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New Motorcycle Review

Whollop- Laverda is Back!

Nicholas Frankl

European Correspondent

WHO the hell is Laverda? I'll tell you. It's the best bikes you (all those people who asked me and the millions I didn't get to) have never heard of, let alone seen. Founded in the myths of Italian time and legend, or something like that, Laverda has been around for aeons. Problem was that they forgot to catch up with the 90's or 80's in fact and have suffered as a result of poor build quality, dodgy mechanics and RAC gold membership standard reliability troubles.

This years 750S, a fully faired version of last years much praised 750 is right on the money though. Light, responsive and powerful. The fairing looks seriously hardcore in the yellow version I tested, with carbon fiber- wheel arches and big black air in-takes. Push comes from the dohc parallel twin 4-stroke motor which produces a healthy 84 bhp @ at a restricted 9200rpm and provides the keen rider with one of the most enjoyable sports experiences on offer today. The pull, is rather thoughtfully provided by Mr. Brembo, accompanied by one of the largest diameter disks I have ever seen and certainly the sexiest.

Around London it's not an ideal companion as the little flywheel combined with short gearing prevents you from gentle cruising, unless you want 5,000 revs in first the whole time. The up-side of this, is that you can share with the world the fabulous exhaust note, that starts at ferocious and turns into a demon like roar till the rev limiter kills the fun abruptly at mach.95. Shame, as the engine feels like it's just warming up and would leap into five digit territory if given half a chance. The 750S Formula (which we will be reviewing as soon as I can get my hands on one) is I understand broader on torque and wider on revs, as well as totally awesome.

Handling is right up there with the best. Aided by the right rubber (Metzeler would have been even better than the standard Bridgestones), the bike feels limpit like on all manner of surfaces, the chassis instils great confidence and the whole bike seems to gel very nicely. The front end can be a little twitchy, and careful attention is required if you accelerate hard in either first or second if you're not going to wheelie down the block. Though for some of our readers that might be exactly what they want to hear. Oh and "stoppies" are a dawdle too and great fun at traffic lights next to convertible Golfs with nice gals in them. (Can I say that ?)

The best bits about the Laverda are the details. The wheels, brake discs, pegs and cool black mesh inserts in the side of the fuel tank could only come from an Italian manufacturer. Down at Box Hill (the biker hang out) one Sunday afternoon, no one really took much notice of the yellow bug with twin round headlamps the size of side plates, not until I started it. Noise, I believe, is one the most emotional elements of biking- their's nothing worse than a great looking bike that sounds like a lawnmower - or worse - when you fire it up. A bit like a Harley with standard pipes come to think of it. Do not fear, when the Laverda comes out to play - everyone knows about it.

Laverda 750s

Power           84bhp @ 9200rpm
Torque          55.4ft-lb @ 7200rpm
Weight          185Kg
Power/weight    0.46bhp/Kg
Top Speed       150mph

Price           7,995 pounds, sterling

1 Year unlimited mileage warranty

More info?      44 (0) 1202 823344