Review Laverda 750 S
Wet and happy
New, water-cooled two-cylinder, stable, proven aluminum frame, low weight. Great starting point for a classy sports motorcycle. Laverda succeeds in making a big hit with the 750 S?
Don’t lose your nerve now. Brake, downshift and press the motorcycle into the curve, do not be distracted by the cheers on the grandstand in the Sachskurve.
It’s actually a shame because the Laverda immediately gives a racetrack novice a feeling of security, if only because of the sporty, but relaxed seating position. With a lot of fine work, the chassis taken over from the 668 was brought into shape. What has remained is the sturdy aluminum bridge frame and the extremely short wheelbase of just 1375 millimeters. Decisive for the playful handling of the 750 S, no question about it. Only a small two-stroke, like the Aprilia RS 250, tops this handling.
But also a credit to the moderate 160 Pirelli Dragon rear tire. It is also nice that the German importer Ronald März has reacted to the criticism of the prototype’s wobbly steering behavior (MOTORRAD 8/1997). He had the 120/60 tire converted to a 120/70 front tire ?? a good decision. With this pair of tires, the 750 S can be circled around bends very precisely and neutrally, and can easily be kept on track at a top speed of 216 km / h. The Laverda also impresses with its good handling on winding roads. The motorcycle, which weighs only 198 kilograms, can be steered playfully in an inclined position, even “on the brakes”, because there is hardly any tendency to stand up. Anyway, the 320 Brembo front brake system? a poem. Razor-sharp, even pressure point, no fading. And, according to the importer in March, not a custom-made product, but simply ordered from the Brembo catalog. The Ducati technicians should make a note of the order number as a precaution.
The short wheelbase is not a disadvantage, even when braking hard. No wildly wagging rear in which the new 16-liter tank, now made of plastic instead of aluminum, is, but stoic calm. Paioli supplies both components, thanks to the cleanly working rear shock absorber and the amazingly responsive and fully adjustable upside-down fork. The motorcycle also behaves exemplary on bumpy country roads. Finally a Laverda with an all-round successful suspension setup. Nevertheless, the 750 S has to put up with criticism.
Not when it comes to the wind protection of the small half-shell cladding, which is passable. But the controllability of the clutch, which kicks in very suddenly, and the smooth running of the 747 cm³ twin engine, which is based on the engine of the 668 and for the first time water-cooled, are not the last word in wisdom. It is true that the 84 hp engine clearly surpasses the paper version of 76, and the six-speed gearbox finally works precisely and smoothly. But below 2500 rpm the engine jerks only extremely unwillingly due to the lack of a flywheel. Only from 4500 rpm does it pull up powerfully, with little vibration and with a characteristic, pithy intake noise up to the rev limiter at 8800 rpm. Another bad habit: when closing the throttle, it pushes for a fraction of a second. In addition, the engine will choke if you do not carefully open the throttle grip after prolonged pushing operation. Things that might be less of a nuisance on the racetrack. In normal country road operation, however, and this is where a Laverda is also used most often, things like that are just annoying.
L.Solvable homework for the technicians who have at least one decisive criterion of the intake manifold injection under control. This is shown by the astonishingly low fuel consumption: just over six liters of super at a constant 160 km / h, the 750 S does not indulge in more, even with brisk country road booby. Values that should cause some Japanese two-cylinder technicians to ponder.
“If Laverda doesn’t make the breakthrough with the 750 S, they’re out of the window,” fears Ronald März. No fear. Because with the new one, the chances are good that Laverda will finally establish itself as the Italian number three behind Ducati and Moto Guzzi. Another delicacy for Italo fans will follow early next year: the 92 hp Laverda 750 SF. Probably only two to three years from now: a three-cylinder with 1000 cm³. After all, tradition obliges and the chassis of the 750 S would already take such a chunk today.
The Laverda 750 S is a successful compromise between the grayed-out Ducati 900 SS and the super sporty 748. And at 18,840 marks, it is also not out of the world in terms of price. Because in return, it comes up with (almost) unrivaled ease of handling, an excellent chassis and attention to detail in processing. A driving machine for the sporty soloist who wants to have carefree fun on less frequented country roads. This is exactly what Laverda guarantees. Matthias Schröter
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