Laverda 500. That was not a success

Laveerda 500

Laverda 500 (1977-1981). We always look to the past through colored glasses. And our frame of reference sometimes rattles. But there are a few things clear: The ever so successful Laverda 750s have been commissioned by the Berliner Brothers to be more than true-sized copies of the Honda CB72 / 77. And Laverda was the best-selling heavy machine in the Netherlands on a blue Monday, making Laverda the largest motorcycle brand in the Low Countries.

Then came the Laverda three-cylinder engine and later problems

With some jumps, the Breganza brand came to an end. While there after the thick three-cylinder still quite what had happened. For example, there had been the 500 cc Laverdas.

They were and are real Laverdas that currently only have a fraction of the financial value of the fat, brutal twins and three-cylinder. There are not many of them, but the demand is even smaller than the supply. And that while 500 cc in the seventies of the last century was still quite a respectable cylinder capacity, especially in Europe.

The Laverda 500 was a modern engine in its day

The bottom block was very well mounted. It had two overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, 32mm Dell'Orto carburettors with accelerator pumps and a six speed gearbox. The block produced just under 45 hp at 8200 rpm. The compact block was in a nice conventional frame. The engine weighed only 175 kilos empty, had excellent stoppers and the steering was sharp. There was therefore plenty of racing with the half liter twins.

Born at the wrong time

But in fact the smaller Laverdas were born at the time when the Japanese took over the market without any reservations with machines that in all areas except the price, in general, outperformed their European counterparts. The Laverda was not a little more expensive than the competition, it was really stiffly priced with its tight 7.000 guilders. A Honda CB 500 cost about 1.000 guilders less and you also got two extra cylinders. The Italian government also thought that the tax on machines above 350 cc could be drastically increased. The sales in the mother country also did no good.

Also interesting: A Laverda with glitter. Verkeerd afgelopen?

Only a 500 cc

Add to that that the vision of a 500 cc engine had changed from 'a 500 cc' to 'only a 500 cc', the speeds on the public road were largely unlimited, and a Heavy one was always the True one. In 1985, the motorcycle trade once again fell into a dip, and that was the beginning of the end for the once successful family business. Every Laverda 500 sold cost the factory money. And that is not a nice revenue model. To make something of it, Laverda came up with the Coppa Laverda, its own racing class in which fought with strong tuned 500. The intention was that that would be an entry class for the heavier racing work.

In fact, the Laverda 500 cc a great machine

For example, it was technically better than Yamaha's XS500, not to mention the 500 cc Ducati parallel twins. Those machines were certainly not examples of perfect engine construction in their time. And the Laverdas were also available in various 'fast' versions. These Laverdas are currently still suffering from the Calimero effect compared to the big brothers: “They are big. And I am small. And that's actually not fair. ”

If you now have the chance to buy a nice Laverda 500, then that can not only be a great party. You buy a good, beautiful motorcycle that will certainly not be worth millions in the near future, but you certainly do not have to write off.

More about classic engines through this link…

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