Laverda RGS

Laverda RGS
ER Classics Desktop 2022

The first generation three-cylinder had a 180-degree crankshaft, so that the block ran just as nicely 'raw' as a two-cylinder. This had the advantage that they had a lot of pulling power at low revs, but the disadvantage was the relatively strong vibrations. The early driepitters were brutal crooks. The three-cylinder Laverda 1000 Jota was the fastest production motorcycle in the world in the early 1982s. The Jota, which was conceived by British Laverda importer Slater Bros. Got a crankshaft with taps at 120 degrees in 1983. In 1000 the Laverda 120 RGS with XNUMX-degree crankshaft appeared. That gave a different firing order and a much rounder, more vibration-free run. And another, hoarsely threatening sound. Funnily enough, the engine – of course actually thought for the United States market – was much more European than American in terms of driving characteristics and engine character. Hard core Laverdists thought it was a novelty for the faint of heart. And they thought the fuel filler cap in the nose was weird.

The Laverda RGS – which stands for 'RG Studio'1000, by the way – was a fast, quite comfortable touring motorcycle with a fairing. The rider just had to withstand the rather Spartan hard seat. The detachable cover of the duo section of the seat was ideal for solo trips and good for looks. The clever adjustment option of the foot rests was also well thought out. They sit off-center on a round segment in the aluminum casting and can be adjusted in a circle by nearly two inches. The 120-degree crankshaft layout fit that idea just fine. It steered fine and you could make really long trips with it without dying from the vibrations. And the hydraulic clutch on the triple kept the riders of the Laverda RGS free from a left arm the size of an eyebrow crab. It still didn't go very smoothly. But things had improved. By the way: dragging up the throttles of the three Dell'Ortos also required a firm hand. In addition, the throttle also had a fairly long stroke. But yes: what should a touring machine with a fast throttle handle?

After all, the Laverda three-cylinder has inherited some of the somewhat clumsy genes of the twins

It's – can you still say such a thing? – a men's motorcycle. You have to work to drive it. It also steered slower and heavier than its Japanese counterparts. Strange for an Italian bike right? But the Laverda did go through long, fast corners like it was on rails. In heavy traffic and at a slow pace, such a Laverda RGS feels a bit long and top-heavy. But it is a bike as it should be according to Massimo Laverda. So there was nothing to argue with. And that it was slower and more expensive than the Japanese competition? According to Laverda, there was no Japanese competition. The bit of refinement the RGS offered compared to previous Laverda triples came from addressing the mass of the moving parts. The connecting rods were lighter, as were the pistons, which were forged rather than cast. Those pistons also required less piston clearance to make the block more efficient.

1983 saw the upgraded Executive model with integrated bags and fairing extensions to keep your hands dry, followed by the sportier, all-black, RGS Corsa. The RGS was also for sale without the low fairing on the sides.

Growing popularity

Gone are the days when a neat Laverda RGS with barely 30D kilometers on the clock in Westervoort stood no chance for years for three thousand guilders. And the once detested fairing and sheet metal? That is now valued as if it were an Armani suit. That fuel filler neck? genius! Especially when the tank is filled to the brim. On the first braking action, the gasoline will then squirt out of the filler cap and find its way over the tank, directly into the rider's crotch. They would never have come up with that at BMW! Suitcases that match the styling are highly sought after. Things can go strange. All in all, about 2500 RGSs were made. The current price level is between a realistic € 6.500 and - don't be alarmed - € 15.000. But the latter is a brave asking price for a ZGAN copy.

The Laverda RGS was specified for 92 horsepower at 7900 rpm. The stated top speed was 230 km/h.

In 1983 the Laverda cost 17.894. Say well 8.100 euros. It is expected that the price will soon be above the new value.

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Also read more stories about classic engines

And further:
- The difference between a Laverda
- Laverda 1000 3C. The Laverda three-cylinder
- Laverda 750 SFC. The fake press are fun too
- So Laverda three-cylinder ... The executioners of Breganze (1973-1989)
- Laverda 500. That was not a success


Give a reaction
  1. This lady (man's motorcycle, why?) would like to trot once more with such a moped...
    I thought it was great then, and still do…

  2. I had the pleasure of doing a 'block around' on an RGS.
    Except for the high seat and clearly a bit more power, I felt there was little difference with my XS850… The Japanese three-cylinder.
    The same vibrations, the same cry, the same character, the same clunky feel and high center of gravity.
    I'd like to try a "real" one again.
    Maybe give Georg a friendly look..?

    • Laverda and Bennili used to be a dream of many people , and they are still beautiful , in those days I liked two strokes more and preferably drove my suzuki 500 gt two - stroke

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