Laverda Page

22 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Laverda Page
Laverda 750 S

Eric Bergman’s Laverda Page


My 1973 SF1

I bought a 1973 Laverda 750 SF1 in October 1998. I thought I wanted a triple but this is what I found and I have no regrets. I was confused at first about what is was, because of the twin disc front brakes, which were introduced for the SF2 in the 1974 model year. But my bike came fromthe factory with a drum brake and had a later front end grafted on at some time in it’s life.

The serial number (14148) indicates it was built in the spring of 1973, and it has the CEV headlight and Lucas switchgear which was only used on the 1973 model. The paint is not original but seems to be a close match to the original color.

My bike. just arrived home

What an SF1 is supposed to look like.

What a Laverda 750 sounds like. This is a recording of the legendary SFC production racer made by Marnix van der Schalk.

My 1971 SF

I bought this bike in France in August 2000, to have a bike to ride in Europe. It is serial number 6349, a first-series SF. The papers say it was first registered on October 25, 1971.

These models are distinguished from the later SFs by the beautiful gas tank, which is still the same one used on the 750S, and the first-series Laverda drum brake in front, which has the actuating arms pulling toward each other, rather than the later linkage arm. There are also other differences of course.This model (like the 750S) was intended to have open bell-mouths on the carbs, but a rudimentary air filter was added in some markets. It is very hard to find a filter element for these now.

I have gone back to the open bell-mouths because the bike runs better this way and I don’t put many miles on it.

Although there are many stories of woe and frustration with the drum front brakes on early Laverda twins, the one on this bike works wonderfully, better than most of the disc brake systems of that era. Very good feel and stopping power. I hope I don’t have to touch it for a long time!

The handlebar controls (left and right ) and instrumentation on this bike are typically high quality.

The engine in this bike is surprisingly different from the SF1. The SF had higher compression, a hotter cam and smaller valves. It has a much more rambunctious character than the SF1, although I am told it is not any faster.

These engines also were prone to pinging, which I have experienced. The answer lies in retarding the timing, fuel additives, and very cold plugs, NGK B10EVX in particular.

Here’s a shot from the right front quarter.

The Berlin Bike

In the fall of 1998 I was working for a while in Berlin, and I noticed a Laverda 750 parked less than a block from where I was staying, on Augustinerplatz, in the Charlottenberg district. I admired the bike greatly and took these photos. It turns out that this is also an SF1 model, apparently very original (The handlebars are not, and the owner has excised the unpopular exhaust balance pipe under the rear of the engine). This was about a month before I bought mine.

Coincidence? I think not!

The Teardown, Part 1

I had to tear down my engine to find the cause of a shifting problem that appeared one day (in February 1999) on a ride, followed almost immediately by a very unpleasant grinding noise from the vicinity of the gearbox. I hoped I’d find the problem in the clutch area. Here are some detail photos of a few pieces that I took during the teardown.

I took a close look at the clutch pressure plate because of the scarring around the inner diameter that you can see in the photos, but in the end I decided it could not be related to the problem.

I also poked around in the gearshift mechanism which is accesible without pulling the engine. There was nothing worrisome there. I had some advice (and temptation) to just bolt it back up and keep riding.

Knowing now what the problem really is, it’s clear that this would have worked for a while, but then it would have gotten really ugly at some point.

The Teardown, Part 2

Well, I bit the bullet and split the cases to inspect the gearbox itself, and I finally found the source of the trouble: broken mainshaft. Extremely unusual from all accounts. Lucky me!

Here are some photos.

Laverda 750 S

Upper case. upside-down, with gears

Lower case. with shift forks and selector drum

Shift forks

Pitting on the layshaft 5th gear-all the other gears look good.

Detent spring -many people thought this would turn out to be the problem. It would have been cheaper!

The culprit. The mainshaft sheared cleanly at a cross-drilled oil hole which runs in a bush inside the 5th gear. Here’s another view .

I ended up replacing several gears in addition to the mainshaft, and had some bushings and bearings replaced as well, to the tune of about $600. The gearbox has been running fine since the reassembly, although it seems a bit easier than before to miss shifts if they are not made fairly convincingly. I may need to make some adjustment in the selector mechanism.

The Big Headlight

After I had been riding the Laverda again for a while I had some reason to poke around inside the headlamp shell, and I discovered that the halogen H4 bulb which was in there did not fit in the reflector of the CEV headlight, which was not designed to take such a bulb. The H4 had just sort been dangling in the CEV reflector, a hopeless bodge. In fact, the bulb which fits the CEV headlight is a bit hard to find, although Wolfgang Haerter has them.

I started thinking about how to convert the CEV unit to a halogen bulb and tried various strategies, but the very small CEV headlamp just won’t accept any other readily-available headlight unit. I finally decided the bike needed a bigger headlight to suit it’s rather massive presence.

One option would have been to look for a Bosch 200 mm unit which was used on later SFs, but a friend suggested I could come up with a much cheaper and very acceptable replacement from a Japanese bike. There are indeed a few reasonable choices, but while I was at the motorcycle junkyard I found a magnificent, huge headlamp that was used on several big Yamahas and Suzukis in the early 80s.

It has a very nice metal shell in black, with large openings for wiring access and several drain holes-it’s not meant to be sealed, but to drain well and dry out after the wet. The one I found was labelled Koito on the lens, but I’ve seen others with different lenses. These things are expensive. I paid $125 for mine, but I am completely happy with it.

The Bosch would likely have cost even more, because of all the high-bucks BMW enthusiasts out there. The SF Laverda really needs a big, dominant headlamp in my opinion, and they don’t get any bigger than this. Here are a few pictures:

The installation was completely trouble-free. There is a bracket on the bottom rear of the shell which is intended to mate with a clamp to allow the postioning of the shell to be adjusted and fixed. It would be easy to add a small bracket to the Laverda’s lower triple clamp to grab it, but I haven’t done it yet, and the shell seems to stay put.

The headlamp ears have to be angled out slightly to hold the big shell, but it is not a problem in my eyes.

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