1976 Laverda 750S
Laverda is a most famous Italian machine
Laverda is a most famous Italian machine, a top Italian machine. In the 1970's, the Laverda Jota was the machine to own according to magazines. It was a man's machine. I heard one start up once - the rumble was amazing, it was so manly. That happened in the 70's.
Some years later, I was to ride a Laverda after looking in Motorcycle News. I noticed a specialist Laverda dealer in West London offering one for sale at £1100 - it was a 1975 'p' model. At the time I had a CX 500 Plastic Pig, which I did not like at all. I went down to have a look with the idea of exchanging my maggot for it, as they were worth about the same then in 1987.
Arriving at the dealer, I asked if the bike would be suitable for courier work, as I had been through so many Japanese machines or ‘crap’ as they are called in manly circles. I was told that these machines were built to last, and were of a robust design.
Handing me the keys, I started the Laverda 750S. It had a rumbling exhaust, which was good after the tractor in a straight jacket sound of the maggot. Pulling away, I noticed it also had rock hard suspension. And the thing most noticeable was the VIBRATION - it has loads from its parallel twin, as if it was from another era. The only other bike I had rode on that had this essential feature of a man’s bike was the Triumph Bonneville - another parallel twin of 750cc.
The loud exhaust, rock hard suspension, and vibration were all an anathema to the Plastic Maggot I had rode up on.
I decided to try it out for performance. The power seemed to be about the same as the CX. But it had an additional manly feature: let go of the throttle and you could slow down using just the engine as a brake. The real brakes were superfluous - it was that manly.
Arriving back at the dealers I asked if I could trade my CX in for it. “Sorry” was the reply, it would be up to me to sell the maggot myself. I left a hundred pounds deposit and decided to try to sell a maggot.
Weeks went past. No one wanted it. The advertisement in MCN had no responses. I had to go get my deposit back minus the expenses of the dealer, whom now had to re advertise the bike. Some few weeks later, some one did come around and buy the CX. The Laverda was gone now. It is a very rare and difficult to find machine. Owners hang on to them.
If only I had owned the Laverda, it might have been so different. Owning a manly machine may have been a way to really get some real satisfaction and to have no more ‘crap’.
Features of a manly machine are then; over engineered cycle parts, loud exhaust, hard suspension, engine braking replacing the brakes, and the most important feature, vibration. All these features will make sure you know you have been somewhere. No user friendly features. User engagement features, even electric start, are not wanted. These are features a mature manly rider wants, not a boy racer whom only wants to speed.
The CX is then an anathema to the Laverda 750. Both have the same 50hp engine, but the riding experiences are totally different. The Laverda is a macho machine, you go anywhere on it and you know all about it. It engages the rider, the Laverda. The CX is in about life in a straight jacket. It sounds like the noise they make on the Honda advert for their cars. No car sounds like a Laverda 750’s or Jota.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th July, 2006
The grass is always greener...
I also was entranced/bewitched by the sound of a Jota, and that orange flash remained and haunted me, till my Alfa dealer started selling Laverdas in 1996.
Every time I had to take my Alfa in for further electrical therapy, I would be haunted by the gorgeous lines of the new Lavs, and when one day my dealer displayed an ORANGE, yes orange Ghost, I was lost.
It is now almost 1 year since I sold my Ghost.
I owned that bike for nine years of absolute pleasure and agony.
When she ran, I was able to do overnight rides of almost 1000kms in just on 8 hours, and feel as exhilerated on dismounting as I had felt mounting the previous evening, but then she would show her evil side and humiliate me in the middle of the city, when everyone was looking, she would die, and refuse to revive, and she would have to be taken home on the back of a truck.
I miss my Lav, and wish Aprilla would revive the brand, so nutters like me can ride/suffer again.
So you had an Aprilia, not a real Lav. Poor chap. Go and get yerself a real Lav, a Jota, or an SF II.
The original Lavs had bulletproof reliability. They would never leave you stranded. Get an original. You'll see. Just keep the engine oil up to it.