Of all the motorcycles being brought back from the dead these days, the only one I really want to see again is Laverda. But I wouldn’t want to see them reincarnated as some boutique retro-clunker with dual shocks, styled to look like an old bike with a sort-of new engine and a price aimed at born-again-bikers with a contrary streak or dewey-eyed nostalgists who “owned one back in the day.”
I’d love to see a modern sporting machine that embodies the classic Laverda virtues: stability, durability, and speed. And orange. Yeah, as far as I’m concerned “orange” is a virtue.
And machines like this 1974 SFC are why I want to see them resurrected. [Thanks to our reader George for forwarding this along to us!]
The SFC was a racing special developed from the standard SF1, a 650 and later 750cc parallel-twin machine introduced in the late 60’s to compete in the US against bigger American and British bikes. Laverdas had a reputation for being durable and overbuilt and performed well in endurance race events. What componenets they didn’t manufacture in-house, they sourced from the very best names in the business, and the results have a distinctly international flavor: Ceriani suspension from Italy, Bosch ignition components from Germany, and a Nippon-Denso starter from the Land of the Rising Sun.
The SFC was a true homologation special, filled with serious race parts and then tuned to make them sing: they produced between 71-80hp, depending on the year and only 549 were ever produced. They came with road-legal equipment, but the bike was really best suited for the track.
From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda SFC for sale
This is a genuine Laverda 750 SFC. It was on the 750 SFC Registry maintained by Marnix Van der Schalk when I bought it seven years ago from a noted private collector. It is one of the 100 or so made for the US market featuring full instrumentation and Jota style bars. It is a street legal race bike.
The previous owner bought it in its restored condition and did not know for sure who restored it, but he thought Lance Weil worked on it. Whoever did it spared no expense or effort in this meticulous and correct restoration. I regret to say that I have ridden this gem less than 10 miles- I consider myself a curator of this bike. I have other Laverdas that I actually ride.
After riding it last I changed the oil, drained the tank and carbs, and fogged the engine with marine fogging oil. I leave it in gear and every week or so I turn the engine over manually with the rear wheel. When I did start and ride it I found that it lit up quickly with an alarming snarl from the two-into-one race pipe ( I will include the street exhaust system). It revs very quickly when goosed, making a sound that sends shivers down the spine. The clutch works properly, as do all of the gears. I am a Laverda fan, having owned nine of them, and I can vouch for the fact that the SFC is something special.
Please study the pictures. You will see the new wiring and electrical parts, the magnesium hubs and gear selector cover, the new rotors, switches. You will also note the damaged paint on the rough fiberglass inner side of the fairing. That was from a leaking master cylinder. There is no battery in it now.
The owner sounds very knowledgeable and is clearly a Laverda enthusiast: for those of you who don’t know, Lance Weil was considered to be the Laverda tuner in the US, and any bike he worked on is generally considered to have been touched by the hand of god. I only wish he’d included a video clip of the bike starting and running so we could all share the sound of that exhaust. With less than 600 made over their entire six-year run, this is a very rare, collectible machine and the $50,000 asking price reflects that. He’s already had one offer so that price, while shocking at first glance, is clearly reasonable for someone.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t afford a $50k motorcycle and my dreams of owning a new one aren’t likely to be realized anytime soon: the Laverda name was bought by Aprilia, who seem to have no intention of developing the brand. It’s not hard to see why: they already have a selection of modern sportbikes and sport-touring machines in their stable and a line of classy, retro-sport bikes with Moto Guzzi. Laverda would just cut into the sales of one or the other… But it’s a shame, because I’d like to think there’s room in the motorcycling world for just one more Italian bike brand, especially if they could produce machines as stunningly orange as this one…