1980 Laverda 3CL (981 cc 180 degree transverse triple)
80 bhp, 472 lbs and 135 mph
Having just put his 750 twin into production in late 1969, Massimo Laverda announced the intention to produce a 1,000 cc triple. The aim was to blow away the Honda Four. It took till 1973 to get it into steady production - and in most respects it achieved its objectives - 472 lbs dry weight (vs the Honda's 480 lbs), 1,000 cc (vs 750 cc), 80 bhp (vs 67 bhp), 54 cm engine width (vs 56 cm) and 135 mph (vs 125 mph).
The chain driven DOHC engine looks like the 360 degree 650 twin with a centre cylinder which is 180 degrees out of phase. This configuration heard via the 3-1-2 Lanfranconi mufflers gives a very distinctive deep sound. The various new models stretched Laverda and hence there were teething and reliability issues (such as ignition in the wet) which called for continuous development over a number of years. However, as from 1974 and through most of the rest of the 70s the 1000 3C/Jota was the world's undisputed performance production motorcycle.
The specification was universally high:
- Ceriani forks and as from 1980, Marzocchi.
- Twin Brembo discs up front.
- Bosch alternator, uprated to 180 watts in 1980.
- From 1979, gas assisted Corte e Cosso rear shocks.
- Borrrani wheels - and from 1976 alloy or "lega" wheels - and hence the designation 1000 3CL.
- Three Del'Orto carburettors with accelerator pumps.
- Reliable Nippon Denso instruments.
- The aforementioned Lanfranconi mufflers.
From 1975 the UK importers, the Slater brothers, started to make some fairly significant performance oriented changes - inter alia hotter cams and 10:1 vs 9:1 compression. This lifted power to 95 bhp and made for a real rocket ship - but not an easy ride! This was formalised as from 1976 as the factory designated Laverda Jota.
In 1981 the relatively "brutal" 180 degree engine was replaced by a more civilised 120 degree. Some 8,000 of the 180s were produced in total.
This bike was bought in 2012 from Made in Italy Motorcycles, having been restored in Spain. It is faithful to the original and has matching numbers. It is a fantastic ride once you become accustomed to the 31 inch seat height and dropped handle bars. In fact it is much more comfortable than one expects and the sound is amazing. It is really difficult to ride slowly!