The insanity of Laverda’s V6 Superbike
The aforementioned little 75cc single was quite popular at the time, but it wasn’t long before twin and triples measuring 650 and 750cc respectively were being developed by Laverda. However, it was 1977 and a desire to shut out the large Japanese manufacturers at any cost that would see Laverda go all-out.
Measuring 1000cc spread rather thinly across six cylinders, the Laverda V6 featured what was essentially a miniature, 90 degree twin-cam racing car engine. It generated a huge 160hp, which was dialed down to a still ridiculous (for the time) 140hp in the interest of structural integrity. This was still enough to push it beyond 280km/h in testing, during an era where the Japanese factory bikes were closer to 250km/h. The similarities with racing cars of the time didn’t end with the engine either – Brembo brakes and even Porsche 911 head lights were thrown into the mix.
The Laverda V6 was a test bike and although it never went into production, it did race once – at the 24hr Bol d’Or in France. The bike was blisteringly quick in a straight line although weighed around 250kg and as such, was somewhat of a handful. In the end the bike finished in forgettable fashion, and was soon made redundant by a combination of financial restraints and changing rules, which prevented it from competing. Only one was ever built – it survives today .