Tagged: three cylinder

Orange Bang: 1978 Laverda 1200 America for Sale

1978 Laverda 1200 L Side

While I certainly appreciate an original or perfectly-restored motorcycle, I’m also okay with what have come to be known as “resto-mods” where the original spirit of the machine is kept intact, but electrical, suspension, braking, and sometimes wheels and tires are upgraded to more modern specification. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the results look stunning, sometimes jarring. In the case of this Laverda 1200 America, I think it works really well.

At the time, a 1200cc motorcycle was considered pretty huge, and the fact that it was in a sports motorcycle that loved to rev and corner made it the Panigale of its day. Capable of 12 second quarter-miles and nearly 140mph, this was a very fast bike back when it was new and is deserving of respect even now. The 518lb wet weight sounds heavy in today’s world of 450lb literbikes, but it was comparable to the big Japanese four cylinders of the time.

1978 Laverda 1200 L Side Rear

What wasn’t comparable was the bike’s brutal, uncompromising nature: Laverdas were high-effort machines, with extremely heavy controls and very stiff suspension. But the payoff was a distinctive three-cylinder howl, excellent handling, and famously rugged construction: the 24,000 miles on this example should be no big deal, provided it’s been maintained as described. Big Laverdas aren’t all-day comfortable, they’re bikes for tearing up back roads, then collapsing in an exhausted heap when you arrive home, tingling with the aftershocks of adrenaline.

As with seemingly all Laverdas, the redline on the tach is deceiving: peak power actually occurs at the very top of the red band [7,500rpm], and the bike should obviously be safe for another 1,000rpm beyond that.

1978 Laverda 1200 Gauges

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Laverda 1200 America for Sale

Rare clean triple in very good condition. Build date 1977. Nothing major hidden, starts right away and runs strong. Clear Tennessee title, note the bike is located in NY, Long Island.

I bought the bike from a collector for my Italian collection, due to change of plans I do downsize a bit. It comes with very special upgrades, better brakes, adjustable handlebar and pedals, see pictures. The front end and brakes suggest it may be a Lance Weil prepared bike, it has also the very lightweight exhaust no baffles, likely the original exhaust from England, light as a feather. The previous owner stated cold compression is within 2 lbs of 157psi. Rare 4C stamped cams and likely but not confirmed special pistons. He said this was the fastest of all Laverdas he owned.

Very presentable rider, not a showbike but has the potential to be one. Not many more around and rarely seen for sale, great collectors bike.

1978 Laverda 1200 Front Brakes

The seller refers to this as an “Americana” but as far as I know, it was just the “America.” If this were a genuine Jota, perhaps the mechanical and cosmetic changes would be sacrilege, but the 1200 America was a bit of a compromise anyway, a bike designed to meet new American emissions laws with lower compression offset by bigger pistons to restore lost power compared to the 1000. I’d appreciate a few more photos with some better lighting, but all-in-all, this bike pushes the right buttons for me.

-tad

1978 Laverda 1200 Tank

Bruiser from Down Under: 1981 Laverda Formula Mirage for Sale

1981 Laverda Formula Mirage R Front

While currently located in New Zealand, this Laverda Formula Mirage has a very American sensibility. In spite of their accents and the fact that they drive on the wrong side of the road, enthusiasts in New Zealand and Australia have more in common with gearheads here in the US than they do with European riders. The wide-open spaces found Down Under lend themselves to the same afflictions that plague us here: big, stupid horsepower and straight-line speed.

1981 Laverda Formula Mirage Controls

Built by Slater Laverda in the UK, masterminds behind the original Jota, the Formula Mirage was powered by Laverda’s famously charismatic and durable three-cylinder engine. It featured a distinctive, one-piece fiberglass tank and seat unit that looked sleek, but significantly limited fuel capacity, which in turn reduced the range of the already thirsty triple. Several folks online also commented on the steeply-sloped seat unit that sees passengers steadily sliding forward into the rider. A bonus on a hot date, not so great if you’re give your buddy a lift to pick up his bike from the mechanic…

1981 Laverda Formula Mirage Dash

From the original, very brief, eBay listing: 1981 Laverda Formula Mirage for Sale

Laverda Formula Mirage, 1 of 14 built by Slaters. Astralites, Goldlines, rebuilt motor . In excellent condition.

Although the seller mentions he believes only 14 were built, I did see mention in a Laverda forum by someone who claimed to have original Slater paperwork that stated 17 were actually created. Either way, it’s a very rare machine, and the parts are all there, even if the sum performs at a somewhat less-than-expected level.

1981 Laverda Formula Mirage Rear Wheel

Overall, in spite of character clearly in line with Laverda’s big, burly image, the bike met with decidedly mixed reviews, likely because the market had moved on, and riders had begun to expect both brawn and brains in their bikes: the “bigger, louder, faster, harder” mentality was just too primitive to appeal.

For collectors looking for a classic Laverda that captures the look and feel of the big, manly motorcycles from Breganze, this could be just the ticket.

-tad

1981 Laverda Formula Mirage L Rear

Three Kinds of Trouble: 1973 Triumph Hurricane

1973 Triumph Hurricane R Side

Looking like a grownup version of a Schwinn bicycle, all the Hurricane X75 needs to be full-on childhood dream embodied in steel is a sparkly vinyl banana seat. A sort of proto-factory chopper originally designed BSA, the extroverted styling was a bit of an overreaction to the original design of the bike, which was thought to be too much like the plain-Jane Bonneville for the wild-eyed, long-haired hippies over in the USA.

So Craig Vetter, no stranger to unconventional designs, was called in to do a bit of a makeover, and his signature one-piece tank-and-tail style is on display here, although you might have missed it if you were looking at the right side of the bike… With the unusual single-sided three-into-three exhaust looking like it might make rides into one, long right-hand turn.

1973 Triumph Hurricane L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph X75 for Sale

CLEANING HOUSE !!!!!!! Selling my Hurricane and several other bikes. Realistically priced to sell. Happy to answer all questions. Bike is a very low mileage machine from Canada. Absolutely one of the nicest you will find. It has not run in 2 years but the fuel and carbs were drained prior to putting it on display and the engine has been turned regularly. I have all the Canadian import paperwork but no title. I’m more than happy to get a title for an additional $500 to cover the fees for this machine or I can give you all the Canadian paperwork and you do it yourself.

When BSA went out of business, just 1200 three-cylinder engines were put aside and the X75 was rebranded as a Triumph. These are very collectable these days, and it’s easy to see why: right out of the box, they look right and have plenty of performance.

1973 Triumph Hurricane Engine

Bidding is very active on this bike, with a couple days left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met at $17,200. I’d prefer a few more high-res photos of the bike, considering the price bracket we’re playing in here, but that close-up of the stamped engine serial number suggests that the bike is pretty clean. I’ve seen asking prices much higher than this, and it looks very solid, so worst-case scenario sees a paint job and a light mechanical refresh.

So depending on where this ends up when the hammer falls, you could think of it as a bargain!

-tad

1973 Triumph Hurricane L Side Dark

 

She’s Just the One You Want: 1975 Laverda 3C for Sale

1975 Laverda 3C R Side

Many of the bikes I post up here on the site are ones I admire, or recognize as being beautiful, or significant, or well-built, or just interesting. Some represent the bikes I’d actually like to have in my own garage. Even fewer are ones I actually intend to own.

This Laverda 3C is one of those.

1975 Laverda 3C R Side Front

I may have written ad nauseam about Laverda’s three-cylinder motorcycles, but they do seem to be cropping up pretty often lately. I just hope that when the time comes that I have both the cash and the space to buy one of these. Laverda just encapsulates so much of what I love about motorcycles and design: they’re fast, sexy, loud, brash, sophisticated, and very rare. This one even has clear green fuel lines!

1975 Laverda 3C L Side Engine

And it isn’t just me: my battered black Laverda t-shirt has started more random conversations than any other piece of moto-gear I’ve ever owned, like the restaurant owner excited to share the story of how he and his brother were Laverda importers in the 1970’s. Random people have stopped me in the grocery store, in IKEA, on the street, just to ask me about it. It seems like just about every time I leave the house wearing it, I come home with a new story.

1975 Laverda 3C Dash

But as much as I love bikes like the SFC, I can’t really see myself owning one. Even if I could afford one, I’m not likely to have one just to display it and they’re historically significant enough that I’d feel really guilty about wrecking one on track. And the SF’s are really classy, but parallel-twins are sort of everywhere, and they’re so workmanlike. Triples are just more inherently exotic, I think. A little bit ragged, a little bit uneven.

1975 Laverda 3C L Rear Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Laverda 3C for Sale

Very correct and original: recently completed restoration by long-time Laverda enthusiast. Matching numbers: 1000*2713.

Odometer shows just over 8500 miles – probably not correct, but whole machine has been fully rebuilt as outlined below, so the actual mileage is pretty much academic.

Less than 100 miles on rebuilt motor. Stripped down to cases and carefully inspected: everything was in very good condition and nothing seriously required replacement, but cylinders were deglazed, and new ‘Jota’ pistons were fitted. New stock A12 cams were installed as well as a new cam chain, new valves and valve guides. Witt ignition and higher-output alternator coils were also installed.

The slightly higher compression together with original cam timing and more progressive ignition timing provided by the Witt ignition make for a very sporty but also very streetable combination —altogether a marked improvement in both rideability and reliability over the original set-up with Bosch ignition.

Anything else on the bike that wasn’t 100% was replaced and/or upgraded.
All replacement parts came from Wolfgang Haerter (except tires and horns). Thanks again, Wolfgang!

New and/or updated items include:
New Brembo calipers, brake pads, with braided stainless steel brake lines.
New Bridgestone Battlax tires front and rear (Wolfgang’s recommendation).
All new stainless spokes, front and rear – original Borrani rims fully cleaned up and polished.
New wheel bearings all round.
Telefix front fork brace.
New headers – German repro – better chrome than the originals.
New 180 mm headlight rim.
New switchgear and upgraded wiring with Bosch relays for lights, horns,
New CEV tailight and turn signals all round.
Fiamm twin-tone horns – very loud!
Frame was fully stripped and powder coated.
Tank and side covers professionally repainted in Laverda orange.
New single seat. Original dual seat (fully reconditioned) is also included.

This looks like a very nicely turned out bike. I’m not slavishly devoted to originality, although I certainly respect that school of thought. Honestly, the whole “resto-mod” philosophy suits me best: old vehicles with thoughtful, tasteful improvements to style, performance, reliability, and handling that still maintain the feel of the originals. While Laverda was famous for having reliable electrical components, a lot has changed since the 1970’s and the updated ignition components included in this build should seriously improve rideability.

1975 Laverda 3C L Side Rear

It’s also confidence-inspiring to see the Aston Martin in the background: it suggests that the seller is familiar with taking care of exotic machinery!

The modern day equivalent to this bike would be something like Triumph’s Speed Triple, a bike with a big, meaty motor, stable handling, and simple good looks. A rugged, do-it-all sporting machine in brilliant tangerine paint.

-tad

1975 Laverda 3C L Side

Some Assembly Required: 1984 Laverda Triple Project Bike

1984 Laverda RGA R Frame

I wouldn’t normally include someone’s unfinished project like this Laverda Jota RGA here on CSBFS: too many questions, too little information, usually not enough photos to even get a good idea what you’re getting. And what you’re getting is usually in pretty sad shape: boxes of rusty, seized parts, battered bodywork, and grungy, hacked-up wiring. Claims that the project is “85% complete,” with those missing 15% comprised of completely unobtainable bits…

1984 Laverda RGA Engine

Plus, you’re all coming here to drool over the coolest old bikes on the internet, and it’s sometimes hard to get excited by an unfinished project. It’s like looking at a countertop covered with flour, eggs, and blocks of baker’s chocolate, trying to get excited about the cake that could be made from those ingredients…

But when the ingredients are as nice as this, it’s hard not to imagine that the finished article would be spectacular, so use a bit of imagination and join me in fantasizing about what could be!

1984 Laverda RGA Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda Jota RGA Project for Sale

At auction is a 1984 Laverda Jota RGA, Orange,120 degree triple, project bike, disassembled into major components and sub-assemblies, in 15 boxes. Includes new Sprint full lower fairing, unpainted. I have owned this bike for about 10 years, bought fully assembled and in extremely original but tired condition. After acquiring, an orderly disassembly proceeded, frame was powdercoated, along with bracketry, handlebars, all aluminum (sideplates, Etc.) polished and boxed, many special stainless fittings and fasteners from Motalia included. Carbs disassembled and vapor cleaned, includes all new parts. Rebuild kits for Brembo brakes included, Speigler lines included. Tires are new Dunlop tt100’s and tubes mounted on newly powdercoated wheels. New stainless exhaust system included, fully polished. New Witt electronic ignition included. All new spares included with the bike, generally sourced from Wolfgang Haerter in Canada or Motalia in England. Everything has been stored in heated/ air-conditioned storage, no sunlight. All seat parts and upholstery are unmarked, no cuts or tears.

Laverda’s Jota was basically a hot-rod version of their 981cc 3CL. Powered by an overhead-cam triple, the bike was very fast right out of the box. But UK tuners at Slater Laverda saw that there was even more potential in the engine, and developed the Jota using high-compression pistons, wilder cams, and lots of very orange paint…

Jotas do vary in specification, depending on where they were sold, with US versions notable tamer than the original UK bikes. And after 1982, the triple featured a revised crankshaft that smoothed power but also tamed the beast slightly, making the earlier bikes more desirable. Although this is not the original, 180° “true” Jota, all the variations of Laverda’s three-cylinder motor are packed with character and performance.

1984 Laverda RGA Carbs

The RGS that followed was an attempt to recast the big Laverda in a more civilized light and the RGA was a slightly less expensive version of the bike that featured a slightly awkward bikini fairing, instead of the fully-enclosed bodywork. I’d probably leave that bit off if this were my project… Although painted up, the included Sprint lower fairing could make for a very cool look as well: it features a classic, dual-round-headlight look that is much more stylish than the standard RGS square unit. When finished, it could look something like this bike we featured a while back: Laverda RGA Sprint for sale.

1984 Laverda RGA Bodywork

This basically looks complete, with all the hard work done. It’s a shame the seller never got the chance to complete this project, but this looks like a very good project for a handy individual to build a snorting Italian sport-touring motorcycle from the ground-up!

-tad

1984 Laverda RGA Fairing

 

 

 

Tangerine Dream:1982 Laverda Jota for Sale

1982 Laverda Jota R Side

It’s been positively raining Laverdas this past couple weeks. I normally try to mix things up, but Laverdas, especially ones like this Jota don’t come around all that often, so it’s a case of “making hay while the sun shines”…

The original Jota was created, not by the Laverda factory in Breganze, Italy, but by Slater Laverda, a dealer and shop in England. Introduced in 1976, it was basically a high-performance version of the company’s 3CL 1000 with a much more evocative name.

1982 Laverda Jota L Side Engine

Upgrades generally included high-compression pistons, camshafts, and a free-flowing exhaust although Jotas were, in the typical Italian style, subject to different specifications, depending on when and for what market they were built. It wasn’t a true factory model, so details varied from country to country and year to year, although US models are generally understood to be of lower-spec than the original British bikes.

1982 Laverda Jota Dash

Changes to the 981cc three-cylinder engine were good for 90hp and 146mph. Early bikes featured a 180° camshaft that had the outside pistons rising and falling together. Supposedly better for power, and certainly good for noise: the Italian triple was raw and raucous, and sounded like a four with a miss… In 1982, Laverda switched to a smoother 120° camshaft, although having heard those a few times in person, they’re far from tame.

1982 Laverda Jota Front

Jotas are brutal bikes: tall, with heavy controls, although the famous adjustable bars at least make finding a comfortable riding position a bit easier. The flip side is that they’re also ruggedly overbuilt and while, like all older machines, they do require more tinkering than a modern motorcycle, the hard parts are extremely robust and the bikes can cover huge miles before needing significant work.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Laverda Jota for Sale

This is a 1982 Laverda Jota 180 which has just finished a restoration after being in long term climate controlled storage. It is number 8118 making it one of the last ones built.

Everything that needed to be replaced was replaced – details of the items are below.

This is as close to an original bike as can be found in North America.

The bike is ready to ride – I’ve put just a few hundred miles on it since restoration, to test all systems and performance, and is ready to go to someone who will love and use her.

Restoration did not include any engine work; seals etc but there are no leaks.

This bike has ~9500 miles on it, with more being added. This bike had never been taken apart, it had damage to the fairing during storage, caused by falling wood, which was repaired and the entire bike was repainted by a professional painter. The tail piece was broken and replaced with a carbon fiber unit. The stripes on the tail piece reveal the carbon fiber. A new dark windscreen was installed.

When adjusting valves the internals looked brand new!

This is a US Spec bike, all in fantastic original condition. Please look at the photos, original finish on engine and frame, was in great condition when I acquired the bike. I went through and rebuilt all the hydraulics and carbs with new parts. I replaced the original Ignition and pickups with an Ignitech controller and electronic sensor board as the original pickup wires had deteriorated. I repaired the original pickup wiring and they will be included.

The listing also includes additional work that has recently been done to the bike. Although this one is listed as a 1982, the seller mentions it has the earlier 180° so it’s technically a leftover 1981 model, making it far more desirable than the later versions. Interestingly, these make peak power at 7,500 rpm, north of the indicated redline on the suspiciously Honda-looking tach, making the red band actually more of a “power band”.

1982 Laverda Jota Clocks

Bidding is very active, as you’d expect, although at just north of $11,000 the reserve hasn’t been met yet. That’s no real surprise: this looks to be a great example of the last of the fire-breathing Jotas, and should go for a good bit more than that.

While I’m not the biggest fan of the huge fairings often found on these, my fantasy garage absolutely includes a three-cylinder Laverda. In bright, Laverda orange.

-tad

1982 Laverda Jota L Side

Little Rocket: 1973 Kawasaki 350 S2 Mach II

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 R Side

Kawasaki’s two-stroke triples were a milestone in Japanese motorcycling history. While the Honda’s CB750 offered sophistication and technology at a relative budget price, it wasn’t really doing anything you couldn’t get elsewhere, although you’d have to pay a lot more to get it… But Kawasaki’s line of two-stroke triples that started with their H1 500 in 1969 was exactly its own thing and created its own, purely Japanese vision of what a performance motorcycle should be. The bikes were designed for basically one thing and one thing only: brutal straight-line speed with a crackling, angry-buzz soundtrack that left a haze of blue smoke hanging in their wake.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 R Engine

Made between 1971 and 1974, the Kawasaki S2 350 was instantly recognizable as a part of their two-stroke family, and featured familiar styling cues that included the three asymmetrical exhaust pipes and kicked up ducktail rear. As with many of the smaller-bore machines sold in the US, the S1 and S2 were really overseas models designed originally to skirt taxes on bigger machines and licensing laws for new riders. So the 250 Mach I and 350 Mach II were actually more civilized than their bigger 500 and 750 brothers, although maybe “civilized” might be pushing things a bit, or should at least be considered a relative term…

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Dash

The 346cc engine featured a smooth 120° crank and put out a claimed 45hp at 8,000rpm in typical two-stroke, lightswitch-style and the narrower engine of the smaller bike improved cornering clearance. It was a good bit lighter than its bigger brethren at 330lbs dry, and that lighter weight led to a corresponding improvement in what was known at the time as “handling”.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Side Tank

These little triples were actually pretty nimble, although the first year was definitely underbraked and the marginal front drum was replaced with a more powerful disc for 1972. The 350 was eventually replaced by a 400cc version in 1974 that actually made less power but was more flexible.

Translated from ALL CAPITALESE over at the original eBay listing: 1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Mach II

This is a fine example of a 73 S2. A fair amount of time and labor went into this bike to spruce it up. It runs very well and is very good condition. The tins were completely stripped to bare metal, reconditioned and painted to the stock original color. There is no decal: it’s all paint. A professional vintage motorcycle auto body shop performed the work and it is showroom condition paint.

The seat is in pristine condition and is original. New bars, grips, mirrors, polished controls. The engine covers were removed triple polished and new gaskets were installed. Tube seals and dust boots were replaced. Both rims were in great shape and were cleaned, rear hub was triple polished, new spokes installed along with new tires and tubes. Cylinders were honed and new std bore pistons and rings installed. The caliper and master cylinder were serviced. Oil change, plugs, points and condensers, dialed in, timed and tuned. The carbs were serviced, synced and adjusted. It still has the clean original exhaust pipes. All hardware was cleaned, polished, and/or replaced. It is all stock in appearance.

It starts on the first kick and rides nice and smooth.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Seat

The S2 wasn’t simply an H1 with a de-bored and de-stroked engine stuck between the frame rails: while it used a similar design for both frame and engine, parts are not generally cross-compatible. And therein lies the problem: parts for these cool little machines can be difficult to come by. Luckily, this particular bike appears to be in great running shape, so bodywork won’t be a problem unless you loop the little monster over backwards…

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Underseat

The S2 really isn’t at all what you might be expecting if you’re familiar with four-stroke engines of similar displacement. These things are very quick for their size and although tested top speed is shy of 100mph, they’ll get you off the line in a hurry and feel very much like their larger brethren, with the same dismal fuel economy: Kawasaki’s triples were the fastest machines in their respective classes, but you paid for that speed at the pump.

With prices of the H1 and H2 bikes skyrocketing in recent years, this presents a cool opportunity to get one of Kawi’s famous triples in a much more manageable package for a much lower price.

-tad

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Side

 

Lightning Strikes Twice: 1984 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Silver L Side

Wow, another RGS for sale, this time in silver!

Laverda’s RGS was basically a set of new clothes and a new mission for their rough-and-ready three cylinder engine. Earlier triples were famed for being brutal, “manly” bikes: some race-prepped examples apparently featured multiple steering dampers to keep them properly under control! Thrown around by the scruff of their neck, the Jotas and 3C’s that ventured onto the race track ground down ancillary covers and generally terrified riders and competitors alike.

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Silver R Side Engine

But, unable to really keep pace with the merciless progress of the Japanse Big Four, who had begun to put something called “handling” into their street bikes, Laverda headed in a different direction. They capitalized on the perceived style and sophistication and their Italian racing heritage to create a machine that didn’t try to compete directly with the sometimes boring perfection coming from Japan…

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Silver Dash

I spent the weekend baking in the heat and humidity of South Jersey, watching vintage motorcycle raceing, so I have Laverda on the brain today. I post these up whenever I find them, but they really are actually pretty rare. This one looks very well maintained by a knowledgeable owner: I know there are mechanics out there that can be counted on to do good work on these, but you can’t argue with the Slater name when it comes to Laverda!

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Silver R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale

I’ve owned this Laverda for several years, and am unable to give it the riding time it deserves as I have several other motorcycles as well.  This motorcycle is currently registered in my name in the state of California.  It is really in excellent condition and I cannot find any dents, dings, or scratches.  There are no known mechanical issues with the bike.

The following upgrades have been done to this bike that now has 16,181 original miles:

Wolfgang Haerter slip-on mufflers – sounds great! (I have original mufflers)
DMC ignition
530 chain and sprocket conversion (have originals)
Stainless steel brake lines
Ikon shocks (have original Koni’s)
Gustafson windscreen (have original)
Odyssey battery always on a tender
Front brake rotors have recently been machined within tolerance and there’s no pulsating.
I have a shop manual for this model, along with the owner’s manual and tool kit.

It’s had, within the last 250 miles, a major service done by a mechanic who used to work with Slater’s in England.  This included:

Valve adjustment using new shims
Complete rebuilding of carburetors
New cam blocks
Brakes bled
Oil change
New cavis fuel lines
New intake manifolds
New head gasket
New choke cable
The cam chain was checked and found to be well within spec.

This is as close to a new RGS as can be found after 30 years, and truly runs very well.  Please pm me if you’d like any additional detailed photos.

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Silver L Side Engine

Perhaps a bit too subtle for me in what looks like nearly flawless silver, but it’s very classy, has been very well cared-for, and features sensible upgrades that should enhance reliability and long-distance capability. Except for the mufflers: those are, I’m sure, intended as a safety feature…

-tad

1984 Laverda RGS 1000 Silver R Side

Fast and Classy: 1984 Laverda RGS 1000 for Sale

1984 Laverda RGS R Side

With most of the places I’d actually want to go on a motorcycle currently at least an hour away, the advantages of sport-touring and grand touring motorcycles are becoming more and more appealing. And you might think that “Italian exotic” and “touring” would be mutually exclusive concepts, but Laverdas typically incorporate the very best components, and are famed for being overbuilt and well-engineered, if slightly heavy.

1984 Laverda RGS L Side Rear

This durable quality means they were fast and stable, if not particularly nimble when used in anger. The early twins did well in endurance racing, and the SFC of the early 1970’s is one of the most collectible bikes of its era. The triple that followed was originally an unruly beast, with a funky, uneven firing order that made for exciting power and a howling exhaust note, but wasn’t so good for the feeling in your hands and feet, or the fillings in your teeth…

1984 Laverda RGS Engine Detail

Later Laverdas like this one are considered a bit tame by those standards, but are still far more emotive than glassy-smooth modern triples. The RGS introduced in the early 1980’s was an attempt by Laverda to recast their slightly moribund powerplant as an exclusive gentleman’s grand touring bike. It was really the perfect way to justify a performance deficit when compared to cheaper, newer Japanese bikes: “How fast is it? Well I’ve never felt the need to prove anything to anyone. I’ve certainly never raced it… And anyway, just listen to it!”

From the original eBay listing: 1984 Laverda RGS1000 for Sale

This is a 1984 Laverda RGS 1000 rare motorcycle. The motorcycle runs well, however this classic beauty would be best in the hands of an experienced motorcycle rider who is familiar with this type of bike. The motorcycle is sold as is with a good title and NO RETURNS. There is no warranty and buyer accepts the bike without guarantee. The buyer should know that the motorcycle is intended for motorcycle aficionados familiar with Italian made bikes and in particular Laverda’s.

1984 Laverda RGS Front wheel

A starting bid of $10,000 seems about par for the course for these. The price seems fair, but demand for these is limited and the seller may have to wait a while for the right buyer. The paint looks a bit faded, but the images are very washed out, so that may just be poor photography, not a flaw with the bike.

It would, of course, look better in classic Laverda orange.

It may not be as sexy as a 1970’s Laverda, but it’s still very distinctive and usable, both excellent qualities to have in your classic steed.

-tad

1984 Laverda RGS L Side


1981 Laverda 1000 Jota

1981 Laverda Jota L Side

Another Laverda just popped up for sale! There’ve been so many of these lately, you’d think they were easy to find in nice shape.

They aren’t.

Laverda was never all that popular in the US, and they’re correspondingly rare. There aren’t a ton of shops that specialize in them, but in this internet age, there’s plenty of information and a strong online community. These are well-built bikes, and many owners are comfortable turning a wrench on them.

1981 Laverda Jota R engine

The Jota, one of the most iconic Laverdas, isn’t really even a factory model. It was a hot-rod 3C whipped up by Slater Laverda in England and was introduced in 1976. The name “Jota” refers to a Spanish dance in triple-time, and the bike is, in typical Laverda fashion, brutal, slightly heavy, and very stable at speed.

Of course I want one.

1981 Laverda Jota Dash

This one’s supposedly a real-deal Jota, although I’m not sure he’s clear on exactly what he has… From the original eBay listing: 1981 Laverda Jota 1000 for Sale

Laverda 1000 Jota 120° (The real Jota)

This bike have been in my garage for the last 15 years.

The motor is in great condition, completely overhauled just before I put the bike away.

The chassis could use some service, it’s still in running condition.

Please look closely on the pictures.

The bike has no battery, it died of high age.

The bike has a new electronic ignition system, the standard comes with the bike but it makes the bike almost impossible to start.

I assume the seller actually means it’s a 180° bike, since it’s actually the later, post-1982, 120° version that’s more tame and not a “real Jota…” The original Jota featured the 180º crank with “one up, two down” pistons that basically ran like a four with a miss. Nevertheless, the configuration gave big power and manageable vibration…

Update! Since I started writing this, the seller has corrected his “degree” mistake in the eBay listing!

From the photos, it looks like he’s got the original fairing as well, should you want to return it to the factory style. I prefer the naked look, but that bulbous fairing should make for a more practical ride… As if a burly, vibrating Italian triple from 1970’s is anything like practical…

As always: do your homework. 3C’s are not inexpensive, but they’re far less than a nice Jota and it’s not difficult to fake one.

-tad

1981 Laverda Jota R Rear