

Purchased in Feb. from John Falloon at Made in Italy Motorcycles in the UK.

Texas plates, registration and title.

1972 Laverda 750SF Gold Dash

He’s also helpfully included a link to YouTube of the bike starting and running from cold.

Bidding is up to $3,350.00 which is well south of where this one will likely end up. It’s a gorgeous machine and, while I still prefer my Laverdas in vivid orange, this is a very classy shade of gold that really flatters the bike and isn’t quite as shout-y.

-tad

1972 Laverda 750SF Gold Engine

1971 Laverda 750SF for Sale

1971 Laverda 750 SF L Side

One of these days, someone will revive the Laverda brand but, until then, we’ll have to make due with browsing the classified ads for vintage machines like this 1971 Laverda 750 SF.  Laverda got it’s start the way so many Italian motorcycle companies did, getting the postwar population mobile.  Their early business consisted of small-displacement bikes for racing and street.  But the writing was on the wall, and the company knew it had to build bigger machines to compete on the world stage, especially in America.

1971 Laverda 750 SF Dash

The 650 parallel twin debuted in 1966, with a 750cc version ready by 1968.  The machine it powered was fast and reliable, but expensive.  They were heavy bikes, nearly 500lbs fully fueled, with a 112 mph top speed and stable handling. The powerplant was very smooth for a parallel-twin, but still characterful and strong.

The original eBay listing contains very little information about the bike, but it looks clean and : 1971 Laverda 750 SF for Sale

1971 Laverda 750 SF R Engine

I normally prefer these in classic Laverda orange, but this blue example is stunning.  It’s an early example, with simpler Smiths-looking clocks, knee pads, a different fuel tank with a pronounced dip where it meets the seat, and the huge drum brake that gave the bike it’s SF [“Super Freni”] designation.

The body of the eBay listing contains very little information, but the photos are excellent and show a bike that looks to be in tip-top shape.  I’m saving my pennies for one of the Laverda triples, but I have to say, I’d be very tempted to snap up one of the SF’s if the right one came along.

-tad

1971 Laverda 750 SF Headlight

Very Green 1972 Laverda 750 SF for Sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve written about the “Super Freni” Boys from Breganze in the past, so my love for the overbuilt Italian twins is pretty well known but oh, it’s so green, so impossibly green! Loud, Italian, and classy, with retina-searing paint.  Not a bike for introverts, then.

An evolution of the earlier 650 twin that was Laverda’s entry into the big-bore sportbike wars of the late 60’s and early 70’s, this early 750 is equipped with the enormous drum brake that gave the machine its SF initials.  Laverda used the best parts available when constructing their machines, so they had a reputation for reliability that spits in the face of Italian, we-use-leftover-pasta-to-insulate-our-wiring stereotypes.

The bikes were fast and very stable, if a bit heavy, owing to their overbuilt nature: the Laverda family actually started out making agricultural machinery and their attention to rugged detail bled through into their motorcycles.  Laverdas weren’t exactly nimble, but they were fast, they held a line, and they held together, which is more than could be said for many of their contemporaries.

I actually really like this color.  Although it’s obviously more commonly associated with Moto Guzzi, the seller claims it’s pretty close to a factory Laverda hue although from a different model year.  The photo quality isn’t the best so it’s hard to tell for sure exactly, but it’s a pretty vivid green my eyes, my eyes!

From the original eBay listing: Very Green 1972 Laverda 750 SF for Sale

“Completely restored. Every nut and bolt. Every. Bearing. Seal gasket. Very Rare 1972 Laverda 750 SF. Rare because not many 750 SFs were equipped with Nippon Denso speedo and tach with Lucas switch gear and Bosch headlight also correct for the 1972 is the Lucas signals and reflectors..  100% correct restoration except for the paint. Paint is closer to the factory 1973 color. 1972 was a darker green that was not the best looking green. Completely rebuilt from front to back. Including correct for release in 1972 New Dunlop TT100 tires. Rebuilt engine 1st over ASSO pistons. Rebuilt crank using Carrillo rods. Crank was rebuilt at Mongoose engendering  . All new valves and cam bearings. High volume oil pump.  Correct Boranni rims. Updated swingarm to bronze bushings. Rebuilt gauges with new gauge faces. All new cables. All new stainless steel exhaust headers and mufflers. Nothing has been left untouched. Rebuilt using mostly stainless fasteners . Has only done about 2 miles. Engine still needs breaking in.”

Considering how durably constructed these Italian twins were originally, this rebuilt machine should last a lifetime.  Actually, several lifetimes: you’d probably want to consider it an heirloom, since it will very likely outlast its next owner.

-tad

Two 1974 Laverda 750 SF’s For Sale

Prowling the internet, filling a fantasy garage is an addictive way to kill time when you should be working, or doing laundry, or spending time with your kids.  I assume that lots of the people that visit this site and its sister sites do so to save precious time: we’ve done most of the browsing for you.

I’ve written about my love of the Laverda twins a couple times in the past: they’re stylish, affordable, handle well, and are relatively reliable.  They’re also pretty rare, and finding parts and good mechanics to install them can be tough: so difficult, in fact, that a major part of the Cult of Laverda involves working on them yourself.

So back to the “rare” part.  Imagine my surprise when, browsing eBay (so you don’t have to), populating my own fantasy garage, I found two of them for sale at the same time.

The first is a little bit custom, with a shortened tail and non-standard bars.

1974 Laverda For Sale

The description is pretty spare.  From the original ad:

This is an Italian made 1974 750cc Laverda Caffe style Motor Cycle, completely rebuilt including the motor and and drive train.  The paint is black onyx with a clear coat.  This is a near perfect show bike with approxamently 100 miles on, its won several trophies and has always been stored inside.  Runs very well and comes with manuals, several books and owners club magazines.

The mileage is listed at 17,381, pretty low for a 37 year old motorcycle.

The second ad has quite a bit more history, including details of work and modifications that have been done and a list of “GOOD” and “NOT SO GOOD” things to consider before purchase.  The list of “GOOD” is much longer: the bike is listed as having 9800 miles and has been obsessively maintained.

1974 Laverda 750 SF

From the eBay listing:

This is a very nice 1974 750 SF, I had the bike for about 7 years. I bought it from a guy in Illinois; it belonged to his father who had recently passed away. He did not know much about the bike. Well known Laverda expert Scott Potter did a total rebuilt for me

I took it this bike to California for the Laverda owners meeting where Piero Laverda selected it as the best 750 SF special (I had clip on and rearsets at that time).

After few months it started showing some rust, I hate rust so I did a second restoration. I zinc plated every nut and bolt, I changed the wheel spokes and the front brake rotors to stainless steel and I painted it from blue to yellow.

I took the bike  to the Luckenback vintage show and the bike won the first prize in the category. (Both prices will go with the bike new owner if wanted).

One year later I painted her again to the color in the posted pictures.

It runs very well. Not 100% original, but I have all the parts in perfect condition to make this bike 100% original. With very little effort this could be a show bike.

Laverda began making big, parallel-twin bikes in the late 60’s that were known for their overbuilt reliability.  Well-engineered and heavy, stable and fast, they made a name for themselves in endurance racing.

The 750cc parallel-twin motor produced about 60hp, propelling the bike to a 112 mph top speed and the bike weighed about 500 lbs fully fueled.  Early bikes sported Laverda’s own massive front drum brake that gave the Super Freni (“Super Braking”) its name and the black bike has this beautiful item.  The second is equipped with the later twin discs.

Each bike has a different character, but both are in excellent shape.  I’d be happy to own either of them.

-td