1972 Laverda 750 SF1

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Seller Details

deanseven

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Technical Features

Motorcycle Make

Laverda

Model

750 SF1

Year

1972

Mileage

2690

Condition

overall very good .. partial restoration

Item Location

San Francisco CA

Modifications

largely original, some parts may have been replaced

1972 Laverda 750 SF1 .. Pure Sport circa 72'

This 1972 Laverda SF1 is a rare sports model of the legendary Laverda 750 twin, Laverda’s answer to the four cylinder Honda 750 and other Japanese sport bikes of the late 1960’s.  Introduced in 1968, the Laverda 750 had a very successful racing career and was regarded as a premium sport bike in Europe. Originally imported to the US only branded as American Eagle bikes, Laverda took over US distribution in 1970, but very few of these bikes were ever sold here.  

The bikes carried the finest components available at the time, from Pankl con-rods, Ceriani suspension, Mondial pistons, to Bosch electrical parts and a reliable Japanese Nippon-Denso starter, thus eliminating the one problem plaguing nearly all contemporary British and Italian motorcycles at the time: their electrical unreliability. 

The parallel twin cylinder engine, based on Honda engineering, featured no less than five main bearings (four crankcase bearings and a needle-roller outrigger bearing in the primary chaincase cover), a duplex cam chain, and a starter motor easily twice as powerful as needed.  Properly maintained the Laverda 750 is considered to be a very solid and dependable bike.  The tubular frame from which the motor is suspended is very robust and contributes to very steady, stable handling and minimal vibration for a parallel twin.  

Very original and recently restored cosmetically, this Laverda SF1 has only 4,300 km (2,690 miles) showing on the clock.  

This was Laverda’s first model to feature many of the components that contributed to the 750’s racing success. 

Fitted with very effective Laverda twin-leading show front brake ... excellent stopping power.

As a 1972 unit it also has the desirable Nipon Denso instruments and starter.  These premium components contributed to the Laverda reputation for reliable and dependable operation, unlike period Ducatis, Brit bikes etc.

Overall condition is excellent with smooth and shiny paintwork, good chrome, new seat, new exhaust system and proper detailing.  Exhaust system is simple straight pipes to silencers, the original system had a bulky collector under the engine that limited cornering clearance.  Sound is awesome.  Tires are good, nice alloy rims in good condition, some spokes show light rust.  A few minor details could be touched up, but it shows very well now and has no significant cosmetic issues.

Bike starts, runs and roars like the almost new mileage would lead you to expect.  Engine is in great shape, recent tune up, new fuel lines etc.  5-Speed trans shifts clean and sharp, clutch is good, but does have a hefty feel typical of Laverdas.  The basic engine design was a copy of the Honda 305 twin in many regards and has been proven very reliable and trouble free.

Chassis features a sweet Ceriani fork and adjustable dampers.  Ride is on the stiff side, which aids the handling feel, which is classic Italian … solid, stable and trusty, if not particularly nimble.  

Performance is very good with 60 real HP spinning around 475 lbs.  Overall vibration is minimal due to the hefty frame, exhaust tone is inspiring and this is a very, very fun bike to ride. 

This bike was purchased in just restored condition from a collection in Italy, and we recently imported it to California. All paperwork is in order, California title and current registration already in hand.   Also comes with original Italian license plate.

One great looking motorcycle, this bike is more beautiful in person than even these pics can show. Overall very nice shape, runs great, reasonably close to original.

A very rare and special Laverda in great shape with very low original miles.  Nice, but not too nice to ride and enjoy on a regular basis, and certainly an investment in an appreciating classic.

>>>>>>>>

ABOUT THE LAVERDA 750 Series

The inspiration for the Laverda 750 SF dates back to 1964, when 25-year-old Laverda general manager Massimo Laverda toured the U.S. for a firsthand impression of the burgeoning market here.

Although Laverda had made its name in Europe with small-bore singles and twins, Massimo returned to Italy convinced the future — especially if he wanted that future to include the U.S. market — lay in large-capacity machines capable of covering distance with ease. In early 1965 he secured (supposedly after heated discussion) approval from his father, Laverda motorcycle founder Francesco Laverda, to develop a big-bore twin.

In November 1966, Laverda displayed a prototype 650cc parallel twin at the Earls Court Show in London. Looking much like a Honda Hawk on steroids, the bike was a minor sensation, creating a swelling of interest in Laverda.

Although it took two more years to see production, the bike that finally went on sale in 1968 was very close to the prototype. And the fact that its engine had more than a passing resemblance to Honda’s famed 305cc overhead cam twin was no accident.

In designing the new bike, Massimo had looked to Honda’s twin for inspiration. Not having the resources of a huge company like Honda, Massimo saw he could benefit from Honda’s development of the 305, the first production overhead cam motorcycle engine and in steady development since 1958. In fact, the story goes, Massimo believed the visual connection between the Honda and his new bike would benefit Laverda, with buyers equating the Laverda positively to Honda and its unrivaled reputation for quality and reliability.

Although introduced as a 650, the engine was almost immediately enlarged to 744cc and very few 650s were actually built. The first examples sold in the U.S. were 750s, marketed by Jack McCormack under the American Eagle brand. McCormack, interestingly enough, had been one of the people responsible for Honda’s hugely successful “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda” ad campaign of the early 1960s.

Although McCormack was a shrewd marketer (he signed Evel Knievel to ride the American Eagle Laverda exclusively during this period), by 1970 American Eagle had folded, and Laverda’s twin hit the U.S. market under its own name for the first time.

1970 was also the year Laverda introduced the improved SF, which stood for Super Freni or “Super Brakes.” Where previous 750s had relied on Grimeca twin-leading-shoe stoppers, the new SF used a twin-leading system designed by none other than Francesco Laverda, who’d earlier questioned the viability of a big twin in the company’s portfolio.

The new 750 SF benefited from a new frame and other enhancements to improve handling and reliability.

Further changes came in 1972 with the introduction of the SF1, by which time all bikes were equipped with a Nippon Denso speedo and tach in place of the Smiths instruments used on earlier bikes. Although the ND instruments look like they were swiped directly off a Honda CB750, they have different internal ratios and aren’t interchangeable. 

Laverda 750’s have an outstanding racing history.  The company's team of S bikes won every endurance race they entered in 1970. Later street models incorporated many of the race bikes features and Laverda continued to develop the SFC race bikes. The series concluded with the SF3 models of 1976.


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