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1984 Laverda 1000 RGS Corsa

Laverda 1000 RGS Corsa

  • 1984
  • 39.191 km
  • Original
  • CH title
  • CH taxes paid
  • Sold

One of around 200 build and arguably the best Laverda Grand Tourer, this first series Laverda 1000 RGS Corsa is in great original shape.

This Corsa has benefited from the stewardship of a most fastidious owner with a continuous history of service and maintenance - ensuring its excellent condition.

Having been driven regularly, the odometer reading of 39.191 kilometres reflects enthusiastic yet sparing usage.

It remains a perfect starter and runner having received all that it needs to operate and maintain its elevated status. We may only advice to opt for a modern ignition upgrade which is also recommended by the Laverda community.

This black beauty comes with its original badges, toolkit and combined instruction and service manual. Tires and battery are new. Braided brake and clutch hoses are the only non original upgrade.

A real must have for any bike enthusiast or discerning motorcycle collector, this Italian time-capsule comes with a Swiss registration document and a new Controle Technique (MoT) certificate.

Truly distinctive motorcycles are hard to find these days. There's no question that the Japanese build motorcycles are unmatched for variety and unequalled for cold, calculated performance.

Nonetheless, there's a generic similarity about all of them, a certain antiseptic, fault-free sameness that is absent of any discernable character. For the most part, they lack heart and soul.

When viewed against such an homogenous backdrop, Laverda's RGS1000 Corsa oozes character from every nook and cranny. This triple-cylinder hunk of Italian exotica has the kind of quirky behavior and rough-edged personality that is typical of products built by small-volume manufacturers.

Visually, its massive engine and hulking silhouette hint that this is no namby pamby motorcycle, and functionally, its high-effort operation confirms those suspicions.

Indeed, riding the Corsa fast on a twisty ribbon of asphalt requires more concentration than finesse, demanding the rider's undivided attention. If the leading Japanese-built sportbikes dissect the swervery with the precision of a scalpel, the Corsa rips and snorts down the road like the world's fastest chainsaw.

Its suspension is taut, its steering is heavy, its controls are stiff, and its three-cylinder engine thunders out its power in a way that never, ever, lets you forget that it's down there working.

In all, the bike is about as subtle as a poke in the eye, and about as comfortable, too; but those who can look no further than the Corsa's faults will never see its true-dare we say endearing character.

Unlike Japanese motorcycles, which usually are an embodiment of the high volume marketing strategies that emerge from committee planning sessions, the Corsa is a reflection of what one man, Massimo Laverda, believes a motorcycle should be.

His brainchild is pretty much an anachronism in America, where stoplight-to-stoplight spurting is of paramount importance and leading-edge technology is in great demand.

But that's okay with him, for he knows that in Europe, where the vast majority of his bikes are sold, riders prefer a proven machine that can sustain high average speeds with long-legged strides and unwavering stability.

And it is this bike's appetite for fast, winding, European-type roads, combined with Massimo Laverda's refusal to build stoplight racers or please-all appliances, that gives the Corsa its soulful personality.

This does not mean, however, that Senor Laverda lacks the desire to refine his products, nor that his company has totally ignored the needs of the American rider.

This Corsa is far more civilized and emits much less mechanical clatter than any Laverda Triple before it; and our test Corsa launched through the quarter-mile in 11.91 seconds at 112.81 mph, meaning that it not only is the quickest production bike ever to bear the red, white and green Laverda logo, it's also the quickest European motorcycle you can buy.

Moreover, the two-valve-per-cylinder Triple produces broad-range power that extends from idle well past the 8000-rpm redline, with a rush of top-end horsepower and a willingness to rev freely that are uncharacteristic of previous Laverda engines.

The Corsa's ability to rev past the red zone like the hottest Japanese superbikes is due in part to a number of minor, but effective, weight-paring improvements within the engine's massive sand-cast cases.

Reciprocating mass has been reduced through the use of thinner, lighter connecting rods, shorter piston pins and forged pistons that are lighter than the cast pistons used in the previous incarnation of this Laverda Triple, the Jota 1000.

The forged pistons also resist heat expansion more effectively than cast units, thus allowing smaller clearances that enhance the sealing properties of the rings, that improve heat-transfer to the cylinder walls, and that reduce noisy piston-flutter, all of which extend the service life of those power-producing components.

Most of the Corsa's newfound performance, though, is brought about by redesigned camshafts and larger intake valves. The combustion chamber already was crowded, so the exhaust valves were decreased in size to accomodate the bigger intakes. The valve lift was upped slightly, but the duration of the cams remains the same as on the Jota.

What these changes mean is that the Corsa produces more power than the Jota everywhere in the rpm range, with crisp response to throttle inputs at all but very low revs. Below 2000 rpm, the Corsa's throttle response is jerky and irregular.

We suspect that this ill behavior is a result of a very abrupt ignition-timing advance that occurs around 1800 rpm, combined with the lean carburetion needed to get the Corsa past the EPA's emission requirements in general, and California's even stiffer CARB standards in particular.

Beyond that point, the 981cc engine delivers smooth, steady, uninterrupted power, although it pulls strongest from around 7000 rpm up to- and well beyond-its 8000-rpm redline.

In the interest of appeasing American riders, who aren't as likely to compress their riding days with 90-mph-plus jaunts on the backroads as the Europeans might be, the first three gears in the Corsa's five-speed transmission have lower (higher numerical) ratios, with two more teeth on the rear sprocket compared to the Jota.

This makes it easier to keep the Corsa spinning in the meaty part of its powerband without having to exceed the national speed limit by a factor of two; and it also has reduced what once was a sizable gap between ratios.

These changes, with the aid of extensive sound-deadening refinements inside the engine, make the Corsa a more live able and civilized motorcycle. The engine cases are now thicker and incorporate more ribbing to baffle engine noise, and the crankshaft and transmission mainshaft no longer turn in bearings located in the outer cases.

Instead, these shafts run in caged rollers supported by outriggers bolted directly to the engine block, thus reducing the amount of mechanical noise transmitted to the outside world. In addition, the Jota's triplex primary-drive chain has been superseded by two separate single-row chains that run much more quietly.

Still, the greatest improvement in the Laverda's civility is the result of the most radical departure from the Triple's original design: the adoption of a conventional (for a three-cylinder engine) 120-degree crankshaft rather than the unusual 180-degree crank used previously.

The 180 crank-with its two outer pistons moving up-and-down in unison and firing alternately, and the center piston phased 180 degrees apart from the other two-virtually eliminated the rocking couple that is present with a 120 crank, but caused considerably more primary and secondary imbalance, enough, at times, to rattle the rider's fillings loose.

Not so the 120 crank, which produces a much smoother power delivery and, aided by the evenly spaced power pulses and rubber engine mounts, also passes less vibration up to the rider.

But while the Corsa's engine is certainly more agreeable than the Jota's ever was, it's still not much of a utilitarian workhorse. There's a noticeable amount of vibration felt through the handlebar and footrest and seen in the smallish, fairing-mounted mirrors.

And despite having an improved shifting mechanism, the gearbox clunks during gear changes and the shift lever requires a long throw. European riders may not be as bothered by these traits, however, because the Corsa smooths out considerably once it is locked in top gear and dialed up to stratocruise speeds.

Source: Cycle World Magazine Jan-May 1984

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