If you’re looking for an involving way to go fast, or to determine the results of your mechanical tinkering in the crucible of racing, vintage race bikes like this Laverda 750SF would allow you to test your mettle against like-minded folks and provide you with access to a fraternity of biking enthusiasts who want to do more with their machines than polish them and argue about who has the most original tires…
Old Ducatis are great, but with even the most common bevel-drive models rapidly appreciating in value, they don’t leave much budget left over for tires, trailer, travel, and other expenses associated with racing. And I don’t think there are any old Tonti-framed Guzzi’s left: they’ve probably all been turned into café racers by Ton-Up Boys wannabes at this point, and genuine V7 Sports and LeMans are too valuable to thrash on a race track.
So where does that leave you, if you’re looking for vintage track action and want something a bit different?
When new, Laverda’s 750cc parallel twin made an ideal endurance racing powerplant: with five main bearings and reliable German and Japanese ignition and electrical components, it was very durable, with a broad spread of useable power. Overbuilt in every regard, the complete bike was on the heavy side, but very stable at speed. Eventually superseded by the 1000cc triple, the SF’s have begun to increase in value in the last few years, but can still be had for much less than contemporary Ducatis.
There aren’t many shops that specialize in old Laverdas, but they’re fairly easy to work on and parts to keep them running are available.
From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda 750SF Race Bike for Sale
This is a Laverda 750 SF race bike up for auction that’s been in my collection for about two years. According to the previous owner it was raced around 15 years ago. The fairing and windscreen were damaged when she fell over in the garage last year. It will need a new battery and some gas to get it back on the road. The gas in the tank and carbs were drained last year when I put her away. The surface rust on the front disks is normal due to them being made cast iron. Once you get it on the road it will clean up. Front and back brakes work fine and are not stuck. The exhaust is a genuine Laverda SFC system. The tank has a dent on the top side and could use some work. This is a very cool bike that can be easily converted back to street use. When I rode it last year it sounded very good and pulled very hard without any funky sounds or smoke coming from the engine. Has Paoili clip-ons, a Telefix fork brace and steering damper.
This SF is not perfect or completely original, but that’s beside the point here. It would be perfect for someone looking to live out SFC fantasies for one-tenth of the cost and will certainly sound the part, with that SFC two-into-one exhaust. Even if I could afford a real SFC, I’d rather race, and possibly wreck, a bike like this and save the genuine article for well-heeled collectors.
An ideal choice for do-it-yourselfers looking for on-track excitement who want something a bit different than another run-of-the-mill Norton or Triumph twin.