Presentation: Laverda 750
The development of the new Laverda twin with water cooling is in the final stages. Shortly before the start of production, MOTORRAD was able to gather first impressions.
Laverda – the sound of this name alone makes the hearts of Italo fans beat faster. After all, the motorcycles from Breganze almost stood for the typical Italian sports motorcycle: tough, rough, but with character.
It goes without saying that this 750 series has a two-cylinder in-line engine, because this design is typical for Laverda. But instead of air, the newly developed unit uses water cooling. A modern four-valve cylinder head with steep intake ports and compact combustion chambers ensures the right performance of the short-stroke engine with 83 millimeters thick pistons and 69 millimeters stroke: the prototype made a full 92 hp and easily outshines a Yamaha TRX 850. And the nice thing about the new engine is that it fits into the compact and delicate chassis of the 650s. Because this neatly manufactured aluminum bridge frame with the swing arm mountings milled from solid was the guarantee for unadulterated fun on bends in the 650s and the last 668 built with a wheelbase of just 1375 millimeters and ultra-handy geometry.
The Laverda 750 pilot thinks he is more likely to be on a small 250 than a full-fledged 750 for the first few meters. The short dummy tank, under which the snorkeling airbox sits, ensures a gathered sitting position with a lot of load on the front wheel, the footrests that are not too high and the handlebar stubs that are still suitable for touring allow at least medium-sized riders a comfortable posture. The clutch, which is now much smoother thanks to the changed hydraulic transmission, can be dosed cleanly, which helps enormously when balancing between wild truck drivers and all the youngsters in the typically Italian city traffic chaos. With the traffic light sprint from 0 to 50 km / h, the time passes by in a record-breaking short thanks to the ultra-short transmission of the first gear.
Immediately it is noticeable that the new engine runs much smoother, revs up much more wildly and also develops significantly more boom than the old, air-cooled 668 engine at medium speeds. Although the twin rattles and wriggles violently under 2500 rpm due to its low flywheel mass in the roller-bearing crankshaft drive and in the drive train, usable power is available from this mark. The engine was only allowed to reveal its full potential on a former hill climb, the starting line of which is about 800 meters as the crow flies from the Laverda plant: when climbing the speed ladder, the prototype took a short break in the range between 4000 rpm and 4600 rpm , but then turned all the more unleashed into the rev limiter, which stalled the engine almost a little too early at 8800 rpm. Because the performance curve does not bend before this mark. Thanks to an effective balancer shaft, the engine runs without gross vibrations in any area.
The engine, which is a good 20 hp stronger than the air-cooled version, cannot harm the excellent chassis. Or to put it better: this framework finally has something to do. Especially on the aforementioned hill climb. Because fast curve combinations and tight hairpin bends alternate over a distance of about ten kilometers with such pleasure that the tester decides after a round of inspection to give the mounted Pirelli Dragons the correct operating temperature. With good ground clearance, steady brakes and great handling, at least at low speeds, the 750 can be driven extremely quickly through corners. Due to the significantly reduced dry weight to 189 kilograms, the chassis no longer becomes stubborn as quickly as with the 668, even with rapid changes in lean angle. Unfortunately, the front tire with its 60 mm cross-section ensures a wobbly steering behavior, which is supported by an as yet imperfect fork adjustment . But this peculiarity can be granted to the prototype, which has not yet been tuned as standard, and we hope that Paioli will take care of the fork a little and that importer Ronald März, who has always been in love with 70s front tires, will prevail among the Italians.
I.In Germany, the Laverda 750 will initially be offered with 78 hp. Hopefully the engine will not lose the liveliness that was so enthusiastic on the first test drives.
Technology: The new Laverda-Twin – a completely new design that is actually a further development
Modern landing gears, all packed in an exciting, typically Italian design – what Laverda was missing up to now was a worthy source of propulsion, but the traditional brand has now recovered financially, and the first water-cooled 750 series engines are due to roll off the assembly line by the end of April. During the MOTORRAD visit in mid-March, for example, the CNC milling machines were programmed to machine the new cylinder heads. The water-cooled one should weigh nine kilograms less despite the slightly larger displacement – dry, of course. Although the engine, according to engine engineer Giuseppe Mancuso, is a completely new design, the Italians were based heavily on the air-cooled predecessor: stroke, primary ratio and gear ratios remained the same, and from the outside, the two engines – apart from the cylinder block and head – can hardly be distinguished. What is obvious, however, is the significantly improved casting quality, from which the air-cooled counterpart will soon also benefit. The pistons of the new engine run in coated, so-called wet liners, which are pressed into the cylinders and directly washed by the cooling water. While the water is normally first pumped into the cylinder head in a cooling circuit, from there into the cylinder and then back into the radiator, the Laverda technicians allow the water to circulate in the opposite direction: cooling water inlet into the cylinder, outlet on the cylinder head. This technology comes from Formula 1 and, according to engineer Mancuso, on the one hand prevents the formation of vapor bubbles in the engine and on the other hand guarantees better cooling of the cylinder walls. MOTORRAD was already able to convince itself of the performance of the parallel twin on the engine test bench: 92 hp at 8200 rpm and The clamped prototype lifted 80 Nm at 7000 rpm. It remains to be seen whether the assembled Termignoni bags will pass the homologation hurdle. In the next few years, Laverda wants to concentrate specifically on the athlete market segment and make profits in the slipstream of Ducati. That is why the new, water-cooled engine will only be used in sports motorcycles, while the Ghost and Strike naked bikes will remain air-cooled. rb
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